Five Reasons to Visit Bristol in 2019
Bristol may be a small city, but due to its flair for art and creativity, it has deservedly put itself on the map as one of the top cities to visit in England. It is clear that Bristol likes to celebrate its art culture, for it is filled from top to toe with galleries, museums and so many cinemas and film production companies that it was named a UNESCO City of Film in 2017. This year, the city is showcasing art exhibitions, and cinema and theatre productions both old and new – none of which are to be missed. And if you were thinking of asking a Bristolian to join you for a coffee at some point, then think again because they are most likely going to be busy enjoying the music, food, beer and film festivals scheduled throughout the year too. In conjunction with our friends at Visit Bristol (the place to go for in-the-know insider info), we bring to you the happenings throughout this exciting city in 2019.
Food & Beer
Bristol should be a top stop for any foodie or craft beer lover. With more than 15 independent craft beer breweries, it is one of the UK’s best beer cities. Head there in June for the Bristol Craft Beer Festival (which features over 250 beers from 35 brewers) for a weekend celebration of all things beer. If you can’t make it in June then fear not, as you can take beer-themed tours by boat, bus or foot at any time of year, or even attend the Bristol Brewery School. Take advantage of the diversity of food that is offered by the city while you’re there; proclaimed a ‘Foodie Hotspot’ by the Good Food Guide, Bristol is brimming with every kind of eatery there is, from street-food to Michelin star restaurants. The annual Food Connections, also in June, is a 12-day community festival that sums up the collaborative nature of Bristol’s food culture with a collection of small events.
This year England and Wales are holding the ICC World Cup, and as the Gloucestershire Country Cricket Club in Bristol is one of 18 first-class clubs in England and Wales, there are multiple events being held at this location between 30 May and 14 July. Cricket fans will know that this highly praised club has seen some legendary games in its time and no doubt history will be made again here this year, but if you haven’t previously experienced a game of cricket first-hand, it’s time to change that because these matches always make for a fantastic day out. If participating in sport is more your thing, there are plenty of ways to get your fix in Bristol. As the UK’s first cycling city, Bristol offers bike hire, trails and off-road tracks, as well as cycling events throughout the year. Alternatively, why not test your stamina at the Great Bristol Half Marathon in September.
Original Theatre Experiences
After much anticipation, the Bristol Old Vic – the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world – has unveiled its redevelopment, including a glass-fronted foyer with a bar and restaurant. Head to this momentous building to see how the ancient theatre still runs today, and while you’re there catch a few of the country’s most loved plays. The Bristol Old Vic is an inspiring institution that aims to evoke its audiences with its own original productions while nurturing the next generation of artists. 2019 will see the triumphant return of Touching the Void, previously a sell-out success. Meanwhile, the Bristol Hippodrome has a winning line-up of well-known classics. West End musicals, touring blockbusters and family-friendly productions like Annie, Matilda and Kinky Boots are all on the bill for 2019. As a hub for creativity, this city’s theatres naturally host an array of comedy nights too, which will no doubt knock your socks off with humour. Visit the Redgrave Theatre to see highly-acclaimed acts.
A UNESCO City of Film, Bristol is filled with venues that show every kind of film you can fathom. It’s almost impossible to leave Bristol without attending a film-related event (and almost a crime if you don’t), as film festivals are held throughout the year. Look out for the Bristol Film Festival presenting vintage classics in unusual locations like caves, wine vaults and cathedrals, as well as the Encounters Festival, which is the longest-running competitive short film and animation festival in the UK, a qualifier for the Oscars and a great place to discover new talent. If classic films are more to your taste, hold out for the Cinema Rediscovered Festival as it offers a chance to discover some of the finest digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities from across the globe. Don’t forget to look out for the brilliant 30 years of Wallace and Gromit exhibition at the M Shed Museum too.
Art & Photography
2019 is an exciting time for Bristol’s art and photography scene, which is anticipating many exhibitions and events. One of the most eagerly anticipated of them all is the Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing between 2 February and 2 May in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. This exhibition from one of the world’s most renowned artists, Leonardo Da Vinci, shows 12 of the artists’ most famous drawings. Another gallery not to be missed is The Royal West of England Academy, which aims to be the south west’s leading centre for visual arts with international shows including the RWA Sculpture Open Exhibition. These are just two of the many galleries and venues that you can visit throughout the year to get your visual kicks. One of the newest on the scene is the Royal Photographic Society, which recently chose Bristol as its new home, bringing with it opportunities to indulge in many photography events, workshops, talks and exhibitions.
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