Here's your guide to the events in Bristol for 2018!

Bristol’s event calendar is one of the most busy, with a different festival or event on each weekend and week of the year. It would be impossible to catch them all, so to help you out I have chosen my favourites for 2018. From the return of Gromit Unleashed to Bristol stalwarts such as the balloon festival, there is always something to cater to everyone’s tastes.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year – M Shed, Bristol Musuems October 31st 2017 – April 8th 2018

As a keen photographer myself a personal highlight of mine each year is the Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition at M Shed. Displaying the best entrants and runners up in a number of categories the pictures are stunning. The exhibition runs from October 31st 2017 all the way until April 8th 2018. Tickets cost £6.00 with a voluntary £1.00 donation to charity to the Bristol Museums Development Trust.

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(Deer image is not in the wildlife photo of the year)

Gromits Unleashed 2 – Bristol & Around July 2nd – September 2nd
2018 sees the 2nd outing for Gromit for the third Aarman Charity Sculpture trails. Immensely popular these events have raised millions for the Bristols Children’s Hospital. This trail sees the return of Gromit who will also be joined by nemesis Feathers Mcgraw and the first appearance of his pal Wallace. The trail will run from 2nd July until 2nd September. Which tie’s in nicely with the next 3 events on this list.

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St Pauls Carnival 50th Anniversary – St Pauls, Bristol – July 7th

The first festival on the list has been conspicuously absent in Bristol for the last couple of years. A change in management was brought in and a year off to focus this year’s event, the 50th anniversary of its creation. Similar to Notting Hill, the carnival will include a procession, live music on a variety of stages and sound systems on surrounding streets. Local vendors sell traditional jerk chicken on the streets, warning – be careful on the hot sauces as these can be fiery! The carnival will be held this year on the 7th of July.

Bristol Harbour Festival ¬– Bristol Harbourside – 20th – 22nd July

A celebration of all things sea and maritime, celebrating Bristol’s historic links and origins to the sea trade. Many boats and tall ships arrive in the weeks before this event to prepare for the biggest event the harbourside experiences in the year. Live music is found in Lloyds amphitheatre and Queen Square, as well as on Thekla (Bristol very own nightclub boat). There are plenty of activities and workshops also put on during the weekend as well as displays from the Pyronaught – an original fireboat from 1934. The Harbour Festival will run this year from the 20th July to the 22nd.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta – Ashton Court – 9th – 12th August

No list of Bristol events would be complete without a mention of its world famous Balloon Fiesta. The largest in Europe with over 130 balloons taking part. Running for 4 days in August with 7 mass take offs, weather permitting. Not to be missed the balloons flying over Bristol is a site to behold. The night glows are also fantastic to watch. Best of all, the entire festival is FREE to all.(Except for parking).

Bristol Open Doors – Bristol, Various – 14th – 16th September

Bristol Open doors is an event where many usually closed places, open their doors to the public to have a snoop around. Favourites include the Redcliffe caves (best to book in advance as often sells out) to BBC Bristol Studios. Over 120 buildings take part but which ones are often kept secret until closer to the date.

Bristol Craft Beer Festival – Motion, Bristol – 15th – 17th September

The newest event on this list is my personal choice, it launched last year and has returned for a second year. Not only can you experience the best local craft breweries beer (Arbor, Wiper & True, Good Chemistry, Lost & Grounded and Left Handed Giant to name but a few) but also showcases at least another 30 craft brews. The craft beer scene has exploded in recent years and Bristol is keen to play a part. Once you have a ticket, you get a glass and unlimited small pours – this allows you to taste all the beer to your heart’s content.

Bristol/Bath Christmas Markets – Bristol City Centre/Bath – December

I know Christmas is now just a memory but as we look to 2018 the German style Christmas markets will return larger than ever. Something to think about!

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