This page provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Bristol Arena project. If you have any further questions, please contact btqez@bristol.gov.uk.

Benefits and Funding

Bristol is currently the only major UK city that does not have an arena. The creation of the arena will mean that residents living in the city and surrounding areas will have a major performance venue on their doorstep and will no longer have to travel to other cities to see touring arena shows.

Additionally, the arena development will regenerate a derelict city centre site and be a catalyst for development in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, creating jobs and stimulating growth. Over time, the area will become a new destination for Bristol residents and visitors and will connect with other new spaces nearby that are due for development to create a new quarter for the city.

An arena will bring millions of pounds annually in additional spend to the region from business activity, increased hotel occupancy and other related spend.

Bristol City Council is investing over £90 million to build the arena, with around £38 million being funded by operator rental and other related income once the arena is built, and £53 million funded via the City Deal Economic Development Fund, managed by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The arena is currently scheduled to open in 2020. However, until a programme has been agreed with the contractor the exact date of opening will not be known.

Arena Design

The Populous Arena Teams brings together:

  • global entertainment and sports design firm Populous;
  • locally-based architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios;
  • international practice BuroHappold Engineering;
  • sound specialists Vanguardia, and
  • internationally renowned artist Jonas Dahlberg.

Creative, passionate and collaborative, the Populous Arena Team have established working relationships through past projects of similar complexity and national significance, including the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, The 02 Arena, Emirates Stadium and St Mary Magdalene Academy.

The Bristol Arena’s maximum capacity is 12,000, but its design is very flexible design and allows for seamless conversion to a smaller amphitheatre for theatre-style performances.
Bristol City Council and the arena design team are aiming for the arena to be the most sustainable arena in the UK. Work is being undertaken to understand how best to reduce energy demand, options for on-site energy generation are being explored and the arena will be linked in with the local heating network. Other sustainable features include:

  • Reducing potable water consumption through efficient fixtures and fittings;
  • Harvesting rainwater for use in core toilet blocks;
  • An intuitively designed public realm that enables easy navigation and accessibility for all;
  • Responsible sourcing of materials;
  • Photo-voltaic panels covering the roof of the arena.
The arena will be operated by the world’s largest arena operator SMG, in partnership with the world’s largest international live entertainment company Live Nation. The operator will be responsible for the programme of events and it is likely to be a mix of music, comedy, family entertainment shows, sports exhibition events and some conferences.

New arenas of a similar size like Leeds (First Direct Arena) have been incredibly successful. Acts and events including Eric Clapton, Robbie Williams, Sir Elton John, Premier League Darts, and even the start of the Tour de France last year helped the First Direct Arena generate over £25 million for the local economy in 2014, its first full year of operation.

There will be approximately 100 events per year. Approximately 45 of these will be 10,000 capacity or more events, with the remaining events having an average audience of 4-6,000.
There will be event spaces in front of the arena that can be used for pop-up and temporary events such as performances, outdoor cinema, festivals and markets. Additionally, green terraces will create an informal seating area for picnicking or recreation.

The development of the arena offers a great opportunity to connect the site to the city for the first time. With the new bridges, landscaping and cycle paths, it will also become a new place to walk around, exercise and travel to the city from the surrounding suburbs.

From day one of opening, the arena itself will have all the services needed to attend an event. The rest of the site will be delivered with partners and businesses who want to be part of this great new destination, and no definitive timeline has been agreed yet. The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus is aiming to open in time for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.


The location of the arena is close to the city centre, near a major transport interchange with a range of transport options. Improved services are planned for the area, which will increase the number of transport options available. This will enable travel by a variety of modes and disperse the effect of travel by car on the highway network.

The transport assessment work shows that parking demand for most events (up to 10,000 spectators) can be accommodated in existing car parks situated within a 20 minute walk of the arena. For large events, additional measures such as Park & Ride services will be put in place.

Funding will be set aside to enable parking controls to be put in place in vulnerable residential areas. Proposals need to be worked up in consultation with communities to understand what will work best for their local area. This will be done before the arena opens.
The Transport Assessment has assumed a robust worst case position of 80% of visitors travelling by car with no additional mitigation measures. It is very unlikely that, with the proposed mitigation measures in place, car use will be at this level.

