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

#MerryBristmas

1 December - party on down at the Festive Bonanza on Gloucester Road 

Jingle all the way to Gloucester Road for the Festive Christmas Bonanza (1 Dec) for a Cosy Christmas Market, bargains from local traders, hot food, carols from choirs, Elf on a Shelf trail, letterboxes to Santa and festive food stalls. 

2 December - make your merry way around Bristol’s Christmas Markets

There's nothing quite so merry as savouring the street food, meeting the makers and soaking up the atmosphere of a festive market - take your pick from more than 450 Christmas market stalls across the city on the weekend of 1 and 2 December. For more details see our blog.

Harbourside Xmas Market - Bristmas advent calendar

Image - Bristol Harbourside Market

3 December - Get your skates on at We The Curious Ice Rink & Winter Fair in Millennium Square

Show off your skills on the ice before enjoying all the fun of the Winter Fair. You'll find a Skyview Wheel, fairground rides and outdoor classic Christmas movies like Polar Express (16 Dec), Home Alone (3 Jan) and Love Actually (6 Dec) on the Big Screen. Top it all off with a festive mulled drink in the alpine-style Après Bar (17 Nov - 6 Jan). 

We The Curious ice rink Winter Fair - Bristmas advent calendar

Image - Ice Skating, We The Curious, credit Daniel Watkiss

4 December - admire the decorated trees at St Mary Redcliffe’s Treefest

There’ll be over 100 decorated trees on display for Treefest inside magnificent medieval church, St Mary Redcliffe from 4 - 8 December. There's also a varied musical programme and a chance for visitors to vote for their favourite tree.

5 December - watch panto and festive theatre!

Theatre fans are in for a treat this Christmas in Bristol. Gok Wan and Brian Conley will be taking to the stage in Cinderella at Bristol Hippodrome (9 Dec - 7 Jan), Bristol Old Vic present an enchanting new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale, A Christmas Carol (29 Nov - 13 Jan) while Tobacco Factory Theatres will transform into a giant adventure playground to tell the story of The Borrowers (29 Nov-13 Jan), A Tiger that came to Teais playing at the Redgrave Theatre (8 Dec), or hop aboard Brunel's SS Great Britain for Steamed: an improvised Christmas tale (9-11 and 21-22 Dec).

6 December - sip mulled cider at Wapping Wharf

Christmas ain't Christmas without an piping hot aromatic beverage and Bristol Cider Shop on Wapping Wharf does some of the tastiest mulled cider around. The area is home to an eclectic mix of independent shops and foodie options on Bristol Harbourside - perfect for unusual pressies and yummy treats.

Wapping Wharf

Image - Wapping Wharf, credit Jon Craig

7 December - explore St Nick’s Christmas Market

St Nicholas Market has been around for a whopping 275 years (which it will be celebrating on 8 December). This Yuletide season, look our for their Christmas-themed outdoor markets, running everyday from 12 December until Christmas - they're a perfect place for gift ideas and delicious seasonal food, homemade and organic festive goodies. Don’t miss St Nick’s Festive Night Market (5-10pm on 7 December) - a festive extravaganza of sublime street food, mulled cider, a stunning light show, carols, live music, DJ’s, late night shopping, dancing and more!

8 December - head back in time for a Victorian Christmas

On the dockside, the Victorian Christmas Weekend at Brunel's SS Great Britain (8-9 Dec) is a Dickensian dream with actual falling snow, Victorian characters and traditional carols, or take in the atmosphere of Tyntesfield’s Victorian yuletide activities (24 Nov – 22 Dec). Continuing the festive tradition of imagining new versions of classic stories, Bristol Old Vic will present an enchanting new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale 'A Christmas Carol' (29 November - 13 Jan).

Tyntesfield Christmas market

Image - Tyntesfield Victorian Christmas, credit Steve Haywood

9 December - sail with Santa

Search for Father Christmas with the Ferry Elves on their cosy boat. Once found, he'll sing and entertain, dole out individual gifts for the kiddywinks, plus mince pies and sherry for the adults, while you cruise around the harbour (selected dates from 8 - 24 December).

