Get excited for the better times ahead with our guide to things to look forward to in 2021. Featuring exhibitions, festivals, live music, comedy and more!

Attractions

Once it's safe to do so, Bristol's top attractions will be ready to welcome you again, offering experiences not to miss in 2021:

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Take yourself on an animal adventure at the Zoo. Make sure you visit the gorilla troop to see the two babies born in 2020!

Wild Place Project

Enjoy more animal spotting at Wild Place Project, home to exotic wildlife from zebras and lemurs to the lynxes, wolves and bears living together in Bear Wood. 

Lemur at Wild Place Project

Image - Wild Place Project

Bristol Aquarium

Go on a spectacular sea safari at Bristol Aquarium, from the British coast through warmer waters to exotic tropical seas.

Aerospace Bristol

Take a journey through the city’s aeronautical history and be blown away by Concorde Alpha Foxtrot up close at Aerospace Bristol.

Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Step aboard another of the city’s engineering masterpieces, Brunel's SS Great Britain, learning all about its chief engineer and what life was like for passengers. 

Inside the Being Brunel museum at the SS Great Britain

Image - Being Brunel museum at the SS Great Britain 

We The Curious 

Be inspired by a visit to We The Curious, the science museum that invites you to ask questions, get creative and test things out. 

Watershed

Expect a cracking programme of film and events from the Watershed, delivered virtually until they can welcome visitors through their doors again. 

Exhibitions

Project What If at We The Curious (date TBC)

We The Curious will reopen with a bold new exhibition, Project What If. This will be the first major science centre exhibition in the UK inspired entirely by the curiosity of a city’s residents, based on 10,000 questions collected from people in every postcode of Bristol. Keep your eyes peeled for more details!

Girl playing with exhibit at We The Curious science museum

Image - We The Curious, credit Paul Blakemore

Vanguard - Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement at M Shed (5 June - 31 October)

This must-see exhibition will celebrate Bristol’s pivotal role in the development of British street art over the last four decades. Expect works from Banksy, Henry Chalfant, Beezer and Bristol’s earliest street artist, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja.

Group of people in front of wall of graffiti at St Paul's Carnival, 1986

Image - St Paul's Carnival, 1986, credit C.Beezer

Super Cool Drawing Machine at Bristol Beacon (date TBC)

Admire visual art created by a host of internationally acclaimed, touring musicians – from trailblazing saxophonist and figure head of the UK Jazz scene Shabaka Hutchings, to Mercury nominated Welsh singer and producer Cate Le Bon, to experimental folk musician Richard Dawson.

168 Annual Open Exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy (date TBC)

The Annual Open Exhibition brings together submissions by some of the most exciting artists from across the country and beyond. It will open to the public once the gallery can reopen and can be viewed online in the meantime. 

Sculpture on display for the Annual Open Exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy

Image - Royal West of England Academy

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year at The Royal Photographic Society (20 November - 12 Dec)

View photos capturing stories and cultures in the world of food at the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year's tenth anniversary exhibition. This is the world’s leading awards for food photography and film, with over 20 categories making up one visual feast. 

William Lindsay Perez Sunday Morning Blues

Image - William Lindsay Perez, Sunday Morning Blues

Live music

Bristol Beacon Presents: Nile Rodgers and CHIC (14-15 July)

'Everybody Dance' to the sounds of disco legends Nile Rodgers and CHIC, playing at Lloyds Amphitheatre on both 14 and 15 July.

Nile Rodgers on stage playing guitar

Image - Nile Rodgers & CHIC

Bristol Beacon Presents: Belle and Sebastian (16 July)

Glasgow indie stalwarts Belle and Sebastian will follow CHIC for a third night of astounding live music on 16 July – the perfect warm-up to Bristol Harbour Festival.

Indie band Belle & Sebastian

Image - Belle & Sebastian 

Lionel Richie and Bryan Adams open-air concerts (26 June)

As part of their open-air tours of the UK, music legends Lionel Richie and Bryan Adams are set to play in Bristol on 21 and 26 June respectively (exact location to be announced).

Forest Live at Westonbirt Arboretum (10-12 June)

Catch a concert in the enchanting setting of Westonbirt’s woodland arena. This year’s acts include Rag ‘n’ Bone Man (10 June), Keane (11 June) and Madness (12 June).

Four members of the band Keane

Image - Keane

Festivals

Slapstick Festival (1-7 March)

Bristol’s annual celebration of silent screen and classic comedy is moving online for 2021. Tune into live and catch-up shows wherever you are in the world.

Slapstick Live Online, Laugh Out Loud, 1-7 March 2021

Image - Slapstick Festival 

Bristol Light Festival (date TBC)

Watch this space for details about the follow-up event to 2020’s inaugural Bristol Light Festival, where a trail of interactive art installations takes over the city.

