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 2021 has you covered.  

Jump to Family Friendly | Fiesta FortnightExhibitions | Theatre & filmLive Music | Food & drinkSport


Squeeze in visits to the city's top family-friendly attractions over the summer holidays. You can stoke your curiousity at the hands-on science museum We The Curious, step back in time aboard Brunel's SS Great Britain or take off on a supersonic adventure at Aerospace Bristol. There's also wildlife of all shapes and sizes to discover at Bristol Zoo Gardens, Wild Place Project and Bristol Aquarium

Our A-to-Z of summer holiday fun is also here to help you entertain the kids this month. We’ve got ideas for sprogs of all ages and interests in there, covering the city’s biggest and best attractions, events and festivals, classes, walks, places to stay and so much more.

Kids running at Westonbirt Arboretum

Image - Westonbirt Arboretum, credit Johnny Hathaway

Fiesta Fortnight by Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (2 – 15 August)

In place of the usual festival at Ashton Court Estate, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is treating the city to two weeks of flypasts and ballooning spectaculars. Classic hot air balloons and some special shapes and characters will be involved, taking off from locations nominated by locals. Keep an eye on the Fiesta Fortnight’s social media channels to find out where they are.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2019 press launch

Image - Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, credit Paul Box


Vanguard - Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement at M Shed (26 June – 31 October)

How did Bristol end up playing an instrumental role in the development of British street art? Find out in this exhibition at M Shed, featuring rare and seminal works by leading Bristolian, British and Irish artists of the genre.

Vanguard is one of our 9 Bristol exhibitions not to miss in 2021 – take a look to find more stand-out exhibitions running in August and beyond.

Tales of the Garden at Longleat (28 May – 12 September)

Step into Longleat’s past via an installation of sculptures inspired by stories from the estate’s archives, celebrating those who've helped shape the grounds and gardens over the centuries.

Longleat House

Image - Longleat

The Change in Ladies Costume from 1066 – 1980 at Sudeley Castle & Gardens (19 July – 31 August)

See how women’s clothing changed over a 1000-year period in this new exhibition by costume creator Lisa Jayne Smith. 74 dolls immaculately dressed in exquisite, handmade costumes are on display in the castle, where you can also see the recently refurbished 'Royal Sudeley 1000, Trials, Triumphs and Treasures' exhibition.

Theatre, film and comedy

Al fresco performances

Make the most of the August sunshine by catching some of the incredible outdoor theatre, cinema and music happening this month. One highlight is the much-loved Bristol Shakespeare Festival, which has unique and quirky performances of the Bard’s plays in store across the city until the 26 August.

Actors from the Natural Theatre Company's Shakespeare Undone

Image - The Natural Theatre Company

Film 2021: Opening Up the Magic Box at Arnolfini (1 August)

Opening Up the Magic Box marks the centenary of the death of Bristol-born film pioneer William Friese-Green as part of Film 2021, a year-long programme of activity celebrating the city’s film and moving image credentials. On 1 August, Arnolfini will be showing The Magic Box and The Open Road as well as hosting a talk called Who Was William Friese-Greene? with film director Peter Domankiewicz and writer Sir Christopher Frayling.

Thursday Night Comedy & Magic Theatre Shows at Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theatre Bar (Every Thursday)

Regular comedy and magic nights are back at Smoke & Mirrors Magic Theatre Bar! Join them on Thursdays for a mind-blowing two-part show, or on Mondays for the Bunch of Japes stand-up show.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Bristol Hippodrome (25 August – 18 September)

Join Bristol Hippodrome for this special world premiere production of Disney’s ‘tale as old as time’, which has been spectacularly reimagined with the latest theatrical innovations.

Beauty and the Beast at Bristol Hippodrome

Image - Beauty and the Beast

Drink Up Thy Cider at Redgrave Theatre (25 August – 29 August)

Get down to Redgrave Theatre for this foot-stomping comedy musical celebrating all things West Country and starring Andy Ford as King of the Wurzels, Adge Cutler.

