Outdoor cinema and ice rink in final plans for Filton Airfield arena

CGI image of ice rink.
YTL Arena Bristol: Christmas trees and ice rink. Image: YTL/McGregor Coxall.

YTL has submitted final detailed plans for the proposed Bristol Arena – and they reveal the venue will feature an outdoor cinema, Christmas ice rink and sports courts.

New computer-generated images show there will be as much for visitors to do outside the 19,000-seat concert arena as inside, where the world’s biggest pop stars and entertainers are expected to take to the stage.

The artist’s impressions include huge public squares in front of the refurbished Brabazon hangars on the former Filton Airfield site.

They were submitted to Bristol City Council as part of the developers’ landscape masterplan on 25th April 2024 – four days before a three-year deadline set by South Gloucestershire Council as part of the conditions it gave when granting outline planning permission.

Advertising image.

Architects said:

“The YTL Arena, boasting a substantial capacity, is poised to emerge as a focal point within the city.”

“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.”

The CGIs show what is proposed for an east and a west square directly outside new conference and exhibition halls which flank the main central concert seating bowl.

The planning documents state:

“The space comes alive with visitors relishing the outdoor cinema experience throughout the summer season.”

“During the winter season, the area is animated by festive pop-up markets, sparkling Christmas lights and a myriad of joyful activities.”


The outdoor cinema and an intimate nearby music stage look like they will 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.”

CGI image of proposed arena complex.
YTL Arena Bristol main building. Image: YTL/McGregor Coxall.

Opening delayed

In March it emerged that the opening date had been delayed again.

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 underway in early March to be followed by the demolition of non-essential structures ahead of the main construction programme.

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

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

In-house promotional image.

The arena 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 £60 million 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.

✍ Article by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

More information

Further details of the latest proposals can be found in the Landscape Supplementary Report included within the ‘reserved matters’ planning application (link below).

🔗 Planning application 24/01630/M – Application for approval of reserved matters application for landscaping following grant of outline application 19/05500/P (BCC)

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