UNLOCK THE CITY

Opening the doors of Bristol’s best buildings

14-16 September

NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2018

  • Saturday10AM - 3PM
  • Sunday10AM - 3PM

Event Update: Please note this event is a prebook event only. It is not drop-in a previously stated in the printed programme. 

  Ever wondered where your recycling goes once it has left your kerbside? Discover how valuable materials are separated and processed at the Albert Road depot. Take a tour of the transfer station and see what it takes to clean Bristol's streets.   Safety Requirements: Please note prior to booking the following safety requirements apply:
  • Safety shoes will need to be worn where available, if not all attendees must wear sturdy shoes (no sandals, crocs or pumps). Children are encouraged to wear wellies.
  • High Visibility waistcoats will be issued on the day
  • All children will have to be accompanied by adults on a 1:1 ratio
  • No unaccompanied walking around the site will permitted
  • No smoking is allowed on-site

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  • Friday9AM
  • Saturday9AM
  • Sunday9AM

Sweep yourself along the Floating Harbour on this unique stand-up paddleboarding tour, guided by qualified SUP Bristol instructors and an architecture expert. Perfect for early risers, and surely the best way to start your festival weekend. You'll need a moderate level of fitness but no previous paddleboarding experience is required.

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  • Saturday2PM - 4PM

How can Bristol become a city that allows children from all backgrounds to thrive? Led by Arup and based on their research about designing for children, this workshop will explore the importance of considering the young as the city rapidly develops. Suitable for all ages.  

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  • Saturday10AM - 4PM

Gain exclusive insight into the workings of an innovative asphalt plant, with tours every half hour. Discover how green technology fuels the manufacturing process and learn how asphalt is made and used. Climb the tower for estuary views and see the remains of a Second World War gun emplacement.

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  • Saturday10AM - 12.30PM
  • Sunday10AM - 4PM

Be among the first to explore Bristol Old Vic’s multi-million-pound redevelopment before it opens fully to the public. Sneak a peek into the brand new, fully accessible foyer with its floor to ceiling glass windows, hear about the design from the Project Team themselves, and glimpse some of what’s been uncovered of the theatre’s 252-year history in specially curated tours.

Due to the ongoing site activity, we are no longer able to offer a preview of the nearly completed Studio Theatre or Coopers’ Hall, as mentioned in the Bristol Open Doors brochure.

Please note that tours have limited capacity and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

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  • Saturday11AM - 5PM

Get behind the stark and imposing exterior of this Grade II listed building and be surprised by its light and spacious interior. Marvel at the striking angular design, constructed from board marked white concrete. Admire the font, the stained glass and the Stations of the Cross, all of which are are unique works of art.

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  • Saturday10AM - 4PM
  • Sunday10AM - 4PM

Take a sneak peek at this private members' club hidden in the heart of Clifton Village. Join guided tours to see the vast Regency rooms of the Grade II* listed building. As the Club celebrates its 200th anniversary, hear splendid stories and admire artefacts from the last two centuries.

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  • Friday5PM
  • Saturday10AM - 3PM
  • Sunday10AM - 3PM

Look differently at an area you thought you knew in this walk with civil engineers Ramboll. Find out how engineering projects have shaped Bristol's historic centre and imagine how the built environment might be altered again in the future. Also join hands-on engineering activities at their Queen Square office, running 10am-4pm, Sat & Sun.

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  • Sunday10AM - 4PM

See how a new citizen-led approach to development can work at TAM, an innovative low-carbon, prefabricated timber and straw home. The organisation behind the project, We Can Make, is re-imagining legal, financial and policy frameworks so that real people can become the developers of their own affordable homes.   We Can Make presents an inspiring vision at a time in which the city is in desperate need of new, low cost housing. Visit this venue for an alternative perspective what on urban house-building might look like.

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  • Friday3PM, 4.30PM

Join architects from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios for a tour of the recently refurbished Richmond Building, a concrete icon within Clifton Conservation Area. Find out how they have improved the building’s efficiency, sustainability, accessibility and inclusivity whilst retaining its modernist spirit.

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  • Sunday10AM - 3PM

See how a group of nondescript warehouses have become the home to a variety of worlds - including Wolf Hall, Broadchurch, The Crystal Maze and Poldark. Take a tour to learn about the development of the production studios, and open doors onto the thriving television industry right here in Bristol.

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Dive to the hidden depths of Bristol’s past and into the network of tunnels underneath Temple Meads Station, originally designed by Brunel. Catch a glimpse of the air raid shelter and the original vaults used to service the station and trains. These tours are always extremely popular so book early.

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  • Saturday10AM - 4PM

Lose yourself in the story of this community maze. Learn how volunteers have constructed a sustainable garden to bring life to a forgotten patch of the city. Try your hand at a berry quiz and sample some berry cakes - you might not want to find your way out!   Learn how this construction, featuring 16 types of berries, has been built solely by volunteers to transform a disused space. See the concrete slab at the centre of the maze, which is believed to be the foundation of an old scout hut, and enjoy the planters, wooden benches, a fantastic mosaic designed by the children from Parson Street Primary School, and an impressive large-scale reproduction of the initial map of the maze.

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  • Friday11AM - 3PM
  • Saturday11AM - 3PM
  • Sunday11AM - 3PM

Get stuck in at the community art centre for Withywood and Hartcliffe. A busy schedule of family friendly workshops will explore the history of the local area, with activities for pre-schoolers on Friday and for all ages over the weekend. Unwind with a cake at the in-house café.   Hear how community interest company Brave Bold Drama took over the running of the space in May 2017, and have established a programme of community events for families, courses for local teenagers, creative evening classes for adults, inter-generational arts activities, and a rehearsal space for Bristol-based theatre makers.

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