Autumn: where evenings get colder, days get shorter, and the heating (although, maybe not in student houses) finds its way on. It’s not all dreary though, for the coming months are also the time for Halloween-related movie nights, getting to layer up your outfits, and finding yourself bundled under blankets with a hot drink, listening to the rain outside. Despite the distinct seasonal change from Summer to Autumn, you can still make the most out of living in such a bustling and vibrant city; there’s a whole range of exciting and invigorating ways to spend weekends, evenings, or days off from university/work in Bristol. So, whether you prefer to spend the coming weeks preparing for Halloween festivities, or doing something more relaxed, here’s our guide on the best things to do in and around Bristol this Autumn.
Visit the Theatre
Bristol has a wonderful live-performance scene. From improv theatre to musicals at the Hippodrome, to heading down to King Street to go to the Old Vic. For any fellow literature lovers, Shakespeare’s Hamlet – his longest, and probably most popular play – is currently showcasing all through October and into November at the Old Vic. With tickets starting at just £3 for the preview (aka first few) shows, it’s a perfectly cheap, cultural experience in one of Bristol’s best-loved theatres. In fact, I think I’ve just about convinced one of my friends to come with me…
Alternatively, for those of you who prefer more light-hearted theatre trips and all things musical, the Hippodrome is putting on performances of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast until 12th November!
Chance and Counters
Chance and Counters is probably one of the coolest locations I’ve visited in Bristol. Located at the bottom of the wonderfully historic (and slightly daunting) Christmas Steps, it’s the city’s first ‘board game café’ – combining games with the social setting of a coffee shop. Book a table and spend a couple of hours challenging friends to their extensive range of board games – seriously, there’s over 800 to choose from. Order some food, a coffee, or even an alcoholic drink, as they’ve crafted a wide-ranging menu! In fact, on Wednesday afternoons, Chance and Counters host ‘boardsports’ nights – where students can get 3 for 2 cocktails until 5pm!
Arnos Vale Cemetery Film Showings
As part of the annual Bristol Film Festival, screenings are taking place at various different iconic locations around the city… with one of those locations being the Arnos Vale Cemetery. It seems only fitting to spend an October evening watching a Halloween-related film in the middle of a cemetery. With their resorted Anglican Church hosting the screenings, it sounds like a perfectly nightmarish evening surrounded by other Halloween fanatics. From Disney’s Hocus Pocus, to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, there’s a range of spooky film screenings to choose from. Be quick, though – tickets are going fast!
If you’re interested in some of the other locations and screenings for Bristol’s Film Festival, check out the website here.
Bristol is known for attracting various degrees of artists and creatives alike, and this is evidenced by the various different galleries and art experiences located around the city. Of course, Banksy is an old favourite, with some of his artwork popping up for public viewing throughout Bristol, but the city has a whole load of other artwork to explore. From the recently re-opened Royal West of England Academy located in Clifton, to Arnolfini – the city’s hub for the contemporary arts, down by harbourside. For the RWA, university students can access the galleries for free if you bring along your student ID card! In fact, entry into all of the galleries at Arnolfini is also free of charge – perfect for art lovers who want to explore Bristol’s creative scene on a low budget.
Wake the Tiger
Carrying on with the creative experiences Bristol has to offer, Wake the Tiger is a must-see for anyone that loves immersive art, neon, and all things experimental. Carefully curated by the same artistic team behind Boomtown Festival, Wake the Tiger isn’t any ordinary art exhibition, in fact, it’s described as the ‘world’s first Amazement Park.’ Intriguing, right? Branded as an experience where you’ll find yourself taking a trip into another portal, it’s definitely the most unique and exciting art experience in the city right now. If you’re all about freedom of expression in art, weird and wacky creative spaces, you won’t want to miss this.
Avon Valley Pumpkin Patch
Carving a pumpkin is a timeless classic on anyone’s Halloween to-do list, and a great activity for any student household – whether it be something to do to bond with your first-year flatmates, or for final-year students, as a distraction from your impending dissertations. Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park have a range of upcoming dates on which you can visit their designated pumpkin patch – you can even visit at night if you want an authentically spooky experience. For true horror fans, you could even experience Avon Valley’s very own Fear Scream Park (I’ll personally be sitting out for this one). Voted the UK’s Best Scream Park in 2022, it’s guaranteed to be an experience unlike any other.
Bristol’s very own independent cultural cinema situated right on the harbourside, Watershed is always screening something remarkable. With a diverse programme of films, there’s always something for every kind of film fanatic. Grab a drink or a bite to eat in their Cafe & Bar before heading down to the screen! This October, you could attend showings for films such as The Woman King, Moonage Daydream, Decision to Leave, or The Gravedigger’s Wife, just to name but a few…
Check out the full catalogue of Watershed’s spectacular screenings throughout the coming months here.
What will you be doing around Bristol this Autumn?