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Bristol Open Doors Explorer Launches This Weekend

Bristol Open Doors is back this weekend, but not as you know it. This year the city-wide festival is offering you the chance to explore the city with your own ‘Explorer wristband’ that allows you to choose from over 60 specially curated experiences. There will be 10,000 ‘adventures’ taking place across the city – so something for every taste!

The programme boasts a huge range of experiences to choose from, whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in audio tours, such as the Queer Bristol Tour, take a ride on a boat (the weather is set to be scorching), learn more about the Changing Harbour, Upfest, discover the history of Motion by daylight, tour Circomedia, Puppet Place or take an atmospheric audio tour in the Redcliffe Caves.

This year the festival features theatre performances at Ashton Court ‘Show of Strength’ -where audiences can explore a moment at home with the Smyths. From high born to low born, from Civil War to Second, World War and from first resident Hugh Smyth to Esme Smyth. Follow the Smyth’s and their servants through 400 years of Bristolian history. Full of family secrets, buried treasure and impostors, beautiful Ashton Court will never look the same again!

The Bristol Open Doors ‘Explorer wristband’ allows you to choose up to 4 of the 67 experiences which will keep you busy all weekend.

Anna Rutherford, Director at Bristol Open Doors explains;

“It’s been a busy lockdown for us, working with audio designers, artists and historians to create a living history of the city’s spaces, to be explored by socially distanced groups. This year, for the safety of our brilliant audiences, venues and volunteers, all experiences must be pre-booked online which allows us to keep group numbers safe. We're excited that this year's programme gets you behind the scenes of some of Bristol's cultural icons with plenty of surprises!”

All of the events from this year's incredible programme have been designed to ensure audiences feel safe and will each have a bookable time slot, with lots of experiences being outdoors, including 5 immersive audio tours, boat tours, and outdoor theatre.

It’s never been easier to be a tourist in the city for the weekend, and thanks to First Bus, you can now travel easily between venues as your ‘Explorer wristband’ entitles you to free travel across the city during Bristol Open Doors.

Anna continues with: “After an incredibly challenging few years for the heritage and culture sector, we’re supporting venues to re-open this September, and are asking audiences to join us in showing our city some love. Bristol Open Doors is organised by a charity and runs on a not-for-profit basis. Creativity and culture is at the heart of Bristol. This year we’ve worked with our city’s creatives to bring our Heritage to life.”

Included in this year's programme is the chance to tour Temple Church and see at close the specialist conservation that is happening. The leaning tower and walls of this large late medieval church survived bombing during the second world war. Tour the internal space led by historic experts and discover how the work will protect the building’s history and hear about the building’s unique features including the aumbry & reredos, repairs to stonework and the stone tracery of the windows.

Explorer wristbands are on sale for this year’s festival, and once purchased, you will then be able to book up to 4 experiences using your unique code. Head to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to find out more, or visit

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