Our Favourite Magic & Comedy Bars in Bristol & Bath

Comedy Bristol

Our Favourite Magic & Comedy Bars In Bristol & Bath

There’s plenty of activities on offer when you’re looking for ways to spend an evening in Bristol or Bath but if you’re planning a big night out, sometimes it’s worth looking for something a little bit different.

Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves.

We’ve waved our West Country wand and conjured up this list of the best magic and comedy bars in Bristol and Bath that’ll leave you laughing, open-mouthed with amazement or maybe even both.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

The Best 5 Magic and Comedy Nights in Bristol and Bath

Illusions Bristol

Illusions Magic Bar, Bristol

Magic and music, cocktails and karaoke; Illusions is no one trick pony. This independently owned bar opened over 10 years ago to bring something a little bit different to Bristol city centre.

Open Wednesday to Saturday every week, it offers free magic shows throughout the evening from both in house magicians and guest illusionists from Clifton, Canada and everywhere in between.

Entry is free and seating areas are available for reservation with the option of prosecco and your own private magic show at your table.

Smoke & Mirrors, Bristol

Smoke & Mirrors is home to some of the most exciting live magic and comedy that the city has to offer.

The venue is open throughout the week, but really comes to life on Fridays and Saturdays for the House Magicians’ Comedy and Magic Show.

If you’re looking for Bristol activities to entertain you in the evening this should be near the top of your list. Tickets are available through the venue’s online box office and we’d recommend booking in advance as the shows often sell out.

Sleight Bar Bath

Sleight Bar, Bath

Tucked away in the basement of The Ale House, Sleight Bar is the place to be for an evening of close-up magic and cocktails.

Open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, the bar hosts magicians who will leave even the most sceptical of people scratching their heads.

If you’re looking for Bath activities that are a little bit different for a stag, hen or birthday party, Sleight is great for groups. Private seating is available to hire which includes a free bottle of bubbly on arrival as well as a private magic show at your table.

Komedia Bath

Komedia, Bath

If you ask anybody from Bath for the best place to catch a comedy show, they’ll all tell you to head to Komedia. The venue has a calendar that’s packed full of comedy, music and cabaret and is also home to the best comedy night in the city.

Krater Comedy Club welcomes an eclectic mix of comedians from across the country every Saturday.

Line ups often feature famous faces alongside fresh new talent, so you’re guaranteed to find something to make you giggle.

Magic Bristol

The Comedy Box, Bristol

The Comedy Box hosts a variety of familiar faces from the comedy circuit alongside some of the most exciting up-and-comers from the UK and further afield.

With shows scheduled throughout the week, it’s worth checking out their website if you’re trying to find Bristol activities for after work.

As well as their mid-week entertainment, their regular comedy night, ‘Stand Up for The Weekend’ takes place on Saturday evenings. It showcases some of the brightest talent in Bristol guaranteed to keep you laughing all the way until Monday.

Whether you’re visiting the South West or you’re just looking for something to do on your doorstep that’s a little bit different, there’s plenty of evening entertainment full of wit and wizardry that’ll make your night out in Bristol or Bath both memorable and magical.

 

Bottomless Brunches in Bristol – Bristol Boozy Bottomless Brunch Guide

Bottomless Brunches Bristol

Bottomless Brunches In Bristol

Bottomless brunches in Bristol have become quite the thing of late. Our resident foodie Katie has been trying out some of the best.

You’ve had a great night out and even thought you prepped with a pint of water by your bed, you’re still feeling a little fuzzy headed.

You’ve got two options; spend the day catching some z’s and re-hydrating or hitting up a Bottomless Brunches in Bristol, for a good ol’ dose of hair of the dog.

If option two is more your thing you’ve come to the right place for a guide to some of Bristol’s finest bottomless brunches on offer. If you’re looking for a post just about traditional English breakfast based Bristol brunch, you’ve come to the wrong place, this will give you a taste of, as you’d expect of Bristol, a wide range of different tasty treats.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

Bottomless Brunches Bristol Brace Browns

Brace And Browns

The award-winning Brace and Browns doesn’t need any real introduction and neither does their bottomless brunch. Although the menu might have changed, the original bottomless brunch in Bristol is still made with locally sourced fresh ingredients and sounds irresistible!

A selection of tasters, a trip to the Bloody Mary station to make your own, followed by your choice of top notch sounding mains and sweet treats and of course, plenty of fizz for £32.50, what’s not to like.

Bottomless Brunches Bristol Pata Negra

Pata Negra

For a total change of pace and country, you can head over to Pata Negra once a month for a Spanish tapas style bottomless cava brunch, one of our favorite bottomless brunches in Bristol.

For £25 from 11.00 – 13.00 you can imagine yourself soaking up the sun in Barcelona as you have a leisurely couple of hours eating Spanish hams and tortilla all washed down with all the cava.

Bottomless Brunches Bristol Steam

Steam Bristol

Now it’s time to get on another plane, this time we’re heading to America. Well, actually we’re heading to Steam Bristol but with this California inspired bottomless brunches in Bristol with bottomless mimosas or prosecco for two hours, you’d be forgiven for forgetting where you really are.

Starting with a selection of pastries and muffins, followed by a main, including; steak and eggs, shakshuka and several delicious pancake-based options, for £28.50 you could have your ~Saturday brunch needs taken care of.

Just to complicate things a little further or to give you the opportunity for more good food and bottomless drinking (responsibly of course) Steam Bristol have a bottomless barbeque every Sunday through the Summer.

