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.
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.
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.
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.