Great things to do in Bristol during 2018

Fact or fiction: The New York Times named Bristol as one of its 52 “must visit” places for 2018.

FACT.

Honestly. It featured alongside The Caribbean, Fiji and Rotorua in New Zealand.

“Edgy, creative Bristol is aiming for another label in 2018: cultural powerhouse,” so say the NYT. So let’s have a look at what’s going on.

SS Great Britain

First off is a new museum celebrating the man upon whose ideas Britain was literally built. The brilliant Isambard Kingdom Brunel – possibly the biggest genius in engineering history – will be celebrated at a state-of-the-art, brand new museum, Being Brunel. Situated next to one of his greatest creations, the SS Great Britain, it will tell the story not just of his engineering prowess, but of the man himself. With documents never before released to the public, it will be a full rounded out experience aiming to really introduce the public to the man they owe a whole lot too. Especially if they cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge on the way to the museum.

Staying on the cultural front, the Bristol Old Vic – the longest continuously running theatre in the UK – has declared 2018 to be a “year of change”, not least because it is changing itself, by completing the second stage of its multi-million pound investment, including a state-of-the-art 188 seat studio. Check out the schedule of productions here: http://www.bristololdvic.org.uk/shows.html

Then there’s the Bristol link to a UK-wide anniversary of the circus turning 250. Just one of six places throughout the country to be named “City of Circus”, as it is home to more circus companies than any other UK city. To help with the celebration, the exhibition Sawdust and Sequins will open in March at the Royal West of England Academy – helped along by performances from the Bristol circus school Circomedia. Right, that’s enough use of the word circus.

Bristol Cocktail

Bristol’s already buzzing culinary scene is set to expand yet further, most notably with Pasta Ripiena, the UK’s first dedicated ravioli bar. So, if you’re into culinary delights neatly encased in freshly made pasta, this is the place for you. But if mixology is more to your liking, than news that those masters of molecular mixology – think of a sitcom-inspired chemistry lab, complete with bubbling test tubes and you’ve kind of got the idea of what you’ll see behind the bar – The Alchemist are coming to the city, and are splurging some £1.3m on opening a two storey bar and restaurant.

Bristol Balloon

If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, there’s the 40th anniversary of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta (9th to 12th August), the 50th anniversary of St Pauls Carnival (7th July) and Europe’s largest free street art and graffiti festival, Upfest (28th – 30th July).

All this comes on top of Bristol being named one of the “best places to live in the UK” last year by the Sunday Times, which summed it up as “cool, classy and supremely creative”. So, dip your toe in the city this year, and who knows.

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