An autumn weekend in Bristol

Ideas and options for a short break in the south west’s cultural hub

The summer is drawing to a close; kids’ holidays are rolling into their final weekend, preparations for renewed contracts and work commitments are also beginning to pick up steam.

September remains a transitional month; a month in which more than the seasons change. With summer holidays becoming an expensive and often competitive affair, as high demand over dates often leads to issues with accommodation or travel, the focus is always on big family trips and having the time of your life.

But saving a little time and money and giving yourself a break come early autumn is an excellent way to keep the mind and body fresh, and enjoy a little holiday in your own backyard. Bristol is a great spot to visit for a British staycation or holiday weekend; a hub for culture and a great base for outdoor pursuits and even hot air ballooning, there’s plenty to recommend it.

An ultimate pampering weekend might also include a day trip to Bath and its Thermae Bath Spa complex, following the Roman tradition which gave the town its name. Various water pools of differing temperatures are combined with the chance for massages and hot stone therapies. Look out for special offers and discounts on the website – there are good offers for pairs coming later at night; the Twilight Package is one to look out for.

Or perhaps you are after the complete opposite, and want to do something really active with your weekend, that still might combine a night or two in a Bristol hotel with some serious bodily exercise. In that case, you’ll be delighted to know that applications for the 2012 Bristol Half Marathon are now open. Winding around the city on September 30th 2012, you can join the crowd and get your running shoes on.

Coming in at just over 13 miles in length, a half marathon is great challenge for first time runners looking to push themselves, or for those in the middle of marathon training who could do with some competition practice and a feeling of being in a big group race.

Culture vultures will also have plenty to investigate in Bristol this September and October. Arts favourites the Arnolfini and Watershed centres, both on the harbourside, are packed with interesting shows and events. The Performing Documents season, produced in conjunction with In Between Time, brings some excellent performers and ideas to the Arnolfini on 14th and 15th September.

And on 6th October, In Between Time will again present at the Arnolfini Still Standing You, an incredible look at male friendship through the physical performances of Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido.

If it’s film you are after then it’s a good idea to pop across the harbour to the Watershed, which has an excellent program of new, classic and independent films. There’s also a huge bar/café area open late into the night for big burgers or falafel wraps and beers before or after a showing.

Looking for a hotel in Bristol this autumn? Consider a stay at the Holiday Inn Bristol Filton hotel great value accommodation option.