Let the countdown to Christmas begin with our #BristmasAdvent guide and a suggestion for something festive to do in Bristol each day.

#MerryBristmas

1. Sip a Christmas Mandarin Margarita on Bristol’s trendy Harbourside.

Pick up some unusual pressies and get your Christmas feed on at Wapping Wharf, home to an eclectic mix of independent shops, foodie options and other businesses. The area is hosting a Christmas Spectacular on 2 December with all sorts of festive frolics. Look out for Bristol Cider Shop and its festive tasting parties.

Wapping Wharf

Image - Wapping Wharf, credit Jon Craig

2. Party on down at the Gloucester Road Extravaganza

Jingle all the way to Gloucester Road for the Festive Christmas Bonanza (2 Dec) for a Cosy Christmas Market, bargains from local traders, hot food, Xmas Tavern, choirs and wreath making workshops. Return on the 7 Dec for the Festive Street Party.

3. Make your way around Bristol’s Mega Mile of Markets

If you’ve still got Christmas shopping to do, take your pick from more than 450 market stalls across the city on the weekend of 3 and 4 December, from Bristol Shopping Quarter and the Harbourside to Gloucester Road and Southville. For more details see our blog.

Harbourside Xmas Market

Image - Harbourside Market

4. Get your skates on at the We The Curious ice rink in Millennium Square

Show off your skills followed by a post-skating session in the Après Bar (18 Nov-16 Jan). Or if your talents for skating are lacking, escape to enjoy all the fun of the Winter Fair. Fancy a ride on the Ferris wheel? Or perhaps an outdoor movie full of winter joy - film screenings include: Happy Feet (3 Dec), The Nightmare Before Christmas (11 Dec), The Muppet Christmas Carol (18 Dec) and Frozen (7 Jan). Discover more We The Curious wintry treats in our blog.

ice skating we the curious

Image - Ice Skating, We The Curious

5. Book your Christmas theatre now

Theatre fans are in for a treat this Christmas in Bristol. We’ve got Joe Pasquale and Marti Pellow taking to the stage in Aladdin at Bristol Hippodrome, The Little Match Girl and Other Happier Tales at Bristol Old Vic, Beauty and the Beast at Tobacco Factory Theatres, The Stars of Magic Christmas Show at the Redgrave Theatre, Dickins’ A Christmas Carol at Berkeley Castle and much more. 

6. Admire all the decorated trees at St Mary Redcliffe’s Treefest

There’ll be over 100 decorated trees on display inside the magnificent medieval church (6-11 Dec).

Treefest

Image - Treefest at St Mary Redcliffe

7. Get creative with a stencil & spray painting session

Book your place now to get hands on with a stencil and spray painting session with Graft’s group workshop at Hamilton House (10 Dec) following a tour of Bristol’s ‘graffiti quarter’.

8. Enter a Winter Wonderland at Cribbs Causeway

Ice kings and queens will love The Mall’s massive outdoor ice rink as well as Santa’s Enchanted Ice Castle and indoor Christmas train (16 Nov-7 Jan).

Winter wonderland cribbs causeway

Image - Winter Wonderland, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway

9. Head back in time for a Victorian Christmas

There’s plenty of old-fashioned frivolity to be had at Blaise Castle House Museum (9 Dec). On the dockside, the Victorian Christmas Weekend at Brunel's SS Great Britain (9-10 Dec) is a Dickensian dream, or take in the atmosphere of Tyntesfield’s Victorian yuletide activities (25 Nov – 3 Jan). Turn the clock back even further, to experience an Elizabethan Christmas at the Red Lodge (2 Dec).

Tyntesfield Christmas market

Image - Tyntesfield Victorian Christmas, credit Steve Haywood

10. Bring the kids along for an Enchanted Christmas at Bristol Zoo Gardens

There’ll be stargazing (11-13 Dec), Christmas wreath workshops (16 Dec), as well as Sunday Cinema screenings of festive favourites, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Home Alone (3, 10, 17 Dec). And don’t miss out on Santa in his magical grotto (2-23 Dec)!

11. Enjoy a festive feast for the senses at Westonbirt

The beautifully illuminated forest trail at Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas is a dazzling sensory experience. Christmassy characters (including the big guy himself) and festive food and drink add even more wintry thrills (selected dates between 1-18 Dec). Read more about it on our blog.

