167 Annual Open Exhibition at RWA

Things to do in Bath, Bristol and beyond in September 2019

Find out what the two neighbourly cities and the surrounding area have in store in for the start of autumn

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September 4th, 2019

The weather's turning colder, but we've got a mega list of reasons why you should resist the urge to hibernate, and head out for inspiration in Bath, Bristol and beyond.

From the famous Bath Children's Literature Festival, to Disney's Lion King at Bristol Hippodrome, historical walking tours and an eclectic mix of art exhibitions, find out what the two neighbourly cities and the surrounding area have store in for the start of autumn...

Bath Skyline Walk Photo by Paolo Ferla

Festivals

Verve Wellness Festival, Wiltshire (7-8 September)

VERVE is a new wellness and yoga festival, set in the soulful surroundings of Ebbesbourne Wake. Circuit train, spa, forest bathe, feast and then dance the night away under the stars. For adults and kids seeking ‘healthy hedonism’.

The Coffee House Project, Bristol (7 – 8 September)

Fan of an excellent cup of Joe? This caffeine-fuelled festival at Bristol’s Passenger Shed features local artisan roasters and baristas who are serious about their coffee beans. As well as hands-on workshops and talks, expect scrumptious street food, a dash of music and a full-fat introduction to Bristol’s vibrant coffee scene. Don’t forget to take your reusable cup or loan one from KeepCup on the day - this year’s event is disposable-cup-free! 

GoT Fest at Ashton Court Estate, Bristol (7 – 8 September)

Autumn is coming...and with it, an exciting Game of Thrones-inspired festival for lovers of the phenomenally successful series. Meet guest actors, snap a photo on the iron throne, discover how memorable scenes were filmed, see fire-breathing jesters and replica costumes and rock up to knight school, plus LOTS more medieval-themed fun.

Ashton Court Mansion, Bristol Courtesy of Artspace Lifespace

Bristol Open Doors (13 – 15 September)

Ever wondered what’s behind some of Bristol’s most intriguing closed doors? Over this September weekend, don’t miss one-off experiences and entry to buildings in the city normally closed off to the public. This year’s event includes a first peek inside the Brabazon Hangars at Filton Airfield, access to The Albion Dock at Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the chance to go underground Redcliffe Caves. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Jane Austen Festival, various venues Bath, (13 - 22 September)

Every September, Bath’s splendid Georgian cityscape provides the perfect backdrop for a celebration of the life and work of Jane Austen. During the ten days, there are over 80 events including theatricals, readings and workshops, with one of the highlights being the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade, when fans fill the city’s streets clad head-to-toe in splendid Regency dress. 

>>Click here for full festival listings

Jane Austen Festival Bath Photo by Owen Benson, courtesy of Jane Austen Festival

Bathscape Walking Festival, Bath (14-22 September)

Explore the city from a new perspective and choose from 50 free walks covering different themes and distances in and around Bath. Walkers of all ages, fitness levels and interests can delve into the history of the city and its gardens, hunt nocturnal creatures on a family bat walk, examine plant life, take part in a 'Soccersise' session, wander the iconic Bath Skyline walk, plus lots more.

Tokyo World, Bristol (21 – 22 September)

Rounding off Bristol’s sizzling summer of music, this two-day dance party in Bristol’s Eastville Park features 100 artists, including headliners Craig David and De La Soul. Both nights are followed by after parties at Motion Night Club.

Encounters Festival, Bristol (24 – 29 September)

The UK's leading short film festival will be celebrating its 25th edition with a thrilling, 90s-inspired schedule of film, animation and virtual reality, talks, workshops and masterclasses. 

Encounters Festival, Bristol Jon Craig

Averys Wine Festival, Bristol (28 September)

Tantalise your taste buds sampling from a selection of 50 wines from around the world with Averys Wine Merchants in their historic cellars. Wine enthusiasts of all levels can tap along to music, tuck into food and discover more about vino.

Family

Sky Safari at Longleat, Wiltshire (13 – 15 September)

Gawp at the sight of over 150 hot air balloons soaring over the beautiful Longleat Estate at one of the biggest annual hot air balloon festivals in Europe. Come evening, this spectacular sight will be followed by a stunning ‘night glow’ set to music. 

Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Avon Valley Railway, Bitton (14-15 September)

Little ones who bring their teddy bear along to ride the steam trains at Avon Valley Railway will be treated to free tickets! As well as choo-choo-ing through three miles of beautiful West Country onboard a classic steam train, there’ll be a teddy bear trail, craft activities and Punch & Judy shows on this special family day.  

Avon Valley Railway Photo by San Bilner, courtesy Avon Valley Railway

Dino Family Raceday at Bath Racecourse (15 September)

Get ready for colossal amounts of family fun when Europe's largest and most realistic animatronic dinosaurs turn up at Bath Racecourse this September. Kids can have a go at ‘Ranger Training’ and get creative in the craft area while grown-ups cheer on the neddies.

