A Tale As Old As Time, but somehow never gets old!
Last night I visited Bristol Hippodrome with Otis (5) to see Beauty And The Beast The Musical for their press night. I will admit this was my 4th time seeing the show, yet it still managed to blow me away, made me gasp at the magical affects and triggered emotions in me throughout. If you’ve never seen it, I recommend booking a ticket at Bristol Hippodrome before it finishes on 12th Nov. If you’ve already seen it, I recommend seeing it again!
After the prologue in which the back-story to the Beast’s curse is told, the show immediately starts full of energy as we are transported to a provincial village complete with an ensemble full of character, giving a perfect insight into the day-to-day lives of the villagers through beautifully choreographed song and dance.
I’m sure most of you will already know the storyline of Beauty And The Beast and how it is a story told through a rollercoaster of happy and light-hearted humour as well as dark and mysterious scenes. The Musical echoes the original family-favourite Disney movie, but with additional songs and even extra interactions between characters, such as between Belle and her father.
Throughout the show Lumiere (Alyn Hawke) and Cogsworth (Nigel Richards) bounced off each other’s humour in a way that had the whole audience smiling as we watched how the unlikely friends bonded so well. This humour teamed with the hopeless clumsiness of Le Fou (Louis Stockil) made for a serious story shown through a light-hearted manner, making it perfect for children too.
In such a musical, it is so difficult to pull out favourite scenes as they all play into each other perfectly, but there are definitely standout moments that had the audience gasping, emotional and erupting in applause.
The Tavern scene was perfectly executed as Gaston (Tom Senior), Le Fou (Louis Stockil) and the Ensemble brought to life the aesthetic of a small, French tavern. As they performed “Gaston”, the audience were treated to brilliant choreography featuring metal tankards being clashed in beat with the song, all over the stage. There were even a few “magic trick” style stage affects that made it look like real arrows were being fired and guns were being shot on stage.
We were then treated to the “Be Our Guest” scene which (if you’ve ever seen the film) had a lot of high expectations to meet, but managed to exceed them in every way. Tap-dancing, synchronised floor dancing, epically strong vocals, humour, transforming costumes, illusion-style staging and captivating lighting – you name it, this scene had it! And then it ended with cannons of streamers being fired into the audience which, as you can imagine, had everyone cheering in glee (Otis in particular couldn’t contain his excitements as the streamers fell all around us)!
It wasn’t just the busy scenes with a large cast on stage that impacted the audience though. The Beast’s (Shaq Taylor) performance of “If I Can’t Love Her” was so full of emotion that it truly felt like the Beast was singing from the heart there and then instead of remembering a well-rehearsed lyric sheet. Even as one person on stage, the scene was powerful and Shaq had the whole audience listening intently to every word.
This power is then echoed in Belle’s (Courtney Stapleton) lone performance of “A Change In Me”. Courtney absolutely blew the roof off the theatre and at the end (rightly so) the audience erupted in applause after being taken aback by such a strong vocal performance, delivered through deep emotion.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen the film and this show, the ending always gets the better of me. I’m not sure how many dry eyes there were as all the castle characters transformed back to their human selves, but mine certainly wasn’t one of them as Mrs Potts (Sam Bailey) was reunited with her son chip (Zayne Norris) who came running into her arms on stage. Beauty And The Beast The Musical has a truly magical way of taking you into the lives of its characters and experiencing this journey of love, loss, humour and desperation with them. It’s a story of falling in love that we can all relate to with a meaningful moral that we can all learn from. A 10/10 must-see show for the whole family!
Beauty And The Beast The Musical is on at Bristol Hippodrome until 12th November withh matinee performances on various week and weekend days until then. Tickets are available from £20 per person and there is a special performance for a visually impaired audience on Wednesday 19th October.
Hello you lovely lot! As you probably know, we live in the beautiful city of Bristol and although we travel around a lot and adventure in various places around the UK, there really is no place like home when it comes to fab family days out this summer! So, we have a few weeks left of the summer holidays and if you’re running out of ideas for how to spend that time with the kids, check out our suggestions below. We know that long lists of places to go and things to do can be quite overwhelming with the pressure of entertaining our kids so we have picked just our top 10 favourite suggestions which will be a fun day out for the whole family. Also make sure you scroll to the bottom to read about Visit Bristol’s hashtag challenge and how you could win some fabulous prizes!
1) Bristol Zoo’s Big Summer Send-Off
There are so many reasons to visit Bristol Zoo this summer, but none as strong as the fact that after 186 years of being open, sadly the zoo will shut its doors in Clifton for good on 3rd September. This is your last chance to visit the site and reminisce about your fondest memories from the zoo.
