Bristol Open Doors

Walking tours around Bristol
Show of Strength's Mansion Through Time

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2023 marks 30 years of Bristol Open Doors – the biggest Festival of Culture, Heritage and Learning in the UK.

From walking tours to sketching classes, boat trips to private jets, there's something for everyone to discover. As ever, early booking is advised. Which door will you open first?

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Some of this year's highlights include:

Light and Inspiration Tour at RWA (Saturday 14 October, 11am & 12pm  |  £8, £4)
Step inside the Royal West of England Academy and experience Light and Inspiration, the most significant restoration this cultural landmark has seen in its 175-year history. Join RWA director Alison Bevan and architect Nick Childs on a tour of the venue and gain unique insight into this exciting project. From galleries, to facilities, to visitor experience, Light and Inspiration ensures the RWA can continue to promote and celebrate the arts within Bristol for generations to come.

King Street (Saturday 14 October, 2pm & 3pm, £8 / £4)

Join acclaimed landscape architect Clare Wilks (LDA Design) on a walk down one of Bristol’s most iconic streets in the heart of the city. Dating back to the 17th century, King Street has a significant historical and architectural legacy that reflects the city’s past as a thriving maritime and trading hub. The street dates back to the medieval era and contains many of the city’s most famous heritage buildings, including Bristol Old Vic and the Llandoger Trow.

From Squash Court to Pocket Square on Portwall Square (Saturday 14 October, 1pm & 2pm |  £8, £4)

Designed by Top 5 UK Architecture Practice AHMM, and home of its Bristol office, One Portwall Square is an unusual development. The elegant six storey building sits on the site of a former squash court, and opens up to reveal contemporary, sustainable and inspiring workspace inside. 

PYTCHAir (Saturday 14 October, various times, £8 / £4)

Discover Bristol’s most unconventional office space. Experience PYTCHAir – a Boeing ‘727’ private jet standing atop shipping containers at Skyline Park BS4. This aircraft, once a symbol of excessive consumption, has been transformed into an office, meeting area, and event venue. Originally a passenger airline in 1981, it now boasts veneer surfaces, gold detail, and a display of crystals.  

Wapping Wharf (Sunday 15 October at 11am, £8 / £4)

Walk through Bristol's award-winning Harbourside quarter with Mark Osborne (Alec French Architects). Find out more about how this major redevelopment project transformed a derelict site in the historic heart of Bristol into a thriving neighbourhood, complete with homes, independent restaurants, cafés and shops.

Ethereal Beauty & Eventful History at The Mount Without (Sun 15 Oct, 10.30am & 11.30am.  £8 / £4)

Saint Michael the Archangel on the Mount Without has had an eventful life over the last 1000 years. Its latest incarnation as The Mount Without has transformed what was an abandoned church into a beautiful events venue and centre for the creative arts, without losing any of its ethereal beauty. Co-founder Norman Routledge will lead you on a tour of the church, crypt and clock tower, sharing details of the venue's colourful history, as well as the sensitive restoration that secured its future as a creative hub for Bristol.

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Design West, HarboursideDesign West is a lively new venue for design and placemaking on Bristol harbourside, home to talks, events, education programmes and the co-ordinating hub for Bristol Open Doors.