There are meat and veggie options, an unlimited salad bar and unlimited sangria, prosecco and cider for two hours and live music. Sounds like the perfect afternoon to us.

The Clifton Sausage

It’s the first Saturday of the month and you’re debating where to meet everyone to catch up on the shenanigans of the night before. If you’re looking for a classic bottomless brunches in Bristol done well and a few more glasses to take you back a few hours, The Clifton Sausage could be the place for you.

Full English, smoked haddock or eggs benedict are just some of the temptations on offer with unlimited prosecco, bucks fizz, and bloody marys at £19.95 per person for one and a half hours.

Bottomless Brunches Bristol Pieminister

Pieminister

Today’s the day to wake up to a morning glory or a munch brunch. Pieminister is the place to be with these brunch pie offerings, or if pie is not taking your fancy, do not fear as there is more than just pie to accompany your bottomless prosecco, bloody marys, mimosas and aperol spritz. The bottomless brunch last for one and a half hours for £20 and is served every two weeks.

Prince Street Social

You’re going out with a group and not everyone is a fan of the fizz, what do you do?! Option 1, lose a few of the crew, option 2, check out Prince Street Social where unlimited Amstel is included in the bottomless brunch.

For £28 per person, every Saturday, Prince Street Social have pastries, fresh fruit and yoghurt, unlimited prosecco and Amstel and one item from their brunch menu, including; various shakshoukas on sourdough, buttermilk pancakes and all the eggs.

Harvey Nichols

If you’ve got some cash to flash and want to take your bottomless brunches in Bristol up a notch, Harvey Nichols might just be the place for you. There’s no prosecco here, champagne is the order of the day and with a menu scattered with chia seeds, monkfish scampi and avocado mousse, the food is definitely no greasy spoon offerings.

If you struggle to choose between smoked salmon and halloumi, you’ve come to the right place as you can have three dishes from the menu. Between 11 and 2 on a Sunday, the champagne will be flowing and can be yours for £65.

You might be in Bristol for a bottomless brunch but with this lot you can take yourself around the world. By the time you’ve made the most of the bottomless drinks there’s a fair chance you might not be quite sure where you are. Now you just need to work out a schedule so you can sample some of Bristol’s finest boozy offerings.

Top 7 Secret Spots for Students in Bristol

students in bristol hero

Top 7 Secret Spots for Students in Bristol

Bristol has long been known as being a great city to come to university. During Fresher’s Week, pretty much every bar from Whiteladies Road all the way down to Park Street is rammed the moment students return from the summer.

Whilst this is likely to be your first port of call when it comes to planning a night out, you’ll need to do a bit more digging to find a wealth of hidden gems any student worth his salt should check out.

David Pope, currently studying in his 2nd year at UWE and working at West Country Games on his Saturdays, shares his inside knowledge on Bristol’s Secret spots for students. Pay attention now Freshers!

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

students in bristol

1. The Lanes

Filled with five bowling alleys, pool tables, a dining area, bar and karaoke room, this is the perfect place to have a fun evening with your mates. Or why not bring that special someone here on a first date? Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for their events and student deals.

students in bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge & Observatory

This is definitely a landmark not to be missed whilst in Bristol. When the sun is out, a fantastic little outing is up to this beautiful bridge where you can have a picnic and admire the stunning sights of Bristol whilst costing you nothing. Be sure to do a quick detour to the camera obscura and caves at Clifton Observatory.

students in bristol

3. 20th Century Flicks

20th Century Flicks boasts an incredibly wide selection of films for you to borrow including vintage VHS.  Plus, there is a small cinema which is available for you and ten of your friends to hire out for less than a fiver each!

students in bristol

4. The Apple

Hang out with the local Bristolians at The Apple, Bristol’s favourite cider boat, which offers a huge range of ciders at great prices. Add in all the other great bars and a jazz club around the Beermuda Triangle and you’ve got a fantastic night out on your hands. You would be a fool not to include this in your weekend plans.

students in bristol

5. AirHop

Located a stone throw away from Cribb’s Causeway, this is the world’s biggest indoor trampoline park. It’s is a great place to go to have a laugh with all your friends at a reasonable price. To avoid the chaos of hundreds of school children running around, look out for student offers and book a time slot later on in the evening.

students in bristol

6. Urban Fox

If, like many students in Bristol, you love vintage clothing then this the place for you! A beautifully quirky and quaint shop with friendly staff, this is a shop you should definitely visit on your next shopping trip.

students in bristol

7. St. Nicholas Markets

Sandwiched between Corn Street and St. Nicholas Street in the heart of Bristol’s Old City, St Nicholas Market plays host to many great independent stalls and retailers and is much loved by all Bristolians. You can be sure to find a lovely array of gifts, artwork, jewellery and clothing here. What’s more, you can also buy Bristol Pounds to spend with any independent retailer. Look out for their monthly Night Market, which is hugely popular featuring tasty bites and bands playing in the street.

David has lived in Bristol as a student for just over a year. Having grown up in Brighton, David chose Bristol because it shares a similar vibe so felt like home.

On Saturdays, David works at West Country Games as an Activity Instructor, escorting hen groups around the games. He confesses that this has been one of the most enjoyable jobs he has ever done!

