Wine tastings, dazzling circus displays, a spellbinding exhibition all about magic, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more are all on the calendar in Bristol this October. Get planning your month with our top picks of things to do.  

World Space WeekFestivals | Food & Drink | Family Friendly | Exhibitions | Theatre | Live Music | Sport 

World Space Week (4 - 10 October) 

Planetarium Nights: Life in the Universe 3D at We The Curious (3 October) 

On the eve of World Space Week We The Curious is launching a brand new show for adults. Called Life in the Universe, it's all about the search for alien life with stunning 3D visuals, an opportunity to invent your own planet and interesting questions around what would happen if we did discover other beings out there.

Throughout the week, you can also catch the usual daytime shows in the planetarium, including Solar System Odyssey where you get to choose your mission and then select from 28 different destinations in the solar system. 

Festivals

Bristol Film Festival at Aerospace Bristol (30 October)

Screenings in unusual places are springing up across the city in October for Bristol Film Festival, including this showing of classic eighties spoof Airplane! under the wing of Concorde at Aerospace Bristol. 

Concore Alpha Foxtrot in the hangar at Aerospace Bristol

Image credit: Aerospace Bristol

Shextreme Film Festival at Watershed (4 – 6 October)

The world’s first film festival celebrating women in extreme sports and adventure is returning to Bristol, this year focusing on the theme of women in adventure’s mental wellbeing.

PAPAYA Fest 2019 at The Wardrobe Theatre and Old Market Assembly (11 – 13 October)

Prepare for a fiesta of theatre, live music and DJs and a fusion of Latin American and British culture at PAPAYA Fest.

Circus City 2019 (17 October – 2 November) 

Check out gravity-defying, thought-provoking performances plus lots of family-friendly shows in the UK’s biggest festival of contemporary circus, tumbling into venues in all corners of the city.

Performers in a Circus City show

Image credit: Adam Gasson 

Bristol Festival of Literature (17 – 27 October)

Writers and bookworms of Bristol are certain to find an event they like the look of at this year’s genre-spanning Bristol Festival of Literature. Everything from BristolCon, the city’s annual science fiction and fantasy convention, to Sufi poetry is on the programme.

BOP Bristol 19 Photobook Festival (19 – 20 October)   

Hosted by the Martin Parr Foundation and The Royal Photographic Society, the first ever Books on Photography festival will bring together photographers, collectors and publishers. Discover recently published and established titles, listen to talks and attend book signings.

Simple Things Festival (19 October) 

Experience more than 40 acts at this cutting-edge multi-venue music and arts festival, which covers six different sites and has 12 music stages.

Food and drink

The Grand Pierkeller (5 October)

Bavaria comes to Weston-super-Mare for one day in October, with entertainment from a five-piece Oompah band, bucket loads of beer and German food. Don your lederhosen, as fancy dress is encouraged!  

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tasting at Averys Wine Merchants (9 October) 

Find a new favourite sparkling wine at this tasting event, which includes eight different wines and explanations from a wine expert, plus specially selected cheeses from Arch House Deli.

Averys Wine Merchants

Image credit: Averys Wine Merchants

French Classics Wine Dinner at Hotel du Vin (11 October)

Sample some of Burgundy’s sublime wines together with a three-course dinner perfectly paired with the wine choices as well as canapés and a welcome drink on arrival.

Classic Wine Dinner in support of PHASE Worldwide at Riverstation (17 October) 

Be treated to a four-course menu and accompanying wines all while supporting charity, as 100% of the money made from tickets will be going towards PHASE Worldwide and the Riverstation team for their trek to the Everest Base Camp. 

Rioja Dinner with Fiona Beckett at Bar 44 (30 October) 

Six wines from the Rioja region will be the stars of the show at this dinner, complemented by a six-course seasonal tasting menu featuring dishes like pumpkin gazpacho and braised ibérico lamb.

Dining table at Bar 44 Bristol

Image credit: Bar 44

Family friendly

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

There are just a few more weeks left to earn your stripes as a trainee zookeeper alongside Aardman favourites Wallace and Gromit, with the final model making workshop also taking place on 13 October.

Octopus Weekend at Bristol Aquarium (5/6 October & 12/13 October)

Two weekends in October at Bristol Aquarium are dedicated to the ink-credible octopus. Uncover fascinating facts and fun activities, and get to know Gloria the giant Pacific octopus. Save 10% on admission when you book online.

Autism Friendly Early Opening at We The Curious (6 October)

A chance to explore the exhibits and take part in activities at We The Curious during a quiet period, as well as catch the Exploring the Solar System planetarium show in 2D with softer music, lights on and doors open.

Girl playing with exhibit at We The Curious

Image credit: Paul Blakemore 

Sleepy Ship at Brunel's SS Great Britain (28 October)

Sleepy Ship is back in October, giving kids the chance to set up camp in the First-Class Dining Saloon, enjoy star-spotting in an interactive planetarium and go on a Captain’s Tour of the ship.

