Visiting Bristol around the festive period and want to know the best things to do if you have additional access needs? Tallulah Clark has a few suggestions...

Bristol is brimming with fun things to do this winter, from Bristol's Christmas Market in Broadmead to light trails, festive theatre shows and more. Many venues have accessbility information listed on their websites, and several key Christmas events are putting on special performances or additional openings for those with mobility or sensory issues.

If you're looking for additional accessibility information in the city, you can check our Accessibility pages, or see the latest detailed information on AccessAble.

Ashton Court Estate

There’s nothing like wrapping up warm and going for an explore around one of Bristol’s most historic parks. Despite being just 10 minutes from the city centre, the distinguished Ashton Court Estate could lead you to believe that you were in the middle of the countryside.

The main Mansion House car park has ten disabled parking bays, with a further ten disabled spaces at the Church Lodge car park. If you use a wheelchair, have restricted mobility or are visually impaired, it may be difficult to get around the estate due to the uneven terrain in parts, however paths are clearly marked and well maintained. 

Watch the reindeer roam around before enjoying a hot chocolate with all the trimmings at The Courtyard Café (one the former stables belonging to the mansion, the terrain is cobbled and features outdoor seating).

A view of Ashton Court - Credit Paul Box
Image: Ashton Court Estate

Westonbirt Arboretum

To get you into the festive spirit, Westonbirt are hosting an Enchanted Christmas trail, featuring breath-taking light displays amongst the magnificent trees of Westonbirt Arboretum! Why not soak up some seasonal cheer at the pre-trail Christmas Village. The Village has a selection of food and drink stalls as well as traditional fairground rides.

Understanding what Christmas is all about, Westonbirt have made their Enchanted trail as accessible as possible so that everyone can come enjoy the festivities and marvel at the illuminated woodlands. The trail is just over a mile long and on hard paths. Both the trail and Christmas Village are wheelchair and pushchair friendly. There are free wheelchair/mobility scooters available, but they are in demand and there are only a few so early booking is recommended.

A white 'Westonbirt' sign in amongst lit up trees  - Credit Jonny Hathaway
Image: Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt

Bristol Old Vic

A festive favourite has to be Bristol Old Vic. Conveniently situated in the heart of the vibrant city centre. The oldest continually working theatre in the English speaking world offers a variety of thought-provoking and creative shows. The Kitchen + Bar offers a wide range of seasonal delights,as well as a selection of local beers and ciders – a festive cup of mulled wine is the perfect interval refreshment!

Having just recently been renovated, this iconic and historic landmark features a lift, a range of audio-described, captioned and signed performances, accessible toilets, and complimentary companion tickets. Bristol Old Vic is established on Kings Street, due to it being a 17th century part of town the area outside the venue is cobbled and uneven.

Exterior of Bristol Old Vic - credit Jon Craig
Image: Bristol Old Vic


For a touch of sophisticated culture during the festivities why not visit the RWA? Housed in an impressive and distinguished gallery the RWA is the UK's only Royal Academy of Art. Having signed up to the Bristol Equality Charter and through recent restoration including a spacious lift, step free and level access galleries and café; the RWA has clearly understood the importance of being more accessible and welcoming to all visitors.

One of the five independent Bristol born cafes Spicer + Cole can be found just as you step foot into the RWA. Here you can find generously filled focaccias, an array of cakes and plenty of other deli type treats! The layout of the café is spacious and the noise level is just right. The spacious lift (which even features a seat) to the galleries is housed just opposite the counter.

Exterior of RWA Bristol - credit RWA Bristol
Image: RWA

About the author

Tallulah Clark is the writer behind Rife Magazine’s Come Dine With T series, where she gives her take on Bristol's food scene as a disabled foodie, living with a rare form of neurodegenerative condition Ataxia. Not letting her disability get in the way, Tallulah loves exploring everything Bristol’s gastronomical scene has to offer. In her spare time, other than scouring the streets of Bristol for a good bite to eat, Tallulah enjoys volunteering for Bristol Refugee Rights, reformer Pilates and spending time with her loved ones.

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