Circus Berlin on Durdham Downs, Bristol (25 September – 13 October)

Roll up, roll up for breath-taking performances from Continental Circus Berlin on Bristol’s Durdham Downs on their exclusive UK tour.

Bath Children’s Literature Festival (27 September - 6 October)

Bath Children’s Literature Festival is Europe’s largest children’s literary event. Offering an imaginative array of talks and activities for children and gives young book lovers a chance to meet the creators of their literary heroes, see illustrations come to life and fuel their imaginations. This year’s world-class line up of authors includes literary megastars Harry Hill, Cressida Cowell, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler among many others. 

Bath Children's Literature Festival

FUTURES 2019: A Festival of Discovery, Bristol and Bath (27 – 28 September)

Meet the scientists helping to shape the world we live in at this free, two-day festival of discovery which takes place across Bristol and Bath. Explore the past, create the present and imagine the future in an after-hours event at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, health and nature workshops at Bristol Central Library, through fascinating experiments at We The Curious or a guided walk with a difference around Bath.

A Grand Day Out at Bristol Zoo with Wallace and Gromit (until 13 October)

As well as being able to take part in a Wallace & Gromit ‘Trainee Zookeeper’ trail at Bristol Zoo (running everyday until 13 October), kids can have a go at fashioning their own Gromit, Feathers McGraw or Shaun the Sheep in a creative hands-on session with one of Aardman’s expert model makers on 28 September and 13 October. Book early to grab a place!

Family takeover, The Edge, Bath (fortnightly from 28 September)

Join artist educator Victoria Willmott for a series of fun and informal creative activities that explore the current exhibition or special themes. Materials are provided for the free drop-in sessions, which are particularly suitable for children aged 4-12 years, but donations are welcome.

The Edge, Bath

Exhibitions

The Theatre of Robert Anton at The Edge, Andrew Brownsword Gallery, Bath (until 14 Sept)

 Discover the extraordinary world of cult figure Robert Anton, a place full of miniature figures, props and drawings from a little-known artist of 1970’s New York. Anton’s theatre spellbound and mesmerised his audiences, yet his plays remained one of the city’s best-kept secrets, with only 18 people allowed to see his plays at any one time and a vehement refusal of any performance documentation. 

>>See full listings for The Edge here

Theatre of Robert Anton - The Edge, Bath

Edouard Vuillard The Poetry of the Everyday, Holburne Museum (until 15 September)

See an extensive set of works - including many that are rarely publicly displayed - by Édouard Vuillard, one of the leading figures in French art at the end of the 19th century. Famed for his small, subtle studies mostly of figures in interiors, his art is renowned for its modest scale, intimate subject matter and intense colouring. 

Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde at Aerospace Bristol (19 September)

Join leading Concorde designers Lawrence Azerrad and Sebastian Conran for an evening of conversation on the ingenuity and enduring creative legacy of Concorde, the world’s first - and so far only - luxury supersonic airliner.

Interventions/2: Films by Yoko Ono at The Georgian House Museum, Bristol (28 September – 31 December)

Watch artist and activist Yoko Ono’s avant-garde films showcased in gorgeous Georgian surroundings in her very first solo show in Bristol. Films include Cut Piece (1964/5), Eyeblink (1966), Freedom (1971), Fly (1970 directed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono) and Sky TV (1966/2019).

167 Annual Open Exhibition at RWA, Bristol (29 September - 1 December)

Returning for its 167th year with a stunning variety of mixed discipline work from emerging and established artists from across the UK and beyond. All work will be available to purchase.

167 Annual Open Exhibition at RWA
167 Annual Open Exhibition at RWA

Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance - Act 3 at Arnolfini, Bristol (14 September - 15 December)

Focusing on the his/herstory of resistance movements and alternative forms of living from a gendered perspective, this timely exhibition looks at resistance across different times, places and scales: from the domestic sphere to large-scale uprisings spanning the late 19th century to the present and beyond. It also responds to local conversations about Bristol's legacy in the Transatlantic Slave Trade by focusing on black feminist artwork and activism.

All shook up: Thomas Kellner’s America and Kaffe Fassett’s quilts in America at American Museum and Gardens near Bath (until 3 November) 

For the ‘All shook up’ exhibition by German photo artist Thomas Kellner, he has selected pieces that capture well-known landmarks in America, including a Grand Canyon centrepiece, on display to an international audience for the first time. The museum also welcomes back Kaffe Fassett, who showcases 20 brand new quilts inspired by the antique collection here.

Taking on History at Museum of Bath Architecture (until 24 November)

Each of Bath Preservation Trust’s four museums offers an inspiring story. From the discoveries of a visionary brother and sister at the Herschel Museum of Astronomy to the lifestyle of a Georgian gentleman at No. 1 Royal Crescent. This exhibition showcases participants’ creative ‘take’ on these stories.

Image Control, No.1 Royal Crescent, Bath (until January 2020)

As the Age of Instagram takes its toll on our mental well-being with curated images of ideal lifestyles and standards, this exhibition explores the way Georgians manipulated their own images to convey certain messages.