Bristol Zoo are pulling out all the stops to go out with a bang! You can meet a giant gorilla called Wilder and her baby Monty-Alan. Together they are the magnificent centrepiece for the zoo’s send-off celebrations. They are made out of wood donated by Westonbirt Arboretum and entertain visitors with music, movement and maybe even a little water spraying! Alongside this you are invited to share your fondest memories of visits to the zoo by writing them on strips of ribbon and tying them to the wall of memories. Of course you can also explore the zoo as usual, cool off in the splash area, dine in the restaurant, take to the treetops with ZooRopia, play in the adventure playground, get lost in the maze, wander through the butterfly house and say a farewell to the animals.
2) Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park
This is the family day out this summer that just keeps on giving. From pig races to dinosaur safaris, you are not short of fun activities to do at Avon Valley. There is so much going on to keep the whole family entertained.
The park is open 10am-5pm every day with a full programme of events wether it’s a weekday or the weekend, including an awesome foam party at 4pm. Here are other activities you can join in with:
Small animal cuddles, raptor encounters. Meerkat talks, stage shows, pig racing, lawn games, barn owl talks, pony grooming, dinosaur meet and roam, pig playtime, soft play, crazy golf, go-carting, climbing wall, miniature railway rides and even a dance off!
3) SS Great Britain
If you’re looking for a brilliant family day out that also makes you fall in love with our city and it’s history that little bit more, SS Great Britain is perfect! This magnificent ship has lots to offer visitors of all ages.
SS Great Britain transports their visitors to the life of a Victorian traveller in the 1850s through the tour around the ship, original features, staged rooms and antique props. To add to this for the summer, visitors can now transport their tastebuds back in time too with the Dishes Of Discovery activity. This is free with admission and it is your chance to taste the world with some of the samples of exciting dishes and historic recipes from Mumbai, Cape Town and Crimea – where the ship would have sailed to.
For the more adventurous visitors, there is a thrilling activity called Go Aloft! where visitors can don a harness and helmet and climb up the ship’s original rigging to the crow’s nest. It’s a brilliant experience which not only offers an insight into the hard work of the sailors at sea (without harnesses!), but also great views of the harbourside around the ship.
Your tickets include 1 year of unlimited returns.
Dishes Of Discovery ends on 4th September.
Go Aloft! is £10 per person and will take 20-30 mins depending on the speed of individuals – this is an ongoing activity throughout the year.
Opening hours of SS Great Britain are 10am-6pm, Monday-Sunday.
4) Bon Voyage at Bristol Aquarium
The aquarium is always a great way to spend a few hours because there’s always something different to see on every visit. This summer, the main foyer has been transformed into a port terminal hub and the deli cafe has become the departure lounge for their “Bon Voyage” event. Visitors are given their own passport as they enter which can be stamped as they join in with talks and activities to explore the world’s oceans. It’s a great way to interact with the marine life in the giant tanks and understand them better.
This is especially fun for the kids to search for the animal postcards and tick them off in their passports, take part in a postcard colouring competition, and visit all of the extra activities throughout the day.
Opening hours have been extended from 10am until 6pm every day in the Summer to allow for plenty of time for extra exploring!
All additional activities are included with admission.
Ends on 4th September.
5) Summer Of Rockets at Aerospace Bristol
This summer is the Summer Of Rockets at Aerospace Bristol! There are daily rocket-themed activities where visitors can decorate tiles to contribute to the decoration of a huge rocket, attend Spotlight Talks to learn about rockets, launch outdoor water rockets to try to reach the leader board at the firing range and of course visitors can see real rockets on display too.
Aerospace is also home to the last Concorde to fly so it offers visitors a unique opportunity to not only see a real Concorde up close, but climb on board too! It’s a magnificent piece of engineering to experience and the museum itself is incredibly educational with lots of interactive stations. There is also a trail that children can take part in and stamp their cards with different aircraft images as they walk around and learn about them.
Outside there is a sweet playground in the shape of an aircraft and helicopter as well as an undercover seating area and there is a cafe on site too selling hot and cold food – including ice creams!
Admission tickets for Aerospace allow you unlimited returns for a year after purchase.
The Summer Of Rockets event ends on 2nd September.
Aerospace Bristol is open 10am-4:30pm 7 days a week during the holidays (closed on Mondays from 3rd September).
