Summer is fading away as Bristol heads into September – if you can even call it summer. Yes, there’s been a lot of rain, but hopefully, we’ve all still been able to escape on holiday and squeeze in some adventures. And just because it’s back to school for the kids, there’s plenty for us to get excited about this month. 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. Squeeze in one last festival of the summer
Described as ‘more than a music festival’, FORWARDS returns to The Downs on September 1 & 2. Blending a cutting-edge music line-up with political activism, it’s looking even bigger the second time around. The 90s legends techno superstar Aphex Twin and neo-soul icon Erykah Badu headline. But we’re also excited to catch the likes of Bonobo, Ezra Collective, Primal Scream, Arlo Parks, Leftfield, Goldie, Olivia Dean and Jockstrap. Discussion and debate at THE INFORMATION will also return, featuring a host of experts, disruptors, creatives, writers and thinkers.
We’ve all heard the expression ‘you eat with your eyes first’. But what if that was taken from you? It’s time to let your other senses lead for a change, as you taste your way through an immersive and sublime three-course meal completely blindfolded. Dining In The Dark comes to MUSE Brasserie on September 12, where you won’t be able to see what food is coming out to your table. Get your tickets to this tasty immersive experience in Bristol here.
3. Take a literary tour of Bristol
Be it Angela Carter’s gothic tales of the city’s counterculture in her “Bristol trilogy” or David Nicholls’ love letter to University Challenge, Starter for Ten, Bristol has been the backdrop to countless tales across the years. But Bristol’s literary exploits aren’t just limited to dusty old bookshops. The likes of writers like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens and Daniel Defoe all have connections with the city. From The Llandoger Trow to the Birdcage Walk, there are so many places for book lovers to visit.Check out our guide to the most lovely literary spots in Bristol.
4. Gather your furry friends at this pawfect doggy festival
This dog-friendly festival looks like the ulti-mutt celebration of our lovely pooches this September. DogFest comes to Ashton Court on September 2 & 3 with hundreds of stands and activities for furry family members. This includes everything from dog diving to haybale racing, as well as quieter activities like the Big Dog Walk around the beautiful grounds of the stately home. Plus, attend breed meet-ups, enter your pooches into a fun dog show, or catch the action-packed main arena with demonstrations from talented canines and trainers, including the UK’s Dog Disc champions
Put on your Blue Suede Shoes before heading down to the Church of All Saints on September 22. Elvis is getting the Candlelight treatment. Listen to The King’s greatest hits like Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog and Suspicious Minds all under the gentle glow of candlelight. A string quartet will play these songs in ways you’ve never heard before. Get your tickets to this Candlelight tribute to Elvis here.
6. Dine at one of Bristol’s best restaurants
Gaol Ferry Bridge reopens on September 8. So to celebrate why not treat yourself to a slap-up meal in Wapping Wharf? There are plenty of amazing food spots to choose from, but we suggest Root – which was recently nominated for best vegan-friendly restaurant award at the British Restaurant Awards. One visit to this veg-forward restaurant will make you see why.
7. Make a trip to Bath and live like Jane Austen
September sees the annual Jane Austen Festival return to Bath, September 8 to 17. Our neighbour 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.
8. Enjoy a G&T or two at the ultimate gin festival
It’s the best craft gin festival in the West Country! The Gin To My Tonic Show heads to St George’s on September 23, bringing along over 250 craft gins and spirits. A range of distillers, both established icons and exciting newcomers, are all ready to ignite the senses and whisk you away on a truly “spirited” adventure. There’s something to captivate every palate with the staggering selection, with unlimited tastings, live music and the chance to share stories. Get your tickets now for The Gin To My Tonic Show here.
9. Celebrate the world’s best pub snack at Wing Fest
The world’s largest chicken wing festival returns to Bristol on September 9 and 10. 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. Get fashionable and sustainable
The UK’s first and only Sustainable Fashion Week will be kicking off in Bristol from September 25 to October 8. We expect the fashion department at Sparks to play a huge role in events. But with so many many amazing vintage shops in Bristol, let September be the month where you save the pennies and the planet at the same time.
11. Step inside Bristol’s most historic locations
It’s been 30 years since Bristol Open Doors launched – the biggest Festival of Culture, Heritage and Learning in the UK. Across the city, from September 15 to 17, step inside hundreds of iconic landmarks and gain access to forgotten spaces. The biennial festival has put together a programme of events and one-off experiences that hand citizens the keys to the city with workshops, talks and tours. Just some of the events include trips to Redcliffe Caves, The Mount Without, Arnos Vale Cemetary and so much more.
12. Catch some magic and breakdancing
If magic is your tea, then this is definitely one of the best things to do this September. Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Magical Bones, brings illusions, stories, music, laughter and break-dancing to Redgrave Theatre on September 15. Combining sleight of hand with mesmerizing illusions and jaw-dropping break-dance moves, this a magic show like nothing else you’ve seen. Get your tickets here.