Festive Events in Bristol

Festive Events Bristol
Festive Events Bristol

Festive events in Bristol

Our guide to the best of Christmas festivities in and around Bristol

It’s December, which means it’s socially acceptable to mention the big C, and get involved in some festive events in Bristol!

Bristol has celebrated the onset of the festive event period by looking like its had an accident with an oversized snow globe.  Wherever you look there are twinkling lights and signs of merriment that could thaw out the coldest of hearts.

Whether you’re looking for shopping opportunities or activities to get you in the Christmas spirit we can point you in the right direction.

Lets start with Santa because let’s be honest, without him, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas.

Christmas Events Bristol

Santa

If seeing Santa at a local shopping centre isn’t floating your boat, you’re in luck. The big man seems to have upped his game and can be found in connection with every type of venue and transport you can imagine.

He’s in the usual grottos and winter wonderlands from Weston Pier to Tyntesfield as well as sharing breakfast and tea with families and hanging out with animals around the county.

Not only will he be travelling by sleigh but if boats, trains or helicopters are more your thing, he’s got you covered.

Christmas Ideas Bristol

Christmas Markets

Bristol is the perfect place to find gifts from independent sellers, festive food (and plenty of festive drinks too) and an atmosphere that makes you want to skip along the street full of goodwill to all men.

Walk away from the computer and online wishlists and you’ll find the perfect present that everyone will love but they didn’t even know they wanted.

Pick the right day and you can mooch around all of the markets just pausing for long enough to talk to the people who have made the products and refill your cup with mulled wine.

One of the best festive events in Bristol, and a firm favorite of the West Country Games team, is the Christmas market, located in the centre of Bristol from the 10th to the 24th December. With wooden chalet style stalls, homemade crafts and German foody treats, it wont take too much imagination to feel like you are miles away and surrounded by snow.

The appropriately named St Nick’s market is an amazing place to go any time of the year, again an opportunity to support independent retailers selling almost anything you could need and making sure you don’t go hungry while you’re there. Add in an extra Christmas market which is open from the 13th December until Christmas, catering for the more organised shopper to the last minute Christmas Eve crew and you’re in the right place.

If you’re putting in the hours at the weekend rather than a quick pop to the Christmas markets in your lunch break, the Harbourside Christmas Market is a great place to go. 45 stalls under the bustling Covered Walkway will be selling their wares every weekend from the 25th November up until Christmas Eve. Of course, there will be live music and once again a plethora of food and drink and Bristol festive fun.

Also keep an eye out for pop up shops and smaller markets, including those at; The Island, Colston Hall, and The Architecture Centre to name but a few.

Xmas Events Bristol

Festive Fun

You’ve finished your Christmas shopping and been to see Santa and it’s only the middle of December, let’s check out what else you can do in Bristol to keep up the Christmassy vibes going.

It’s time to make the most of the chance to ice skate in Bristol again.

In Millennium Square there’s something for all the family; a fair, the Big Wheel, ice skating and not forgetting an Apres Bar to snuggle up in afterwards. The ice rink will be there from the 18th November until the 16th January so could even be a fun activity between Christmas and New Year with visiting family and friends.

At this time of year it is also home to the Spiegeltent. As the name suggests, it’s a tent but no festival pop up job, it is a huge round tent with carved panels and stained glass windows, hosting Christmas parties, masquerade balls, baby discos and lets not forget, Santa.

If you are looking for something out of town, Santa’s Enchanted Ice Castle at the Mall might have what you’re looking for. That is if you are looking for Santa, light displays, train rides and ice skating all in a Winter Wonderland. You’ve got until Christmas Eve to see Santa and the 7th January for all of the other shenanigans.

For an escape from the city, take a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum. Wrap up warm and wander through the trees to see a magical light display along the trail. While you’re there, there’s a Christmas Village, Father and Mother Christmas and a choir.

Just thinking about all that Bristol has to offer over the festive period makes me wish that it could be Christmas every day..! Happy Christmas one and all.

Bristol’s best Pubs

bristol pubs
bristol pubs

The best pubs in Bristol

Who doesn’t like a traditional pub? They’re part of British culture – so much so, they’re now woven into the fabric of daily life (and have been for hundreds of years). In fact, it was the Roman invasion that brought the concept of the public house to our shores.

