Afrika Eye Festival - Rafiki
Image Rafiki, part of Afrika Eye Festival, courtesy Bristol Festivals

Best winter festivals in Bristol, Bath and beyond

Our round-up of the best winter festivals in the cities and surrounding area...

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October 24th, 2019

From African arts, to the world of children's books, classical music in atmospheric settings, to silent comedy with celebrity stars, Bath and Bristol aren't letting a change in season affect their festival programming! Here’s our round-up of the best winter festivals in the cities and surrounding area...

Storytale Festival, Bristol, various venues (25 October - 3 November)

This exciting new week-long book festival founded by Bristol residents, Ellie Freeman and author Kate Frost celebrates the wonderful world of children's books. From interactive and sensory storytelling for tots to inspiring talks and workshops for teens, journey through the pages with Bristol’s talented authors and illustrators, create your own characters and be inspired to write your own adventures!

Bristol Keyboard Festival at St George's Bristol (30 October-7 November)

This week-long series of concerts and special events features pianos and keyboards of all shapes and sizes. From the early days of harpsichord and virginals to modern day synthesizers and the powerful organ, the programme explores eclectic styles and different ages of music, with dazzling projections and incredible acoustics.

St Georges Keyboard Festival Bristol Photo by Evan Steinway
St Georges Keyboard Festival Bristol

The Cosmic Shed Present: Tron-Fest at the Anson Rooms, Bristol (2 November)

The Cosmic Shed - voted one of The Guardian's favourite podcasts of 2018 - is back with a new live event looking at the science behind classic science-fiction films, Tron and its 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy. As well as a double bill screening of both movies, and a discussion with Dr Pete Etchells, who has been researching the short and long-term behavioural effects of playing video games, the panel will also be looking at the films' groundbreaking legacy in visual FX. 

Weston-super-Mare Dance Festival (2-3 November)

After last year's massive success, Andrew Rhys Davies and Sue Burroughs are running their second dance festival in Weston-super-Mare. Get ready to shimmy and swing along to non-stop Ballroom, Latin and Classical Sequence competitions for kids and adults, plus live music and cabaret. 

Afrika Eye Festival, Bristol (4-10 November)

The South West’s biggest celebration of African arts, cinema and culture is now in its 15th year. Highlights of the festival will include Senegalese food and live music at Brunel’s SS Great Britain (4 Nov), a full weekend of film screenings, Q&As and panel discussions at Watershed (9-10 Nov) and a talk by multiple award-winning author, broadcaster and Guardian columnist Gary Younge at Arnolfini (5 Nov).

Afrika Eye Festival - Rafiki Image Rafiki, part of Afrika Eye Festival, courtesy Bristol Festivals
Afrika Eye Festival - Rafiki

Bristol Festival of Ideas: Festival of Economics 2019 at We The Curious (19-22 November)

Economists and experts from around the world will be debating some of the key economic questions that face us today. The 2019 programme features keynote speeches from Mark Carney - Governor of the Bank of England, Danielle Walker Palmour and Carl Frey alongside many other fascinating talks.

We The Curious Planetarium Bristol Photo by Ben Bisek Wilkison Eyre
We The Curious Planetarium Bristol

FilmBath Festival (7-17 November)

Whether you’re a film buff or simply a cinema enthusiast, FilmBath offers the chance to expand your movie knowledge in a wide range of genres and styles. The eclectic programme features screenings of the best new and upcoming films from around the globe, workshops, special events, Q&A sessions with filmmakers, emerging talent awards, pop-up shows and a category dedicated entirely to films directed or written by women (F-Rated).

FilmBath festival
FilmBath festival

Bath Mozartfest (8-16 November)

One of Europe’s leading classical music festivals, Bath Mozartfest has built a reputation for artistic excellence in both chamber and orchestral music. The nine-day festival celebrates the prominent composer and his peers through concerts and orchestral ensembles with world-renowned artists in some of Bath’s most atmospheric buildings.

Bristol Slapstick Festival (25-26 January 2020)

Now the UK’s biggest celebration of silent and vintage screen comedy, Slapstick offers a healthy dollop of hilarity to brighten up the greyest winter month. Comedy megastars Rob Brydon, Harry Hill, Stephen Merchant and Bill Oddie are among the laughter legends featured on the festival line-up. Snap up tickets for a memorable celebration of some of the funniest actors, comedy trailblazers and chucklesome moments from the silent film era.

Slapstick Festival - Bill Oddie Photo by Paul Lippiatt
Slapstick Festival - Bill Oddie

British Dal Festival, Bristol (1-10 February)

This week-long festival is dedicated to the magic of dal and similar lentil-based pulse dishes from around the world. Last year’s celebrations included a dal trail around Bristol, chef demonstrations and a grand finale at Paintworks with street food, market stalls, children’s activities and music.

Bath Bachfest (20–22 February 2020)

Bath Bachfest is held each February in Bath’s elegant period venues, from the grand Assembly Rooms and Guildhall to the intimate St. Mary’s Church in Bathwick. During the festival, the work of 18th century composer Johann Sebastian Bach is interspersed by Baroque contemporaries like Vivaldi in a musical feast of suites, concertos, solos and ensembles.

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