The nights are getting longer – all the better for enjoying the twinkling Christmas lights! December in Bristol is always magical, and 2023 is no exception. From wreath-making to Victorian Father Christmas, there’s absolutely loads of things to keep everyone entertained this December. We’ve put together some of our top picks…
Winter Wonderlands in Bristol
The Holidays are coming! Enjoy a sprinkling of Christmas magic at any one of these fabulous winter wonderlands this December!
The Vintage Winter Wonderland in Millennium Square
Millennium Square has been transformed into a winter playground this festive season. With rides, food stalls and a cosy après-bar, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Open daily from Friday 10th November to 2nd January (closed Christmas Day)
Winterland at Propyard
Winter has had an 80s makeover! With a roller disco, retro arcade games and a brand-new gaming experience, it guarantees hours of fun. Plus, there’s comfort food and sweet treats in the cosy lodge.
Visit the Propyard website for more info on tickets.
Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole
Get into the spirit with Santa and his elves at Wookey Hole's Winter Wonderland. With 100,000 decorating the caves, Wookey Hole is transformed into an enchanting underground adventure land! There’s also a special Christmas-themes circus experience and the opportunity to meet Santa himself!
For prices and tickets, visit the Wookey Hole website.
Family Friendly Festivities
Bristol is filled with fun for everyone in the family - but Christmas can be especially magical for children. Here are some of the best goings-on.
Victorian Christmas Weekends at SS Great Britain
Did you know Santa was traditionally dressed in green? For a Victorian Christmas experience complete with old Father Christmas, traditional fare and 19th-century costumed characters strolling around, visit the historic dockyard this season.
Visit the SS Great Britain website for more details.
Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum
This winter wonderland is guaranteed to enchant the whole family. With sparkling lights, festive sounds and mesmerising installations, Westonbirt’s captivating landscape and stunningly lit trees creates an enchanting world full of wonder and imagination.
Experience the magic of the festive season in spectacular illuminated fashion at Westonbirt this Christmas. For info and tickets, visit their website.
Festive Fables with Father Christmas at Bristol Zoo Project
Father Christmas is joined by his forest friends Deer Darlington and Squirrel Nutkins for storytelling in a charming woodland. Pop along to hear stories in a cosy, festively decorated tipi surrounded by wildlife and nature.
Don't miss this very special Christmas experience at Bristol Zoo Project. For tickets and more information, visit the page on the Bristol Zoo Project website.
What’s On Bristol: Theatre Experiences
Home to several notable theatres, Bristol is the perfect place to discover your love for Theatre this Christmas!
Christmas at the Bristol Improv Theatre
Improv has a reputation for being a little bit different. So this year, the Bristol Improv Theatre are embracing their uniqueness and shaking things up for Christmas 2023!
Rather than one big show, They’re spreading festive cheer across a whole host of regular shows, some very special visiting acts and some brand new events from our local pals. It's like a giant selection box, bursting with live, improvised goodness. You're sure to find something you love (and don't worry, there won't be a single leftover bounty in sight). To find out more about these exciting events, click here.
Four Seasons at the Bristol Old Vic: 1st December – 7th January 2024
Join the Bristol Old Vic this Christmas and go on a magical journey to celebrate the wonder of nature and its seasons in a show suitable for the whole family. Expect enchanting performance, exciting seasonal scores and festive fun in this production from the Award-winning Little Bulb. To find out more and get your tickets, click here.
Oliver Twist at The Tobacco Factory: 1st December – 21st January 2024
Following the success of last year’s The Snow Queen, Tobacco Factory Theatres return with a glorious re-imagining of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. This heart-warming production will be sure to put you in the festive spirit and leave you wanting more! To find out more about this production, click here.
Peter Pan at the Bristol Hippodrome: 2nd – 31st December
Join an all-star cast at the Hippodrome this Christmas for an iconic performance of Peter Pan. This high-flying pantomime adventure will feature amazing special effects, beautiful sets and ornate costumes. It’s fun for all the family and should not be missed! To find out about showtimes and tickets for this festive panto, click here.
What’s On Bristol: Craft Activities
Bristol is a city well-known for its creativity, so it’s no surprise that the festive period is the perfect time to get crafty with some of Bristol’s best independent makers.
Wreath-making Workshops at The Ostrich: 4th-5th December
Kick-start the festive month by attending a Christmas Wreath Making Workshop at The Ostrich! Hosted by very talented local florist Tina Collins, you can look forward to a fantastic crafting experience, creating your own Christmas wreath to adorn your front door.
