Film festivals, the beginning of the festive season in the city, thrilling theatre shows, fireworks and more! November in Bristol is jam-packed with exciting activities to kick winter off with a bang!

Festivals | Half-term | FireworksFestive | Remembrance Day | Special Events | Film | Comedy | Out & about | Theatre

Festivals in November  

Afrika Eye Festival (4-12 November)  

The South West’s biggest celebration of African arts, cinema and culture will be back bigger and better this year with extra dates and more venues. Alongside film screenings, live music and talks at Watershed, the festival will feature 100th birthday tributes to Nelson Mandela, a Bristol Ferry Boat showing of acclaimed documentary Vanishing Sail, as well as photo exhibitions and workshops. Check out the top five Afrika Eye festival highlights here

'Free From' Festival Bristol at The Passenger Shed (17 November)

The UK's first Food Festival for people that are living their life 'free from' gluten, dairy or refined sugar takes place in The Passenger Shed. Talented chefs and speakers will be holding live cooking demonstrations and you can indulge in refined-sugar-free chocolate tasting, gluten-free desserts and snacks as well as gluten-free beer, organic wine and lots more!

Cary Grant Comes Home Festival (23-25 November)  

This biannual festival celebrates the life and work of one of Bristol-born Hollywood legend Cary Grant. The 2018 festival is themed around Hitchcock’s collaborations with Cary Grant and there will be screenings of these and other Grant films over the weekend. Visitors will also have the chance to take fascinating tours of Grant’s favourite Bristol haunts, listen to expert-led talks and get involved with a full-on celebration of the golden age of cinema.

Vanishing Sails - What's on November 2018 Bristol

Image - still from Vanishing Sails, Afrika Eye Festival

Half-term in Bristol

For those whose half-term fell slightly later this year, there’s still lots of special school holiday activities going on in Bristol – check out our half-term blog for more details.  

November Fireworks nights

Remember, remember November means fireworks and a number of Bristol attractions are putting on displays. Longleat will be staging its Fantastic Fireworks’ displays from 1-3 November, with magical pyrotechnics set to dramatic music. Fireworks Night at Old Down Country Park (4-5 Nov) will be an atmospheric affair with marshmallows in the walled gardens, warming drinks and a hog roast. For more fireworks set to music, head to Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park, where you’ll also find a funfair (5 November). There are also a number of local displays taking place across the city – take a look at the full list here.

Things to do in Bristol in November 2018 - fireworks

Image - Fireworks in Bristol, credit Chris Bahn

The festive season begins in Bristol!

Winter Fair and Ice rink in Millennium Square (17 Nov - 6 Jan)

Get the festive season off to a magical Christmassy start with a whirl on the ice rink in Millennium Square. After spinning some icy shapes, make your way to the neighbouring Winter Fair to cosy up under a blanket with a mulled treat, in the Apres Bar. Top the day off with soaring wintry sky views over Bristol’s Harbourside on the Big Wheel.

Things to do in Bristol in in November 2018 - We The Curious ice rink

Image - We The Curious ice rink, credit Daniel Watkiss

Bristol's Christmas Lights Switch On

Seasonal sparkle illuminates the city this month with the Christmas Lights Switch On and carnival extravaganza at Cabot Circus (9 November). The Heart Breakfast team will be playing Festive Feel Good Tunes from 5pm and kids are invited for a special preview of Santa’s brand new Christmas Grotto in Quakers Friars.

Come one, come all to see Emma Brittion from the BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast Show switch on Clifton Village’s Christmas lights (7 November)! Gather around the biggest Christmas Tree in the South West to join in with the Community carol singing from 6pm before one of Bristol’s prettiest postcodes turns up the twinkle factor at 6.30pm.

The Festival of Light at Longleat (selected dates from 10 November - 6 January) will be brightening up wintry days with thousands of Chinese lanterns. Go on a glowing adventure and discover astonishing creatures, stunning structures and mesmerising scenery. Visitors can also experience a winter safari and the illuminated hedge maze on the estate, while indoors, Longleat House will be decked out for an authentic Edwardian Christmas. For extra Christmassy fun, hop aboard the Santa Train to visit Father Christmas in his grotto.  

Wapping Wharf is doing a festive light switch-on with a difference, when the fully-costumed steampunk-style cast from Bristol Old Vic's ‘A Christmas Carol' bring the Spirit of Christmas to life (5-9pm on Thrusday 15 November) at Bristol's buzzing harbourside community. Travelling Folk Band ‘The Rubber Wellies', who are part of the cast, will also be performing and Scrooge will officially turn on the Wapping Wharf Christmas lights at 6.30pm. The event will mark the start of #latenightthursdays - when many of Wapping Wharf's independent shops will be open until 9pm until 20 December. On the night of the switch-on, Better Food has a Giant Pumpkin Soup Party planned (from 6pm-8pm), a ticketed event offering soup made from a giant pumpkin accompanied with a craft beer or fruit punch and freshly baked bread, to raise money for its ‘Streets to Kitchen' project with Square Food Foundation. Bristol Cider Shop will be serving hot spicy mulled cider.

Things to do in Bristol in November 2018 - Christmas light switch on Cabot

Christmas Markets in Bristol

Explore more than 450 festive market stalls in Bristol this yuletide season. Follow the scent of bratwurst to Bristol Shopping Quarter where you’ll find Bristol’s Christmas Market (9 November – 23 December) or head to the Covered Walkway next to the waterfront for the Harbourside Christmas Market (every weekend from 24 November to 16 December). Discover four floors of hand-made jewellery, clothing, quirky accessories, artwork and more at the Made in Bristol Gift Fair at Colston Hall from 24 - 25 November. For more fairtrade and locally-made produce, check out Bristol Local Christmas Market (30 November - 23 December).

