Whether you’re planning summer holiday activities with the kids or are simply looking for inspiration to enjoy #SummerinBristol, our guide to things to do in August 2019 has you covered.  

Festivals | Family Friendly | Exhibitions | Theatre | Live Music | Sport

Festivals

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (8 – 11 August)

Bristol skies will be full of colour once again as the annual free Balloon Fiesta returns at Ashton Court Estate. This year’s theme is Bristol icons – find out what to look out for by reading our top tips for 2019’s event.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2019 press launch

Image credit: Paul Box

Valley Fest (2 – 4 August)

Foodies flock to Valley Fest, the festival that celebrates organic food and farming. Situated next to Chew Valley Lake, enjoy the views, feasts and music line-up featuring acts like Steeling Sheep, The Magic Numbers and Razorlight.   

The Downs Festival (31 August)

The city’s largest one-day festival has pulled together a first-class line-up for 2019, including Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones, Nenah Cherry, IDLES and Loyle Carner.

Crowd at The Downs Festival Bristol

Image credit: The Downs Festival

Redfest (3 August)

Redfest is a free community arts festival based in Redfield and St George. There are five music stages as well as a kids village, spoken word, cabaret and more, showcasing talented performers from the local area and further afield.

AfroFest Bristol Summer Festival at Trinity Centre (3 August)

Enjoy two days of music, art, fashion and dance celebrating African culture. With food, a bouncy castle, face painting and arts and crafts, it’s a great family day out.

Summer Sound Clash Festival at Turtle Bay (15 – 18 August)

Four days of reggae vibes, live DJs, rum cocktails and Caribbean food are planned for the Summer Sound Clash at Turtle Bay on Broad Quay. Entry is free.

Family friendly

Big Bear Sculpture Trail at Wild Place Project (6 April – 1 September)

Find all 20 six foot tall hand-painted bears, decorated by talented artists, at the Wild Place Project to receive your sticker. Top off your trail by spotting the real bears now living at the new Bear Wood exhibit, alongside lynx, wolves and wolverines.

European bear at Bear Wood, The Wild Place Project Bristol

Image credit: Wild Place Project

A Grand Day Out at Bristol Zoo with Wallace and Gromit (20 July – 13 October)

What does it take to be a zookeeper? Join Aardman’s legendary duo on an adventure to find out, filling in your trainee keeper handbook as you go. There are also hands-on model making workshops on 5, 16 and 27 August with Aardman experts.

Summer Holidays at Aerospace Bristol (25 July – 1 September)

Special activities at Aerospace Bristol during the summer holidays include making your own Concorde, ‘Play and Programme’ with Sphero robots, designing your own livery for Concorde and sweetheart memento making. Look out for the Concorde exhibition at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta too.

Summer Rays at Bristol Aquarium (20 July – 1 September)

All through the summer holidays Bristol Aquarium are celebrating rays with dedicated talks, workshops, feeding sessions and more. Any Summer Rays activities are included in usual admission prices.

Summertime on the Square (26 July – 7 September)

We The Curious and Pure Spaces have an unmissable summer setup in Millennium Square, featuring Bristol Beach Club, BUMP Roller Disco, Fitness at The Square, and coffee kiosk 640 East.

Summer Spectacular with the Invisible Circus on board Brunel's SS Great Britain (20 July – 1 September)

Daily performances by the Invisible Circus will tell the stories of former passengers of Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Expect daring stunts and exhilarating aerial displays!

Summer Movies at the Theatre at Bristol Hippodrome (Fridays & Saturdays in August)

Four Disney classics - Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Alice in Wonderland and The Lion King - will be screened in the Piano Room, served with afternoon tea from Sandwich Sandwich. Disney-inspired fancy dress is encouraged! 

150th Anniversary Weekend at Avon Valley Railway (3 – 4 August)

To mark the anniversary of the railway line between Mangotsfield and Bath opening, Avon Valley Railway are hosting a history marquee, vintage vehicle display, shire horses, live music, morris dancers and more.

Steam train at Avon Valley Railway

Image credit: Avon Valley Railway

TYNTEfest 2019: Beatrix Potter tales at Tyntesfield (7 – 8 August)

In celebration of National Play Day, take along your 2-5 year olds for storytelling, crafts and games inspired by the classic tales of Beatrix Potter.

Global Adventurers at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre (13 July - 1 September)

Collect a global adventurer passport and then discover wetland challenges of North America, South America and the Arctic. The new Arctic Adventurer exhibit includes activities such as dressing up as a researcher and creating a menu from limited tundra supplies.

Avon Valley 30th Birthday Weekender (31 August – 1 September)

Get yourself to the two day party for Avon Valley Wildlife and Adventure Park’s 30th birthday, where there’ll be live music, retro fete games, aerial archery, paintball targets and more. Tickets available for Saturday, Sunday or the whole weekend.

Selfie with mascot at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park

Image credit: Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park 

Stone Age Summer at Cheddar Gorge and Caves (20 July – 1 September)

Step back to the Stone Age by exploring the prehistoric land of Cheddar Gorge and Caves. Visit the Museum of Prehistory, see the Cheddar Man skeleton and dress up in cave man attire.  

