Kathryn Davis, Destination Bristol's Head of Tourism and a serious film fan, shares her tips for the ultimate Oscars-themed trip. 

As one of the most creative cities in Europe, Bristol is a bit of a hot bed of filming and thanks to the world-renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the training ground of many a leading lady (and man). Put this together with a host of film festivals and a sprinkle of Hollywood glamour and you can create your own few days full of film fun.

Bristol Old Vic & Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Inside Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Image credit - Bristol Old Vic

With a whole host of Oscar winners in the alumni, plus one of this year’s nominees, Naomie Harris (nominated Best Supporting Actress for Moonlight) it is worth seeking out productions by current theatre school students – you never know where you’ll see them next.

Alumni Oscar Winners include Daniel Day Lewis (winner of Best Actor in 1990, 2008 and 2013) plus nominated in 1994 & 2003) and Jeremy Irons (1991) plus nominees Miranda Richardson (1993 & 1995) and Pete Postelthwaite (1994).

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre itself is the oldest continually running theatre in the English speaking world - last year it celebrated its 250th birthday. Every effort has been made to preserve the much-loved theatre's original features, and some say it may even still be haunted by ghosts of its characters past. Watching a show here is an absolute must for theatre lovers.

>>> Here's 6 things we bet you didn't know about Bristol Old Vic

Aardman Animations – Animate It, At-Bristol Science Centre and Make a Model

Wallace & Gromit

Image - Wallace and Gromit. Credit - Aardman Animations

With 10 nominations and four wins, Aardman are officially Oscar legends. One of the sets from The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (winner of Best Animated Feature – 2006) can be seen within the ‘Animate It’ exhibition in At-Bristol Science Centre, where you can learn to animate your own stop-motion feature. Aardman also offer team building experiences for corporates and groups with their ‘Make a Model’ workshops.

Cary Grant

Cary Grant on Park Street black and white image

Image - Cary Grant on Park Street. Credit - Bristol Evening Post 

Born in Bristol in 1904, Archibald Leach (Grant’s real name, the name of his dog and John Cleese’s character in the Oscar nominated A Fish Called Wanda) was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1970 after being nominated twice. Grant regularly came back to the city and many pictures can be found with him at famous landmarks including Bristol Cathedral and Clifton Suspension Bridge. He has been commemorated with a statue on Millennium Square (outside At-Bristol Science Centre), in street art form outside Room 212 on Gloucester Rd and with a blue plaque outside his childhood home in Horfield. Look out for the biannual Cary Grant FestivalCary Comes Home.

Encounters Film Festival

Cinema crowd enjoying a film at Encounters Film Festival

Image credit - Jon Craig 

Taking place at the Watershed every September, Encounters is one of the most important film festivals in the city's calendar and most significant short film and animation festival in the UK.

Starting life as Brief Encounters in 1995, since 2010 the Festival Grand Prix winners have qualified for consideration for the Academy Awards in the category for Short Films. There is a great public programme along with industry events. 

>>> Director of Encounters, Rich Warren, share his favourite places to eat and drink in the city for film buffs.

2017 nominees – Naomie Harris & Dev Patel 

Dev Patel in the movie Lion

Image - Dev Patel in Lion. Credit - Courtesy of Screen Australia

As well as Naomie Harris, nominee in the category of Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Dev Patel, has a strong Bristol connection. Dev played the role of Anwar Kharral in Skins – the Channel 4 show filmed in Bristolsee more about Skins locations. Plus, you can see him in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Hotel du Vin as part of Bristol Film Festival.

Watch the movies!

Image - Sideways at Bristol Film Festival 

Bristol is spoilt with a choice of big screen branded theatres to art house cinemas to outdoor screenings – plus film nights in the most unusual places. Bristol Film Festival is a great way to rediscover old favourites and Oscar winners and nominees in new surroundings. How about Sideways at Averys Wine Cellars, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Mr Turner at the RWA or Coraline and Corpse Bride at Arnos Vale Cemetery?

And finally, La La Land fans! Here's how to find some of that tippety-tap dancing magic right here in our fair city. 


Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Bristol Old Vic Theatre exterior

Built in 1766, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, and remains a place of joy, discovery and adventure to this day.

We The Curious
Science Centre
We The Curious exhibitions

We The Curious is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.

Cary Grant Statue
Cary Grant Statue Credit Tamany Baker

A life-sized bronze statue of Hollywood legend Cary Grant, unveiled in 2001 to commemorate the Bristol-born actor's achievements.

The Bristol Hippodrome
Bristol Hippodrome theatre inside

One of the country's top provincial theatres, which proudly continues to stage major West End and Broadway productions.

Bristol Cathedral
Bristol Cathedral

Much more than a fascinating building, being a fine example of a hall church, it is a centre of Bristol's history, civic life and culture.

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Historic Site
Clouds over Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol - CREDIT GARY NEWMAN

The world famous bridge and the iconic symbol of Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and completed in 1864 after his death

Encounters Film Festival
Participatory Event
Encounters Film Festival

Bristol’s largest international film festival celebrates its 25th edition this year with a handpicked programme of film, animation and virtual reality.

Averys Wine Merchants
Averys Wine Merchants

Discover new and exciting wines in the historic vaulted cellar of Bristol’s oldest wine merchants, Averys.

Brunel's SS Great Britain
Historic Ship
Brunel's SS Great Britain Bristol

Step aboard the award-winning Brunel's SS Great Britain for a ship shape and Bristol fashion day out!

Arnos Vale Cemetery
Historic Venues
Arnos Vale Cemetery conferencing

Arnos Vale mixes Victorian Architecture with modern facilities, set in 45 acres of woodland in the city centre. With venues seating 10-100 guests, award winning catering and free parking Arnos Vale is a unique Bristol Venue.

Watershed Bristol Harbourside

Enjoy a lively programme of independent film, digital media and events at this fantastic media centre in the heart of the Harbourside

Hotel du Vin & Bistro
Hotel Du Vin & Bistro

Critically-acclaimed bistro restaurant, serving fine European cuisine