Film festivals, thrilling theatre shows and plenty of fireworks are among the exciting activities kicking off winter and the festive season with a bang in Bristol. 

Fireworks | Festivals | Exhibitions | Family Friendly | Theatre & Comedy | Music | Food & Drink | Sports

Firework and Bonfire Night displays

Remember, remember November means fireworks and a number of Bristol attractions are putting on displays on dates between 25 October and 9 November. A Fireworks Spectacular will light up De Vere Tortworth Court, Longleat will be staging its Fantastic Fireworks with magical pyrotechnics set to dramatic music, and Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park will have more fireworks set to music, plus a funfair.

Light Up Lansdown at Bath Racecourse will have a 10-minute long fireworks display with a blockbuster Disney soundtrack, and there will be fireworks over Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier for the annual Fireworks at Sea event.

There are also a number of local displays taking place across the city – check out Firework Displays and Bonfire Night Displays for full event listings.  

Things to do in Bristol in November 2018 - fireworks

Image - Fireworks in Bristol, credit Chris Bahn

Festivals  

Bristol Keyboard Festival at St George's Bristol (1 – 8 November)

St George’s Bristol are celebrating the keyboard in all its incarnations, from early harpsichord and virginals to modern synthesizers. The line-up features some of the country’s finest musicians, magical animations, synchronised paintbrushes, surreal films, mind-bending projections and the sounds of St George's very own Steinway Concert Grands.

Afrika Eye Festival (4 – 10 November)

Back for its 15th edition, Afrika Eye champions African arts and cinema, with a week-long programme celebrating the continent’s rich creativity, culture and history. Screenings, talks, poetry and more can be found around the city at venues like Watershed, Arnolfini and Brunel's SS Great Britain.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - film screening at Afrika Eye 2019

The Cosmic Shed Present: Tron-Fest at the Anson Rooms (2 November)

A new live event from The Cosmic Shed, one of the Guardian’s favourite podcasts of 2018. They’ll be unpicking the science behind classic science-fiction film Tron and its 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy.

Exhibitions

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

Not only can you step aboard the last Concorde at Aerospace Bristol, but this new exhibition lets you in on original plans and aspirations for the history-making passenger jet, together with memorabilia and archive photos.

Concorde in hangar at Aerospace Bristol

Image credit: Aerospace Bristol 

Being Human: An exhibition of modern sculpture at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (5 October 2019 – 4 October 2020)

Head to the city museum to see interpretations of the human form by some significant sculptors at this new year-long exhibition, touching on themes such as beauty, identity, sexuality and existential angst in the aftermath of war.

Dark Side of the Moon: The Fulldome Experience at We The Curious (15 November)

Experience the entire classic Pink Floyd album in the We The Curious planetarium, where 5.1 surround sound and abstract projections make for an astounding evening of entertainment.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 at M Shed (23 November 2019 – 4 May 2020)   

The world’s most prestigious wildlife photography event is back and you can view this year’s 100 awarded images at M Shed. It’s a chance to see fascinating animal behaviour, get to know extraordinary species and learn about the surprises and challenges behind the photos. 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Photo of a seal by Rolf Schneider

Image credit: Rolf Schneider 

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

The work of emerging and established artists is on show and available to buy at the 167th Annual Open at the Royal West of England Academy – the perfect place to pick up a unique Christmas present.

Family friendly

Christmas at Cheddar Gorge and Caves (16 November – 24 December)

Christmas elves will be setting up shop in the stunning Gough’s Cave for the festive season. Join them for Christmas sing-a-longs, listen to a festive tale and meet Santa, who’ll have plenty of presents for visitors.

Festival of Light at Longleat (9 November – 5 January)

Longleat Estate will gleam with the glow of magical lanterns once again this year. Myths and legends is the theme, from gods and magical beings of ancient Greece to heroic tales of British folklore. A few other highlights include the giant musical Christmas tree, the festive light projection show, and the roaring twenties party theme inside the house itself.

Pegasus & the Chimera lanterns at Longleat's Festival of Light

Image credit: Longleat

A Very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield (23 November – 5 January)

Rewind over 100 years on the Tyntesfield Estate and step into a Christmas past through their immersive Victorian experience, with some of the season’s best loved traditions, decorations, storytelling and games.

Christmas Craft Fair at The American Museum & Gardens (30 November)

Buy handcrafted ceramics, textiles, jewellery and prints and meet the makers behind them.  

Christmas Open Day at Bristol Blue Glass (30 November)

Create your very own Christmas bauble at the home of traditional glassmaking in Bristol. There will also be mulled wine, mince pies, talks and demos, special offers and handmade gift ideas.

Theatre and comedy

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

The stunning multi-award-winning production of Disney’s The Lion King finishes its run in Bristol in November. Grab tickets before all the shows sell out and prepare to be delighted by breath-taking costumes, music and performances.

