New outdoor plans for Bristol Arena revealed

An artist's impression of the Bristol Arena from the front
YTL want to create an outdoor cinema, performance space and ice rink [YTL/McGregor Coxall ]

Plans for an outdoor cinema, ice rink and sports courts have been unveiled for Bristol Arena.

Developer YTL, which is building the 19,000 capacity venue, said they wanted concert-goers to enjoy the outside as much as the inside.

A spokesperson said: “The YTL Arena is poised to emerge as a focal point within the city."

The plans have been submitted to Bristol City Council.

An artist's impression of how the outdoor cinema and performance space might look like
YTL want to create an outdoor cinema, performance space and ice rink [YTL/McGregor Coxall ]

The arena is being planned on the site of the former Brabazon Hangars, the home of Concorde, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Thousands of homes are also planned on the former airfield, as well as a new train station due to open in the middle of 2026.

The planning documents said: “The space [will] come alive with visitors relishing the outdoor cinema experience throughout the summer season.

“Nestled strategically with the vibrant city of Bristol to the south and surrounded by the newly envisioned Brabazon Park, the wider proposed masterplan and existing developments, the Arena finds itself in an ideal position to evolve into a cultural hub,” YTL said.

Bristol Arena aerial view of Christmas trees and ice rink
The application includes an ice rink at the Arena [YTL/McGregor Coxall ]

Under the proposals, the outdoor cinema and an intimate nearby music stage would be replaced in the winter by an ice rink.

There will also be badminton courts, a tennis court, multi-use games area for sports such as basketball and five-a-side football, and a pump track for cycling.

A YTL spokesperson said: “The landscaping around YTL Arena is designed to be a vibrant space for visitors to enjoy before events.

“It is flexible enough to host activities throughout the year, like Christmas markets, winter ice skating rinks, outdoor movie screenings and various community events.

“Our design incorporates the potential to increase the arena’s capacity from 17,000 to 19,000 seats.

“In the future, we plan to submit an application to unlock this extra capacity for a select number of shows.”

An artist's impression of the North Promenade
An artist's impression of the North Promenade [YTL/McGregor Coxall ]

The arena itself will have a mix of bars, restaurants and lounges, as well as the region’s largest column-less exhibition and convention halls.

An estimated 300,000 people are expected to attend events at the attraction every year, boosting the local economy by £60m annually.

An arena was originally planned for the city centre near Temple Meads but Bristol mayor Marvin Rees scrapped the idea and moved it out of town because of the risk to the taxpayer.

An opening date for the arena has yet to be decided.

The venue was previously expected to open in late 2025 or early 2026 but an update from YTL said construction was yet to begin and was likely to take two-and-a-half years once the builders move in.

This suggested an opening date of late 2026 at the earliest, although the company said it had reached a “pivotal milestone” in the project with the start of site preparation and enabling work at the historic home of Concorde.

Decontamination work got under way in early March and will be followed by the demolition of non-essential structures ahead of the main construction programme.

YTL is also building the new Brabazon neighbourhood on the airfield with thousands of homes, a park, community facilities, leisure and employment.

A new train station is also due to open there in mid-2026.

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