This year, #SummerInBristol is set to be the most exciting and colourful yet, helped by dazzling new attractions and the return of showstopping events. Find out what’s coming up and how to make the most of the warmer weather, school holidays and buzzy summertime atmosphere in Bristol.

Stay in Bristol this summer

With lots of summery goodness to soak up, stick around in Bristol for more than a day. Accommodation in the city and surrounding area ranges from kid-friendly hotels to chic serviced apartments and even countryside campsites, so you’ll easily find somewhere that’s your style.

Sofa in bedroom at The Bristol Hotel
Image - The Bristol

For the best deal on your summer break, make our special offers page your first stop, to find packages and perks you might otherwise miss. And then book direct. Not only will you pay less than on booking sites but extras like breakfast and parking are often thrown in too. 

It's hard to beat The Bristol for a summertime break destination. This hotel is right by the harbour with enviable waterfront views and you can stay there for less with their Summer in the City offer, giving you 15% off. If it’s a family break, you’ll love Future Inns’ Kids Stay Free deal. Make one of their interconnecting rooms home for your stay and you’ll be in the heart of Bristol Shopping Quarter, close to heaps of family-friendly restaurants and things to do.

Berkeley Suites serviced apartment living area
Image - Berkeley Suites, credit Jack Hardy

Prefer the space of a serviced apartment? Book direct with Berkeley Suites and there’ll be a complimentary bottle of prosecco waiting for you. Wake up to a free breakfast too, when you stay for four nights or more.

Unmissable family attractions

Create memories at Bristol’s family attractions this summer. You can fly through history at Aerospace Bristol, play at being passengers on Brunel’s SS Great Britain, explore underwater worlds at Bristol Aquarium or have a wild day out at Wild Place Project.

Two children wearing headphones and animal ears at Bristol Zoo
Image - Bristol Zoo Gardens

Don’t less summer pass by without a final farewell to Bristol Zoo either. The Clifton site is closing on 3 September and a fun-filled BIG Summer Send-Off is marking the end of its 186-year history. Discover a giant moving gorilla called ‘Wilder’ and her baby gorilla ‘Monty Alan’ and enter the interactive, theatrical ‘Into the Wild’ experience, which is part silent disco, part storytelling adventure. There’s lots more happening too – read all about it in our blog post about the BIG Summer Send-Off.

In St Philips, a new fantastical, interactive art experience is opening in July. Take a magical journey into the world of Meridia, a fictional realm spread over 27 unique artistic rooms at Wake The Tiger. This is the world’s first Amazement Park®, and it needs to be seen to be believed.

Mycelium at Wake The Tiger
Image - Wake The Tiger, credit Andre Pattenden

There’s another awe-inspiring attraction opening up over on the Somerset coast. SEE MONSTER is a retired oil rig that’s been reimagined as an immersive experience inspired by the great British weather and green technologies. This beast is springing to life in the Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare’s seafront arts space. We’ve got tips for making the most of your visit – it’s the perfect excuse to explore more of the coast.

A summer of festivals and events

After a few quieter summers as major Bristol events were scaled back or postponed due to you-know-what, this year’s events calendar is looking fuller than ever. Two notable festivals making a triumphant return are the Bristol Harbour Festival (15 – 17 July), which is finally celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Balloons will be lifting off in mass ascents from Ashton Court Estate from 11 to 14 August with aerial displays, fairground rides, food and drink stalls, balloon tethering, music and more to enjoy on the ground too.

Crowds along the harbour for Bristol Harbour Festival
Image - Bristol Harbour Festival, credit Paul Box

From Nile Rodgers and CHIC’s long-awaited Harbourside performances to new festival FORWARDS, music lovers will, as ever, have a brilliant summer in Bristol. Check out our guides to this year’s live music and festivals for the lowdown on all the biggest shows.

Other summer highlights include The World Reimagined, a ground-breaking arts trail of large globe sculptures bringing to life the reality and impact of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. It starts on 13 August and runs all the way until the end of Black History Month in October. From 4 to 14 August, Bristol Light Festival is bringing the sensational sensory installation Luminarium to College Green, offering a chance to experience the beauty of light and colour in a whole new way.

Summer food and drink in Bristol

Bristol’s restaurant terraces and pub gardens are calling. Whether you fancy a special dinner with waterfront views or a family-friendly pub, find an outdoor seat on sunny days with help from our guides to al fresco places to eat and beer gardens.

Of course, the English weather can’t always be relied on, but a summery experience can still be had indoors at Bristol restaurants where menus are given a seasonal update. Like The Ivy Clifton Brasserie, where dishes like pan-fried salmon fillet and almond and blueberry panna cotta are complemented by cocktails such as a citrusy bloodflower margarita and a tropical mango colada.

Mango colada from The Ivy Clifton Brasserie
Image - The Ivy Clifton Brasserie

Oh, and what summer break would be complete without ice cream? Bristol has Italian-style gelato, sorbet cocktails and even ice cream bao to sample.

Embrace the outdoors

There’s no better time to get outside than summer, whether a chilled-out picnic in Bristol’s parks or an adventurous day out is your kind of outdoorsy activity. There are plenty of nature experiences to take part in while the city’s beautiful gardens and leafy green spaces are blooming too.  

Getting to Bristol

It's easy to get to Bristol by public transport, with rail one of the most convenient and green options. Temple Meads Station the largest rail hub in the west of England, with direct services from London, Scotland, Wales, Manchester and Birmingham.

Or arrive by bus and make the most of 1/3 off a West of England FirstDay Group Ticket from 23 July to 4 September. Up to 5 people (of any age) travelling together can go on unlimited journeys for one day across Bristol, Bath, Weston-super-Mare and Wells for £10.

Alternatively, hop on a coach service from National Express, Megabus, FlixBus and Falcon. If you're thinking of bringing the car, consider using the Park & Ride services for day trips.

Show us how your #SummerInBristol is going! Use the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to share your summery experiences in the city. 

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