Destination: We're all off to... Bristol

Located approximately two hours from London by train, Bristol is a hub for creativity and events. Artist Banksy emerged from its art scene, meanwhile the International Balloon Fiesta takes place in the city each year.

Bristol is a hub for events and the arts (Paull Angharad/Destination Bristol)
Bristol is a hub for events and the arts (Paull Angharad/Destination Bristol)

What’s it known for?

Famous Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel carried out much of his work in Bristol, and the city has subsequently developed a reputation for its awe-inspiring structures.

These include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which spans the River Avon and offers views of Avon Gorge, Clifton and the city in the distance, as well as Bristol Temple Meads Station, the city’s oldest and largest railway station.

Each year teams from throughout the UK and beyond descend on the city for the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. The four-day event sees hot air balloons of various shapes and sizes ascend into the sky, and it attracts crowds in the thousands. This year’s event is taking place from 11-14 August.

The work of famous, and rather elusive, British graffiti artist Banksy emerged from Bristol’s underground scene, and areas of the city such as Stokes Croft and North Street are to go-to place for those interested in street art.

Bristol is also renowned for its various wide-open spaces, including Troopers Hill, Queen Square and Castle Park.

Famous sights

Bristol Harbour’s dockside area features a range of bars and eateries, and it is home to a series of famous boats, such as The Matthew, which explorer John Cabot sailed to America, and the ss Great Britain. Built in 1843 by Brunel, the mode of transport was rescued from the South Atlantic and returned to Bristol, where it now operates as a museum.

The 105ft Cabot Tower features prominently in the city’s skyline. Located at the centre of Bristol’s Brandon Hill park, it was built in 1897 to mark John Cabot’s aforementioned US voyage.

Other noteworthy buildings include the Grade 1 listed St Mary Redcliffe Church and the Bristol Cathedral, which is believed to be more than 1,000 years old.

A hotspot for brands

A number of brands have stopped off in Bristol over the last 12 months. Santander’s Breakthrough Concept, a pop-up designed to educate and inform SMEs visited the city last April, meanwhile locals were able to cool off with a free ice cream in July, thanks to the return of Uber’s free ice cream initiative. The brand's Christmas tree delivery service was also available in the city last December.

Desperados opted to include Bristol in its UK City Hack tour last August, and a number of Shaun the Sheep activities and exhibitions have visited the city - the most recent being the Gromit Unleashed exhbition in partnership with charity The Grand Appeal. Other brands that have activated in the locale of late include STA Travel, Arla cheese brand Castello, Aperol Spritz and Red Bull.

Yurt Lush 

Where to host an event

Colston Hall is the city’s largest concert hall, and is available to hire for meetings, conferences and weddings. Options include the 250-capacity Lantern space, the Terrace Bar can accommodate up to 200 people, and there are meeting rooms for between 16 and 30 delegates available.

Naomi Easy, sales and conference manager at Colston Hall describes Bristol as a historical, vibrant and cultural city. "It has excellent transport links as well as being one of the first cycling cities in the UK. There is always a lot to see and do including street art tours, a visit to the Clifton Suspension Bridge or a boat trip along the harbourside. We are proud to represent it and be a part of its vibrant cultural scene," she adds.

Look no further than Yurt Lush for something a little different, which comprises three Mongolian yurts. The spaces can be hired separately or together, and can collectively accommodate up to 100 guests.

Located in Bristol’s creative quarter, Paintworks is ideal for those seeking a large blank canvas space, meanwhile both Berwick Lodge and Ashton Court Mansion are situated on many acres of wide open land.


Plaster Communications, which counts Casio, Upfest, Metropolis, Arena Group and Grillstock among its clients, operates out of the Tobacco Factory in Bristol.

Director, Kellie Hasbury explains the city’s events heritage and creative reputation drew the team to Bristol in 2006. "It’s full of some of the most creative event businesses in the world and thanks to the proximity to Glastonbury that includes most of the UK’s best circus companies, prop makers and creatives. We’re privileged to call ourselves one of them.

"We get all the benefits of living in a big city with some fantastic talent around us, but with a quality of life that means we can all live within 15 minutes of the office whether we want a city centre apartment or country living," she adds.

Other agencies operating in the area include Motion Experiential, which works with the likes of Disney, Yorkshire Tea, Vodafone and Sunglass Hut, meanwhile Kreate Live has delivered experiential events, roadshows, sampling activity and stunts for brands such as Birds Eye, Virgin Holidays and Disaronno.

And another thing

Those eager to further explore Bristol’s art scene should head to the suburb of Totterdown, which is famous for its brightly coloured houses.

Yeo Valley Venues

Top tip

If you’re seeking an event space outside of Bristol, look no further than Yeo Valley Venues. Located just 15 miles from the city, the company offers six spaces to hire, with capacities ranging from six to 120. Chefs at the Yeo Valley Kitchen are on hand to create bespoke menus for events, and the café is now open to the public for weekday lunches.

More: Destination: We're all of to... Cardiff

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