 

Bristol Booze Cruise Guide

bristol booze cruise

Bristol Booze Cruise Guide

Straddling the River Avon, Bristol is a brilliant city for events, occasions and party getaways with loads to see and do. Its unique waterside areas are beautiful in sunny weather and play host to a huge range of restaurants, bars and venues. A booze cruise in Bristol will make a memorable trip no matter the occasion for your city visit and with so much on offer, can be adapted to suit any group type, size or budget.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

Make the Most of your Boozy Bristol Boat Trip

There’s a range of Bristol boat trips available to be booked through various venues and companies, each with a slightly different angle and theme. Bristol booze cruises do get booked up in advance by tourists as well as by locals so it’s best to find the trip you want and make sure you’ve paid for your party’s place at least a month beforehand. Book as early as possible to confirm your Bristol boat party!

bristol boat trips

Boozy Bristol Boat Trips

As with any city that attracts lots of visitors, there’s plenty of companies catering for tour and party groups. Bristol boat trips comes in all shapes and sizes but the most widely available format is a pub tour… by water!

These Bristol boat party trips incorporate sailing between pitstops to pubs, and usually three of them. You can find Bristol boat hire firms in both the city centre ready to sail out (and sometimes loop round back), or further out to then transport into the city. Most travel down the Avon stopping along the way and ending up at Cascade Steps in the city centre.

Providing that you’re aged over 18, in good health and have appropriate ID, there’s no limit to attending a Bristol booze cruise. Bristol boat hire companies report stag parties and hen parties as their most popular booze cruise customers, but these trips also work well for birthdays, leaving dos and celebrations!

The Best Pubs to Visit...

booze cruise bristol docks

Bristol is home to some fantastic pubs, both traditional and a bit newer, but there’s three along the River Avon that we really rate. Look out for a Bristol boat party route that includes these three, and if it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to ask – lots of Bristol booze cruises can be amended and adapted to suit your preferences.

Pump House

pump house bristol booze cruise

The Pump House is an absolutely stunning building and it’ll take your breath away as you approach it by boat… have your camera ready for some social media pics! Situated where the city docks meets the River Avon, its now owned by a chef so you can enjoy some of the city’s best ales and beers as well as some great pub grub. It even has two rosettes for culinary excellence!

The Cottage Inn

cottage inn bristol booze cruise

Sitting on the historic harbour at Baltic Wharf, The Cottage Inn is run by a local brewery who specialise in beer and cider. It’s right on the river and was used as a dockside timber storage building before the docks closed and was then restored and refurbished into the pub that sits there today. You can sit outside or in, and this pub too had a kitchen full of top-notch chefs working on an ever-changing seasonal menu.

The Ostrich Inn

ostrich inn cruise

The Ostrich public house is nestled back in the centre of the harbourside, surrounded by hotels and restaurants. Fairly informal, its family and dog friendly, and deck chairs line the riverside for casual drinkers stopping for a break and a beverage. There’s free Wi-Fi for a quick check in on your social media profiles, and plenty of local and international beers on tap as well as an impressive spirits and wine menu. The Ostrich really does cater for everyone and makes for a great stop to continue your party without any pressure or formalities.

bristol boat

Where to finish off your Bristol Booze Cruise…

Once you’ve alighted and recovered from your sea legs, it’s time to find another bar to continue the celebrations. There’s no shortage of places to choose from within easy walking (or even stumbling distance) from your Bristol boat hire, but these are some of our favourites.

Millennium Square

millenium square boat bristol

If your group are likely to gravitate toward chain restaurants and pubs and are looking for comfort and value, Millennium Square is the right district to head toward for you. This development is home to several venues and is very commercial. You’re very likely to find a chain that you know from home so it’s the perfect place for those members of your party who may like to opt for something a little less adventurous.

King Street

king street bristol boat party

King Street is a well-renowned party area with a reputation for giving celebratory groups a good time. A little more boozy than elsewhere in the city, the street is full of pubs and so is ideal for a further pub crawl; albeit this time on land! In the middle of it you’ll find King Street Brewpub, which brews beer on-site so you can really get stuck in to sampling something local.

The Waterfront

waterfront bristol boat trip

After having visited so many pubs, you’ll be needing to re-line your stomach, and the Waterfront area of the city has lots of food options; from takeaways to sit-down meals and pub grub along the way. You’ll also find several nightclubs in the Waterfront district so once your evening meal has been polished off, you can end the night in style by dancing the night away!

bristol boat party
Sail Into the Sunset

Whatever you choose to do for your Bristol boat trip, there’s no doubt you’ll have a fantastic time. We recommend planning your trip in advance and drafting up a rough itinerary; if you don’t quite stick to schedule, so be it, but it’s always good to have an idea of favoured venues so that you know you’re not wasting your precious time away anywhere sub-par, and keep your Bristol trip memorable for all the right reasons!

It’s Cider Making Time – West Country Style

cider making west country style

It’s Cider Making Time – West Country Style

Friends… Romans… Country Bumpkins, lend me your beers (and more importantly, ciders!), jump off your haystacks and come with us on a little tour of the finest drink known to man in these ‘ere parts. Lovely, home-grown Scrumpy Cider.

Nearly half the apples grown in the UK are now used to make cider. Thousands of orchards have been planted to keep up with the demand. And this is the time of year farmers the land over will be harvesting their apples to make your favourite Amber Nectar.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

cider making west country style

Imagine the scene, it’s a lovely sunny day, you’re reclining on a deckchair in the garden and sipping on your next pint of cider, total bliss. But what you might not realise is that there’s a just a little bit of history and folklore that went into that gulp.

