The 2016 programme of Bristol Doors Open Day reveals more venues across a wider area than ever before. Over 80 buildings – large and small, icons and undiscovered – will open their doors on Saturday 10 September and Sunday 11 September for the annual look at the city’s architectural treasures. From 10am to 4pm, visitors can roam the streets, exploring venues not normally open to the public or enjoying the special tours and activities on offer, all FREE of charge. Whether you are a design aficionado or looking for free family fun, Bristol Doors Open Day has something for everyone.

What’s new?
A quarter of the programme is new this year, including never before seen places of the city. Go behind the scenes at The Bottle Yard Studios (set of Poldark, Wolfhall and Sherlock), the Puppet Palace and even the Medical Simulation Centre where doctors practise on dummies. Transforming old to new, conversions are also a popular newcomer such as the Wardrobe Theatre conversion of a bank and the Floating Harbour Studio conversion of a Dutch sand barge.

Weekend highlights:

  • Bring your torch to visit Bristol’s underbelly at Redcliff Caves, Bristol Temple Meads tunnels, St John on the Wall crypt and the chambers of Clifton Suspension Bridge
  • See the changing forms of public bathing in the city from the baths of Kings Weston Roman Villa to the Edwardian Cloakroom and the art deco Slipper Baths
  • Discover how buildings can contribute to wellbeing at Southmead Hospital Bristol, Glenside Hospital Museum and Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine
  • See art in architecture with partners Bristol Biennial 2016: In Other Worlds at the Our Colour installation at Pithhay and the futuristic fete at Hengrove Mounds Festival of Ancients
  • Learn how the workplace revolution puts innovation and sustainability front and centre at  Arup Bristol, Triodos Bank, Bristol Water Head Office and Filwood Green Business Park
  • Free family activities are hosted at over 40 venues, making the weekend the perfect place for budding creatives. Try churning butter at Blaise Castle House Museum, walking the tightrope at Circomedia St Pauls Church or exploring Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust

Venues across Bristol
The city-wide festival takes place across a wider area than ever before, inviting you to get out and explore your local neighbourhood. New to the programme this year are buildings clustered in Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe & Hengrove and Old Market. To get around the city on Saturday, hop on board Vintage Buses for a free nostalgic ride. For full venue listing visit the website.

Bristol Doors Open Day is run by the Architecture Centre, which celebrates its 20th birthday this September. Centre Manager of the Architecture Centre, Christine Davis, says:

Bristol Doors Open Day is a highlight in our packed September programme of anniversary events and activities, which also include an exhibition, symposium, talks and family activities. We are delighted to be showcasing the best of Bristol design, old and new, and celebrating our past, present and future.

A busy weekend all round, Bristol Doors Open Day is part of the national Heritage Open Doors event across the UK (8-11 September 2016) and will coincide this year with the Tour of Britain bike race passing through Bristol on Saturday 10 September.

Bristol Doors Open Day 2016 is part of the Architecture Centre’s ‘Opening Doors to Heritage’ project, funded by Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Nerys Watts from Heritage Lottery Fund South West says of the programme:

The Bristol Doors Open Day is a fantastic event that brings tens of thousands of people together to discover rarely seen heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players, our grant is ensuring this year’s event is bigger than ever before with more places to see and more activities to get involved in. We hope everyone has a fun and inspiring weekend.

Find out more
The website – bristoldoorsopenday.org.uk – has a full list of venues, updates and further information. Free guides are available from the Architecture Centre, Bristol Tourist Information Centre, libraries and other public venues. Advance booking is required for some tours and activities, see individual entries in the programme and on the website. Other tours do not require pre-booking, though numbers may be limited. Keen design detectives should sign up for email updates and keep checking bristoldoorsopenday.org.uk for the latest news on how to book.
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