What's on in Bristol? Kids' events with boats, balloons and more
What’s on in Bristol? It’s one question with many answers, depending on what grabs your family’s fancy. This harbour town loves a party and many national events come to the city to celebrate, like the Wildlife Photographer of the Year or everyone’s favourite plasticine pals, Wallace and Gromit.
Bristol is also a fantastic place for special kids’ events and festivals, from balloons flying high to boats in the harbour. Pretty much anything you can conjure up, it’s happening here in the South West.
Family and kids’ events in Bristol
- The City of Games, 9th - 11th February 2018, at Future Inn:
Have you got any little tech heads in your team? The City of Games will be heaven on earth for them as they explore hundreds of games - from the old classics to the latest Gen Con releases - all under one roof. As parents, we’re often trying to get tykes away from their screens but this is a special kids event where all the normal rules go out of the window. Volunteers will be on hand to guide and educate and the evenings are full of social events like a few rounds of Werewolf and tournaments, including the Dobble championships!
- Space Explorers and Rocket Ship Adventures (selected dates until the 31st of March 2018) at We The Curious:
When did you last stare at the stars? Now’s your chance with planetarium events at We The Curious. After entering an enormous silver ball, you’re set for a personal tour of the night sky with wild rides like Space Explorers and Rocket Ship Adventures, both designed to intrigue amateur astronomers. In fact, our ancestors used the stars to guide them on long journeys, define personalities and even tell the future, so see what you and your gang of star troopers can discover!
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year (runs until the 8th of April) at M Shed:
Nature lovers across the nation make an annual pilgrimage to see what’s on in Bristol, specifically the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The 100 international competitors have taken snaps from all over the world and they’re now yours to explore with images of frozen wastelands and fascinating animal behaviour. It’s important to remember that these have been compiled with one message in mind: protecting our fragile planet in its time of need. As such, it’s a wonderful way to inspire the artists and conservationists of tomorrow.
- Festival of Nature, 2nd - 10th June 2018, all over the city:
Give Mother Nature a big hug at the Festival of Nature. Now on its 15th birthday, this festival celebrates all that’s wonderful about the natural world and is the biggest of its kind in the world! Expect loads of groovy music, workshops, plenty of interactive exhibits and all sorts that tailored to kids. When searching for what’s on in Bristol, you wouldn’t expect to find it in your own backyard but that’s what makes this event special and a must in your family events calendar.
- Bristol Harbour Festival, 20th - 22nd July 2018, at the Harbourside:
Dance, music and arts are all thrown together and given a great big shakeup at the Bristol Harbour Festival in a massive celebration of what’s happening in Bristol. Over one weekend, families will flock to the docks with loads of nautical activities, live music and a dance village for boogying the afternoon away, as well as an actual circus zone. Your little clowns can play up all they like here, particularly after having their faces painted and glitter chucked all over them!
- Gromit Unleashed 2, 2nd July - 2nd Sept 2018, all over the city:
Get set for A Grand Day Out with Wallace, Gromit and that dastardly Feathers McGraw on a tour all over Bristol. Now in its third outing, this charity trail sees families searching high and low throughout the city on the hunt for 60 giant sculptures of the trio, and they could be hiding anywhere! It’s one of those fantastic kids' events that does good while dolloping up tonnes of fun; in the name of The Grand Appeal, the event has raised over £50 million to support sick kids since 1995. Whatever you do, just be sure to say cheese!
- International Balloon Fiesta, 9th - 12th August 2018, at Ashton Court:
Prepare for liftoff! If you’re asking what to do in Bristol this weekend, make sure it’s big, buoyant and balloon-shaped. This is the 40th Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and is Europe's largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, with over 130 of them coming from across the globe. It’s a pretty spectacular sight when they all settle over the city skyline, while down on the ground there are kids events aplenty with trade stands, fairground rides and all sorts of festive entertainment.
Other ideas of what to do in Bristol
So there you have it: our guide to what’s on in Bristol. If even amongst all that you can’t find something that suits your family’s speed, we’ve got plenty more where they came from. Simply search for ‘things to do in Bristol’ and filter to your heart’s content, or check out the top categories below. We’re sure there will be something in the city that your family will love.