6) Elephant Parade at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Just when you think Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm can’t get any more Ele-fantastic than it already is, they go and add an elephant sculpture parade for summer! That’s right, when you visit the zoo before the end of August you will get to see a herd of 26 hand-painted decorative elephant sculptures on display around the site. This fun trail comes with a picture checklist that children can tick off as they discover each sculpture, earning themselves a fun sticker too! It’s a brilliant trail that combines art, conservation, education and sustainability and adds even more elephant fun to an already great day out at Noah’s Ark.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has lots of real elephants to visit too who are always a favourite with the visitors. Other brilliant animals at the farm include lions, giraffes, rhinos, zebra, giant tortoises, camels, gibbons, lemurs, meerkats, bears and so many more. As well as that, there are also some brilliant playgrounds around the park which include a zip line, trampolines and the infamous elephant “butt slide”! There are talks on throughout the day and you can also get up close with the giant tortoises as an animal encounter option (additional charge).
On site there is also a restaurant, soft play area and indoor play centre too.
The Elephant Parade trail ends on 31st August and is included with admission.
The site is open 10:30am-5pm 7 days a week and includes bank holidays.
7) Wake The Tiger
Wake The Tiger is a brand new attraction that has arrived in Bristol this summer and it’s one to add to that summer holidays bucket list!
What is it? Well, that’s a great question haha! In a nutshell – Wake The Tiger is a fantastical, interactive and immersive art experience which is an edgy alternative to an art gallery. Through a magical portal, visitors are transported to the magical realms of Meridia. There are 27 unique artistic rooms to explore which ignite the imagination of both children and adults. There are secrets to discover and mystical things to interact with making for an unforgettable experience.
Wake The Tiger is brought to us by the team who have been creating Boomtown Fair for the past 10 years and the creators are so pleased to have established this more permanent Amazement Park in our city of Bristol.
It’s open to visitors of all ages and although creepy in some places, even the smallest children adjust to the new world quickly as their intrigue and wonder gets the better of them!
During August, Wake the Tiger is open 10am-10pm 7 days a week, last entry is 8:30pm. It is recommended to book your tickets in advance.
8) The Beach at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway
The Summer Beach is back this year and it’s free! The pop-up beach is the perfect place to relax and for the children to cool off in the heat with the golden sand, palm trees and water play fountains. There is an ice cream van on site with delicious cold treats available.
The beach is open all summer long until early September: Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm, Saturday: 9am – 5.30pm and Sunday: 10.30am – 5pm.
The beach is located at the front of the centre, near the garden.
9) Hoo-Ha! Festival
The Hoo-Ha! Festival is free and taking place at Bristol Beacon 17-19th August. It will be a brilliant three daysof music, dancing and activities for little ones and their families to get involved with.
For kids looking to get crafty, workshops run by Let’s Make Art and Aardman Animations will spark their creative sides with a range of artistic activities.
Attendees can go on an out-of-this-world adventure by travelling across the solar system inside the Explorer Dome.
A range of quieter activities will also be running throughout the three days, including an illustration workshop by Lucie Sheridan with her Live Art Booth, drawing “Rubbish Portraits” of her visitors.
There will also be storytelling sessions run by independent harbourside bookshop. The main stage on the lower ground floor will become a lively hub of activity, with Disco Shed raising the roof and getting bodies moving to the groove. There will be a host of scientific activities for children, including learning how to make their own scribbling robot using motors and switches, experimenting with sounds in a Noisy Toys workshop and controlling digital music.
10) Play In The Bay sessions at The Wave
The Wave is an inland surf destination where visitors are invited to surf, eat, drink and relax. People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can experience the joy of surfing and its many physical and mental health benefits. But it’s not just about surfing. It’s about getting back to nature, improving health and well-being, connecting with other people, enjoying great food and drink, having a great day out and having a load of fun in the process!
Play In The Bay sessions are a great opportunity for children to play in smaller waves, splash around and have fun in the wavepool. No surfboards are allowed in the Bay area during Play in the Bay, but children are very welcome to take a bodyboard to this session. Water Aids for children, including arm bands are also permitted, but other inflatable toys are not.
Wetsuit hire is included in the session price for children aged 6+.
Sessions last for 1 hour with a 10 minute briefing before the session starts.
1 adult per child aged 8 and under must attend too.
Session timings are variable so please check the website for this and book in advance.
Don’t forget to share your best photos and reels from your fab family days out in Bristol this summer on Instagram with the hashtag #SummerInBristol!
The Visit Bristol team will select a picture or reel every day as the post of the day and once a week, there will be a poll on Visit Bristol’s Instagram stories for people to vote for their favourite entry of the week to win a prize!
Prizes include tickets to Wake The Tiger, £100 Love Bristol shopping voucher, experiences at The Wave, animal encounters at Noah’s Ark and many more.
Don’t miss out on the chance of winning and make sure you use the hashtag #SummerInBristol…… good luck!