This historic theater offers a wide variety of entertainment, from West End productions and Broadway shows, to traditional pantomimes and opera.
Visit the Bristol Hippodrome for a wide variety of performances and to see the domed ceiling that can be opened up to the night sky.
The Bristol Hippodrome is one of the U.K.’s most prestigious old theaters and one of the city’s major entertainment venues. It’s known as Bristol’s “West End Theatre” and offers a wide variety of shows, including musicals, opera, ballet, stand-up comedy and traditional English “panto.” The year-round program has a much more varied line-up than venues like London’s West End. For instance, certain musicals might only run for a few days, rather than a few months, before being replaced by another. Book ahead on the venue’s website to ensure you get good seats.
The hippodrome’s auditorium consists of stalls, a grand circle and an upper circle. Rich red and gold trim lend the theater a dramatic feel. The theater’s pièce de résistance is its grand domed ceiling. On special occasions, this is opened up to reveal the sky above.
Frank Matcham designed the building, which opened in 1912. Matcham was the architect behind a number of the U.K.’s major theater venues of the time. These include the London Palladium, Hackney Empire and Victoria Palace. The Bristol Hippodrome seats approximately 1,980 people and is considered one of Matcham’s masterpieces.
If you’re especially interested in the hippodrome’s history, take the two-hour guided tour held on Saturday mornings. A knowledgeable guide takes you front of house and backstage. Expect to learn a lot about past productions, actors who have performed here, and one or two ghost stories. Buy tickets for the tour on the hippodrome’s website.
Bristol Hippodrome is on St. Augustine’s Parade in the city center. From the main train station, Bristol Temple Meads, it’s a five-minute taxi ride, or slightly longer bus journey. There is also metered car parking nearby.