A weekend in Bristol
PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 May 2016
Broaden your horizons this month with a visit to the largest city in the South West of England
Famous for its suspension bridge, ss Great Britain and Wallace and Gromit, there is so much more to discover in this city packed with culture, history and fun.
Did you know that Bristol’s museums and historic houses are free to enter? Meanwhile there are hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore in At-Bristol for science buffs.
And for something to tempt the tastebuds, head to The Downs from 13-15 May, when the Foodies Festival - the UK’s biggest celebration of food and drink - returns to the city.
Set in parkland in Henbury Road, Blaise Castle House Museum is a late 18th century mansion with collections that include toys, costumes and textiles. As dusk falls on 14 May join a twilight parade and explore the enchanted gardens after dark as part of the UK’s annual Museums at Night festival.
While in the city, see Rembrandt’s self portrait at the age of 63 on display in Bristol Museum & Art Gallery as part of National Gallery Masterpiece Tour (21 May – 17 July). Or you can explore the city’s landmarks in knitted form at the M Shed museum’s Briswool exhibition – a huge, intricately crocheted and knitted model! (14 May to 12 June).
For more than 200 years, Underfall Yard was the operations centre of the docks, housing the sluices, hydraulic lock systems and pump house. A new visitor centre, at the heart of Bristol’s Floating Harbour, marks a key milestone in an ambitious £4million project.
It retells the story of Victorian engineering, which still protects the city from flooding today and shines a light on the famous engineers linked with Underfall Yard, such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Visitors can take a trip in the Human Accumulator and unravel the mysteries of hydraulic power, admire a Victorian workshop and forge. Enjoy the stunning waterfront views never before accessible to the public.
The London production of MAMMA MIA! has now been seen by more than 10 per cent of the UK population. Join the ultimate feel-good party at The Bristol Hippodrome until 7 May.
Also at the theatre this month comedian Bill Bailey arrives on his hilarious Limboland tour (16-19 May).
English National Ballet and English National Ballet School present a version of Sleeping Beauty for children as young as three (21 & 22 May). atgtickets.com
Every year extraordinary theatre artists are invited into the city for an explosion of culture. Featuring more than 30 shows, Mayfest (12-22 May) is produced by MAYK in collaboration with Bristol Old Vic.
A weekend of music at Colston Hall features musicians at the forefront of contemporary classical music. San Francisco’s Grammy award-winning Kronos Quarter return to the venue on 13 May with a programme of exciting new chamber music.
On 14 May the Max Richter Ensemble will perform From Sleep, a new piece Richter describes as his ‘personal lullaby to a frenetic world.’
Alternative English rock band Tindersticks come to Colston Hall on 7 May. For their latest album, The Waiting Room, they’ve commissioned filmmakers from around the world to create visual accompaniments for each track, in turn creating a cine-concert.
For the family
If you’re in the city on a Friday evening, try to catch one of the Sunset Special events at Bristol Zoo, where you get the chance to see the zoo as the sun goes down. Taking place on 20 May (as well as on 17 June, 8 July and 5 August), Sunset Specials include live music, animal talks, food and drink, and the chance to visit the animals at sunset. To book: bristolzoo.org.uk
Learn about the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in the visitor centre, which is open free of charge each day, 10am-5pm. cliftonbridge.org.uk
Over at the harbourside, join At-Bristol for a new, family Planetarium show exploring the solar system. These daily shows,in 2D and 3D, are perfect for beginner astronomers (3D for ages six plus).
Ticket details: at-bristol.org.uk