Live music

Summer Sounds at Avon Valley (Weekends in August)

Boogie the night away in the event field at Avon Valley Wildlife and Adventure Park, where stellar tribute acts, DJs, street food and a pop-up bar will keep you entertained.

Summer Sounds at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park

Image - Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park

Courtyard Sessions at Bristol Old Vic (3 – 11 August)

Live music will return to the award-winning foyer space at Bristol Old Vic this summer. The Courtyard Sessions will showcase some of the city’s finest musicians, from the explosive riffs of Jakabol feat. Malaika Kegode (the team behind the acclaimed production of Outlier), to the genius musical conversation of kora and cello by Sura Susso and Pete Yelding.

Terrace Sessions at Bristol Beacon (Thursdays to Saturdays in August)

The Terrace Sessions is back for its sixth year with a mix of free and ticketed parties. Soak up some sunshine and great music from party-organisers of Bristol and beyond on the terrace at Bristol Beacon. 

Music by candlelight at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Enjoy beautifully unique musical performances by candlelight in the exquisite gallery at Bristol Museum. Experience the best works of Beethoven (11 August), Chopin (12 August) and Mozart (17 August), the film soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer & More or Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake & More.

Black Midi at Trinity Centre (31 August & 1 September)

There are two chances to see rock band Black Midi perform their inventive and dynamic sophomore album Cavalcade at Trinity Centre.

Food and drink

Fish and Chips Trip with Pirate Folk Music on board The Matthew (18 August)

Sail around the harbour on the iconic Matthew ship while enjoying some fish and chips accompanied by pirate folk music from local band Piratitude.

The Matthew on the river with Clifton Suspension Bridge behind

Image - The Matthew

Gin Cruise with Bristol Ferry Boats (19 & 26 August)

Enjoy sipping on gin as you’re whizzed around the harbour on a fun evening cruise with Bristol Ferry Boats.

Friday Lunch Trips To Beese's Bar and Garden with Bristol Packet Boat Trips (Fridays in August)

Bristol Packet Boat Trips will take you on a leisurely cruise along the river, dropping you at much-loved riverside café Beese’s for lunch.

Tour and Tasting at Limeburn Hill Biodynamic Vineyard (8 August)

Go on a guided tour through the vines at Limeburn Hill in the Chew Valley. You’ll see how they’re sustainably managed, learn about biodynamic farming methods and get to taste some of their special wines.

Limeburn Hill Biodynamic Vineyard

Image - Limeburn Hill Biodynamic Vineyard

Jekka's Charity Open Days (6 & 7 August)

Explore a world of more than 400 culinary herbs at Jekka’s Herbetum, just north of Bristol. There are two open days coming up in August which will feature talks throughout the day, with a chance to buy herb plants, seeds and gifts too.


Royal London Cup: Gloucestershire v Essex at Bristol County Ground (3 August)

After a hiatus in 2020, the Royal London Cup has made a return this summer. See Gloucestershire take on Essex on Tuesday 3 August followed by Hampshire on Friday 6 August.

Summer Running Route at Tyntesfield (8 July – 1 September)

Fancy exploring the Tyntesfield estate at a faster pace? Check out their redeveloped running route where you can pass through acres of open wide landscapes and take in breath-taking views and wildlife around every turn.

Two people running on the Tyntesfield estate

Image - Tyntesfield

WPGA Women on the Tee Pro-Am at Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort (19 August)

Enter Women On The Tee’s 18 Hole Pro-Am Tournament at Bowood's PGA Golf Course, where teams of three amateurs are joined by one WPGA Professional. There’s also a Ladies' Pairs Open coming up on 24 August.

Bristol City v Blackpool at Ashton Gate Stadium

Bristol City is welcoming back fans to Ashton Gate Stadium for the first competitive fixture since March 2020, as they play newly promoted Blackpool. You can also see them take on Swansea City on 20 August.

How is your #SummerInBristol going?

We want to hear about your #SummerInBristol! Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then tag us in your posts, use the hashtag and share your highlights. 

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