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Top 8 reasons to come back to Bristol in 2018

Belongs to Jon Jerome

18 January 2018

2018 has already seen Bristol crowned as one of the most beautiful universities in the UK by Times Higher Education (THE) and one of the best places to visit by the New York Times. Alumni and friends alike are flocking from all corners of the globe to reconnect with their city. Steeped in history with a thriving culture of arts, it's not hard to see why students choose Bristol - or why they keep coming back after graduation.

1. Gromit Unleashed 2, Monday 2 July to Sunday 2 September 

Returning to Bristol for his second starring role in the charity's 2018 sculpture trail is Nick Park's much-loved character Gromit, who will be joined by his pal Wallace and arch nemesis Feathers McGraw. Gromit Unleashed 2 promises to be the most innovative sculpture trail yet, thanks to engineering students from the University of Bristol and pioneering technology companies and international engineering firms. 

2. 50th anniversary of St Paul's Carnival, Saturday 7 July

Paul Townsend - credit

After a two-year absence, the legendary St Paul’s Carnival dating back to the 1960s is to return next summer, celebrating the city's African-Caribbean culture in style. Picture: Paul Townsend

3. Being Brunel, Opening Thursday 22 March

A new national museum celebrating the life and legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel will open this year. The University's Brunel Collection is described as the finest collection of original Brunel source material and in a collaborative venture in 2010 it moved to the Brunel Institute at the SS Great Britain. You can also read about alumna and Brunel’s descendant, Morwenna Wilson (MEng 2005), who has been following in his footsteps.

4. Alumni Reunion, Friday 13 July to Sunday 15 July

An ideal opportunity to catch up with old friends, join us for our Alumni Reunion 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 2017 Best of Bristol Alumni Weekend on Flickr. 

5  Bristol Old Vic reopens, September

The oldest continuously working theatre in the country will reopen with the theatre’s facade seen from King Street for the very first time. Among other changes, there will also be a new studio theatre, improved Coopers’ Hall and celebration of the theatre’s archives.

6  Bristol Shakespeare festival, July 2017

Founded by Bristol graduate Miles Gregory (PhD 2008), the Bristol Shakespeare Festival is an annual festival taking place throughout the month of July, hosting performances and events inspired by the Bard in alfresco and unusual spaces across Bristol. 

7  Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August

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 new hot air balloon flown by students from the Bristol University Hot Air Ballooning Society (BUHABS).

8. Open doors days, Friday 14 September to Sunday 16 September

‌‌Wills Memorial Building

Tower tours are available all year-round and tour guides give a unique insight into the history of the Wills Memorial building, but what about other University buildings? Bristol Doors Open Days is a once-a-year chance to look behind closed doors and discover the city’s hidden treasures. You can explore fascinating buildings, join guided tours and enjoy a range of events and activities such as the University’s Theatre Collection and Botanic Garden – all for free. 

Further information

Feeling inspired? For more things to do in Bristol in 2018, take a look at Visit Bristol's 118 things to do in Bristol in 2018.