UK's largest free nature festival returns to Bristol and Bath with mermaids, dinosaurs and the smallest cinema

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The event attracted over 20,000 visitors last year

The Festival of Nature will be returning from this weekend and it promises to be bigger than ever with over 70 events and activities throughout Bristol and Bath.

It’s the biggest free nature festival in the UK and last year, the event attracted over 20,000 visitors.

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This year’s 21st edition, which runs from June 1 to 9, will see the likes of a mermaid, CBeebies star Andy Day, up-and-coming wildlife presenter Nadeem Perera and BBC Radio One’s medical expert Dr Radha Modgil make an appearance among other special guests.

Savita Willmott, chief executive of the Natural History Consortium, said: "We’re so excited to reveal this year’s festival line-up and it’s bigger and better than ever before – the nine days are jam-packed with activities and opportunities to take action for nature.

“As the biggest nature festival in the UK it really does offer something for everyone – young, old, visitors, students, residents, businesses – and the majority of it is free. We want to see more people than ever come along to be inspired, try something new, visit a place they haven’t been to before and get involved with an environmental project.”

Credit: Ania ShrimptonCredit: Ania Shrimpton
Credit: Ania Shrimpton | Ania Shrimpton

Highlights include:

- Wild Weekend on Bristol’s Harbourside on June 1 and 2. Expect family-friendly nature activities, exhibitor stalls, wildlife film screenings, talks, performances and special guest appearances.

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- Don’t miss out on the chance to meet real life mermaid Hannahai Pearl, take a “shellfie” with her and learn about how to help our oceans on June 1 from 11am to midday at Millennium Square.

- Dinosaur fans will not want to miss out on CBeebies superstar Andy Day’s Dino Raps interactive family show on June 2 from 2pm to 3pm at Millennium Square.

- The former IMAX theatre at Bristol Aquarium will host a series of talk and screenings including Nadeem Perera’s family-friendly show I like birds, do you like birds? (June 1 from 11.45am to 12.30pm); Lira Valencia exploring the hidden corners of the cities to find the secret world of city wildlife (June 1 from 2.15pm to 3pm); and renowned insect expert George McGavin taking audiences into the world of minibeasts (June 1 from 3.45pm to 4.30pm). - An exciting of free family-friendly nature stalls, special guest talks and shows, drop-in interactive activities, storytelling, crafts and more ay Bath’s Milsom Street on June 8.

Sol Cinema, the smallest cinema coming to the Nature Festival at Bath. Credit: Sol CinemaSol Cinema, the smallest cinema coming to the Nature Festival at Bath. Credit: Sol Cinema
Sol Cinema, the smallest cinema coming to the Nature Festival at Bath. Credit: Sol Cinema | Sol Cinema

-On June 8 at Bath’s Milsom Street, strut the mini red carpet, grab some popcorn and indulge in the world’s smallest wildlife film festival inside a tiny 1940s-style caravan cinema powered by renewable energy and featuring four short films from the BBC’s Our Planet Earth.

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- Experience the festival’s first Community Day on June 9 and celebrate the actions being taken by communities all across the two cities and beyond. There will be a map of activities and locations available for people to get out and explore new community groups, gardens and going-ons.

Programme of events in Bristol

June 1

- Wild Weekend at Millennium Square and Anchor Square from 10am to 6pm. Expect free family-friendly nature activities, exhibitor stalls, wildlife screenings, talks, performances and special guest appearances.

- Meet a real mermaid from 11am to midday at Millennium Square. Take a “shellfie” with Mermaid Hannahai Pearl, blow bubbles and learn what you can do to help our oceans.

- Talks and Screenings from 10am to 4.30pm at IMAX Bristol, Bristol Aquarium:

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From 10.15am to 11am, It’s Only Water... an interactive show featuring David price from Science Made Simple.

From 11.45am to 12.30pm, I like birds, do you like birds? is a family friendly show featuring Nadeen Perera, Wildlife TV presenter and co-founder of Flock Together (@birdnerdeen). A panel of nature experts and bird lovers will battle it out to try to win the audience’s vote for their favourite bird in this fun family-friendly show.

From 1pm to 1.45pm, Choose your next adventure with Dr. Radha Modgil, medical expert for BBC Radio 1.

From 2.15pm to 3pm, learn about The secret world of city wildlife with Lira Valencia, who documents wildlife on Instagram at @outsidewithlira.

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From 3.45pm to 4.30pm, learn about the amazing world of insects in the family sow Fantastic Minibeasts and Where to Find them, featuring George McGavin (Zoologist, entomologist and broadcaster).

