Tuesday, 01, November 2016

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Bristol Harbourside

Festive cheer in Bristol


What's on in Bristol at Christmas


Bristol is gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year with endless illuminations, sessions with Santa and Christmas cheer galore. Here’s our pick of the 10 best things to do this Christmas in Bristol


Christmas Markets

Bristol is fully embracing the Christmas market scene this winter with not one, not two but a hat trick of festive fairs; huts chock full of stocking fillers, mince pies and warbling carollers. There’s Makers Market at Co-LAB in Bristol Shopping Quarter, open on Wednesdays and Sundays until 31st December, selling work by independent artists. If food is more your thing, head to Central Bristol’s Christmas Market for gifts and nibbles from 11th to 24th December. Meanwhile Bristol’s Local Christmas Market will see piles of handmade ciders, beers, cheeses and jams to deck your Christmas table with - from 5th November to 3rd January. 

At-Bristol’s Christmas Ice Rink

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a twirl (or stumble) on an ice rink. At-Bristol’s Planetarium is the backdrop for the city’s ice rink, which is open from 5th November to 3rd January. During the weekends and school holidays there will be sessions for under eights, every evening between 6pm and 8pm it's disco time and for those who are a little wobbly there are skate aids to hire.

Christmas Lights

The switching on of Christmas lights really marks the beginning of the Christmas season in our opinion. Catch a glimpse of Bristol’s light shows either at Clifton Village on 9th November, Cribbs Causeway on 10th November – which sees nineties girl band All Saints perform in a charity concert before illuminating the street – and at St Nicholas Market on 19th November.


The remarkable Spiegeltent

The Spiegeltent

The magnificent travelling Spiegeltent - which originally hails from Belgium and literally translates to ‘mirrored tent’ , designed to be used as ballrooms - is bringing its exquisite stained glass windows, bevelled mirrors and draped ceiling to Bristol this Christmas. Back by popular demand (from 25th November until 31st December) the tent houses a stellar line up of live music, cabaret, markets and family parties.

If anyone knows their cider it’s Bristolians and this Christmas Bristol Cider Shop is showcasing warm winter toddies paired with sweet treats for inspiration for your Christmas lunch – a West Country alternative to Champagne perhaps?.

Visit Santa’s Grotto

Everybody wants to meet the beardy man who holds the key to a successful Christmas. Take your tribe for a magical encounter with Mr F.C himself at Bristol Zoo Gardens between 3rd and 23rd December. His friends Rudolph and co. will be on hand for rides, plus there will be Christmas treats to refuel after all the excitement and plenty of gifts to tick off your shopping list. From 16th to 18th December, there’s the added bonus of interactive theatrical performances to delight the family with magical characters and playful puppets. Book tickets to see Father Christmas at Bristol Zoo. 

What's on in Bristol at Christmas

Join the procession at Bristol Cathedral

Advent procession and carol service

What could be more Christmassy than a candle lit service to mark the beginning of Advent? Join the congregation of Bristol Cathedral at 6pm on 27th November for rousing carols and a moving ceremony to celebrate the start of the Christian festival. 

I am Making Art at Spike Island

Contemporary art and design centre Spike Island will be showing visitors how to make their own Christmas wrapping paper and greetings cards at a printmaking workshop on 3rd December from 2pm-6pm. The event is free but booking is advised.

Street art tour and spray session

Continuing the art theme, join a two-hour city centre street art and graffiti tour in Bristol – the hometown of arguably the most famous street artist in the world, Banksy. After the tour, get creative making your own A2 piece of art using spray paint and stencils.

Illuminated Boat Parade

Watch from Harbourside as hundreds of illuminated boats float past in a festive water parade around City Docks, followed by crowds congregating at Bristol Cruising Club for a hot toddy or two. On 10th December at 6.30pm.


Don't forget that The Bristol is running fantastic party nights throughout Christmas and New Year's Eve and there are still a few limited spaces left, for more information contact  bristolevents@doylecollection.com.