No.1 Royal Crescent, Bath Courtesy of No. 1 Royal Crescent
No.1 Royal Crescent, Bath

Combe Down Art Trail 2019, Bath (7-8 September)

From sculptors to painters, jewellers to ceramicists, 40 artists will be showcasing their works in 15 stunning venues in the village. Along with lots to see and buy, there’ll be demonstrations and workshops to get you involved!

Mark Masters at 44AD, Bath (10-15 September)

Mark Masters’ paintings take over Georgian townhouse 44AD in this exhibition entitled, ‘Let’s unfinish what we’re seeing’. All will be available to buy.

Theatre

Disney's The Lion King at Bristol Hippodrome (7 September – 23 November)

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba! The hugely popular Lion King brings its magic to the stage at Bristol Hippodrome for the first time since 2012. Set against the majesty of the Serengeti, with evocative music and spectacular costumes, Disney’s production continues to thrill audiences around the world. Book soon to avoid disappointment!

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) at Bristol Old Vic (7 September – 28 September)

Men, money and microphones will be fought over in this irreverent all-female adaptation of Jane Austen’s literary classic. In this unique production by Blood of the Young, it is the often-overlooked servants who steal the show, drawing on 200 years of romantic pop history for inspiration.

>>See Bristol Old Vic’s full listings for September here.

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

Blood, Blackbeard and Buccaneers by Show of Strength Theatre Company, Bristol (Saturdays in September)

Coinciding with the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s death, extraordinary new revelations about the pirate, his infamous life and Bristol connections are promised in Show of Strength’s walking tour of Bristol docks. 

The Barber of Seville at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol (18 September – 5 October)

Opera Project presents this romantic, operatic comedy and Rossini classic (the prequel to The Marriage of Figaro), for the first time at Tobacco Factory Theatres. With the terrific ten-piece orchestra playing Jonathan Lyness's arrangement of the score, this promises to be an irresistible evening.

The Man in the White Suit, Ustinov Theatre, Bath (6-21 September)

Stephen Mangan and Kara Tointon play Bath prior to the West End, in the world premiere of this fast-moving comedy, based on the play The Flower Within the Bud by Roger MacDougall.

>>See full listings here

Gnomus Caretaker of the Earth, Weston-super-Mare (21 September)

Join lovable giant ‘Gnomus’, caretaker of Earth, as he guides you around Weston-super-Mare’s Old Town Quarry. The spectacular 4-metre high puppet, created by Puppets With Guts, will unearth fascinating stories from local heritage and the mythical landscape in this interactive performance. 

Family performances at The Egg Theatre, Bath (21-22 September and 26-29 September)

Popular Childrens’ books Peace at Last and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt are among the entrancing family shows on the bill at this child-focused theatre for September.

>>See full listings for The Egg Theatre here

Egg Theatre Bath Philip Vile

Music

L’Elisir D’Amore, Bradford-on-Avon (until  7 September)

Experience Iford Arts' intimate opera recitals of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece, L’Elisir D’Amore, in the beautiful grounds of Belcombe Court near Bath. Performances will be staged in-the-round, in a specially-commissioned geodesic dome. All events offer a chance to picnic before the show in the 18th century gardens with stunning views across the valley.

Trevor Nelson’s Soul Nation, Komedia, Bath (13 September)

Dance the night away to 1xtra DJ Trevor Nelson’s old school R’n’B and hip-hop classics from the 80s, 90s and noughties. 

Human League live after racing at Bath Racecourse (14 September)

80's chart-toppers, The Human League, will headline Bath Racecourse's open-air stage in a music concert combining thrilling horseracing and fantastic live music.

Benjamin Zephaniah at St George's Bristol (20 September)

On his first tour in eight years, hear the compelling poet and lyricist, Zephaniah, share his story of fighting against injustice and discrimination to lead a remarkable life. The event includes a Q&A and post-event signing of his book, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah.

  • See St George’s Bristol full listings for September here.

Colston Hall Presents, Bristol (28 September)

Colston Hall Presents is an initiative by the music venue to spread more live music, from worldwide superstars to emerging acts, across the city. Bristol’s largest concert venue is currently undergoing a huge transformation, but isn’t letting a small thing like that stop it from presenting live music. From the best emerging talent to international superstars, the show will go on at some of the city’s finest music venues. Look out for tickets to next available gig, Murray A. Lightburn (of The Dears) in Colston Hall Foyer.

  • See Colston Hall’s full September listings here.
Murray A. Lightburn

Bonkers but brilliant!, Museum of Bath at Work (until 1 October)

An exhibition celebrating 50 years since the founding of the ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary Bath Arts Workshop. Since its beginnings, the community arts group has spawned the Natural Theatre Company, Walcot Reclamation, Bath Fringe Festival and The COMTEK Unit, and has been involved in everything from a youth club to a teashop, babysitting to street theatre.

For even more inspiration for things to do in Bristol, Bath and beyond, check out our guides here.

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