Credit: Ania ShrimptonCredit: Ania Shrimpton
Credit: Ania Shrimpton | Ania Shrimpton

June 2

- Wild Weekend at Millennium Square and Anchor Square from 10am to 5pm. Expect free family-friendly nature activities, exhibitor stalls, wildlife screenings, talks, performances and special guest appearances. Sunday morning from 10am to 11am is usually the quietest time of the event.

- Enjoy Andy Day’s Dino Raps at Millennium Square from 2pm to 3pm. There will also be a chance to meet and greet the CBeebies superstar after the show for a limited time.

- Talks and Screenings from 11.15am to 4pm at IMAX Bristol, Bristol Aquarium:

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From 11.30am to 12.15pm enjoy a screening of BBC Earth Antarctica: BBC Studios Natural History Unit.

From 1pm to 1.45pm enjoy a screening of Earthsounds: Hear our planet like never before.

From 3pm to 4pm discover the filmmaking magic behind Life on Our Planet, the acclaimed 8-part Netflix series which combines ground-breaking natural history with innovative VFX at Film Screening from Silverback Films.

Credit: Ania ShrimptonCredit: Ania Shrimpton
Credit: Ania Shrimpton | Ania Shrimpton

June 3

- Tyntesfield’s Week of Walks: Ramble with a Ranger from 10am to 11.30am. Learn about the wildlife that lives on site and how the team look after nature whilst maintaining the historic environment. The walk is free for National Trust members, and otherwise entry fees apply.

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- Green Crafts at Alive’s Dementia-friendly Allotment in Brentry from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Take part in inclusive green craft activities and learn about how Alive Activities made the beautiful space accessible to older people and people with dementia in their site tour.

- Leigh Woods Online Walk from 4pm to 4.30pm. Go on a lovely walk around the lush greenery of Leigh Woods from the comfort of your own home.

- Make a Dormouse Box at The Green Barn in Leigh Woods from 6pm to 7.30pm.

- Join the editor of the Moving Mountains: Writing Nature Through Illness and Disability, Louise Kenward online from 7pm to 8pm and explore the value and creativity in engaging with the natural world from the perspective of Disabled and chronically ill authors.

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June 4

- Enjoy a lunchtime Wildlife Drawing Workshop from 12.30pm to 1.15pm outside the Left Handed Giant, BS1 6EU.

- Tyntesfield’s Week of Walks: Friendship Walk from 1pm to 3pm. Join the team for a 2.4 mile walk through nature rich woodlands and gorgeous gardens. The walk is free for National Trust members, and otherwise entry fees apply.

-Learn all about the work done by the team from the UK Wild Otter Trust on the online Eurasian Otter Conservation talk from 6.30pm to 7.15pm. Get behind the scenes of their work including the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of otter cubs.

- Learn all about nature content creation from 7pm to 8.30pm at Nature Content Creators in Wiper and True Taproom, Unit 11, City Business Park, St Jude’s, Bristol, BS5 0SP.

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June 5

- From 6.30pm to 8.30pm, The Ancient Trees of Ashton Court explores Ashton Court’s awe-inspiring ancient trees alongside experts from the Woodland Trust and Bristol City Council.

- Broad Meadow - Family Activities at Broadmead West (outside Boots) from 11am to 5pm. Expect creative, nature inspired arts and crafts activities, playful storytelling and wildflower seed bomb making. There will also be a wildflower installation and audio experience by artists Sylvia Rimat and Charli Clark.

Workshop. Credit: Julie StarksWorkshop. Credit: Julie Starks
Workshop. Credit: Julie Starks | Julie Starks

- Enjoy a Lunchtime Wildlife Photography Workshop from 12.30pm to 1.15pm outside the Left Handed Giant, BS1 6EU.

- Go on a walk around WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre from the comfort of your home with online walk held from 1pm to 2pm.

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- Tyntesfield’s Week of Walks: Family Walk from 3.30pm to 4.30pm and from 4pm to 5pm. Take part in exciting activities along the walk including creating a story stick and searching for creepy-crawlies. The walk is free for National Trust members, and otherwise entry fees apply.

- From 6.30pm to 7.30pm, Danielle Mulder, Director of Sustainability for BBC Group and winner of the UK Green Business Leader of the Year in 2023, will share her insights on leadership, environmental sustainability, and the business case for biodiversity. Bristol Distinguished Address Series: Danielle Mulder will be held at Watershed, BS1 5TX, followed by a drinks reception.

- Learn How to Plan a Walk online from 7pm to 8pm.

