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Top 7 reasons to come back to Bristol in 2017

Bristol view from Cabot

4 January 2017

Throughout the year, Bristol's alumni and friends flock from all corners of the globe to reconnect with their city. Steeped in history with a thriving culture of arts, engineering and innovation, it's not hard to see why students choose Bristol - or why they keep coming back after graduation. Here are our top picks for 2017:

1  In Between Time Festival, Wednesday 8 to Sunday 12 February

IBT17 Bristol International Festival

Bristol is the place to be for creatives ahead of the IBT Bristol International Festival, a five-day arts festival in partnership with the University of Bristol. Join them for a diverse and unique offering of dance, theatre, live art and music, with 40 artists featured over 10 venues across the city – one of which, Winston Theatre, is inside the University’s own Students’ Union.

2  Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival, Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 March

Macy Gray

Enjoy the best of jazz from Bristol and beyond at one of the city’s biggest annual music events. Among many others, 2017’s line-up includes Grammy award-winner Macy Gray and ‘Sounds for Spies & Private Eyes’, a musical spectacular featuring Bristol’s own Adrian Utley (of Portishead fame). Picture: © Bruce Baker

3  Bespoked: The UK Handmade Bicycle Show, Friday 7 to Sunday 9 April

The famous hilly landscape of Bristol makes it one of the best cycling cities in the UK. Combining an international outlook with an independent philosophy, Bespoked is an annual exhibition which celebrates the independent makers and designers of the bicycle world. Elsewhere in the city, University of Bristol engineers helped Olympic cyclists to have the smoothest ride to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

4  Wills Memorial Building Tower Tours, weekly on Saturdays and on the first Wednesday of the month

Wills Memorial Building

Some of the best views in Bristol are from the top of the Wills Memorial Building; the view from the top of Wills Tower, some 68 metres above Park Street, is unparalleled. Tower tours are available year-round and tour guides give a unique insight into the history of the building, which was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1925 before being badly damaged during the Blitz in 1940. 

5  Best of Bristol Alumni Weekend, Friday 14 to Sunday 16 July

An ideal opportunity to catch up with old friends, join us for our Alumni Weekend to rediscover the beauty and vibrancy of Bristol and to reflect on fond memories of your University years. For a sneak preview, take a look at the pictures from our 2016 Best of Bristol Alumni Weekend on Flickr.

6  Opening of Aerospace Bristol, Summer 2017

Aerospace ‌‌

Be inspired by Bristol’s role in technological innovation at the opening of Aerospace Bristol, a new museum and learning centre based at Filton. The museum will honour Bristol’s world-class aerospace industry of past, present and future. At the centre will be Concorde 216, which was designed, built and tested in Bristol, and the last Concorde to be built and to fly. In 2016, University of Bristol graduate Emma England flew the flag for aerospace in Bristol when she won the Best of British Engineering Award at the Semta Skills Awards.

7  Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 August

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2017

Soar to new heights and enjoy Bristol’s world-famous annual balloon festival, the largest in Europe. Enjoy glowing balloons, bustling stalls and air shows, and see if you can spot the University’s very own hot air balloon, kindly flown by students from the Bristol University Hot Air Ballooning Society (BUHABS).

You can also get back in touch with the University by visiting the recently-opened Beacon House café, public reception and study centre. 

Further information

Feeling inspired? For more things to do in Bristol in 2017, take a look at Visit Bristol's 117 things to do in Bristol in 2017.