From a Game of Thrones festival to a Yoko Ono exhibition, Bristol Cocktail Weekend to a Sky Safari, check out our top picks of things to do in Bristol this September. 

Festivals | Food & Drink | Family Friendly | Exhibitions | Theatre | Live Music | Sport

Festivals

The Coffee House Project (7 – 8 September)

A two-day long coffee love-in where you can find local roasters, independent food and drink retailers and home-grown baristas as well as hands-on workshops. This year the event will be disposable-cup-free, so take along your reusable or take one out on loan from KeepCup on the day.

Speakers at The Coffee House Project

Image credit: Edd Cope

GoT Fest at Ashton Court Estate (7 – 8 September)

Meet guest actors from the series, get your photo taken on the iron throne, learn about how memorable scenes were made, see props and more at this Game of Thrones-inspired medieval festival.

Bristol Open Doors (13 – 15 September)

For one weekend in September, buildings and experiences that are usually off limits to the public open up their doors. The programme invites you to pick and choose between a long list of events, tours and workshops at places varying from churches to film studios. Ticketed events are already selling out, so reserve yours quick!

Grand Pier Gin Festival (14 September)

Grab your passport and journey around the world in a variety of gins, from local specialities, to flavoured gins and craft batches. There’s a jam-packed schedule of masterclasses, talks and live music throughout the day, plus the chance to do some all-important sampling.

Tokyo World (21 – 22 September)

Get yourself down to Eastville Park for a weekend of music from over 100 artists, including headliners Craig David and De La Soul. Motion is also hosting an after party on both the Saturday and Sunday nights.

Encounters Festival (24 – 29 September)

Encounters Festival is back for 2019 with a programme of exciting film, animation and virtual reality, as well as talks, workshops and masterclasses. Take a trip back to the 90s via a special strand of film and events to mark the international film festival reaching its 25th birthday.

People at the bar during Encounters Film Festival

Image credit: Encounters Film Festival

Food and drink

A History of Gin Night at Milk Thistle (5 September)

Allow Fords Gin to take you on a journey through the history of gin and cocktails, complete with nibbles, welcome punch, five sample-sized cocktails and one extra full sized cocktail!

Chefs Canapé Masterclass at Thornbury Castle Hotel (5 September)

See how delicious canapés are crafted by Thornbury Castle Hotel’s Head Chef before indulging in a few yourself along with a two-course lunch.

Fish and Chip Trip aboard The Matthew (6, 13 & 27 September)

Relax on a two-hour long boat trip around the harbour, made all the more enjoyable by a delivery of fish and chips from a local supplier as you moor up at The Pumphouse Landing.  

Coconut Carnival at The Coconut Tree (14 & 28 September)

Book in for dinner, live DJs and the Coconut Processions, fuelled by plenty of cocotails!

Cocotails menu at The Coconut Tree

Image credit: The Coconut Tree

Supper Club with Black Cow Vodka at Riverstation (19 September)  

Sample the award-winning Black Cow Vodka, made using milk of grass-grazed cows and nothing else, at Riverstation’s final Supper Club of 2019. A short cruise with the Bristol Ferry Company, a three-course dinner and special Black Cow Vodka cocktail list are all on the menu for the evening.

Averys Wine Festival (28 September)

Brush up on your sommelier skills as Averys Wine Merchants introduce you to their world of wine in a walk around tasting.

Bristol Cocktail Weekend (27 – 29 September)

Shake up your weekend by seeking out cocktails at watering holes across the city. Buy your wristband for £10 and then follow the Bristol Cocktail Weekend map to get £4 drinks at participating bars.

Family friendly

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

What does it take to be a zookeeper? Find out on the Trainee Zookeeper trail with Aardman’s lovable double act Wallace and Gromit. There is also a model making workshop for kids who want a go at creating their own Gromit, Feathers McGraw or Shaun the Sheep on 13 October.

Sleepy Ship at Brunel's SS Great Britain (15 September)

Set up sleeping bags in the First Class Dining Saloon and enjoy a night of activities on the ship including a captain’s tour, an interactive planetarium and storytelling.

Sky Safari at Longleat (13 – 15 September)

See over 150 hot air balloons bring a rainbow of colour above Longleat at one of the biggest annual hot air balloon festivals in Europe. At night, witness stunning night glow events set to music.

Simbaloo the lion hot air balloon rises over Longleat House during Sky Safari

Image credit: Longleat

Dino Family Raceday at Bath Racecourse (15 September)

Europe’s largest and most realistic animatronic dinosaurs are descending on Bath Racecourse. While the kids try their hand at ‘Ranger Training’ and be tested with an emergency dinosaur break out situation, the adults will get just as much of a thrill watching the day’s races.

TYNTEtots: The Ugly Duckling at Tyntesfield (18 – 19 September)

Take along your 2-5 year olds for a day of fun activities inspired by the classic story of The Ugly Duckling.

