Image credit: Nicole Honeywill via Unsplash

The Best Festive Fun in Bristol this Winter

London Calling

With Christmas suddenly around the corner, and the weather having long since taken a turn for the worse, it’s high time to be looking ahead with our three top tips for how to make the most of this winter season.

Explore a Christmas market

Image credit: Bristol Local Christmas Market/ via Facebook

Like any major city worth its salt, Bristol has its fair share of Christmas markets to choose from. One of our favourites is The Harbourside Market, which takes over an attractive section of central Bristol. It will be split into two areas this year: a forty-five stall Maker’s Market under the covered walkway featuring mulled wine and local crafts, and a Street Food Market spilling out onto the fountains at the top of the Cascade Steps. There’ll be live music, a bar, and (for the inevitable rain!) a covered seating area.

Alternatively, head over to Broadmead for a bustling collection of chalets selling arts, gifts, food and drink. The real highlight of this area has to be the Local Christmas Market, which is returning for its ninth year running. Opening throughout December and featuring a wide selection of local products, this year’s theme is ’Made in Bristol’. Head down for everything from stained glass, candles and artists’ prints to cider, craft beers, bread, cheese, jams and hand-made chocolates. There’s so much on offer you’ll never want to leave!

Harbourside Christmas Market runs on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-4pm from November 25th to December 24th.
Bristol Local Christmas Market will be open every day from Friday 1st until Saturday 23rd December.

Get your skates on

Image credit: The Mall at Cribbs Causeway/ via Facebook

Nothing says winter’s here like cracking out a pair of ice skates and jumping on the rink. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, Bristol has a number of pop-up novelty rinks that’ll work for you.

The rink at Millennium Square is a great place to start – it even features special skating sessions just for kids called ‘Little Boots’, and sessions where you can move to the music in ‘Dance Boots’. If that’s not enough, you can even turn up to their ‘At the Movies’ events, where you can skate along to the big screen. Featured films include Happy Feet, The Nightmare Before Christmas and, inevitably, a Frozen Sing-along. To top it off the square will again boast a big wheel, Christmas market and Après bar, so make sure to check it out!

If you don’t mind heading a bit further out, the Mall at Cribbs Causeway host an annual Winter Wonderland featuring a 1000 sq. metre ice rink, Santa's Enchanted Ice Castle in which kids can meet the Ice Queen and Father Christmas, and a Christmas train ride winding its way through the shopping centre itself. Quite the takeover, and a great opportunity to finish off that Christmas shopping whilst you’re there.

The Millennium Square ice rink is open from 18th November until 16th January.
Winter Wonderland runs until 7th January at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway.

Catch a festive show

Image credit: Bristol Old Vic/ via Facebook

Bristol’s theatre scene put on an eclectic array of Christmassy shows to grab your attention. The Bristol Old Vic are putting on The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales, an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson tales by Joel Horwood and director Emma Rice (of Kneehigh fame) sure to delight adults and children alike. If you have younger children, check out Snow Globe, designed for 3 to 7 year olds. The Wardrobe Theatre is also putting on The Snow Baby, an enchanting show for 3 to 8 year olds, as well as Kristmas with the Kringles, if you like your family festive comedy improvised right in front of you. Plenty to see and do that’ll keep the whole gang happy!

Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales runs at the Bristol Old Vic from 30th November – 14th January.
Snow Globe runs at The Lantern at Colston Hall from 1st December – 7th January.
The Snow Baby runs at the Wardrobe Theatre from 16th – 30th December
Kristmas with the Kringles runs at the Wardrobe Theatre from 7th – 23rd December.

Your inbox deserves a little culture! Get our monthly newsletter