Westonbirt enchanted christmas

Image - Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

12. Get tickets for a Christmas concert

Treat yourself to some soothing festive aural delights at one of Britain’s most celebrated concert halls: St George’s Bristol. There’s tons of Christmas concerts taking place, including a children’s Christmas carnival, a Baroque Christmas, Christmas Spectacular and X-Factor’s G4 Christmas by Candelight to name a few!

13. Explore St Nick’s Christmas Market

You thought St Nick’s Market was good? Well wait till you see it filled with festivities, adorned with decorations and bearing seasonal food and drink galore. Open 7 days a week until 24 December.

14. Have a mulled wine at Bristol's Christmas Market

Follow the smell of glühwein and bratwurst to Bristol Shopping Quarter’s yearly market where you’ll find tinsel-topped stalls selling plenty of festive goodies including Yorkshire pudding wraps! Make sure you leave time for a warming mulled wine in the new Jägerbarn bar and beer garden (10 Nov -24 Dec).

Bristol's christmas market

Image - Bristol's Christmas Market

15. Walk the twinkly streets on a graffiti tour

Street art is not just for Upfest. Sign up for Where the Wall’s award-winning guided tours and see Banksy creations in his hometown.

16. Take a pew for the Carols by Candlelight at Bristol Cathedral

This candlelit choral service (15 & 16 Dec) is always popular so be sure to book early. This year will also feature festive readings by actor John Telfer (BBC Radio 4 The Archers). See our sacred Bristol Christmas blog for a list of enchanting events in sacred spaces around Bristol. Click here for more Christmas services in Bristol.

Choir

Image - choir, credit A Campbell

17. Paddington & The Snowman at Colston Hall

Christmas ain’t Christmas without The Snowman. And what a way to experience the magic of these two much-loved classics than with live orchestral accompaniment (17 Dec).

18. Enjoy a Twilight & Illuminations Tour aboard a Bristol Insight bus

See Bristol lit up in all its festive glory from the top deck – cosy blankets included. Tours run every Friday and Saturday evening in December.

19. Bask in Tyntesfield All Aglow at Night

See the estate after dark when the paths, trees and gothic house itself will be lit up in beautiful colourful lights. All aglow will take place on 11, 12, 18 and 19 Dec from 5-8pm.

Tyntesfield

Image - Tyntesfield aglow, credit Nick Bater

20. Enjoy a magical Christmas Experience at Avon Valley Wildlife

Mr and Mrs Claus and their band of jolly elves await from 25 November – 24 December. Tickets include a polar express miniature train ride, a 90-minute immersive theatrical journey to the North Pole and some furry reindeer friends, plus lots more!

21. Enter our amazing Christmas competition

Last chance to win the ultimate early Christmas present for you! WIN an amazing festive break in Bristol, including: Lunch & spa at the Lido, an EatWalkTalk food tour, shopping vouchers, and an overnight stay at the luxurious Bristol Harbour Hotel!  

Bristol Harbour Hotel

Image - Bristol Harbour Hotel

22. Enjoy Christmas Fishes at Bristol Aquarium

Sea creatures like to celebrate Christmas too you know – follow the Crab Cracker trail, meet Santa Claws' moults and try and spot cuddly Charlie the Clownfish.

23.  Last minute Christmas Shopping

Bristol Tourist Information Centre (open from 10am-3pm on Christmas Eve) stocks a vast range of Bristol-themed gifts. Discover Bristol scenes on bone-china mugs, posters, prints by local artists and supplies of Bristol Pounds. There’s also Banksy T-shirts, Scarlett and Nell Candles in Bristol Bluebell fragrance and lots more.

24. Get away from the crowds at an arty exhibition

It's the final day of Grayson Perry's The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! so take your chance and see these provocative works before they leave the city. Across the water you can also find the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at M Shed - what could be more relaxing on Christmas Eve than staring at pictures of astounding animals?

25. #MerryBristmas

Clifton Christmas

Image - Clifton Christmas

  • We couldn’t squeeze everything into this jam-packed advent calendar – so to discover more Christmassy goings-on in Bristol, click here.

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Treefest at St Mary Redcliffe Church
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Graft
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Winter Wonderland at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway
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Winter Wonderland at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway

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A Victorian Christmas at Blaise Castle House Museum
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A very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield
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A very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield © National Trust / Steve Haywood

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