The old Somerset custom called Wassailing talks of cider being poured over tree roots to bless the trees and produce a bumper crop for the forthcoming season. Then, (this is my favourite bit) there’s the ‘Apple Tree Man’, the spirit of the oldest tree in the whole orchard. There’s an old West Country tale where a man leaves his last mug of mulled cider to the trees, and the spirit of the Apple Tree Man takes him straight to the buried treasure. I mean, come on, what more incentive do you need to believe in the power of the Scrumpy?

cider making west country style

Even better news is that the best time to believe in that power is now. Why now you may ask? Well, this year’s cider harvest is upon us and the freshest apples are there, begging to be picked and made into cider. In fact, it’s very easy to make it yourself and there are lots of great recipes out there. What’s more rewarding and cheaper than pressing your own cider?

I’ve bought a cider making kit this year and have the feverish determination of a rampant Wassailer. I’ve carefully picked the best apples from our garden and will be looking forward to the bit where I get to throw them into a big bucket and punish them with a pole. After the therapeutic fun bits comes the waiting, the long wait. But there is good news, if you let the cider ferment now it should allow for the best taste in time for Christmas. And let’s be honest, what better present to receive than seeing Auntie Pat writhing on the living room floor after three pints of homemade cider and a friendly game of twenty questions?

cider making west country style

On the other hand, if you, like most sane people, just love drinking homegrown cider then there are lots of cider tours around. Here at West Country Games, we offer a traditional tour with the best in homegrown cider without having to make any effort at all. We’ll transport you to two countryside pubs, a cider farm (where you taste a further four ciders with a fine selection of cheese), and then get driven back to your humble abode. Life doesn’t get much sweeter than this, even the ‘Apple Tree Man’ leading you to buried treasure sounds a bit rubbish in comparison.

If, for some strange reason I haven’t managed to sway your opinion on the humble West County cider then I feel there’s no hope left for you. And as for you James Lavis, you’re dismissed. Mainly because I am tired, and incredibly pissed.

cider making west country style

For almost 8 years I’ve called Bristol home and 5 of those have been spent out in the West Country Games field with a scoreboard and camera and groups of fun, feisty and often very hungover stags and hens. West Country Games sums up one of the things I love most about Bristol, there’s always something different and often slightly crazy going on.

Anyway, must go, I can hear the last track of ‘The Best of the Wurzels’ playing.

Katie has worked as an Activity Instructor, Site Manager and Event Assistant over the 5 years she’s been working at West Country Games.

 

 

Simple Things Festival, Bristol – All You Need to Know!

simple things festival bristol

Simple Things Festival, Bristol – All You Need To Know!

We love Bristol's Simple Things Festival, it's one of the better underground festivals on offer in the UK, highlighting the best in homegrown and imported electronic music from all backgrounds.

This year is no different, current Mixmag cover star Helena Hauff headlines the main room with her hyper in-demand blend of uncompromising electro, EBM and techno clatter. A perfect accompaniment, Detroit electro mainstay and Drexciya affiliate DJ Stingray appears alongside.

Room Two showcases one of the most revered contemporary labels operating today – Whities. Nic Tasker’s label is defined by a spirit of imagination and innovation, specialising in unique, curveball records that expertly toe the line between experimentalism and functionality.

Alongside Tasker will be a special live performance from Bristol favourites Giant Swan, plus DJ set from Minor Science, Coby Sey and Deena Abdelwahed.

Elsewhere in Lakota, where the old skool Simple Things Festival is thriving, Bristol label Wisdom Teeth curates Room 3 with a line-up of psychedelic, broken-beat and sub-heavy techno.

The bill is topped by rising US star DJ Python, whose 2017 debut album Dulce Compañia introduced the world to his singular ‘deep reggaeton’ sound.

Python is joined by Björk-endorsed club experimentalist LOFT, local heroine Anina, and Wisdom Teeth label-head Facta, whose most recent release saw him joining the ranks at kindred Bristol imprint, Livity Sound.

Futureboogie return to the Coroners Court with Glasgow selectors supreme Optimo and the brilliant Jane Fitz, with Studio 89 also taking up their usual space in the second Coroners Court with rising talent Mafalda headlining.

The rest of the nighttime line-up is completed by Gramrcy, Em Williams, Dave Harvey, Eris Drew and Studio 89 DJs.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

simple things festival bristol

COLSTON HALL FOYER, Simple Things Festival lineup

Although the rest of the venue is shut for the Simple Things Festival, the Foyer is being opened for some of the day time performances, starting at 14:00 with Chaouche. Don’t miss Jun Kamoda the Japanese DJ who will be spinning some eclectic dance tunes that will get you on your feet!

Who can I catch there then?

Jun Kamoda (DJ), The Mauskovic Dance Band, Helena Deland, Emma-Jean Thackray, Dena, Haiku Hands, Connie Constance, Alaskalaska, Halo Maud, Chaouche

simple things festival bristol

LAKOTA – 6 Rooms Of Music – DJs And Dance Music

Any Bristolian worth his or her salt can admit to a misspent youth here. Once Bristol’s self-acclaimed ‘Superclub’, Lakota has gone through many changes over the years. The club and adjoining former Courthouse set the scene for the majority of the late-night festivities of Simple Things.

There will be a proper battle between rooms as each is curated by someone different, ranging from Crack Magazine to the record label Wisdom Teeth, who will be banging out some experimental psychedelic club music!