Everything you need will be supplied for you, as well as a mince pie and mulled wine on arrival to get you into the cosy Christmas spirit! To find out more and book your place, click here.
Blow your own Christmas Baubles with Bristol Blue Glass: 9th December
Join Bristol Blue Glass for a Christmas extravaganza. Blow your own snowy Christmas bauble, enjoy mince pies, fizz and music from Bristol Harpist, Scarlett Smith! There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day. Plus, if you’re paying to make your own bauble, you also get 10% off in their shop!
To find out more about this festive event, click here.
Meet The Maker at Prior Shop: Various weekends in December
Join Prior Shop in celebrating their sustainable design fair Meet the Maker! Running on various weekends in December, this design fair will be a treasure trove of unique and beautiful products. From handmade ceramics to slow-fashion clothing, you’ll be sure to find some fantastic gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!). To find out more, click here.
Christmas Workshops at Wylde Jewellers: 3rd & 10th December
If you’ve ever wondered what goes into making beautiful and high-quality jewellery, then Wylde is the place to be! They’re offering you the chance to see behind the scenes of creating their jewellery masterpieces, ask questions and see inside their workshop. To find out more about this event, click here.
Bristol Holiday Markets
If you’ve not got the time to make your own presents, don’t worry – there are plenty of opportunities to buy locally-made unique gifts at one of the many special markets.
St Nicholas Market
Well, if it ain’t broke… St Nicholas Market is a Bristol landmark all year round, and it really comes into its stead during the holiday season. I mean, it’s named after the big man himself. The market halls are quite literally decked in tinsel and fairy lights, and every Saturday from 10am-5pm a local flea market bursts onto the streets outside the iconic Corn Market. You’ll find everything from vintage clothing and retro posters to local soap makers. If you’re looking for a special gift that you won’t find anywhere else, and to know that your Christmas shopping is ethical, St Nick’s is the place to be. Visit their website for more.
Bristol German Christmas Market
Broadmead has been transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with hot chocolate, mulled wine, plenty of food options, and a mini Ferris wheel to boot. If you’re lucky you might even be able to grab an igloo or your very own ski cabin to sit in and enjoy your drinks away from the biting cold. There are also rides for the children, and plenty of vendors to get through some of your Christmas shopping. Find out more on the Bristol Christmas Market website.
Windmill Hill Market- Saturday 2nd Dec
This one’s for all the eco-conscious buyers out there. This Bedminster treasure brings together local artists and creators, offering loads of ethical, handmade gifts and treats. The event is great for families, with child-friendly activities and even animals to visit! Enjoy some homemade food from the farm café, and make a day of it. Discover more on their website.
Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Your essential hub for all of the best locally made and produced gifts. For a weekend, over 200 Bristol designers will be at the Bristol Beacon selling textiles, ceramics, and just about anything else that can be made by hand. Not only can you pick up gifts for everyone, but it is also a chance to see the newly renovated Bristol Beacon! Take this opportunity to have a nosy around their refreshed facilities and get yourself a treat. Find out more on the Gift Fair website.
Grown-up Christmas activities in Bristol
Who said Christmas was just for the kids? Get your gladrags on and dance your way into the festive spirit with one of these fun evening activities.
Westminster Party Gala
Food. Music. Dancing. Tortworth’s luxury gala party events are perfect if you’re looking to treat yourself to a properly good night. Your ticket includes a three-course meal, drinks on arrival, and a live band until 1 am. Cheers!
Wine-tasting events at Kask
Know a wine lover? Treat them to an early Christmas present at Kask, whose entire motto is, ‘saying no to s**t wine’. They have various wine-tasting events each week, ranging from wine and cheese nights to specialist fizz tastings. Check out their website for full listings. On December they even have an annual wine extravaganza, with over 40 (!) wines available for tasting for only £40. Book now!
Parties at Spiegelent
Another luxurious night out. This time, your three-course meal comes alongside a cabaret performance, and a photo booth to make memories. Situated in Central Bristol on the Harbourside, this is perfect for anyone staying in the Suites or Clifton Hotels, which are only ten minutes away by car. If cabarets aren’t your thing, there’s a late-night DJ so the party can continue into the wee small hours. Visit their website for tickets. But book soon- many nights are already sold out!