Discover what’s happening this Christmas in Bristol with our guide to the city’s #MerryBristmas campaign of epic festive events!
I love living in the South West – it has so much to offer all year round, but it really goes all out for Christmas! Most people first think of Bath’s Christmas market, but I find that only leads to me getting people rage as it’s so crowded you can hardly see any of the festive sheds, which is why many locals avoid it like the plague!
Instead I prefer to head to Bristol, which has a wide range of Christmassy things to do and see all over the city (and beyond) throughout the festive season. Here’s my guide to some of the best things the city has to offer this month, but get to the end and I’ll show you where you can find the ultimate list to Bristol’s festive shenanigans, as I couldn’t cover everything in just this one post!
Bristol’s Christmas Markets – and curling!
There are different Christmas markets taking place all over Bristol at different times this month. Some, like the Bristol Shopping Quarter Christmas Market and the Bristol Local Christmas Market run everyday between now and 23rd December, while others like the Harbourside Christmas Market are weekends only. There’s some that are one day only affairs too, like the one at Arnos Vale and St Nicholas Market’s one night festive extravaganza!
I’m super excited about the first market though, as I’ve found out there’s a bar with heated seats and a place where you can have a go at curling. We’ve booked in for a session, which includes a bottle of Prosecco (eek!) so it should be an entertaining evening!
A Victorian Christmas at Brunel’s SS Great Britain
We’re big fans of the SS Great Britain here at LWT, having all visited several times at least, but my fave time to go is on one of their Victorian Christmas weekends.
We went along to this last December with friends, and their little one loved it! Not only did we walk through the (fake) snow, we got to hear some carol mash-ups and make our own Victorian style Christmas cards. I may have got a little too much into the spirit and decided to play dress up, but to see that you’ll have to check out my dedicated review of a Victorian Christmas at SS Great Britain. If you want to check it out this year, then head over to Brunel’s grand ship on December 8th or 9th.
BUMP Roller Disco
Bristol loves to do things a little differently and this year, instead of the annual ice rink, there’s going to be a roller disco! With live music, DJs and of course, the return of the Alpine Bar this sounds like a great way to finish off a fun day of shopping…
A Christmas Carol at the Bristol Old Vic
I’m super excited about this – after it’s sold-out run last year, A Christmas Carol is returning to the Bristol Old Vic this month. I was treated to a little preview at Visit Bristol’s Merry Bristmas preview event and straight away I knew we had to get tickets as this looks set to be a much more raucous version of the classic. Emma and I are going along, with our other halves, as a special Christmas treat and we can’t wait to see this spectacular show!
Christmas beyond Bristol
Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas
This special event at Westonbirt Arboretum takes place every winter and includes a one mile long illuminated trail where you can see some of the 15,000 different types of trees here lit up in a rainbow of colours.
The design and format of the trail changes every year and when we visited a while back we found it truly magical. Here’s hoping we get to visit again this year as the kids big and small loved it!
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Just on the outskirts of Bristol is Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm. I have to be honest and admit until recently I thought Noah’s Ark was aimed at young families, but how wrong I was. This place is huge, and has so beautiful beasts to entice you, including elephants, lions, rhinos and oh, a baby Giraffe called Gilbert!
What I love is that this year all the zoo’s Christmas decorations are made entirely of recyclable materials created by the staff – showing you that Christmas needn’t cost the earth. Also they’ve got a lovely campaign running this December. According to Age UK 1.7 elderly people in England haven’t met up with a friend for a month, so they’re giving free entry to the over 80s throughout the month. Know someone who’d benefit from this? Why not invite them out for a day trip?
There’s Christmas Carols and a Christmas hut to visit, but the highlight for me is the free reindeer feeding, every Saturday between now and December 21st. I’ve been invited along to a preview this Wednesday, so check out our Insta account for videos of my excited squealing!
Longleat’s Festival of Light
Longleat is renowned for its annual Festival of Light, where every evening a trail outside the house comes to colourful life. I went for the first time last and loved it, so would highly recommend it. Last year the theme was A Fantastic Voyage and this year’s is Myths and Legends. I bet it’s gonna be epic…
Sudleley Castle’s Spectacle of Lights
Similarly to Longleat, Sudleley Castle and Gardens hosts its own magical light display each Christmas, and this year’s theme is Peter Pan.
I’ve still to visit this Cotswold’s hidden gem, if you’ve been let us know in the comments below!
Christmas at Tyntesfield
We visited Tyntesfield, a National Trust property, a while back when they had a Sherlock Holmes exhibition on (it was used for one the BBC Sherlock episode The Abominable Bride). The house and grounds are both so beautiful and I can already imagine how amazing the place will be done up for Xmas.
This month visitors to Tyntesfield can experience a Victorian Christmas, with costumed characters buzzing around the house. You’ll have the chance to join in with traditional carrots and even learn a few victorian dance moves in the drawing room. Count me in!
Christmas in Bristol
So there you have it – Just a taste of what’s in store in Bristol this December. For more information I recommend heading over to Visit Bristol’s Merry Bristmas website and also checking out its handy events calendar. Here’s ho ho hoping you have a very Merry Bristmas!
Main image credit: Evan Dawson