It might have taken a while (say, a few centuries) for the pub as we know it to come to fruition, but in that time, they’ve become so much more than simply a house serving ale. Throughout time, they’ve served as places of business, social reform, diversion and in the absence of the printing press, even as the local news.

Luckily for Bristolians, the city isn’t short on traditional Bristol pubs, many of which also serve delicious food and fabulous ales. Here are just a few of Bristol’s first and foremost pubs.

bristol pubs

Bristol’s oldest pubs

There’s some debate over the title for oldest pub in the city, with several contenders vying for first place.

The Hatchet Inn claims to have been established around 1606, and is named after the woodsmen of Clifton Wood. It’s stood the test of time, and now offers a range of delicious pub grub, as well as a tasty pint.

Another contender for the title is the Llandoger Trow, built in 1664. With its stunning Tudor exterior set on the sunny cobbled street in the heart of the city, it’s a great option for those warm, summer days. The Bristol pub is also steeped in history; legend has it that the Llandoger Trow was a favorite drinking spot for the infamous privateer Blackbeard, as well as the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

A third contender for the title is The Rummer, just off of St Nick’s Market. Dating back to 1241, The Rummer’s flagstone floors and huge fireplace act as visible reminders of the pub’s longstanding history. It now boasts its own micro distillery, brewing batches of aromatic gins and spiced rums that you can sample in the bar (along with a plethora of other spirits).

bristol pubs

The Steam Crane

This Bristol Pub is located south of the river in Bedminster, The Steam Crane is pretty hard to miss. Its elaborately painted exterior depicts an olden day nautical scene, while the interior décor aligns to a more traditional pub theme, with sprinkling of modernism.

Leather armchairs somehow blend seamlessly with the traditional fireplaces and wooden bar that you’d expect from a traditional British pub. There’s a wide variety of beer, ales and wine available, and the food comes highly recommended by locals and visitors alike.

It’s great for larger groups, so if you’re planning a Bristol stag weekend, then the Stream Crane is a great place to start your celebrations.

bristol pubs

The Albion, Clifton

A rather swish take on the tradition British pub, the Albion is a very popular haunt in the heart of bustling Clifton village. Dating back to the 17th Century, the building has been expertly renovated and designed with impeccable taste.

It’s a winner for all seasons; lazy summer afternoons fly by in the ample courtyard garden, while winter Sunday lunches have to be experienced by the comfort of a roaring fire and accompanied by a delicious glass of red.

Although it might not be one for the budget conscious, The Albion is certainly a must for those who want to enjoy their pint in more upmarket surroundings. The food menu is seasonal, the ingredients impeccable quality and the dishes, reassuringly traditional. There’s literally something for everyone, one of our favourite Bristol pubs.

bristol pubs

The Jersey Lily

As far as Bristol pubs go, The Jersey Lily is young, fun and full of character. Situated on lively Whiteladies Road, the pub enjoys a relaxed atmosphere, which attracts a mixed – yet equally welcome – crowd. The food is award-winning; sourced from local suppliers, you can sink your teeth into a huge variety of scrumptious snacks and dinners.

From tapas to share to Sunday Roasts, there’s literally something for everyone on their extensive menu. If you’re more interested in the drinks menu, then you won’t be disappointed.

There’s a huge selection of wines for all tastes on offer – as well as cocktails. And if live music is up your street, make sure you check out the live acoustic on Thursdays, while you and a friend sip on two delicious craft cocktails, for the price of one.

bristol pubs

Amoeba, Clifton

If you’re a cocktail connoisseur, then you’ve found mecca. Nestled on a quiet Clifton street, Amoeba’s bright red exterior and candle-lit window makes it stand out on dark, winter nights.

Once you’re inside and had a chance to peruse the extensive cocktail menu, it’ll start standing out for a host of other reasons. Perhaps it’s the exotic collection of mixes, spirits and drinks on offer, or the expertise in which the staff guide you through the menu. Or it could simply be the incredible flavours of the ingenious concoctions, or relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The venue also offers free event hire – a great choice for Bristol hen weekends who want to be based in and around Clifton village.