Concorde: The World Shrinker at Aerospace Bristol (26 October - 31 December)

What was it like to fly on the world's fastest passenger jet? Find out through memorabilia, archive images, original planned air routes and more at Aerospace Bristol's new exhibition. 

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

The team of global performers at Circus Berlin present an extravaganza of comedy, foot-juggling, daredevils, magic and aerial acts during their shows, as their UK tour continues in Bristol.

Exhibitions

Do you believe in magic? at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (19 October – 19 April)

From the magic in everyday life to ancient uses of witchcraft, this perception-changing exhibition introduces you to the lives of those who practice it, the objects that embody it and the beings that exist between the natural and the supernatural.

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

See avant-garde films created by Yoko Ono played in rooms throughout the Georgian House Museum, in what is the world-renowned activist and artist’s first ever solo show in Bristol.

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

Whether you’re looking to buy or just admire this year’s entries, the 167th Annual Open Exhibition is running until 1 December, showcasing painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, film, sculpture and illustration by artists from the UK and beyond.

Close up of Royal West of England Academy exterior

Image credit: Ruffin Ferraby Taylor LLP

The Ghosts of Berkeley Castle (2 June – 30 October)

Spot wire sculptures by Jackie Lantelli around Berkeley Castle rooms and gardens, including figures from the estate’s intriguing history such as Edward II in his cell.

Meriç Algün: Day Craving Night at Spike Island (28 September – 8 December)

Stockholm-based artist Meriç Algün’s first solo exhibition at Spike Island explores the precarious nature of love. It takes the form of a spatial collage, using media such as video, text and installation.

Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in America at American Museums & Gardens (16 March – 3 November)

20 brand new quilts designed by legendary artist Kaffe Fassett are on show until November, inspired by the museum’s collection of antique American quilts.

Gardens in front of the American Museum in Bath

Image credit: American Museum & Gardens

Theatre

Cyrano at Bristol Old Vic (12 October – 16 November)

Cyrano returns to the Old Vic for the first time in six years. Fall in love all over again with the dazzling new verse adaptation of this epic romantic story, starring Tristan Sturrock and directed by Tom Morris.

Cyrano at Bristol Old Vic

Image credit: Bristol Old Vic 

Much Ado About Nothing at Tobacco Factory Theatres (16 October – 9 November)

Marking the 20th season of Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, catch Shakespeare’s comedy about the precarious path to love directed by Elizabeth Freestone.

Jay Rayner: My Last Supper at Redgrave Theatre (1 October)

Renowned food critic Jay Rayner tackles the age-old debate in his new show: what would you choose to eat if you knew it was your last ever meal? Inspired by his latest book, he investigates the concept and even gets the audience to design their own last supper.

Rumpelstiltskin at John Wesley's Chapel The New Room (4 October - 1 November)

Watch this classic folk tale about greed, imagination and the choices we have to make performed in the unique and atmospheric setting of The New Room.

Live music

Colston Hall Presents

The Colston Hall Presents programme continues in October, with gigs varying from handpan player and composer Manu Delago at Fiddlers to experimental pop and surreal funk by Creep Show at Trinity Centre.

The Fruit of Silence at Bristol Cathedral (5 October) 

Take in the incredible architecture at Bristol Cathedral to the soundtrack of beautiful orchestral and choral music – a mix of ancient melodies and songs by contemporary composers.  

Entrance at Bristol Cathedral

Image credit: Dave Pratt

Bambalan Sessions presents DJ Jazzy Jeff (13 October)

Legendary Philadelphia turntablist and hip-hop hero that is DJ Jazzy Jeff is coming to Bambalan, bringing back the summer vibes for a blow-out day party soundtracked by classic hip-hop and R&B.

Alden, Patterson & Dashwood - Folk at the New Room (24 October) 

Norwich based folk trio Alden Patterson and Dashwood will be filling a candlelit New Room with their rich vocal harmonies, fiddle, dobro and guitar in the first of this season’s Folk at the New Room concerts.

Sport

Sky Bet Championship at Ashton Gate Stadium

There are three chances to watch Bristol City FC play in the Sky Bet Championship at home ground Ashton Gate this month, as they take on Reading (5 October), Charlton Athletic (23 October) and Wigan Athletic (27 October).

Season Finale at Bath Racecourse (16 October)

Soak up the atmosphere of the season finale, complete with delicious food, drinks and the thrill of seven races throughout the day.

Horse racing at Bath Racecourse

Bath Racecourse

Bristol Bears v Bath Rugby at Ashton Gate Stadium (18 October)

It’s West Country derby day on Friday 18 October, as Bristol and Bath do battle in the Gallagher Premiership. The match is expected to be a sell out, so don’t delay getting your tickets.

Find more things to do in Bristol this autumn:

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