Candlelit feasting, crackling fires and mulled cider are just some of the warming treats Bristol has up its mittened sleeve for winter...

1. Warm up in the sauna and steam rooms at The Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa

Step out of the cold and go underground into Bristol Harbour Hotel’s subterranean Spa. Sauna, steam room, swimming pool and treatments await shivering limbs. Opt for a spa package with overnight stay and dinner for the ultimate winter treat.

Bristol Harbour Hotel

Image - Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa

2. Racks

Warm up in the proper West Country way and hunker down next to the crackling fire with a glass of spiced apple mulled cider – it would be rude not to…

3. The Clifton Sausage

When there’s a chill in the air, what better than some delicious comfort food and cheek rosy-ing wine to keep you toasty? The Clifton Sausage, in the heart of Clifton Village, serves up plenty of sausages of course, as well as classic British winter favourites such as steamed mussels, local game and a delightful sticky toffee pudding.

Clifton Sausage

Image - The Clifton Sausage

4. Warm up in the sauna and steam rooms at Bristol Lido

Take your cue from the Scandinavians—masters of all things cosy—and warm your bones with a sauna and steam at The Lido in Clifton. Of course, a sauna wouldn’t be a sauna without an refreshing dunk of the ice bucket or a swim in the outdoor pool. Afterwards, reward yourself in the restaurant with an amaretto hot chocolate—aka happiness in a glass—and some superb tapas cooked in wood-fired ovens.

5. Eat all the pies at Pieminister

These Bristol pies are a treat year-round, but as it drops below zero they really come into their own as the ultimate comfort food—best enjoyed with a group of friends. Hot favourites include the Heidi pie, with its perfect pastry stuffed with a hearty filling of Somerset goats’ cheese, sweet potato, spinach and red onion. From around mid-November you can take your pick from Pieminister's Christmas pies, including a scrummy Deer Santa with venison, bacon, red wine and green lentils. 

6. The Rummer Hotel

The Rummer Hotel, an olde-world coaching inn in Bristol’s medieval Old City, makes for ideal winter cosying. Sidle up to the huge open fireplace with a glass of wine from their eclectic list or a cocktail made with their very own craft gin or spiced rum – both distilled in the cellars below.

Rummer Hotel fireplace

Image - The Rummer Hotel

7. Three Brothers Burgers

This popular Bristol burger destination moored on Bristol’s Floating Harbour, lures hungry visitors with a roaring wood fire in winter time. Their craft beer and cider list is ever-changing, giving you the perfect excuse to pop in and warm your cockles.

8. Cuddle up for the night at Hotel du Vin 

Located in the historic Old City, close to the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, Hotel du Vin is terrifically twinkly and festive in the winter season. Feast by candelight on fine French food in the bistro, enjoy a nightcap in the Sugar Bar before sinking into a big leather armchair in front of the fire. When it comes to bedtime, cuddle up in soft Egyptian sheets and drift off for a heavenly night’s sleep in your luxurious king size bed.  

9. Thornbury Castle

Hibernate in luxury at Thornbury Castle - once honeymooned in by King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn - and now a lavish hotel with exquisite food. Opulent bed chambers are grand but cosy, with ginormous fireplaces to admire and four posters to snuggle down in (including one which is the widest bed in all the land!) Sip fine wine in the atmospheric Tudor Hall, treat yourself to a pampering session in your room and imagine yourself as a King or Queen from days or yore.

Thornbury Castle

Image - Thornbury Castle

10. Berwick Lodge

Walk up an appetite in the stunning grounds of this elegant country house, before curling up next to the fire in the wood-panelled lounge.  Indulge in an 8-course tasting menu (with optional wine flight) in the award-winning Hattusa restaurant before holing up for the night in one of their luxuriant rooms for some wintry R&R.

11. Backwell House

This chic country pad just outside Bristol offers plenty of winter-warming magic. Pour yourself a bubble bath in one of the vintage roll top baths to unwind before a gorgeous treatment in the comfort of your room. Pop downstairs to the award-winning restaurant for a killer cocktail by the wood-fire or stay on a Sunday for the cosy slumber party and movie in the cinema room. Outside rolling hills and woodland are perfect for an invigorating winter ramble.

Backwell House

Image - Backwell House

12. De Vere Tortworth Estate

Take a crisp walk in the hotel’s very own arboretum and 30 acres of grounds before slinking back into the warmth of this Cotswold Victorian country mansion. Steam yourself in the spa before sipping on a winter warmer under the twinkly lights of the Atrium Bar and tucking into some hearty fare in the cosy wood-panelled restaurant.

13. The Albion

Christmas-time is a particularly magical time to wander the handsome streets of Clifton Village. For ultra-festiveness, spend the day picking up gifts from Christmas tree-adorned shops, then follow the twinkly lights to the Albion (opposite the Victorian Clifton Arcade) for a winter warmer by the log fire.

Clifton in winter

Image - Clifton in snow, credit Destination Bristol

14. The Lion, Cliftonwood

Let the brightly coloured terraced houses of Cliftonwood warm your soul as you potter past to The Lion. Slightly off the beaten track, the cosy fire and homemade food make this family-run pub a local’s favourite. Pop down to the end of the road for some cracking views over the Floating Harbour.

15. Pipe & Slippers

Set your cheeks aglow while snuggling into leather arm chairs next to the fire. On Saturday’s, pop-up @smokeandglaze take over the kitchen and serve some mean fried chicken.

16. The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer

…Or just The Volley as it’s known to its regulars, sits close to The Llandoger Trow on Bristol’s atmospheric cobbled King Street. Thirsty punters can thaw out with a comforting beer next to the fire.

17. ‘Tis the season for winter warmers at Bristol’s Christmas markets

Follow the smell of glühwein and bratwurst to Bristol's Christmas Market (10 Nov - 24 Dec) in Bristol Shopping Quarter and warm up frozen bones. Make sure you leave time for merrymaking in the new Jägerbarn bar and beer garden.

A trip to Bristol’s famous St Nick’s Christmas Market (19 Nov-24 Dec) in the Old City is sure to make you feel all warm and tingly.  Or, head to the Harbourside Christmas Market (weekends only 25 Nov -24 Dec) to bask in the wintry atmosphere while you eat, drink and shop. Winter-themed drinks and live music are sure to raise the temperature.

St Nick's Christmas market

Image - St Nick's Christmas Market, credit Chris Bahn

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