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What's on in Bristol - July 23

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Summer has arrived in Bristol, and so too has your jam-packed July itinerary. No need to be bored inside, we’ve put together our monthly roundup of events, exhibitions, and experiences to keep you thoroughly busy this month.

Live Music, Theatre, and Festivals

Bristol is pulsing with live performances from its best and brightest- upcoming and established.

NASS Festival: 6th - 9th July

One of Bristol’s biggest festivals, NASS is three days of the biggest names in Drum and Bass, UK rap, and street culture. Performers include Lil Simz, winner of the Mercury Prize for Best Album, Wu-Tang Clan, Chase and Status, and many more. On top of its 6 stages of music, the festival has multiple professional sportspeople competing and showing off their skills in BMXing and Skating, as well as showcasing up-and-coming street artists. The festival is perfect for anyone looking to immerse themselves in street and urban culture, both of which are huge in Bristol. More on NASS’ website:

Bristol Harbour Festival: 14th - 16th July

The Bristol Harbour Festival is a weekend of varied entertainment from spoken word poetry to Circus performances. The festival will showcase the best of Bristol’s diverse music scene, entertainment on the water (think Jet-Ski stunts and a boat named the Pyronaught- literally fireboat), local food and drinks stalls, dancers, trapeze acts, and plenty of family-friendly play areas. If that doesn’t sound good enough, it’s completely free to attend! Fire more info on the Harbour Festival website:

Live at the Lodge at Mendip Activity Centre: Several dates throughout July

If you fancy something more chilled out but still want to immerse yourself in local live music, Live at the Lodge is a series of small, intimate concerts, each with a different talented artist. Discover a new favourite, or just support Bristol’s music scene for an evening with local food and drinks available until late, set in a lovely location. Find out more on the Live at the Lodge webpage:

Edinburgh Comedy Previews: Several dates throughout July

The Wardrobe Theatre is hosting eleven nights with the best in live comedy as they preview material for the iconic Edinburgh festival. Its comedians have found success on shows such as Taskmaster and Mock of the Week, voiced characters in the BBC’s Spitting Image, and hosted successful podcasts. This is a chance to see some great comic WIPs in an intimate and budget-friendly venue, an absolute must for anyone who is a fan of stand-up. Who doesn’t enjoy a night of laughs? Find the full bill of comedians as well as more info and dates on the Wardrobe Theatre’s website:

Bristol Comedy History Walk: Several dates throughout July

Want to learn more about the city, discover some unknown facts and sights of Bristol, and laugh while doing it? Bristol Improv Theatre has devised a walking tour of Bristol, highlighting some of the less glamourous- but highly entertaining- stories from the city’s rich history, delivered by talented comics who call it their home. Whether you’ve lived in Bristol your whole life or are visiting for the first time, this tour will show you a brand new side that you’ve never before seen. The tour is recommended for adults and older teenage children at parent’s discretion. More info on the Improv Theatre’s website:

Family Friendly Events

With the summer holidays looming, here are some activities to keep your kids busy, and keep you from going crazy.

Outdoor Film Screenings with Bristol Film Festival: 28th - 30th July

Bristol Film Festival is hosting a series of outdoor cinema viewings throughout July. Some of their family films include the Pixar sensation Encanto, Paddington, Tangled, Shrek, Moana, and many more for families with older children. You’ll enjoy a unique cinema experience in the heart of Clifton from the comfort of your deck chair, and the children will love seeing their favourite characters on the big screen. Full listings and more info from the Bristol Film Festival:

The Tiger Who Came to Tea: 28th - 30th July

Looking to introduce your little ones to the theatre? This adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic children’s story is appropriate for ages 3+, full of sing-alongs, on-stage chaos, and plenty of laughs. The show is less than an hour in runtime, making it perfect for young children who might struggle to sit nicely through a longer performance. Taking place in the iconic Bristol Old Vic Theatre, this show is a treat for the whole family. Book your tickets from the Old Vic:

Coral Celebration at the Aquarium: 21st July - 1st September

Throughout July and August head to Bristol Aquarium for an explosion of colour to celebrate the ocean’s flowers and coral reefs. There will be an interactive mural anyone can add to and unleash their inner artist, talks from experts about the wonders of coral reefs and their fishy inhabitants, and you can even take home your very own coral crown and feel like mermaid royalty. You can also explore the rest of the aquarium alongside all of this, and make it a day out that everyone will love. Entry is free for under 3s. More information on the Aquarium’s website:

From 9am - 12am on Sunday 9th July the Aquarium will be open for a special sensory awareness morning, allowing children and adults who may struggle with overstimulation or heightened sensory needs to enjoy the aquarium without stress. These mornings usually happen once a month. More information is available from the link above.

Other Experiences

Beyond Submergence: 1st - 31st July

Taking advantage of the huge amounts of industrial space at Propyard, Beyond Submergence will be an immersive exhibition, curated by the award-winning collective Squidsoup. The experience is built to be experienced in any way that you like, inviting visitors to take their time and find individual, unique ways to experience the collection of lights and sounds. The installation will only be there for a month, so it mustn’t be missed. More info on the official page for Beyond Submergence:

Playable City: 3rd – 9th July

Watershed has partnered with MyWorld, who specialise in innovation, to commission six different public art installations in various locations throughout Bristol. Each technological installation invites you to ‘play,’ aiming to spark conversations about complex issues like AI and climate change and promote community and connection. From inflatable robots taking over Brandon Hill to an interactive pavement outside Watershed at the harbour, the installations combine fun with important issues. More information on Watershed’s website:

Summer Wild Foods and Practical Plants Workshop: 9th July

Steve England is a Bristol-based survivalist, who hosts several classes and workshops on wilderness-based skills such as foraging, identifying poisonous plants, identifying bats, and anything else that sounds like something that might interest Bear Grylls. This workshop will allow you to identify and cook with plants commonly found in Bristol wildlife, but places are limited so book them soon! Find out more on Steve’s website:

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