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Arts and Culture in Weston-super-Mare - Illuminated Carnivals, Heritage Buildings, and Year-Round Theater

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Weston-super-Mare is known for its various architectural styles that can be seen in the grand mansions around Worlebury Hill at the northern end of town. In summertime, the Sand Sculpture Festival brings creative art to the beach, and during the fall and winter carnival season, huge illuminated floats parade through town. You’ll also find 2 theaters that showcase dramatic, musical, and dance performances year-round.

Heritage buildings in Weston

 

Much of Weston’s impressive architecture, like the Town Hall and Weston Museum, use grey limestone sourced from the Mendip Hills. The Grand Atlantic Hotel is an elegant Victorian structure that overlooks the Bristol Channel and the Tropicana lido. The Tropicana, built in 1937, has acted as a de facto art space housing installations like Dismaland, a caustic interpretation of a children’s amusement park spearheaded by world-renowned artist Banksy. For more architectural exploration, you can take in the art deco Odeon Cinema, which houses its original 1935 organ, and the neo-Georgian Winter Gardens Pavilion.

 

Odeon Cinema

 

As well as showing the latest films, the Odeon hosts a few organ concerts each year organized by the West of England Theatre Organ Society. It houses 1 of only 2 original John Compton-created organs still playing in British cinemas.

 

The Centre, Walliscote Road, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1URTel: +44 8712 244 007

 

Odeon Cinema website

Theaters and shows

 

Weston offers a varied year-round schedule of professional and amateur theatrical shows. Housed in an old converted market hall, the Playhouse Theatre mounts about 300 productions each year including dramas, classical and contemporary dance performances, musicals, comedy shows, and orchestral concerts. You can also head north of the beach, next to Grove Park, to the intimate Blakehay Theatre where you can take in music, dance, and art shows by local and regional groups.

 

The Blakehay Theatre

 

Located inside a converted Baptist chapel built in 1850, the Blakehay is a community theater that hosts a diverse range performances.

 

20 Wadham Street, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1JZ. Tel: +44 1934 645 493

 

The Blakehay Theatre website

 

The Playhouse Theatre

 

In the heart of town, the 664-seat Playhouse hosts theatrical performances, as well as children’s shows and pantomimes.

 

126-130 High Street, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1HP. Tel: +44 1934 645 544

 

The Playhouse Theatre website

 

Somerset carnivals

 

Somerset is known for hosting some of the world’s largest illuminated carnivals. The season starts in late August, though the ones that pass through Weston take place in November. The Guy Fawkes carnivals, which close out the season in winter, are the biggest and longest, lasting from 2 to 3 hours. The impressive carnival floats (also known as carts) depict scenes as wide ranging as mythical battles and elaborate pirate ships, and some can be decorated with more than 20,000 light bulbs. The processions are a lively source of entertainment and some also feature a fireworks display.

 

Somerset Carnivals

 

The Guy Fawkes circuit takes in Weston-super-Mare, but you can also catch parades at Burnham-on-Sea, Glastonbury, Wells, and other towns nearby.

 

Various locations.

 

Somerset Carnivals website

 

Weston’s historic churches

 

You can take in architectural grandeur as well as classical concerts at some of Weston’s most renowned churches. All Saints Church, located in Grove Park Village, was designed in the late 19th century in the Gothic Revival style, and is built from Mendip limestone with Bath stone accents. Check the schedule for musical recitals that make the most of the church’s renowned acoustics. You can head 2 miles northeast to historic Woodspring Priory, which was founded in the early 13th century, to explore its restored buildings including a church, infirmary, and massive barn.

 

All Saints Church

 

You can visit this church for weekly choral celebrations on Sundays, as well as regular orchestral concerts and special events.

 

All Saints Road, Weston-super-Mare BS23 2NL. Tel: +44 1934 415 379

 

All Saints Church website

 

Woodspring Priory

 

This former Augustinian priory houses a small museum with a collection of ancient artifacts. Opening hours are irregular, so check ahead.

 

Kewstoke, Weston-super-Mare BS22 9YU. Tel: +44 1628 825 925

 

Woodspring Priory website