What’s new in Bristol in 2019

Clifton Bridge Bristol 2019
Clifton Bridge Bristol 2019

2019 promises to be an exciting year for Bristol. Recently named tourism’s Rising Star at the National Geographic Traveller Awards, the city will welcome new attractions, hotels and exhibitions in 2019, as well as celebrating a number of key anniversaries including:

  • 150 years of Clevedon Pier – the elegant Grate I listed pier in the small Victorian resort near Bristol
  • 50 years of Concorde – made and developed in Bristol, the supersonic aircraft takes pride of place at the Aerospace Bristol
  • 30 years of Wallace & Gromit – the world famous duo created by Bristol’s Aardman Animations
  • 10 years of Bristol Pride Festival – the colourful LGBTQ Bristol Pride that takes place in July
  • 10 years of Bristol Aquarium – the Harbourside attraction first opened in 2009
  • 300 years of Robinson Crusoe – the first modern English novel has its origins on the streets of Bristol, where Danie Defoe met Alexander Selkirk, the rescued castaway who is believed to have inspired the novel.


Bear Wood at the Wildplace Project (Spring 2019)

Bear Wood is a new attraction for Bristol’s 150-acre suburban conservation park at Wildplace. A walkway will wind through seven and a half acres of woodland where brown bears will share a home with the project’s five European grey wolves. Lynx and wolverine will also roam the woodland as they would have done centuries ago. A ranger station, classroom, interpretation space and cafe will also be built creating an immersive experience.

The Royal Photographic Society moves to Bristol (January 2019)

After 38 years in Bath, the Royal Photographic Society is moving to a four-storey building at Bristol’s Paintworks – a hub of creative industries housed in a mix of new and converted buildings. The new headquarters will include a 102-seat auditorium for lectures and film screenings, exhibition spaces and an education centre.

The Wave Bristol (Autumn 2019)

The Wave will be a new inland surfing lake on the edge of Bristol – the first of its kind in Europe. Plans at the 40-acre site in Almondsbury, north of Bristol, include a sensory wave garden with an inland ‘cove’, activity areas, peaceful hideaways and kitchen gardens, as well as a natural swimming pool, cafe, changing facilities, accommodation, education centre and retail experience. Using latest wave-making technology, up to 1000 waves will be generated per hour, with heights starting at 50cm and peaking at almost 2m, providing an inclusive surfing adventure for everyone from young beginners to professional surfers.


Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

In August 2018, the Avon Gorge Hotel in Bristol’s Clifton Village relaunched as a Hotel du Vin after a multi-million refurbishment which has upgraded all its 78 bedrooms and added a glassy new smokehouse restaurant called Goram & Vincent (named after the mythical giants who helped create the rocky gorge which the hotel overlooks). The Victorian hotel was originally built in 1898 as the Grand Clifton Spa and Hydropathic Institution.

As Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin, it now has a glamorous new look that combines contemporary interior design and quirky details with restored original features: marble staircase, stained glass windows, the former spa’s vintage steam pumps and the doors to the old Turkish baths (now a wine cellar). The final elements of the refurbishment will be completed in 2019 with an upgrade of the hotel’s terrace – one of the best places in the city to admire Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and the wooded Gorge.

Bristol Marriott Royal (January 2019)

The landmark hotel on College Green is currently refurbishing rooms and public spaces ready for a relaunch in January 2019. The hotel is chucking out the chintz in favour of a new look that combines contemporary décor with a moody greys and pewters and original Victorian marble and brass. First opened in 1868, the 150-year-old hotel features a magnificent Palm Court, a Romanesque leisure centre and rooms with views of Bristol Cathedral. During its long history, it has welcomed illustrious guests including Cary Grant, Winston Churchill and Laurel and Hardy.

Artist Residence (March 2019)

The arty micro chain opens a fifth hotel in Bristol in 2019 (date to be confirmed). Housed in a former boot factory in Portland Square – between St Pauls and Cabot Circus shopping centre in the heart of the city – the new hotel is a continuum of the bohemian Artists Residence style – an eclectic fusion of art and vintage. Bristol’s Artist Residence will join sister hotels in Brighton, Pimlico, Penzance and Oxfordshire when it opens in the autumn with 28 bedrooms, a café and bar and events space. A larger restaurant will follow in phase 2, due for completion in early 2019.


Bristol Museum & Art Gallery | Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (2 February – 2 May 2019)

To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will be displaying twelve of his finest drawings as part of #Leonardo500 – a national celebration of one of history’s greatest geniuses.

M-Shed | Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed (16 March – 16 June 2019)

A ground-breaking, comprehensive history of British tattooing, featuring cutting edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors. This is the largest gathering of real objects and original tattoo artwork ever assembled in the UK featuring over 400 original artworks, photographs and historic artefacts. This exhibition overlaps with the Bristol Tattoo Convention.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery | Natural Selection (31 May – 1 September 2019)

Andy Holden and his son Peter Holden take us on an ornithological journey: from the building of nests to the collecting of eggs. Natural Selection showcases several multi-screen films, a selection of archival material, and Andy Holden’s own collection of found nests.

M-Shed | On Set with Aardman: Making Early Man (6 July – 29 September)

Early Man is an animated feature film, released in February 2018 starring Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston, and produced by Bristol-based Aardman Animations (creators of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep). The exhibition will include drawings which create an imaginary world to extraordinarily crafted sets; from tiny exquisite character models to the latest VR technology.


Bristol is one of the host destinations of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Cricket fans can explore the city’s cricket heritage, such as Brunel’s SS Great Britain, which took the first English touring team to Australia. Famous cricketing hero, WG Grace, was also born in the city.