There are too many great acts playing to mention them all, but we’ll see you down the front for Björk-endorsed club experimentalist Loft, followed by DJ Python’s unique mix of deep house, shoegaze trance and reggaeton!

Who can I catch there then?

Lakota, Room 1 – Gramrcy, DJ Stingray, Helena Hauff, Em Williams

Lakota Room 2 – Tasker, Minor Science, Giant Swan (Live), Deena Abdelwahed, Coby Sey

Lakota Room 3 – Facta, Anina, DJ Python, Loft, Facta B2B Anina

Coroners Court – Optimo, Jane Fitz, Dave Harvey, Christophe, Eris Drew, Mafalda, David J Bull

Simple Things Rough Trade 2018

ROUGH TRADE

Newly popped up on the Bristol records scene, Rough Trade hosts regular live performances and signings, but they’re stepping it up a gear for Simple Things with a great line up from 3pm right through to 11:30pm! Check out post-punk Irish band Fontaines DC, championed by Steve Lamacq.

Who can I catch there then?

Parrots, Current Joys, Yassassin, Self Esteems, Great News, Fontaines DC, & Mellah

SWX Simple Things 2018

SWX

Better known as a club than a venue, SWX have opened their doors up to gigs in recent years. It’s a great space to see live acts with a slightly sloping floor giving good visibility to the more vertically challenged of us!

Make sure to see exciting new break out rapper Octavian from South London, his UK tour has sold out so this might be the only chance you’d get to see him!

Preceded by jazz fusion artist Kamaal Williams, this sums up all that is great about the variety of performers at Simple Things!

Who can I catch there then?

Octavian, Kamaal Williams, Rival Consoles, Iglooghost, Tirzah, Wooze.

Simple Things Festival Bristol

O2 Academy

As Colston Hall is shut for refurbishment this year (normally the hub of the festival), the O2 Academy takes on the artists who would normally play there.

One of the largest venues on the Simple Things circuit this year, it also provides the climax to the weekend’s day time performances with Slowdive on from 23:00 – 00:30.

Get there early for a spot close to the stage to hear this legendary guitar band! It may not be known as the most atmospheric of venues in the city but fear not as Crack Magazine is taking over proceedings for the day!

Who can I catch there then?

Slowdive, Rolling Blackouts, James Holden, Black Midi, Jimothy Lacoste, Scalping and Lice

simple things festival bristol

BEST OF THE REST

The Sportsmans host an intimate back room serving up a mix of live bands and electronica. Muso-run basement venue, Zed Alley, will also be stepping up for the Simple Things Festival so make sure you head down into the vaults too!

Round the corner, The Christmas Steps will be hosting the Independent Label Market with performances from midday.

All just down the road from the O2 Academy and Colston Hall Foyer, they serve as a very handy pit stop en route to other city centre venues

Who can I catch there then?

Sportsman – Warmduscher, Meat Raffle, Sorry, Rascalton, Bilk, Sistertalk, Haze, Wych Elm, Sans

Zed Alley – Tamu Massif, 404, Tungz, Herbal Tea, Denzel Himself, Last Hyena, Poisonous Birds, Tara Clerkin, Ebu

The Christmas Steps – Rough Trade DJ’s, Ellie Stokes, Kiia, Matt Sainsbury, Western Soul, Kokoro (Ambient Set)

Moving on to the night time venues and listings..

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

For more information on the Simple Things Festival, please visit the Simple Things Festival website.

 

 

Festive Events in Bristol

Festive Events Bristol

Festive Events In Bristol - Our Guide To The Best Of Christmas Festivities In And Around Bristol

It’s December, which means it’s socially acceptable to mention the big C, and get involved in some festive events in Bristol!

Bristol has celebrated the onset of the festive event period by looking like its had an accident with an oversized snow globe. Wherever you look there are twinkling lights and signs of merriment that could thaw out the coldest of hearts.

Whether you’re looking for shopping opportunities or activities to get you in the Christmas spirit we can point you in the right direction.

Lets start with Santa because let’s be honest, without him, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

bristol things to do

Santa

If seeing Santa at a local shopping centre isn’t floating your boat, you’re in luck. The big man seems to have upped his game and can be found in connection with every type of venue and transport you can imagine.

He’s in the usual grottos and winter wonderlands from Weston Pier to Tyntesfield as well as sharing breakfast and tea with families and hanging out with animals around the county.

Not only will he be travelling by sleigh but if boats, trains or helicopters are more your thing, he’s got you covered.

Christmas Ideas Bristol

Christmas Markets

Bristol is the perfect place to find gifts from independent sellers, festive food (and plenty of festive drinks too) and an atmosphere that makes you want to skip along the street full of goodwill to all men.

Walk away from the computer and online wishlists and you’ll find the perfect present that everyone will love but they didn’t even know they wanted.

Pick the right day and you can mooch around all of the markets just pausing for long enough to talk to the people who have made the products and refill your cup with mulled wine.

One of the best festive events in Bristol, and a firm favorite of the West Country Games team, is the Christmas market, located in the centre of Bristol from the 10th to the 24th December. With wooden chalet style stalls, homemade crafts and German foody treats, it wont take too much imagination to feel like you are miles away and surrounded by snow.

The appropriately named St Nick’s market is an amazing place to go any time of the year, again an opportunity to support independent retailers selling almost anything you could need and making sure you don’t go hungry while you’re there. Add in an extra Christmas market which is open from the 13th December until Christmas, catering for the more organised shopper to the last minute Christmas Eve crew and you’re in the right place.

