Conference Centres in Bristol

A modern city with strong links to its past, Bristol has a storied maritime heritage and rich cultural landscape. Designated as the UK's Green Capital, the city is home to several exciting venues that are making the city a top destination for conference organisers. Without a dedicated conference centre complex, Bristol offers a selection conference facilities at museums, arts and culture centres, universities, hotels and other locations.

Arts and Culture Venues

The Watershed delivers a unique and diverse programme of events including festivals and films throughout the year. It is also one of a number of creative and cultural venues available for hosting conferences. The centre opened in 1982 after derelict transit sheds dating from 1894 were refurbished. The Grade II listed building features three cinemas with raked seating for seminars, workshops, presentations and screenings. There is also a café/bar and three flexible meeting spaces with views of the harbour side. Rooms can be used individually or together for conferences and other events. The venue is popular for conferences for local, regional, national and international organisations. The Watershed is available for basic space hire and also offers full event management services.

Also at Bristol's harbourside area is Arnolfini, one of Europe's leading contemporary arts centre. The centre showcases innovative and experimental work in the areas of visual arts, performance and dance, film, and music. Founded in 1961, Arnolfini moved to its current location in 1975. The Grade II listed building is a former tea warehouse that has been converted into a modern exhibition and cultural space. The centre also offers a learning programme and hosts numerous events throughout the year, including conferences. There are five exhibition spaces and an auditorium with a large screen and projection facilities, making it ideal for conferences and seminars.

At-Bristol is a unique conference venue that offers delegates an unforgettable experience. Past conferences have featured Planetarium shows and receptions alongside the science centre's interactive exhibits. At-Bristol has been recognised as a sustainable venue, having won numerous awards including a Gold Green Tourism Award. The Planetarium in At-Bristol is the UK's only 3D planetarium. Along with 360-degree digital 3D, the venue has 4K Ultra High Definition and 7.1 surround sound. Red Bull, Festival of Ideas and Bristol 2015 are just some of the major events held in the Planetarium, which can accommodate up to 98 people in tiered seating. The Bristol Aquarium can also be hired. Its foyer can be transformed for evening events with room for up to 200 people, while its Large Screen Theatre features seating for up to 340 delegates for conferences, presentations and seminars. Both venues also have flexible rooms with capacities of up to 480 people for conferences, awards ceremonies, meetings, dinners and receptions, and other events.

Sports Venues

With a seating capacity of 16,600, Ashton Gate Stadium is the home of Bristol City Football Club and Bristol Rugby Club. Located south of the River Avon and south-west of the city centre, the stadium opened in 1887. A £45 million transformation project is providing the stadium with new state-of-the-art conference facilities as well as shops, a café, a sports bar and new administration offices. It will also increase the stadium's capacity to about 27,000 when completed in late 2016. Already a major conference venue, Ashton Gate will be the largest multi-purpose conference centre and exhibition venue in the South West of England once the refurbishment project is completed in time for the start of the 2016-17 football season.

The Thornbury Leisure Centre houses a range of recreational facilities including an Active Fitness Gym and venues for badminton, squash, swimming, snooker, studio cycling and dance. Situated north of Bristol, the centre also has large and small meeting and conferencing facilities. The Severnside Complex within the Thornbury Leisure Centre has an overall capacity for more than 1,500 people and has 1,771 square metres of exhibition space. There are also two additional halls with an extra 1,053 square metres. The largest meeting room at the centre can seat up to 150 people, while smaller rooms are designed for up to 30 delegates. The centre's Severnside Suite features its own bar and private entrance. There is also free on-site parking.

Other Venues

The Mercure Bristol Grant Hotel is one of the largest conference venues in Bristol's city centre. Formerly the Grand Hotel by Thistle, the ornate Victorian building is just a five minute walk from the Bristol Hippodrome and less than a ten minute walk from Cabot Circus, one of the city's top shopping destinations. The 182-room hotel features ten meeting rooms with a total capacity of up to 1,170 people. The largest meeting room seats 600 people when configured in a theatre-style layout. Facilities include videoconference and audio-visual equipment, air conditioned rooms, wireless high-speed internet access and on-site parking.

The University of Bristol offers a selection of spaces in the city's University precinct as well as in Stoke Bishop and Clifton. Spaces at the University of Bristol seat between 2 and 800 delegates. Venues include Clifton Hill House, a Georgian mansion in Clifton. The neo-gothic Great Hall at the university's Wills Memorial Building seats up to 800 people. Tiered lecture theatres have capacities of up to 380, while many meeting and exhibition spaces provide access to private gardens. The University of Bristol's Conference Office also arranges catering, accommodation and other facilities such as computer suites. If that's not enough, click here for more Bristol Conference Centres.