Remembrance Day in Bristol (11 November)

This year, Remembrance Day (or Armistice Day), takes on added significance as it marks the centenary of the First World War. There are a number of Remembrance events taking place in and around Bristol, to commemorate those who gave their lives in the two World Wars and all who have died in combat since. Take a look at our Remembrance Day Centenary commemorations blog for the full round-up.

Things to do in Bristol in November 2018

Image - Bristol Cathedral, credit Dave Pratt

Special events in November

Clubbing in the Crypt at St John on the Wall (1 November)

Dust off your dancing shoes for a family-friendly, intergenerational daytime disco in a crypt! Dress up for the best foot-stomping tunes from the 1950s to the present day as well as a range of kids activities taking place every hour. For children aged 5 years and over.

Moor Beer does Halloween (2 November)

This year, the folks at Moor Beer have decided to take on the task of throwing the cheesiest, spookiest Halloween party ever seen in a brewery! Go along for beer, food, music, terrible costumes and cheesy goodness.

Averys Celebration of Wine (10 November)

With over 100 wines from around the world, Averys Celebration of Wine gives vino lovers the chance to sample a wide selection including new finds, new vintages and customer favourites.

Bristol Fashion Show at Ashton Court Mansion (17 November)

From streetwear to festival styles, active-wear to formal gowns, check out some of Bristol's finest fashion designers in a catwalk show at Ashton Court Mansion, with after-partying until 1am.

Fair Saturday Bristol (24 November)

This year, Bristol will become the first city in England to join Fair Saturday - a global movement which aims to boost arts, culture and social causes on the last Saturday in November. Taking place the day after Black Friday – a huge expression of consumerism – Fair Saturday is an opportunity to celebrate things that matter beyond the material stuff.

Averys wine merchants

Image - Averys Wine Merchants

November Film events in Bristol

  • Bristol Film Festival

Bristol Film Festival skilfully matches movies with Bristol venues to enhance your film-watching experience. This November, the Festival are partnering with Bristol Museum & Art Gallery for after-hours screenings of It: Midnight at The Museum: (2 November) or for something a bit more light-hearted, join in with some belting show tunes at The Greatest Showman Singalong. See the Bristol Film Festival website for details of other showings this autumn.

The most renowned film event on the European outdoor calendar is heading to more than 300 venues in 15 countries to show inspiring protagonists with a heartfelt passion for adventure. The University of Bristol’s Anson Rooms will be the city’s screening location for these breath-taking, adrenalin-packed true stories.

Settle in for an audio-visual extravaganza on the full dome in the Planetarium at We The Curious, inspired by the music of Pink Floyd and featuring the entire 1973, 'Dark Side of the Moon' album in glorious 5.1 surround sound.

Things to do in Bristol in November 2018 - Bristol Film festival

Image - Bristol Film Festival at Bristol Museum

Comedy in November

Chuckle Busters presents a handpicked selection of Top comedians at 1532 Performing Arts Centre (2 November). Ahir Shah, Maisie Adam and Chris Chopping will be setting sides a-splitting in BS8 on the 2 November. Or head to Millennium Square for a night of hilarity in the Casino (2 November) featuring comedians, Maureen Younger, Julian Deane and Shazia Mirza.

Out and about in Bristol in November

Tyntesfield's volunteer tree registrar, Chris will lead gardening and horticulture enthusiasts on a Champion tree walk at Tyntesfield (4 November) to discover some ancient giants. For younger nature lovers, check out TYNTEtots at Tyntesfield (21 November) for storytelling, crafts and games for 2-5 year olds inspired by the fairy tale, The Enormous Turnip. Meanwhile The American Museum & Gardens are hosting a Winters Trail (22 November – 16 December). Journey along the Winding Way following the trail map and uncovering stories and solving riddles to lead you on this fun family trail.

Things to do in Bristol November 2018 -Tyntesfield

Image - Tyntesfield, credit Chris Watts

November Theatre highlights

Bristol Old Vic and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh first co-production between the two award-winning theatres will be Shakespeare’s hilarious and heart-breaking Twelfth Night.

The internationally acclaimed stage sensation, Jersey Boys is working its way back to round the UK! Telling the real life story of four boys from the wrong side of the tracks who wrote their own songs, invented their own unique sound, and sold 100 million records worldwide.

Hear a tale that's been told for over 200 years. A story of creation, rejection, love and disaster. In an attempt to defy death, Frankenstein creates a creature, a monster that is both childlike in its innocence but repulsive in its form.

Exploring gender stereotypes in a fun, questioning way, Princess Charming is a celebration of being exactly who you are. This show is for anyone who doesn't like being told what to do and is about finding the courage to defy expectations.

Sarah Guppy was the first woman to patent a bridge, the first to formally design one and she mentored young IK Brunel with that winning entry for the Clifton Bridge Competition. Hear new revelations about a truly remarkable woman living at an extraordinary time at the Hen & Chicken (6-7 November) then the Create Centre (8-9 November).

Milk Poetry returns with another eclectic line-up of top spoken word artists from across the UK and beyond.

Bristol Old Vic continues its festive tradition of imaginative new versions of classic stories, with an enchanting new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale, A Christmas Carol.

Things to do in Bristol in November 2018

Image - Sarah Guppy, the Bridge, the Bed, the Truth, Show of Strength Theatre Company