Frame perspective exhibition by We The Curious, Millennium Square for Bristol Light Festival

Image - Bristol Light Festival, credit Olivier Ratsi

Bristol Folk Festival (30 April – 2 May)

Live folk music is gracing stages across the city for Bristol Folk Festival, including St George's. Acts include Stick in the Wheel, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar and Lucy Ward, among many others yet to be added.

Love Saves The Day (29-30 May)

Acts are yet to be announced for this year’s Love Saves The Day, but expect big name headliners in the dance, pop and electronic music world.

Upfest (5-6 June)

After a two-year break, Europe’s biggest free graffiti and street art festival is making a return this summer. Witness spectacular art come together at Greville Smyth Park.   

Mural of Greta Thunberg by Bristol street artist Jody

Image - Greta Thunberg mural by Jody for Upfest 2019 Summer Editions, credit Plaster

Bristol Craft Beer Festival (11-12 June)

Discover new favourite beers at this annual festival, with over 150 from 35 specially selected breweries to sample.

NASS Festival (8-11 July)

Four days of drum and bass, epic skate and BMX competitions and street art. 

Bristol Harbour Festival (16-18 July)

Don’t miss the city’s iconic Harbour Festival – one of the UK's largest free public festivals, jam-packed with live performance, artists, musicians, circus acts, children’s events, dancers, markets and street stalls.

Dancing in Millennium Square at Bristol Harbour Festival

Image - Bristol Harbour Festival, credit Paul Box

Valley Fest (30 July – 1 August)

This magical family-friendly festival celebrates, music, organic food and farming, in a stunning location overlooking Chew Valley lake.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (12-15 August)

Watch over 100 hot air balloons gather for mass ascents, tethered displays and the highly anticipated Night Glow spectacles at the largest event of its kind in Europe.

Hot air balloons flying over Bristol for the 2019 Balloon Fiesta press launch

Image - 2019 Balloon Fiesta press launch, credit Paul Box

Tokyo World (18-19 September)

One for urban and dance music lovers – Tokyo World returns to Eastville Park in September, rounding off festival season.

Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up 

Join Aardman’s lovable duo on a first-of-its-kind augmented reality adventure. Clean and fix up Bristol and help solve a mystery with some other familiar characters, all from the comfort of your home. 

The app goes live on 18 January and with every in-app purchase of the ‘Gromit’ premium pack until the end of February in the UK, 10p will be donated to Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Planet Ice skating rink (Spring 2021)

Get ready for the UK’s largest ice skating rink to open at Cribbs Causeway. Kitted out with international standard skating facilities, the rink will host ice sports and become the new home for local ice hockey team, The Bristol Pitbulls.

While you wait for these things to look forward to, explore Bristol from Home:

Related

Bristol Zoo Gardens
Animal Collection
Bristol Zoo Gardens Gorilla

Discover over 400 species of exotic and endangered animals from across the globe at Bristol Zoo Gardens, all set within award-winning gardens spanning over 12 acres.

Wild Place Project
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Bear at Wild Place Project

Grab your very best explorer’s outfit and head out on an adventure to Wild Place Project, where you will discover amazing species from around the world! Get up close to incredible animals in a natural setting, with 40 beautiful acres to explore.

Bristol Aquarium
Aquarium
Children at Bristol Aquarium

Spectacular aquarium in the Harbourside area that provides an amazing underwater adventure from the British coast to exotic tropical seas

Aerospace Bristol
Museum
Aerospace Bristol Concorde

Journey through more than a century of fascinating aviation history – including aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets, engines and more – and step aboard the last Concorde ever to fly.

Brunel's SS Great Britain
Historic Ship
Brunel's SS Great Britain Bristol

Step aboard the award-winning Brunel's SS Great Britain for a ship shape and Bristol fashion day out!

We The Curious
Science Centre
We The Curious North Gallery

We The Curious (formerly At-Bristol Science Centre) is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.

Watershed
Cinema
Watershed Bristol Harbourside

Enjoy a lively programme of independent film, digital media and events at this fantastic media centre in the heart of the Harbourside

M Shed
Museum
M Shed Museum Bristol

M Shed is an exciting and innovative flagship museum for Bristol with gallery space and a packed events schedule.

Bristol Beacon
Event Venue
Colston Hall Foyer - CREDIT AARDMAN

Colston Hall is Bristol’s largest concert hall, presenting concerts and entertainment by major names in rock, pop, jazz, folk, world and classical music, stand up comedy and light entertainment.

Royal West of England Academy
Gallery
Royal West of England Academy of Arts Ruffin-Ferraby-Taylor-LLP

Bristol's first art gallery, housing over 1200 works of art from 19th century to the present day, a coffee shop and a small gift shop.

The Royal Photographic Society
Gallery
Exhibition at The Royal Photographic Society

A dedicated centre for photography which comprises of a high-quality exhibition space, 101-seat auditorium, an education and resource centre and offices for the RPS staff.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
Garden
Autumn at Westonbirt Arbouretum

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission, is one of the finest collections of temperate trees and shrubs in the world.