If you’re putting in the hours at the weekend rather than a quick pop to the Christmas markets in your lunch break, the Harbourside Christmas Market is a great place to go. 45 stalls under the bustling Covered Walkway will be selling their wares every weekend from the 25th November up until Christmas Eve. Of course, there will be live music and once again a plethora of food and drink and Bristol festive fun.

Also keep an eye out for pop up shops and smaller markets, including those at; The Island, Colston Hall, and The Architecture Centre to name but a few.

Xmas Events Bristol

Festive Fun

You’ve finished your Christmas shopping and been to see Santa and it’s only the middle of December, let’s check out what else you can do in Bristol to keep up the Christmassy vibes going.

It’s time to make the most of the chance to ice skate in Bristol again.

In Millennium Square there’s something for all the family; a fair, the Big Wheel, ice skating and not forgetting an Apres Bar to snuggle up in afterwards. The ice rink will be there from the 18th November until the 16th January so could even be a fun activity between Christmas and New Year with visiting family and friends.

At this time of year it is also home to the Spiegeltent. As the name suggests, it’s a tent but no festival pop up job, it is a huge round tent with carved panels and stained glass windows, hosting Christmas parties, masquerade balls, baby discos and lets not forget, Santa.

If you are looking for something out of town, Santa’s Enchanted Ice Castle at the Mall might have what you’re looking for. That is if you are looking for Santa, light displays, train rides and ice skating all in a Winter Wonderland. You’ve got until Christmas Eve to see Santa and the 7th January for all of the other shenanigans.

For an escape from the city, take a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum. Wrap up warm and wander through the trees to see a magical light display along the trail. While you’re there, there’s a Christmas Village, Father and Mother Christmas and a choir.

Just thinking about all that Bristol has to offer over the festive period makes me wish that it could be Christmas every day..! Happy Christmas one and all.

 

Bristol Street Art – Bristol street art graffiti scene guide

bristol street art

Bristol Street Art

Bristol is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a vibrant past. It’s a place where old-world charm harmoniously meets urbanism – a concoction that continues to lure people from all over the world.

As well as its historic past, part of what makes Bristol’s iconic landscape so familiar (and yet ever changing) is the street art.

Evident throughout the city, Bristol’s graffiti and street art scene is one of the largest in the UK. It’s a mesmerising medley of colours, ideas, styles and cultures – a visual simile of the city itself.

If you want to experience the Bristol street art graffiti scene for yourself you can just take a walk, paint the town red (excuse the pun) and keep your eyes peeled.

But if you fancy something with a little more focus, there are several events and organisations that will help you find the best street art Bristol has to offer.

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

The Bristol Street Art Graffiti Scene

Graffiti Bristol

Where The Wall

Inspired by the lively Bristol street art scene, Where the wall offers a cultural, artistic experience for kids and adults alike.

The award-winning company provides street art tours throughout the city, one of which is the longest running in Bristol.

For two glorious hours, Where the wall will guide you through the city streets every Saturday and Sunday, to ogle at 30 years of fantastic and visually mesmerising Bristol street art, which you may have otherwise missed.

Their intimate knowledge of the graffiti – and the artists – steams from a passion of the art form, as well as their personal expertise (some members of the team have even grown up with Banksy).

Where the wall also offers unique team-building events (either at their HQ or at your chosen location), giving your team or party the chance to make their very own street art stencils, or work together to create a giant masterpiece.

It’s a great option for any stag do or hen weekend, who are looking for a completely unique activity for their stay in Bristol.

Bristol Art

Graft Workshop

Another great activity option for Bristol stag and hen weekends is Graft. Their customised packages will undoubtedly get all of your party involved; start with a walking tour of the best Bristol street art before you get your hands dirty and give street art a whirl!

As well as pre-nuptial parties, Graft offer workshops for all ages, for all the budding Banksy’s out there!

Banksy Bristol

Banksy; Bristol’s Father Of Street Art

Recognised around the world as the master of street art, Banksy was born and bred on the streets of Bristol.  He wealds a spray can like no other, and has sold his works all over the world for thousands of pounds.

Banksy’s politically fuelled art appears across the city, where he’s chosen to bless his hometown with some of his most iconic Bristol street art pieces.

Take the Banksy tour through Bristol and keep your eyes peeled for much-loved work, such as the Well Hung lover, The Mild, Mild West and the Grim Reaper.

Banksy’s hidden identity undoubtedly adds to his allure, but his popularity and success is rooted in his unquestionable talent.

Street Art Bristol

Upfest

Upfest, Europe’s largest free street art and graffiti festival has called Bristol home for a number of years, and only gets more popular with the passing of time.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in July, gifted graffiti artists from 50 countries will pile into the city to paint 60,000 square feet of surfaces for the Bristol street art weekend.

Spread over 50 locations south of the river, the event welcomes 50,000 visitors, who flock to the streets and enjoy live music, workshops, art sales and delicious street food.

From independent food and drink retailers, to hair graffiti, homemade produce and high quality clothing, the streets are filled stalls that offer something for everyone.

Many of the bars and pubs along Bristol’s North street in Bedminster take part in the festival-esque spirit, and welcome street artists to spruce up their walls inside and out with live spray painting (outside) and framed pictures donning the interiors.