Josslynn Hlenti Nala and the company in Disney's The Lion King UK & Ireland tour

Image credit: Disney's The Lion King

A Christmas Carol at Bristol Old Vic (28 November – 12 January)

Tom Morris’ adaptation of this timeless Christmas tale is back after a record-breaking run last year, described as having a ‘riot of music and theatrical imagination, with a heart as big as Bristol’.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at Arnos Vale Cemetery (7 – 16 November)

Theatre company Red Rope are bringing another Gothic Horror to the stage at Arnos Vale Cemetery's Anglican Chapel. Brimming with repression, liberation, addiction and malice, this time it’s the classic story of Dr Jekyll and his depraved alter ego Mr Hyde.

Queens of Sheba at Tobacco Factory Theatres (6 – 9 November)

Loosely inspired by the DSTRKT nightclub incident of 2015, the critically acclaimed Queens of Sheba tells the hilarious, moving and uplifting stories of four black women, battling everyday sexism and racism.

Tobacco Factory Theatres building portrait

Image credit: Toby Farrow

Elf Jr the Musical at The Redgrave Theatre (19 – 23 November)

Based on the Will Ferrell film, follow Buddy the elf’s journey from the North Pole to New York in this hilarious feel-good musical.

FareShare South West Fundraisers 

Hosted by Belly Laughs founder and comedian Mark Olver, FareShare South West has lined up two nights of stellar comedy and delicious feasts using quality surplus food, with headline performances by Jon Richardson (18 November) and Angela Barnes (19 November).

Music

Folk at the New Room: Dana and Susan Robinson (14 November)

If you fancy an evening of fiddle tunes, banjo grooves, elegant melodies, and rich harmony singing, join Dana and Susan Robinson at the unique concert venue of The New Room.

Beverly Glenn-Copeland at St George's Bristol (6 November)

After many years away from the stage, legendary singer, composer and transgender activist Beverly Glenn-Copeland is back on tour with his new band, Indigo Rising.

Music and Wine Night with the Back Row Choir at Averys Wine Cellars (29 November)

Enjoy an evening of classic, modern and Christmas-themed songs performed by the Bristol Cathedral's Back Row Choir in the historic setting of Averys Wine Cellars, topped off with sampling delicious wines.

Averys wine merchants

Image - Averys Wine Merchants

Food and drink

Christmas markets

The yuletide season in Bristol means an abundance of Christmas market stalls to explore. Follow the scent of bratwurst to Bristol Shopping Quarter where you’ll find Bristol’s Christmas Market (8 November – 23 December) or head to the covered walkway next to the waterfront for the Harbourside Christmas Market (every weekend from 23 November to 22 December). For more Fairtrade and locally-made produce, check out Bristol Local Christmas Market (29 November – 23 December).

St Nicholas Market will be open and buzzing throughout the festive period and the merry atmosphere will extend to their themed outdoor markets, which you can check the schedule for here. Christmas comes to Wapping Wharf on the 14 November for their lights switch-on. Festive treats from mulled cider to chestnut tacos will be on offer from the foodie outlets, accompanied by musical numbers from the cast of Tobacco Factory Theatre’s Snow White.

Festive lights and crowd at Harbourside Christmas Market, Bristol

Image credit: Harbourside Christmas Market

Day of the Dead at Masa + Mezcal (2 November)

Celebrate close ones who are no longer here as well as life and living in the moment with a Day of the Dead feast at Mexican cantina Masa + Mezcal. They’ll be serving an arrival cocktail, four courses of Mexican celebration food and a mezcal to finish.  

Riverstation Vegan Wine Dinner in support of PHASE Worldwide (14 November)

Help get the PHASE Worldwide team from Bristol to Everest Base Camp for their charity trek by indulging in a four-course vegan dinner, paired with the perfect vegan wines.

Riverstation restaurant

Image credit: Riverstation

Murder Mystery Evening at De Vere Tortworth Court (15 November)

The Oscars Ceremony in 1937 is the setting for this murder mystery, with guests invited to figure out who on the glittering guestlist has something to hide. A glamorous drinks reception and three-course dinner are included.  

Drag Queen Bing-Mo at Prince Street Social (26 November)

A special edition of the Prince Street Social Drag Queen Bingo night, raising funds and awareness for Movember. You’ll also be able to check out the progress of hosts Jimmy and Bopa Rhys’ month-long moustache competition!

Gin Club: Cotswolds Gin at Milk Thistle (28 November)

Familiarise yourself with Cotswold Gin at the final Milk Thistle Gin Club of 2019, when Brand Ambassador Jason Davies will take you through the range including their original London Dry Gin, Ginger Gin and Baharat Gin.

The Milk Thistle Bristol

Image credit: The Milk Thistle

Sports

Bristol Bears v Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate Stadium (1 November)

The Gallagher Premiership continues at Ashton Gate Stadium, as Bristol Bears take on Sale Sharks.

Bristol 1.5k, 5k & 10k MoRun at Ashton Court (10 November)

Become a MoRunner and join in with the fun runs in aid of Movember. Fancy dress and funny moustaches encouraged!  

Sky Bet Championship at Ashton Gate Stadium

There are two chances to watch Bristol City FC play at home in the Sky Bet Championship, as they’re up against Nottingham Forest on 23 November and Huddersfield Town on 30 November.

Discover even more things to do in Bristol in November:

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