Released December 2020, updated April 2021

As the biggest city in the west country looks forward to 2021 and recovering from the pandemic, Bristol leads the way with street art in the palm of your hands, COVID-safe and self-guided tour apps, and the return of the city’s iconic summer events and festivals. 

Please note: event details are correct at time of writing, but are subject to change due to Government restrictions relating to Covid-19. Please keep checking relevant websites or contact with enquiries.   

What’s new in Bristol in 2021   

A Piece of Banksy: Where the Wall street art tour smart phone app  

Award-winning street art tour operator Where The Wall has devised a new smart phone tour app for the ultimate Covid-secure self-guided street art experience. Narrated by ‘the Godfather of graffiti’ and Banksy mentor John Nation, the app has already featured in the Telegraph as a lockdown activity for locals, and will continue to be available for visitors in 2021. A Piece of Banksy uncovers the story of the elusive street artist and over 30 years of graffiti art history with 13 audio commentaries in 13 different locations around the city. The tour is downloadable on any smart phone and can be used by two devices at once, for 24 hours so users can go on the tour at their own pace.  

Bristol Open Doors tour app 

On a similar thread of Covid-safe tours, Bristol Open Doors has launched a smart phone tour app for visitors to download and enjoy three self-guided audio tours of the city. The app was debuted in September 2020, instead of the usual annual Open Doors event, and has since been launched as a year-round offering as part of the Hidden Bristol app. The three tours include Vibrant Bristol which explores street art scene in Bedminster; Hidden Harbour which uncovers 1,000 years of Bristol history; and Historic Bristol which travels around the Temple Quarter area of the city. The immersive audio tours are narrated by over 100 Bristolians from street artists to craft beer brewers, ship captains to historians and take from 60-90 minutes each.  

Iconic Black Britons tour  

A 90-minute guided tour of the Seven Saints of St Pauls murals, a collection of street art pieces celebrating Black Bristolians whose activism has changed the city. Easton-born artist Michele Curtis painted the murals to promote positive Black social history in Bristol, with murals depicting Carmen Beckford, Audley Evans, Delores Campbell, Barbara Dettering, Owen Henry, Clifford Drummond and Roy Hackett. 

Project What If at We The Curious (22 May onwards) 

We The Curious, the educational charity and visitor attraction with a vision to “create a culture of curiosity”, will be reopening (date to be confirmed) with a bold new exhibition, Project What If. Inspired by 10,000 questions collected from people from every postcode of Bristol, Project What If will be the first major science centre exhibition in the UK inspired entirely by the curiosity of a city’s residents. Tickets for Project What If need to be booked, but are included within general admission.   

Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year at The Royal Photographic Society (20 November – 12 December)

This prestigious event used to be held in London, but this year moves outside of the capital for the first time to the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol. View photos and videos capturing stories and cultures in the world of food at the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year tenth anniversary, with over 20 categories making up one visual feast. Entry is free.

What’s On in Bristol in 2021 

Major festivals, events and openings 

Upfest (5-6 June)

 Despite Upfest 2020 being cancelled due to Covid-19, the Upfest crew still made headlines across the world with their ‘Hearts in the Park’ campaign. In association with Visit Bristol and Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District, the campaign saw street artists spray paint large hearts in the city’s green spaces all 2 metres apart, to encourage social distancing during the pandemic. In 2021, after two years’ break, the annual celebration of street art returns to the streets and parks of south Bristol with a new date in June (it’s usually in July). Europe’s biggest free street art and graffiti art festival, attracts 250 international artists and over 25,000 visitors.  

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (12-15 August) 

Bristol’s largest free fiesta returns in August at Ashton Court Estate. Over 100 hot air balloons gather for mass ascents, tethered displays and the highly anticipated Night Glow spectacles at the largest event of its kind in Europe. Held over four days, there are market stalls, live music, fairground rides and street food stalls that also help attract over half a million people to the fiesta each year. 

Planet Ice skating rink to open (Spring 2021) 

Planet Ice is set to open the UK’s largest ice skating rink at Cribbs Causeway, north Bristol in spring 2021. With capacity to seat 1300 spectators and kitted out with international standard skating facilities, the rink will host ice sports and become the new home for local ice hockey team, The Bristol Pitbulls, as well as be a welcome addition to the visitor attractions in the area (including Aerospace Bristol, The Wave, Wild Place Project and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway). 

Other events: 

Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up (January) 

Join Wallace & Gromit in a first-of-its kind augmented reality adventure. The duo have a new business venture called ‘Spick & Spanners’ which has won a contract to clean and fix the whole of Bristol. Fans from all over the UK, US and Canada can sign up to the app to enter Wallace and Gromit’s world safely from their home and become part of their Spick & Spanners crew. With authentic, colourful and detailed augmented reality, fans can join a clean-up operation like no other and help solve a mystery with some other familiar characters too. Famous voices taking part include Jim Carter, Miriam Margolyes, Issy Suttie and Ben Whitehead. 

See this promo video for a taster of what’s in store with this COVID-secure self-guided AR adventure. 