 

Bristol Balloon Fiesta – Our guide to Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta Hero

Bristol Balloon Fiesta - Guide To Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

It always comes to that classic question; which came first, Bristol or the hot air balloons? Welcome to our guide to the famous Bristol Balloon Fiesta, all you need to know.

Ok, so it might not be quite so well known as that chicken and egg one, but Bristol and hot air balloons do go hand in hand, with many an iconic Bristol scene being photographed with hot air balloons floating on by.

This perfect photo opportunity will be back in Bristol in August, with over 130 balloons set to take to the skies across the four-day festival, a great Spectacle if you are visiting for a Hen Weekend, or Stag do. The Bristol Balloon fiesta has stayed true to its vision 29 years ago, to provide a free show for the public, funded by local corporate sponsorship.

With just 27 balloons in the first year of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, hot air balloons now being synonymous with the Bristol skyline and it being Europe’s largest meeting of hot air balloons is an impressive feat.

(Please note the absence of predictable puns about numbers rising, people being blown away by the festival or it receiving glowing reports – it was hard to resist…well I nearly did it!)

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

Not All Hot Air - Our Guide To The Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Thursday 9th August 2018

The Fiesta’s first day opens at midday with Hot Air Balloons tethering through the afternoon. As we reach 6pm, our pilots are briefed on the weather for the first mass ascent of the Fiesta. At 9pm as dusk sets 25 of our hot air balloons turn into huge lights bulbs, glowing in time to our specially commissioned soundtrack, ‘Bristol’s Glowing’. Our evening finishes with a fantastic firework finale

12:00 FIESTA OPENS BALLOON TETHERING – LAUNCH FIELD
18:00 MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT
21:00 NIGHTGLOW AND FIREWORK FINALE
22:30 FIESTA CLOSES

Friday 10th August 2018

The Fiesta’s second day includes two mass hot air balloon lifts and an afternoon of Balloon Tethering.

06:00 FIESTA OPENS AND MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT
08:00 MODEL HOT AIR BALLOON COMPETITIONS
12:00 HOT AIR BALLOON TETHERING
18:00 MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT
20:30 FIESTA CLOSES

Saturday 11th August 2018

The Fiesta’s third day includes more mass hot air balloon lifts and our infamous nightglow and firework finale.

06:00 FIESTA OPENS AND MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT IN ASSOCIATION WITH CLASSIC FM
08:00 MODEL HOT AIR BALLOON COMPETITIONS
12:00 – 17:30 ARENA ENTERTAINMENT, INCLUDING…
18:00 MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT
21:00 NIGHTGLOW AND FIREWORK FINALE
22.30 FIESTA CLOSES

Sunday 12th August 2018

The Fiesta’s final day includes more mass hot air balloon lifts and model hot air balloon competitions.

06:00 FIESTA OPENS AND MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT IN ASSOCIATION WITH CLASSIC FM
08:00 MODEL HOT AIR BALLOON COMPETITIONS
12:00 – 17:30 ARENA ENTERTAINMENT, INCLUDING
18:00 MASS HOT AIR BALLOON LIFT
20:30 FIESTA CLOSES

Bristol Balloon Fiesta Night Glow

Balloons Everywhere...

One of the most unique things about The Bristol Balloon Fiesta is that you can enjoy it without even having to turn up.

This is where all the hills in Bristol are a real bonus, as the city boasts some prime spots with amazing views of the balloons and as you guessed it, being high up is the best place to be. At this time of year, you’ll see large groups of people out in the evenings in open, high, green spaces, and those people will all be in the know.

Rather than waiting for you to stumble across these groups of people to find out where you should be to get the best views of the balloons, now is the time to divulge. Not only do you get to check out a sky full of balloons, but it gives you the chance to really appreciate the incredible views over our beautiful city.

Whether you’re in North or South Bristol we have some great balloon spotting sites for you.

To get the best view of the hot air balloons you’re slightly at the mercy of the wind direction, but the places we have identified are reliable for seeing them when they go up from the Bristol Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta Night Glow Balloon

Where To See The Balloons Outside Of The Fiesta

In South Bristol, there are two great places, firstly, Bedminster Down. The evidence of this, even before the balloons go up, is the amount of people there.

There are so many people that burger vans often rock up to cash in on the opportunity.

Bedminster Down has a view over Ashton Court so whatever the wind direction you’ll always be able to see the hot air balloons.

As the next one is my local balloon viewing spot I feel a little reluctant to share it far and wide but here goes…Perrett Park.

There, I’ve done it. The park is a natural amphitheatre and faces towards the Bristol Balloon Fiesta so is a great place to be. With a playground there too and people cracking out the barbies, it has a real family feel and always has a great atmosphere as people await the first glimpse.

Balloon Fiesta Bristol

Seeing So Many Hot Air Balloons Is Incredible

Time to head over the river for the classic Bristol hot air balloon view locations, both of which need no introduction or real explanation.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge and The Downs are the best spots in North Bristol and are, surprise surprise, high up and close enough to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta to guarantee a great view and even more so, an amazing photo opportunity.

Seeing so many hot air balloons is incredible but there is more to the Bristol Balloon Festival and for that you need to get yourself down to Ashton Court at all sorts of times of the day.

The Fiesta kicks off on Thursday 9th August at midday with balloons tethering through the afternoon in preparation for the first mass ascent planned for 6pm.

That’s not it for the day though. As dusk sets, tethered hot air balloons light up in time to music followed by fireworks. That’s just day one!! If you miss the night glow on Thursday night, you get the chance to see it and the fireworks again on Saturday night.