Transport, Access and Traffic

Measures to improve walking and cycling access to the arena from Temple Meads is already programmed as part of the wider Enterprise Zone improvements. The Temple Gate project will provide a simplified road layout and a significantly improved gateway between Temple Meads and the city centre. A new floating pontoon from Temple Quay and new routes along Cattle Market Road will lead to Brock’s Bridge, accessing the site from Cattle Market Road.

There are also aspirations for a direct route to the arena from the east side of Temple Meads station. The council will pursue this possibility with Network Rail as part of a longer-term plan for the area. The council’s recent purchase of the Parcelforce site makes this more achievable.

Discussions are taking place with Network Rail and Great Western Railway, both of whom are supportive of providing later services where possible. A late shuttle service between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway will be in place for large arena events.

The electrification of the Great Western Mainline will bring improved services and offer more opportunities for later services. Aside from scheduled trains, Great Western Railway is open to providing additional services for specific events. They currently run additional services for evening Exeter Chiefs matches.

In the longer term, the MetroWest rail project currently being developed will improve rail services on key cross-Bristol routes, improving rail connectivity to Bristol Temple Meads from around the sub-region.

As a result of the consultation the council is considering options to provide a cycle link through the site from the south which would provide an off-road link via the site to Cattle Market Road or the floating pontoon, through to Temple Quay. Further work is being undertaken to identify what might be possible given the challenging changes in levels from the Bath Road to the site.
The main access to the site will be from the plaza, via Brock’s Bridge over the River Avon from Cattle Market Road, and it is expected that the majority of arena visitors will arrive via that entrance. Considerable investment is being made to upgrade Cattle Market Road to create a much better environment, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. Appropriate event management will be required to ensure a safe environment is maintained in respect of the access to Bath Road. A proposal for a new bridge and widened footpath is being considered from the Three Lamps junction to the arena site.

Car park locations are dispersed across the city centre, meaning that the pressure on the transport network is also dispersed. The lack of general visitor parking at the arena site will prevent a large concentration of visitor traffic arriving at Temple Gate. This will need to be communicated to visitors attending events at the arena in information sent with tickets. An Event Management Plan will set out how events will be managed.

Segregated routes will be considered where space allows.
Works to accommodate the proposed coach drop-off and pick up area will include improvements to the footways, including appropriate signage and lighting, to provide an appropriate route to and from the arena. Funding has also been set aside to improve the routes from key car parks and bus stops.

The Temple Gate scheme will also significantly improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists, including the walking routes between the arena and existing car parks. New on-street information will improve the legibility of routes to the arena and key routes will be audited to ensure a safe environment for arena visitors.

The best drop off points for various arena visitors are currently being considered.

In addition to the accessible parking provision, the project team are working with Bristol Physical Access Chain (BPAC) to make sure that proposals for disabled visitors are adequate. Bristol City Council has also engaged Attitude is Everything with the aim of securing Attitude is Everything Silver Charter Status for the arena.

There are ongoing discussions with bus operators to enhance services and provide later evening operations. The council is continuing to work with the bus operators to develop a better understanding of commercial opportunities to improve services or provide new services. The growth in employment in the Enterprise Zone and the arena development provide a catalyst to help unlock the provision of better bus services to that area.
Travel information will be available at the time of booking and sustainable methods of transport promoted. Bristol City Council will work closely with the operator to achieve this.
The assessment takes into account all of the committed housing and employment development within the area for two forecast years, 2021 and 2036. The arena transport proposals form part of the developing transport strategy for the wider Enterprise Zone.
During the construction of the Bristol Arena there will be a range of vehicles requiring access to the site. These will include transportation for site workers and the deliveries of materials and construction machinery. Before work starts on site the main construction contractor will develop a Traffic Management Plan in conjunction with Bristol City Council. This plan will include strict restrictions on vehicle movement routes, working hours, parking and waiting locations to ensure that the impact of construction traffic is minimised. The primary access route to the site during construction will be via Brock’s Bridge.
An event management plan will identify how the operator will work with the council to manage events on days when other major events are planned.
The nearest ferry landing stage to the arena is close to Temple Meads. Ferry services can vary by season but we expect the arena to be served by some services. The council will explore opportunities with commercial ferry operators.

Keeping Informed

At the moment, the latest arena news will be posted on this website, through our Twitter feed @BTQEZ and in our monthly Enterprise Zone newsletter, which you can subscribe to through the footer of this website. As the project progresses, it is anticipated that the arena will have a dedicated website and social media pages.