Slapstick Festival (1-7 March) 

Bristol’s annual comedy festival is taking a new slot and fresh format for its 17th edition. Instead of using venues around Bristol, the festival will be online between 1-7 March for comedy fans around the world to enjoy live and catch-up shows. Full programme to be announced in January, with tickets for individual shows and full festival passes on sale. 

Slapstick Festival - Visit Bristol  

Breaking Bread (from April) 

Pop-up success from 2020 Breaking Bread is returning to The Downs near Clifton. A collaboration between some of the city’s best restaurateurs who have come together to create an al fresco, covered dining experience in tipis. The pub tipi is open from April, but in May the restaurant tipis open too and new this year is an outdoor, covered event space too which will host live music, and new beer Breaking Brews, which is a collaboration between local brewer Arbor Ales and Breaking Bread, where 50p from every pint is donated to Team CIC to help fight food poverty in Bristol. 

The Speigeltent’s Outer Space (30 April – 30 June) 

A brand new al fresco drinking and dining experience in the heart of Bristol’s Harbourside. A vibrant, laid-back outdoor pop-up space from the team behind the award-winning Spiegeltent, bringing you a totally unique experience including delicious, top-quality street food, great drinks and tunes selected by resident DJs throughout the Summer months. 

The Spiegeltent's Outer Space - Visit Bristol 

Bristol Comedy Garden (2-6 June) 

Heralding the return of live comedy, stars such as Simon Amstell, Sara Pascoe, Dara O'Briain, Nish Kumar, Bridget Christie, Tom Allen and Josh Widdicome are set to delight at this year’s special edition Bristol Comedy Garden, at its new home of The Downs, near Clifton. A perfect al fresco spot for a socially-distanced event with spectacular views as well.  

Vanguard - Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement at M Shed Museum (5 June-31 October) 

A must-see exhibition that celebrates Bristol’s pivotal role in the development of British street art over the last four decades. The exhibit will include works previously not seen, and some not shown in public for 20 years in the city’s M Shed Museum on the Harbourside. Expect works from Banksy, Henry Chalfant, Beezer and Bristol’s earliest street artist, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja. Booking essential.  

Bristol Craft Beer Festival (11-12 June) 

With around 15 micro-breweries, numerous Bristol-born ales and a growing community of independent pubs and brewery tap rooms, Bristol is widely recognised as one of Britain’s leading beer cities. The annual Bristol Craft Beer Festival celebrates all that it has to offer and more in June 2021. 

Bristol Pride (3-16 July) 

Bristol Pride returns in 2021 with favourites from the festival’s usual programme of events that will take place in venues across the city over two weeks in July. Pride Day itself will be on 10 July and this year’s special event in Castle Park will host a food market, family and youth areas and roaming live performances, all delivered with some Bristol Pride flair. 

Bristol Pride - Visit Bristol 

Valley Fest (30 July – 1 August) 

This magical family-friendly festival celebrates, music, organic food and farming, in a stunning location overlooking Chew Valley lake. Music acts to be announced.  

Film and Food Fest Bristol (5-8 August) 

The UK’s biggest touring outdoor cinema company, Adventure Cinema, is bringing Film & Food Fest - a brand new touring, socially spacious festival for Summer 2021 – to The Downs in Bristol. Featuring four days of outdoor cinema with classic movies and recent releases, stand up comedy from some of the UK’s best-loved comedians, local street food and specially curated short films from regional film makers.  

IDLES show on The Downs (3 September) 

Bristol band IDLES are playing a one-off headline show in their hometown this September on The Downs, near Clifton to 10,000 fans. The band scored their first #1 album in 2020, but had to push back their tour until 2022, making this home show even more special.  

Love Saves the Day (4-5 September) 

Another important date for live music in Bristol is Love Saves the Day festival, set to return in September 2021. Acts are yet to be announced, but expect big name headliners in the dance, pop and electronic music world.  

Sustainable Fashion Week (11-19 September) 

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, and with support from Block B, Solarsense and FSC UK, Sustainable Fashion Week (SFW) will take place 11- 19 September in Bristol, with mini events in pop-up locations across the UK, led by a growing team of ambassadors. 

Sustainable Fashion Week is going ahead in September 2021 - DestinationBristol (  

Sky Safari at Longleat (10-12 September)  

One of Europe's biggest annual balloon festival is back at Longleat Safari Park (Wiltshire) in 2021. The skies above the Estate will come to life, full of all the vibrant colours of the rainbow with over 150 hot air balloons take taking to the air in an astounding procession of finesse. Followed in the evenings by a stunning night glow set to music – a sight not to be missed! 

Sky Safari at Longleat - Visit Bristol  

Tokyo World (18-19 September) 

Urban and dance music festival Tokyo World returns to Eastville Park in Bristol, September 2021. Over 100 acts take to the stages in 5 fields for the annual festival, and while acts are yet to be confirmed, the event is always a big draw for dance music lovers and ravers alike.   

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum (16 November – 21 December, weekends only) 

This magical Christmas experience will take visitors on a night-time journey through the Westonbirt Arboretum woodland as they set out on a quest to search for the lost Reindeer. As visitors wind their way along the path, they will find themselves transported into a magical world, surrounded by twinkling lights and sparkling illuminations. 

If you would like additional information or high res images, please email   




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