multiple hot air balloons in the sky over bristol

17 Top Events in Bristol in 2024

What's On In Bristol This Year

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Immerse yourself in the Bristol's lively festival scene, whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or an art enthusiast, Bristol promises to captivate your senses and leave you longing for more. Join us as we uncover the best of Bristol's must-see attractions and hidden gems.

1. The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Returns | August

Come one, come all, to the high spectacle that is the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta between August 9th - 11th, 2024. Each year, the city of Bristol comes alive with a mesmerising display of vibrant colours as hot air balloons take to the skies during this iconic event.

Held annually in August, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is one of Europe's largest hot air balloon festivals, drawing in half a million visitors from all around the globe. From the breathtaking mass ascents to the enchanting night glows, this three day event is a celebration of wonder, beauty, and community.

As the event of the year, Virgin Balloon Flights are thrilled to offer sunrise and sunset hot air balloon rides each day of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, offering you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of a mass ascent. Launching from Ashton Court Estate, these mass balloon launches are a true spectacle, filling the Bristol skies with vibrant colours and promising a hot air balloon ride of a lifetime. Plus, with panoramic views of central Bristol and the surrounding countryside, including the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and the River Avon, you'll have the best seats in the house to experience the magic of the balloon fiesta and the beauty of the landscapes below.

Following the exhilarating mass ascent from Ashton Court Estate, you'll gradually depart from the bustling crowds, gently drifting through the skies guided by the whims of the wind. Along the way, soak in the breathtaking panoramic views of the city centre and the picturesque landscapes below. As your serene journey comes to an end and you gracefully descend back to earth, you’ll get to celebrate your unforgettable experience with a well earned prosecco toast. Our dedicated team will then safely escort you back to the fiesta site, allowing you to seamlessly rejoin the festivities and swap stories of your airborne adventure with fellow festival goers.

As the sun sets over the enchanting city of Bristol during the Bristol Balloon Fesstival, the magic doesn't end – it's just beginning. The night glow, one of the festival's most captivating spectacles, transforms the evening sky into a canvas of shimmering colours and twinkling lights. Watch in awe as all the balloons come to life, their vibrant colours illuminated against the darkness, creating a mesmerising display of beauty and wonder. With music filling the air and the balloons glowing in harmony, the night glow is a truly enchanting experience that will leave you feeling full of wonder and inspiration.

Rows of tethered hot air balloons lit up with the burners in the dark

If participating in a flight isn't really your scene but you'd still like to immerse yourself in the magic of the Balloon Fiesta, you can enjoy access to the very best viewing spots with Sky Lounge tickets. Treat yourself to a VIP experience and soak up the atmosphere from the comfort of the Sky Lounge. Sip on a refreshing beverage, sample delicious treats, and bask in the excitement of the festival atmosphere. Whether you're capturing Instagram-worthy moments or simply enjoying the company of friends and family, the Sky Lounge offers a luxurious and stress free way to enjoy the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

For those of you who are seeking unique family days out, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta offers much more than just hot air balloons. It's a vibrant carnival of entertainment, with something to delight every member of the family. From thrilling fairground rides and live music performances to delicious food stalls and captivating educational exhibits, there's an abundance of activities to enjoy throughout the festival.

So, whether you're a seasoned balloon enthusiast, interested in the idea of hot air ballooning or simply looking for unique things to do as a family the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is sure to delight and inspire. So mark your calendars, gather your friends and family, and join us in celebrating this truly magical event.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is back for 2024 and set to be bigger and better than ever before! This year Virgin Balloon Flights has two balloons flying from the event, so we have…

Learn more about a hot air balloon ride Bristol

Other Bristol Festivals Taking Place Throughout the Year

The fun doesn’t stop with the Bristol Balloon Fiesta! Bristol's vibrant festival scene continues throughout the year with a diverse array of events to suit every taste. From the Bristol Poetry Festival and Sausage and Cider Festival to the Bristol Walk Festival and Folk Festival, there's always something exciting happening in this fun and lively city. Don't miss out on exploring nice walks near Bristol either! Whether it's a leisurely stroll along the picturesque harbourside or a hike through the scenic countryside, Bristol offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Bristol horizon at sunset showing the Clifton suspension bridge and the colourful town

2. Bristol Festival of Light | February

Brighten up your February with the Bristol Festival of Light! This dazzling event illuminates the city with vibrant displays, interactive installations, and mesmerising light shows that are sure to chase away the winter blues. From lantern parades to fire performances, this festival is a celebration of all things luminous.

3. Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival | March

Get ready to swing and sway at the Bristol Jazz festival! Held in March, this lively event brings together music lovers from all walks of life for a jam packed weekend of toe tapping tunes and soulful melodies. With everything from intimate club gigs to grand concerts in iconic venues, this festival is a must visit for anyone who loves to get lost in the rhythm and soul of jazz and blues music.