FUTURES 2019: A Festival of Discovery (27 – 28 September)

Meet scientists helping to shape the world we live in as part of this Europe-wide festival. There are three events to choose from in Bristol: a night of interactive trails and activities aboard Brunel’s SS Great Britain, ‘Researchers on Loan’ at Bristol Central Library, and ‘FUTURES Up Late’ at We The Curious.

FUTURES Festival at We The Curious

Image credit: Paul Blakemore 

Circus Berlin on Durdham Downs (25 September – 13 October)

The circus is in town, bringing show-stopping acts by performers from across the world to Bristol’s Durdham Downs. There are shows every day between 25 September and 13 October, excluding 30 September and 7 October.

Exhibitions

Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde at Aerospace Bristol (19 September)

A chance to explore Aerospace Bristol’s Concorde exhibition alongside a Q&A and book signing with Lawrence Azerrad, the author of Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde.

Concorde on display at Aerospace Bristol

Image credit: Aerospace Bristol 

Interventions/2: Films by Yoko Ono at The Georgian House Museum (28 September – 31 December)

Catch the artist and activist’s very first solo show in Bristol, where a selection of her avant-garde films will be showcased.

167 Annual Open Exhibition at RWA (29 September - 1 December)

Now in its 167th year, admire the work of established and emerging artists from across the UK and beyond in this mixed discipline show. All artwork will be available to buy. 

Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance - Act 3 at Arnolfini (14 September - 15 December)

This exhibition explores feminist resistance across different times, places and scales, spanning from the late 19th century to the present and beyond, as well as responding to Bristol's legacy in the Transatlantic Slave Trade by focusing on black feminist artwork and activism.

Theatre

Disney's The Lion King at Bristol Hippodrome (7 September – 23 November)

The Lion King is returning to Bristol Hippodrome for the first time since 2012, brought to stage with magical performances, evocative music and stunning costumes by the acclaimed director Julie Taymor. Tickets are still available but given the popularity of the show, book soon to avoid disappointment!

  • See Bristol Hippodrome’s full listings for September here.

Nick Afoa as Simba, Janique Charles as Nala in Disney's The Lion King

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) at Bristol Old Vic (7 September – 28 September)

See this all-female take on the classic Austen novel Pride and Prejudice by Blood of the Young, which puts the servants centre stage and draws on 200 years of romantic pop history for inspiration.

  • See Bristol Old Vic’s full listings for September here.

Blood, Blackbeard and Buccaneers by Show of Strength Theatre Company (Saturdays in September)

In the year of the 300th anniversary of his death, learn about Blackbeard’s illustrious life and legacy, including the new information that points to the pirate’s Bristolian heritage.

The Barber of Seville at Tobacco Factory Theatres (18 September – 5 October)

Prepare to be catapulted into an operatic comedy romance, as The Opera Project presents this Rossini classic at the Tobacco Factory for the first time.

Live music

Colston Hall Presents (28 September)

Colston Hall Presents is an initiative by the music venue to spread more live music, from worldwide superstars to emerging acts, across the city. While the first gig of the month (John Paul White at Bristol Folk House) is sold out, you can still get tickets to Murray A. Lightburn (of The Dears) at Colston Hall Foyer.

  • See Colston Hall’s full listings for September here.

Madness on The Downs (1 September)

Reggae DJ David Rodigan and Trojan Soundsystem are joining Madness on The Downs for this special one-off gig.

Human League live after racing at Bath Racecourse (14 September)

There’s another chance to watch a chart-topping band from the 80s perform in September, as Human League headline the open-air stage at Bath Racecourse.

Benjamin Zephaniah at St George's Bristol (20 September)

Remarkable poet, writer, lyricist and musician Benjamin Zephaniah is visiting Bristol on his first tour in eight years. Hear a selection of his poems and stories and pick up a signed copy of his new autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah.   

  • See St George’s Bristol full listings for September here.

Exterior of St George's Bristol at night

Image credit: St George's Bristol

Sport

Bristol City Women v Brighton & Hove Albion Women at Ashton Gate Stadium (7 September)

Cheer on Bristol City in their first Women’s Super Club League game of the season.

Gloucestershire v Sussex - Specsavers County Championship at Bristol County Ground (10 September)

The Specsavers County Championship comes to Bristol, when Gloucestershire take on Sussex at their home ground.

Bristol City FC v Swansea City at Ashton Gate Stadium (21 September)

The Robins are playing Swansea City in the latest Sky Bet Championship match at Ashton Gate Stadium.

Bristol Bears v Gloucester Rugby at Ashton Gate Stadium (27 September)

Rugby fans can see Bristol Bears against Gloucester in the Gallagher Premiership.

Bristol Rugby's home ground Ashton Gate Stadium

Image credit: Ashton Gate Stadium 

For even more inspiration on things to do in Bristol this September, take a look through our What’s On pages.

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