Summer is fading fast as Bristol heads into September. But what a time we have had in recent months. From the Women’s Euros win to the Bristol International Balloon Festival, in between holidays, heatwaves and a whole host of adventures. But just because it’s over doesn’t mean we need to stop having fun. It’s back to school for the kids, but there’s plenty for us to get excited about. But in case you’re stuck for things to do this September, we’ve rounded up some sensational options for you to check out.
1. Head down to Bristol Zoo before it closes
Not long for this one as it closes on September 3, but Bristol Zoo is shutting its door after 185-years and relocating to South Gloucestershire. The Wild Place Project won’t officially relaunch as the new Bristol Zoo until early 2024, once the full renovation works have been completed. So there will be some gap between being able to see your favourite animals up close again. Luckily, Bristol Zoo will be expanding hours on Friday and Saturday (2 & 3) to increase your chances of popping down and waving goodbye.
2. Pop over to one of Bristol’s two city farms
Talking of animals. If you miss Bristol Zoo, then head down to a farm in the city instead. And, believe it or not. Bristol is blessed with two wonderful ones. Windmill Hill City Farm was founded in the mid-70s and provides some inner city access to goats, pigs, sheep and cows. You can learn about these beautiful animals, while also discovering their gardens and shops selling handmade crafts and local produce. St Werburghs City Farm also has lots of livestock, as well as woodlands, allotments and a community garden to explore. A taste of the countryside without leaving the city.
3. Watch classic movies in Redcliffe caves
Bristol Film Festival returns this month with a screenings of classic movies in some of the city’s oddest locations. From September 2 to 4, you can watch the likes of Jumanji, Labyrinth and The Princess Bride, as well as a double-bill showing by the cult film director David Lynch, in one of the eeriest theatre experiences ever, Redcliffe Caves. But fear not if you can’t get down. Later in the month, Bristol Film Festival will be back again and show films throughout the city. You can catch The Godfather in Averys Wine Cellars, Top Gun at Aerospace Bristol, or Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid at Clifton Observatory. You’ve seen these movies a thousand times. But we promise you, never like this.
4. Re-immerse yourself among Bristol’s best parks and green spaces
We all got very used to walking around our parks during lockdowns. Many of us experienced the green areas of our city for the very first time. Since life has gotten back to somewhat normal, we’ve started to feel disconnected from them again. So after three green spaces in Bristol were nominated as the UK’s favourite park this year. What better excuse is there to head out on a walk and enjoy the natural beauty our city can offer. Especially as the season is just about to change. We love seeing the trees turn from green to orange.
5. Tour St Philip’s best local breweries
While the official East Bristol Brewery Tour has passed us by. There’s nothing stopping you from going on your own ‘unofficial tour’. With the likes of Arbor Ales, Dawkins Ales, Good Chemistry Brewing, Wiper & True, Left Handed Giant Brewing Co., Moor Beer, Little Martha Brewing and Newtown Park Brewing Co. in the area – all a short walk away from each other – St Philip’s Marsh is the capital of Bristol’s beer scene. Many of the taprooms will be open until the end of September. So this is your last chance to sample their beers in one quick sweep until summer comes around again.
6. Dine at one of Bristol’s best restaurants
The British Restaurant Awards nominations were announced last month and none other Wapping Wharf’s Root was nominated for best vegan-friendly restaurant. The veg-forward restaurant is one of our favourites too. It was also nominated in the Bristol category, which also includes Namak, Tomo No Ramen, Yafo, Adelina Yard, Wilson’s Restaurant, The Ethicurean and Casamia. So with voting open to the public, what better excuse is there to sample all of them and make an informed decision on Bristol’s best restaurant.
7. Make a trip to Bath and live like Jane Austen
September sees the annual Jane Austen Festival return to Bath, September 9 to 18. Our neighbour city has a strong history with the nation’s favourite novelist – with both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion set in the area. Expect people to dress up in period attire, while there will also be guided tours, talks, concerts and workshops available too. Or just head to the city, soak up the sites and enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. If you’re still looking for your Mr Darcy, then Bath might be where to find him. If you can’t make it, maybe consider putting an offer on this country house instead.
8. Grab a taste of Sri Lanka in Stokes Croft at Nada
Specialising in Sri Lanka and Tamil flavours, Nadu matches the creativity we have come to know and love about Stokes Croft. They pack their large selection of sharing plates with vibrancy and flavour. From the melt-in-your-mouth black pork curry to the vambatu noju made from aubergine and kokum, a mangosteen-type fruit. Every dish is treated with the same great care and love. When it comes to drinks, their rum-based cocktails stand-out too. The Raksha mixes a blend of rums with tropical fruit juice from guava, papaya and blood orange, as well as a chilli-infused banana liqueur. It packs such a punch that Nadu limits it to only two per person. Be warned.
9. Celebrate the world’s best pub snack at Wing Fest
The world’s largest chicken wing festival returns to Bristol on September 10 and 11. Down by the harbour at Lloyd’s Amphitheatre, the huge outdoor area will be transformed into a poultry eating, music thumping, axe throwing, beer and bourbon drinking space of epic proportion. Bristol Wing Fest will showcase a range of restaurants, street food traders and pop-ups, who will display their culinary talents and compete against each other over a whopping 100,000 drums and flats, costing £1.25 per wing, to decide who really makes the best wings in the UK. It looks clucking good.
10. Take a tour of Bristol’s best graffiti
Bristol is the hometown to, arguably, the world’s greatest street artist. You can find his work across the city, from Park Street’s Well Hung Lover to Stokes Croft’s The Mild Mild West. But Bristol is so much more than Banksy. The city’s street art scene is thriving and the walking gallery that is Bristol has so much amazing art to find. This September check out our round up of the best in Bristol. But you can also just head out to discover your own in places such as Bedminster or Stokes Croft. You’ll never quite know what you will discover on a walk around Bristol.
11. Get fashionable and sustainable
The UK’s first and only Sustainable Fashion Week will be kicking off in Bristol this month with a catwalk show on September 21. Models will strut their stuff in upcycled, vintage and sustainable clothing in an ex-church venue, The Mount Without. Take note of this new way of flaunting your fashion by also heading down to some of Bristol’s best vintage shops and thrift stores. Some of our favourites include Urban Fox in St Nicholas’ Market, The Vintage Thrift Store on Park Street and Rhubarb Jumble on North Street. There’s more than one reason to get thrifty this month.