Tree Champion Family Events at Westonbirt Arboretum (29 July 2019 - 30 Aug 2019)

A mix of arts and crafts events and a Tree Champions Family Trail are running this summer at Westonbirt Arboretum, all of which are free after admission. Under 18s also get free entry until 2 September.

Exhibitions

Natural Selection at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (1 June – 1 September)

It’s the final month to see Natural Selection, which anyone with an interest in ornithology will love. The exhibition showcases pieces such as a human-scale bower bird nest, replica eggs and several multi-screen films.

Natural Selection exhibition at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Image credit: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Aardman: Animating Early Man at M Shed (6 July – 3 November)

What does it take to create a hit stop motion animation? Discover secrets from Aardman at this exhibition revealing the behind the scenes work on Early Man, their film about the plucky cave man Dug.

Libita Clayton: Quantum Ghost at Spike Island (6 July – 15 September)

Bristol-based artist and Spike Island studio holder Libita Clayton takes you on a journey through her heritage using immersive sound installation, large-scale photograms and live performances.

Luke Jerram's GAIA at the University of Bristol (16 Aug 2019 - 18 Aug 2019)

Share in the ‘Overview Effect’ usually reserved for astronauts by going to view Gaia. The sculpture shows our planet to scale featuring detailed NASA imagery and is presented alongside a sound composition by Dan Jones, a BAFTA award-winning composer.

Theatre

Moby Dick on-board Brunel’s SS Great Britain (18 – 26 August)

The SS Great Britain will become a whaling ship for this production of Moby Dick by Darkstuff Productions, co-presented with Tobacco Factory Theatres.  

The Three Musketeers: A Comedy Adventure at Bristol Old Vic (22 – 24 August)

With over 30 characters and just four actors, the award-winning physical comedy group Le Navet Bete has crafted a masterful comedy retelling of The Three Musketeers.

Malory Towers by Wise Children at The Passenger Shed (19 July – 18 August)

Wise Children take you into the world of Enid Blyton’s fictional school, Malory Towers. Described as the original ‘Girl Power’ story, this nostalgic production is completed by sensational live music and animations.

Malory Towers at the Passenger Shed Bristol

Blood, Blackbeard and Buccaneers by Show of Strength Theatre Company (Wednesdays & Saturdays in August)  

Walk in the footsteps and discover the remarkable stories of Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard, who is said to hail from Bristol. This is a walking tour full of dramatic tales and intriguing history, which separates fact from fiction surrounding the infamous pirate. 

Live music

Fiesta Sunset at Brunel's SS Great Britain (9 August)

The Fiesta Sunset event is a chance to spot hot air balloons from the Fiesta float overhead as you sip cocktails, sample award-winning ice cream and listen to live music.

Summer Sessions at Bristol Old Vic (8, 13, 19 & 29 August)   

Summer Sessions are the first public, free-to-attend evening performances in Bristol Old Vic’s recently redeveloped front of house space. Pick from two evenings of live music, a showbiz quiz and an open mic night.  

Bands at Beese's with Bristol Ferry (9, 16 & 23 August)

Spend a Friday night at Beese’s Riverside Bar for live music, dinner and drinks. Bristol Ferry offer a one-way trip leaving Welsh Back at 6pm, with entry and food included in the ticket price.

Super Cider Saturday featuring The Wurzels at Bath Racecourse (17 August)

Join in with the proper West Country knees up on Super Cider Saturday, when legendary Somerset band The Wurzels take to the stage. As well as seven races to watch from 2pm, there will, of course, be scrumptious ciders to try and delicious food too.

Super Cider Saturday at Bath Racecourse

Image credit: Bath Racecourse 

Sport

Vitality Blast at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

A busy year at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club continues, with three Vitality Blast T20 league matches still to come in August. Gloucestershire will be taking on Kent Spitfires (7 August), Hampshire (13 August) and finally local rivals Somerset in a Friday night derby on 23 August.

Kia Super League at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Action from the women’s T20 super league will also be unfolding in Bristol. You can watch Western Storm against Loughborough on 13 August or Southern Vipers on 20 August.

Summer Afternoon Racing at Bath Racecourse (7 & 21 August)

You have two chances for a day at the races in August, each with seven thrilling races to enjoy plus great food, drink and an electric atmosphere. If you prefer, make a night of it instead at the Summer Evening Racing from 4pm on 27 August.

Sky Bet Championship at Ashton Gate

Cheer on The Robins as they play Queens Park Rangers (17 August) and Middlesborough (31 August) at their home ground.

Feel Good Friday 5K at Tyntesfield (9 & 23 August)

A 5K run open to all abilities through the stunning Tyntesfield estate. A tea or coffee at the Cow Barn restaurant is included in the £3 entry fee.

Wear the Rose Live at Lloyds Amphitheatre (13 August)

Hosted by O2 and England Rugby, this is a free-of-charge event where rugby fans can rub shoulders with the men’s squad, which will have been officially announced the day prior by manager Eddie Jones. There will also be live music, carnival stalls and rugby games throughout the day.

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