Whether you’re a shade-seeker or the kind who likes to soak up every inch of sunlight while it’s around, you’ll want to finally break out of hibernation this July. From fun festivals to epic activities to try out with friends like obstacle courses and beach trips, here’s our guide to the best things to do this July in Bristol.
1. Take a psychedelic trip through light, space and sound at Propyard
The Cheltenham-based award-winning, art collective Squidsoup is taking over Propyard this summer with a world-first immersive experience. Bringing together five of the collective’s largest pieces for the very first time, Beyond Submergence will be a world-first 20,000sq ft. exhibition hoping to invite an emotional response from audiences. Starting July 1, this will be the biggest-ever showcase of Squidsoup’s work in one setting. Expect a colourful, sensory overload that utilises light, space, sound, scale, movement and technology, and can be experienced in any order, from any angle. Learn more here.
Discover the music of Whitney Houston at St Mary Redcliffe Church under the gentle glow of candlelight. The mesmerising night of moving melodies, captivating compositions and flickering candlelight will leave you So Emotional on July 28. From I Wanna Dance With Somebody to I Will Always Love You, expect all the greatest hits from The Voice. The only One Moment in Time to enjoy this candlelight concert. Get your tickets here.
3. Catch the bus anywhere for free (if it’s your birthday)
Starting in July, residents of Bristol will be able to claim a free Birthday Bus Pass, but only during the month of their birthday. This month-long free bus pass aims to get more people to use public transport and will cover Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and North East Somerset. Seeing as there are so many amazing things to do in Bristol, there’s no reason for anyone not to visit them all over the next year.
4. Make a trip to St Nick’s Night Market for street food, music and shopping
St Nick’s Night Market is taking place again this month with late-night feasting being held in the Glass Arcade on July 7. Most of the daytime traders are staying open late. So expect an abundance of street food, a garden party packed with activities and entertainment, late-night shopping, mobile spa treatments, a brilliant selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and DJs and musicians who will have you dancing in the streets.
5. Get involved in the Bristol Pride events
Although Pride Month is officially in June, the celebrations and awareness of LGBTQ+ rights are not stopping any time soon. Bristol Pride will take place on July 8 returning to The Downs. The event will feature multiple stages and attracts some of the biggest names in live music and entertainment, plus showcasing new and emerging talent including performances from local artists and community groups.
The Parade March will gather at 10 am at the bandstand end of Castle Park and we depart at 1045am, heading off to The Dowsn where the party will begin. Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears will headline, plus international icon Natalie Imbruglia will also play. There will also be lots of Pride events in the build-up, which you can learn about here.
6. Discover a blessing of unicorns around Bristol
To celebrate Bristol’s 650th anniversary, UnicornFest will see mythical and magical unicorn appear in some of the area’s most iconic landmarks from the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Weston-Super-Mare pier. These two-metre-high statues will start appearing in the South West on July 3 to form a nine-week art trail.
Bristol artists like Inkie and Silent Hobo, as well as children from St Werburgh’s Park Nursery school, are among those that have decorated the “blessing” (the name for a group of unicorns). The herd will include 59 unicorn sculptures, each with a unique design. At the end of the trail, raising money for Leukaemia Care, UnicornFest will finish with an auction so you can get your hands on these unique creatures yourself. To learn more about the unicorn trail head here.
7. See all the water-based action at Bristol Harbour Festival
This July will see the return of Bristol Harbour Festival. From July 14-16, a fleet of feature vessels is expected in the Bristol harbour as well as over 300 visiting boats, yachts and ships. As one of the UK’s largest public festivals, over 250,000 visitors are expected to attend over one mile of entertainment. Expect the weekend to be jam-packed with the best of Bristol’s music scene, world-class circus performers and on-the-water activities – such as cardboard boat races and high-octane jetpack stunts.
Got a bit of steam to blow off? Whistle Punks is a pretty unique venue in Bristol, offering guests the chance to throw actual axes at the wall. Sounds fun, huh? Practise your technique and aim for the target, while keeping score if you’re the competitive type! Once the session is done, take advantage of the bar area and regale your glory over a beer, cocktail or wine. Book your axe throwing session here.
9. Take a nostalgic trip to this new retro arcade bar
NQ64 is taking us on one big nostalgic trip when it arrives in Bristol this July 6. The retro gaming and cocktail bar will be a must-visit for fans of classic consoles and arcade games when it opens on Baldwin Street. You’ll be able to get your hands on consoles from the 90s and 00s, as well as even older retro arcade games. Enjoy evenings playing childhood favourites, including Time Crisis, Pac-Man, Guitar Hero, Street Fighter. Plus, the adult-only venue boasts game-themed cocktails!
St Mary Redcliffe Church by candlelight makes for the perfect backdrop to an evening of music by Ludovico Einaudi. A pianist will perform heartwrenching renditions of the Italian composers greatest works. All under the gentle glow of candlelight. Grab your tickets to this candlelight concert here.
11. Cool down with a few cider slushies at Wapping Wharf
It’s bound to be hot this July, so when looking for things to do we want to cool off. Head down to Wapping Wharf this month to hit up The Cider Box. All summer long they’ll be selling cider slushies, made from fresh pressed full-juice cider tossed around in a slushy machine until nice and icy.
12. Catch waves not feelings at these brilliant beaches near Bristol
July means beach weather and luckily for Bristolians there are some beautiful coastal spots all a short drive away. From shingly shorelines at Kilve Beach to feel the sand between your toes at Sand Bay near Weston-super-Mare, or even the UK’s largest inland sandy beach, there’s a beach for you to relax at. Plus, the South-West coast offers a number of areas to go surfing, fishing and enjoy some traditional seaside grub. Check out our guide to the best beaches near Bristol to visit next time it’s sunny.
13. Learn to joy of the ‘happy fail’ at the UK’s first full-time improv theatre
If a heatwave does hit Bristol this July, our best tip (besides these swimming spots) is hideaway in 120-seat basement theatre of The Bristol Improv Theatre. Its speakeasy-style bar and venue is suprisingly cool. And hosting everything from improv jam sessions to hilarious touring shows, introductory classes and local talent showcases, its the best place in Bristol to discover this unscripted art form. Learn more about it here.
14. Take this ‘budget pub crawl’ around Bristol’s Harbourside
If there’s one thing we’re always on the lookout for, it’s cheap pints. Someone has done the Lord’s Work by creating a ‘budget pub crawl’ around Harbourside. Josh even says he managed to find “a £2 Thatchers and a £2.75 pint of Tribute” on his travels. There are seven pubs on the budget pub crawl, including The Little Grosvenor, Avon Packet and The Mardyke for cheap pints. Grabbing a cheap pint in the city isn’t always easy, but this budget pub crawl map should help.