June 6

- Broad Meadow - Family Activities at Broadmead West (outside Boots) from 11am to 5pm. Expect creative, nature inspired arts and crafts activities, playful storytelling and wildflower seed bomb making. There will also be a wildflower installation and audio experience by artists Sylvia Rimat and Charli Clark.

- Tyntesfield’s Week of Walks: Ancient Tree Photography Walk from 10am to 1pm. The walk is for under 30s (Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult that could be over 30) and explores the living legends of ancient trees at Tyntesfield and how to capture their glory on camera with hints from a professional photographer. A free light lunch will be provided.

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Storytime. Credit: Bath & North East Somerset CouncilStorytime. Credit: Bath & North East Somerset Council
Storytime. Credit: Bath & North East Somerset Council | Bath & North East Somerset Council

- Join the Keynsham Library team from 11am to 11.30am for a naure themed Storytime, perfect for tiny explorers.

- Join the Wellspring Settlement Community Gardening Group (BS5 0AX) from 1.30pm to 3.30pm to turn the urban space into an oasis for nature by building hedgehog hotels, painting bird boxes and tending to the fruit, veg and flowers on site. Materials and refreshments will be provided.

- From 12.30pm to 1.30pm learn about the behind the National Trust’s work and their role in restoring a healthier and more beautiful environment with Simon Lawrence OBE, General Manager Bristol, National Trust at Bristol Library Lunchtime Lecture - Nature: Playing Our Part at the Bristol Central Library, BS1 5TL.

-Enjoy a Lunchtime Guided Wildlife Walk in and around Bristol City Centre with naturalist, author, zoologist and wildlife tour leader, Ed Drewitt from 12.30pm to 1.15pm. The meeting point is outside the Left Handed Giant Brewpub, BS1 6EU.

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-Enjoy a screening of MAMMALS followed by a Q&A at BBC Studios, Counterslip, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6BX.

How to plan a walk. Credit: Festival of natureHow to plan a walk. Credit: Festival of nature
How to plan a walk. Credit: Festival of nature | Festival of nature

June 7

- Broad Meadow - Family Activities at Broadmead West (outside Boots) from 11am to 5pm. Expect creative, nature inspired arts and crafts activities, playful storytelling and wildflower seed bomb making. There will also be a wildflower installation and audio experience by artists Sylvia Rimat and Charli Clark.

- From 10am to 12pm, explore the flora and fauna that lives in the Downs and the Avon Gorge at Deep Dive into the Downs. The meeting place is the Front entrance of former Bristol Zoo Gardens site, College Road, Clifton, BS8 3HA.

- Go on an online walk through Tyntesfield estate from the comfort of your home from 1pm to 2.30pm.

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- From 6pm to 8pm, enjoy an evening of Campfire Conversations about nature connection, eco-anxiety, and young people’s experience at the heart if the climate crisis and share some delicious, local food. The event is held at Grow Wilder, 181 Frenchay Park Road, Bristol, BS16 1EL and is open for ages 16 to 24.

June 8

- Broad Meadow - Family Activities at Broadmead West (outside Boots) from 11am to 5pm. Expect creative, nature inspired arts and crafts activities, playful storytelling and wildflower seed bomb making. There will also be a wildflower installation and audio experience by artists Sylvia Rimat and Charli Clark.

- Enjoy a social online craft session with a nature theme from 1pm to 2pm at Get Crafty with Nature! Online session.

- Indulge in a breath-taking music performance with Henleaze Concert Society: Music for a Blue Planet from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Trinity Henleaze URC Church, Waterford Road, Bristol, BS9 4BT. Tickets cost £5 for under 25s, £15 for society members and £18 for non-members and can be booked here.

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Barton Hill Family Day. Credit: Guy Manchester, Alive ActivitiesBarton Hill Family Day. Credit: Guy Manchester, Alive Activities
Barton Hill Family Day. Credit: Guy Manchester, Alive Activities | Guy Manchester, Alive Activities

June 9

- Broad Meadow - Family Activities at Broadmead West (outside Boots) from 11am to 5pm. Expect creative, nature inspired arts and crafts activities, playful storytelling and wildflower seed bomb making. There will also be a wildflower installation and audio experience by artists Sylvia Rimat and Charli Clark.

- Experience the festival’s first Community Day and celebrate the actions being taken by communities all across the two cities and beyond. There will be a map of activities and locations available for people to get out and explore new community groups, gardens and going-ons.

- From 10am to 5pm, discover a whole world of exciting green science at the University of Bristol’s community based micro-campus at Wellspring Settlement, 43 Ducie Road, Barton Hill, Bristol, BS5 0AX.

To see the full festival line-up, go to www.festivalofnature.org.uk.

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