It's All About Timing

If early mornings are your thing, or even if they’re not, you should take the chance to join some early birds huddled up with their bacon sandwiches watching the 6am mass ascent.

Not only is it the perfect chance to see an amazing sight of all of the balloons in the relative peace of the early morning but there’s always a feeling of solidarity and achievement when there’s a bunch of you who have all made it out at a time when you would otherwise be snoozing away.

Whatever time you get yourself to Ashton Court the Bristol Balloon Festival will not disappoint as there is plenty of entertainment and activities on site as well as with the sights.

Although the Fiesta itself is free, if you want to check it out, your transport will definitely need some planning as some roads will be closed and the parking there will need to be pre-booked.

International Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Our Top Tips

I have one more option here for you which combines the excitement of being at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta itself and the incredible views of the huge number of balloons soaring over Bristol.

Why not take to the air and go up in one of the balloons. This might not be the cheapest of options but would be an amazing opportunity to get an up close and personal view.

However you choose to be a part of this key date in Bristol’s calendar, you can be sure that it will be impressive and that you won’t be alone. The Bristol Balloon Fiesta always captures the imagination of the city and brings people together for four days of anticipation and enjoyment.

For more information, why not visit the official Bristol Balloon Fiesta website.

 

Top 5 Reasons to have a Hen or Stag party in Bristol

top reasons hen do bristol hero

Top 5 Reasons To Have A Hen Or Stag Party In Bristol

If some of you were lucky enough to get engaged over the festive period then this couldn’t come at a better time. We know that choosing where to have your last big bash before married life is a big decision. You will, only do it once after all. We are here to help ensure that you have the best send off possible. This is one decision you don’t want to get wrong so head to Bristol – you won’t be disappointed!

What is West Country Games?

West Country Games Home Page Logo

West Country Games embraces all the stereotypes of the West Country in one great day out, comprising of 9 totally hilarious games suitable for all sorts of groups.

If you have an upcoming, Stag do, Hen Weekend, Birthday Party or Team Building Day, then why not give us a try?

top 5 reasons for a bristol hen do

1. ACCOMMODATION

First thing to organise for any successful Hen or Stag do is a warm bed to stagger home to after one too many drinks. Whether you are saving all the pennies for the big day or want to indulge and treat yourself, Clifton Hotels will be able to help. Choose from four hotels which cover a range of price points, The Washington Guesthouse, The Clifton Hotel, The Rodney Hotel, the Berkeley Square Hotel and luxury apartments – Berkeley Suites (if you are feeling a little indulgent).

 

With this Bristol-born, independent hotel group, you can be sure of quality customer service and a great nights sleep, if that is you decide to get any! All are able to offer discounts for group bookings which will come in handy when you need to stretch the budget to pay for another round!

top 5 reasons for a bristol hen do

2. ACTIVITIES

No Hen or Stag do would be complete without some sort of activity that will make you all look ridiculous and keep you in stitches retelling the stories for the rest of the year. West Country Games offers just that.

 

Nine hilarious West Country inspired games, from Cider Run to Wurzel Knockout and our personal favourite, Welly Wanging. We recommend booking this nearer the start of the trip, it all look looks a bit much to tackle on a hangover; however we are sure some of you will be lad enough to take on that challenge…

top 5 reasons for a bristol hen do

3. BOATS

This may seem like a bit of strange one, but with the River Avon running right through the middle of the city we had to mention the wonderful array of boats you can wander onto and explore. If a civilised affair is what you have in mind, be sure to book a table at Glassboat. A delicious meal with lit up views over the river is probably just the thing to recover from a day wanging wellies. Alternatively head to Thekla for one of their infamous Pop Confessional nights if you feel up to it, where it will be guilty pop pleasures until 4 in the morning.

 

If you like the sound of this then we do recommend you head to Three Brothers for a very large burger to line your stomach beforehand! Trust us, you’ll be thanking us in the morning!

top 5 reasons for a bristol hen do

4. COCKTAILS

When is comes to cocktails, this is one thing that Bristol does not take lightly. Whatever your tipple may be there will be something heavenly waiting for you in one of the many speakeasies hidden across the city. These places are strictly need to know, but we’re sure your maid of honour/best man will be up to the challenge and will be able to get hold of the information easily…no pressure!

 

Our favourites include The Milk Thistle and Red Light, (there may be a clue in the name to one of those but we’ll leave that to you). If you want to get a bit more hands-on head to The Square Club where they offer the option of not one, but two cocktail master classes to suit your specific needs.

 

Be sure to pay attention though as there will be competition at the end of the class to test your knowledge and there’s a bottle of bubbly in it for the winner!

 

Turtle Bay also needs a shout out. If you’re starting early then this one is ideal as it’s two for one on all cocktails from 12-7pm.

top 5 reasons for a bristol hen do

5. BREAKFAST

When you wake up with a dry mouth and a sore head from partying a little too much the night before, craving anything and everything fried, breakfast will be King. And our vote for King of the hangover breakfast in Bristol is Racks Bar and Kitchen.

 

They serve breakfast until 10am which means you can savour a bit of extra time horizontal before attempting to stand up! Stomach the full English with all the trimmings or take it easy and go for poached eggs on sourdough with a choice of toppings.

 

With Bloody Marys on offer why not opt for hair of the dog and we’re sure you’ll be feeling ready for the day in no time!

bristol things to do