Back bigger and bolder than ever before, Bristol Doors Open Days returns this September (7-10 September) to unlock the doors of our city's icons and best kept secrets. Triodos Bank will be open to the festival on Saturday 9 September before 5pm.

Free for everyone, the festival is a citywide celebration of Bristol's architecture, history and culture. Festival goers have four days to explore fascinating buildings, join guided tours, listen to inspiring talks, and enjoy a range of creative events and activities.

This year marks a significant time in the festival's 20+ year history, as in 2017 it sails past the century marker to open 108 venues across the city. Not only has it expanded its programme nearly by half, we are also in store for a feast of sensory overload. Experiencing the city in new ways, Bristol Doors Open Days 2017 theme of 'Sensing Space' invites attendees to touch, taste, smell and listen as well as look afresh at the many places opening from Thursday 7 - Sunday 10 September.

Festival producer Anna Farthing introduces this year's programme, saying: "We want to invite visitors to think about how the built environment interacts with the human body and all of our senses. From seeing the sun rise over the city to smelling the plants in a sensory garden, watching archive film projected in situ or hearing how sound interacts with architecture, we hope that Bristolians and visitors will be able to experience this fascinating city as never before."

Using all our senses to explore space, many of the 100+ venues are hosting specially devised tours and interactions. 

  • Follow your nose to see how scent affects your sense of space. From the tempting aromas of Avery's Wine Cellars and the Dawkins Ale brewery, to the more pungent perfumes of Bristol Sewage Treatment Works or Bristol Waste's depot.
  • Tickle your taste buds in carefully designed spaces where food growing provides enticement and intrigue. Go to Frenchay to see how Feed Bristol has transformed urban food production, lose yourself in the layout of the Malago Greenway Berry Maze, or get out to play at Windmill Hill City Farm or Golden Hill Community Garden.
  • Feel your way around the city as you take a dip into Henleaze Swimming Lake, dance across the sprung floor of the former Jacob Wells Baths and clamber into the man made tunnels of Redcliffe Caves.
  • Listen to the sounds of the city from sunrise to sundown. Join the dawn chorus from a church tower or hotel penthouse suite, appreciate the acoustic reverberations of diverse sacred spaces, or catch the pop-up choirs surprising visitors throughout the weekend.

Bevis Watts, Triodos Bank UK managing director, says: "Bristol is a hotbed of people and organisations doing things differently, including how we maximise the social value of our built environment. Bristol Doors Open Days is a premier showcase of all the innovative ways wellbeing and sustainable buildings interact.  We're looking forward to opening our doors and sharing our contribution to that vision."

With over 1,000 volunteers supporting the programme, there will be a warm welcome waiting behind a door, hatch or gateway in almost every ward of the city.  Step outside, become a tourist for a day, and see your city with new eyes.

Alongside sensory investigations, the festival has a host of interactive activity. An expanded walks and talks programme features the new Balloon Debate event, which will playfully contest the good, bad and ugly of our city's recent construction. Fun for the budding architects in our midst free family activities can be found in a vast majority of venues throughout the weekend. While creative community hubs are opening at All Hallows Church, Easton, and Shirehampton Public Hall, as part of the Architecture Centre's year-round programme Opening Doors to Heritage. Whatever your interest, there is sure to be something to spark your curiosity.

Brought to us by the Architecture Centre, Bristol's independent centre for design and the built environment, Bristol Doors Open Days is the largest festival of architecture in the South West.

Speaking at the festival's launch the director of the Architecture Centre, Sarah James, talks of the programme's importance; "It's impossible to go through a single day without encountering architecture. The built environment is intertwined with every facet of our lives - from our work to our homes to our hobbies and social lives. Our festival Bristol Doors Open Days is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get out into the city and explore the spaces and places they walk past every day. As our city expands and grows, we are proud to celebrate its design feats by engaging everyone in the conversation."

Launched this week at the Architecture Centre's harbourside gallery, the new bumper edition of a printed programme is revealed. In tandem the festival website switches on to announce the full list of venues, walks, talks and city wide animation - Bookings for pre-book venues open simultaneously, with sought-after venues likely to sell out in minutes.

Bristol Doors Open Days is supported by Historic England and National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Speaking at the launch, Sarah Staniforth, Committee Member of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, noted;"We're delighted to support the Bristol Doors Open Days festival thanks to money raised by National Lottery players. People of all ages will have the opportunity to step inside Bristol's significant buildings and places and discover the stories and people that make them so integral to the history and future of their city."

It's only six weeks away - so don't miss this one-a-year chance to look behind closed doors and discover the city's hidden treasures.  For full information of Bristol Doors Open Days visit the website - - and follow the festival on Twitter and Facebook with @BristolDOD #BristolDOD


Notes to editors:

Press release originally issued by Bristol Doors Open Days.

About Bristol Doors Open Days
Bristol Doors Open Days was established in 1994, and in 2013 the Architecture Centre took over coordinating the event. Each year the festival welcomes over 50,000 visitors to over 100 venues across the city for free walks, talks and building explorations. Getting us behind the door, the festival's singular purpose is to celebrate design and engage everyone in their city's architecture. Bristol Doors Open Days is part of the Architecture Centre's 'Opening Doors to Heritage' project, which is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund and by Historic England.

About the Architecture Centre
The Architecture Centre is Bristol's centre for design and the built environment. Based on Bristol's Harbourside, the Centre's mission is to encourage the understanding and enjoyment of architecture, and to champion better buildings and places for everyone. The Architecture Centre is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and has an ongoing partnership with the University of the West of England, Bristol.

About Heritage Open Days
Bristol Doors Open Days is presented in association with Heritage Open Days, England's largest heritage festival, which attracts over 3 million visitors nationwide. Celebrating local history, architecture and culture, the four-day event offers everyone the chance to see hidden places and experience something new - all of which are completely free to explore.

About Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF): 
Thanks to National Lottery players, the HLF invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

About Historic England 
Historic England is the public body that looks after England's historic environment. Historic England champions historic places, helping people understand, value and care for them.

About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €13.5 billion (2016) in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way.

With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 36 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.

Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request.