4. Bristol Poetry Festival | April

Get ready to dive into the world of rhymes and rhythms at the Bristol Poetry Festival. Whether you're a seasoned poet or just love a good verse, this festival is for everyone who enjoys the magic of words. With poetry readings, spoken word performances, and even workshops to help you pen your own masterpiece, it's a chance to celebrate creativity and expression in all its many forms.

5. Bristol Sausage and Cider Festival | April

Foodies, rejoice! The Bristol Sausage and Cider Festival is back in town, and it's the perfect opportunity to indulge your inner foodie. With stalls offering up mouth watering treats, live music to set the vibe, and plenty of cider to wash it all down, it's a celebration you won't want to miss.

6. Bristol Festival of Ideas | April

Get ready to be amazed at the Bristol Festival of Ideas! With talks, debates, and discussions on everything from politics and science to arts and culture, this festival is a playground for the curious and the creative. So grab a friend, grab a drink, and get ready to be inspired!

7. Bristol Walk Festival | May

Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore the beauty of Bristol on foot during the Bristol Walk Festival. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just enjoy a leisurely stroll, the Bristol Walk Festival is the perfect opportunity to embrace the natural beauty of Bristol. From urban adventures exploring hidden gems in the city to countryside rambles surrounded by nature's beauty, it's a chance to step outside, get some fresh air, and discover new places right on your doorstep.

group of people on a mountain hike with the sun shining

8. Bristol Folk Festival | May

Experience the soulful melodies and toe-tapping tunes of the Bristol Folk Festival in May. This lively event showcases the rich heritage of folk music with captivating performances, workshops, and sessions that are sure to delight music enthusiasts of all ages. Join in the celebration and immerse yourself in the warmth and camaraderie of Bristol's folk music community.

9. Love Saves the Day Music Festival | May

Love Saves the Day Music Festival is back for another year of unforgettable performances and good times. Held in May, this festival is a celebration of all things music, with genres spanning from electronic and dance to hip-hop and indie. So, whether you're a die-hard fan or just love to dance, it's a chance to come together with friends, soak up the vibes, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

10. Festival of Nature | May

Connect with nature and get back to your roots at the Festival of Nature. This festival is a celebration of Bristol's biodiversity and a chance to explore the wonders of the natural world. With wildlife walks, interactive exhibits, and plenty of family friendly activities, it's a chance to learn, discover, and connect with the world around you in a fun and engaging way.

11. Bristol Craft Beer Festival

Cheers to good times and great beer at the Bristol Craft Beer Festival! Whether you're a beer connoisseur or just enjoy a cold one with friends, this festival is for you. Held at various times throughout the year, it's a chance to sample some of the finest brews Bristol has to offer, meet the brewers behind the beer, and enjoy live music and tasty snacks. So grab a pint, raise a toast, and let the good times flow!

12. Bristol Food Connections | June

Calling all foodies! Savour the flavours and celebrate the culinary diversity of Bristol at Bristol’s Food Connections in June. This vibrant festival brings together food lovers, chefs, and artisans for a week long celebration of all things food! From interactive workshops to immersive tastings and lively food markets, Bristol Food Connections offers a feast for the senses that showcases the city's thriving food scene.

13. Bristol Pride Festival | July

Celebrate love, diversity, and equality at the Bristol Pride Festival in July. Join the city in embracing LGBTQ+ culture through vibrant parades, live performances, and community events that promote inclusivity and acceptance. It's a party with a purpose, and everyone's invited!

crowd of people in front of a stage, waving the pride flag

14. Bristol Harbour Festival | July

Celebrate summer by the waterside at the Bristol Harbour Festival in July. This iconic event transforms the city's historic harbor into a bustling hub of entertainment, with live music, street performances, delicious food stalls, and maritime activities for all ages. Join the festivities as boats glide along the waterways, fireworks light up the night sky, and locals and visitors alike come together to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

15. St. Pauls Carnival | July

Dive into Bristol's vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture at the St. Paul's Carnival in July. Experience the rhythmic beats of reggae and soca music, savor delicious Caribbean cuisine, and browse stalls filled with crafts and traditional goods. With its lively parade and warm community atmosphere, it's a celebration not to be missed.

16. Bristol Shakespeare Festival | July

Transport yourself back in time to the world of William Shakespeare at the Bristol Shakespeare Festival in July. Experience the magic of the Bard's timeless works through captivating performances, interactive workshops, and immersive theatre experiences across the city. Whether you're a Shakespeare aficionado or a newcomer to his plays, this festival offers something for everyone to enjoy.

17. Bristol Literature Festival | October

Let your imagination run wild at the Bristol Literature Festival in October. With author talks, book signings, poetry readings, and more, this festival celebrates the magic of storytelling in all its forms. Whether you're a bookworm or just love a good yarn, there's something for everyone at this literary extravaganza.

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