Bristol Open Doors is back between 10 and 12 September, handing over the keys to some of Bristol’s most popular attractions as well as hidden and forgotten spaces. Produced by The Architecture Centre as part of nationwide Heritage Open Days, this is the one weekend of the year where you can gain unique behind-the-scenes access and one-off experiences at landmarks across the city.

New for 2021's event is the Explorer Wristband, which gives you access to any four of the 67 adventures and experiences on offer. These range from getting a sneak peek inside Bristol Beacon, to discovering the history of Motion by daylight, to an atmospheric audio tour of Redcliffe Caves.

Keep reading to discover six highlights from the programme in more detail.

Mum and son doing Bristol Open Doors audio tour

Image - Bristol Open Doors

The Mansion Through Time: Show of Strength Theatre Company

You may have walked on the grounds of the Ashton Court Estate, but how much do you know about the family who lived there for 400 years? All is revealed in this new outdoor family show from captivating theatre company Show of Strength.

Follow the Smyths and their servants through 400 years of English – and Bristolian – history. The Mansion Through Time is full of family secrets, buried treasure and an impostor so notorious Charles Dickens put him in a book. This show will change your view of Ashton Court forever.

/Show Of Strength The Mansion Through Time at Ashton Court pic Zuleika Henry

Image - The Mansion Through Time, credit Zuleika Henry

Temple Church Tour

This is your chance to see at close hand the specialist conservation happening at

Bristol’s Temple Church in Redcliffe, a church you might know for its leaning bell tower. Take a tour of the internal space led by historic building experts and discover how the work will protect its historic fabric for the future.

Redcliffe Caves Audio Tour

Did you know there are caves in the centre of our city? Hidden behind a small door in the banks of the harbour, discover the stories and secrets of Redcliffe Caves with a specially commissioned audio tour as you venture underground.

Navigate your way through a complex network of tunnels that extend beneath Redcliffe, excavated for the Triassic red sandstone as far back as the Middle Ages.

Redcliffe Caves Audio Tour for Bristol Open Doors

Image - Redcliffe Caves Audio Tour, credit Jon Craig

Queer Bristol

Who was Michael Dillon? Why Queenshilling? What happened at the Radnor Hotel?

Find out on the Queer Bristol audio tour, which takes you on a journey through secret doors and scandal, through danger and disco, to the present day. Battling the law, an AIDs epidemic and Section 28, hear stories of an irrepressible community uniting in Pride.

Boats and Bridges Boat Tour

Curious about the history of our maritime city? Sail into the past on this tour about the importance of the Bristol’s dockyards, marvel at the feats of engineering of our beloved bridges, and cruise past some of the city’s most famous vessels.

Magic hour on the docks - Bristol Harbourside - credit Jim Cossey

Image - Bristol Harbourside, credit Jim Cossey

Vibrant Bristol: Street Art & The Painted City

Home to Europe’s largest street art festival, Upfest, and the birthplace of Banksy, Bristol is famed for its vibrant painted streets and multi-coloured horizons. But why is the city so colourful? Who brought street art to Bristol? What’s the story behind the paint? Hear the stories behind vibrant Bristol from local artists, historians, residents and celebrities – the people who know Bristol best.

See all of the Bristol Open Doors events and check which still have availability on their What's On page.

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Ashton Court Estate
Garden
Ashton Court Estate Bristol

Historic 850-acre parkland with mansion, two pitch-and-putt golf courses, deer park, miniature railway, orienteering and nature trails