10 December - marvel at beautifully illuminated trees at Westonbirt

The beautifully illuminated forest trail at Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas is a dazzling sensory experience. Christmassy characters (including St Nick himself), festive food, fairground rides, arts and crafts and mulled drinks add even more wintry thrills (selected dates between 1-24 Dec).

Westonbirt enchanted christmas

Image - Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

11 December - experience Christmas at Bristol Zoo Gardens

In collaboration with Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project, Bristol Zoo are holding a Christmas Star Party on the Downs sound (11 Dec), as well as Christmas Sunday Cinema screenings of festive favourites, Elf and Frozen (2, 9, 16 and 23 Dec). And don’t miss out on Santa in his Narnia-themed grotto (1-23 Dec).

12 December - hibernate in one of Bristol's cosiest hotels

‘Tis the season of hunkering down and cosying up by a log fire. Make the most of this snuggly time of year with a bit of ‘hygge’, staying at one of Bristol’s cosiest hotels.

13 December - enter a Winter Wonderland at Cribbs Causeway

Ice kings and queens will love the Winter Wonderland at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway (17 Nov - 7 Jan) with its huge outdoor ice rink (the South West's largest), vintage fairground rides, festive foodie treats and brand new Santa's grotto experience - a magical 3D adventure to the North Pole with Ice Guard, Elf and Wish Fairy!

Winter wonderland cribbs causeway

Image - Winter Wonderland, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway

14 December - take a pew for the Carols by Candlelight at Bristol Cathedral

The Christmas concert highlight at Bristol Cathedral (15 and 15 December) is sure to leave you with a warm festive glow. Be treated to haunting harmonies from the cathedral choir as they process down the aisle in near darkness carrying candles, hear readings by BBC Radio 4's The Archers John Telfer and join in with your favourite carols. This concert sells out every year, so get your tickets now! 

Choir

Image - Bristol Cathedral choir, credit A Campbell

15 December - snow moments in Bristol

Who knows whether its going to be the coldest winter on record or a drizzly mild Christmas, no matter - Bristol is bringing 'Snow Moments' in Millennium Parade (Harbourside) from 5pm-7pm daily for a week on 1 and 15 December. So get your wintry snowflake fix without the UK's transport nightmares. #SnowingInBristol

16 December - wrap up warm for a Twilight & Illuminations open-top bus tour

Wrap up warm and see Bristol lit up in all its festive glory from the top deck of a Bristol Insight open-top bus – cosy blankets included. See the twinkiling lights of the Harbourside, Clifton Suspension Bridge in all her illuminated splendour, the festive lights of Cabot Circus and Bristol's Christmas Market more! Tours run every Friday and Saturday evening from 1-22 December.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Image - Avon Reflections, credit Gary Newman

17 December - enjoy a Christmas cocktail

Bambalan have recently launched their heated covered winter terrace. Along with table football and city centre views, the laid-back venue is also known to do a fine cocktail. Or how about a Drunken Sri Lankan cocktail at Coconut Tree on Gloucester Road? The new Sri Lankan street food restaurant has been wowing with their quirky, hand-crafted 'Cocotails'.

18 December - blow your own bauble

Blow your own bauble at Bristol Blue Glass. The glassmaker will prepare the molten glass for you to blow, and will give you step by step instructions to make your own bauble. A unique experience that makes a lovely gift exoerience. 

Bristol blue glass - brismas advent calendar

Image - Bristol Blue Glass

19 December - get away from the crowds at a museum 

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will be screening Paddington after-hours as part of the Bristol Film Festival (19 December) in the incredible setting of the main hall. Or if you've been inspired by Sir David Attenborough's Dynasties, head to M Shed to see the inspiring animal images in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, or seek out the animals featured in the series with help from our latest wildlife blog.

21 December - feast on festive treats

Swoon's flavour lab have whipped up festive flavours for the Christmas season, including Panettone Gelato, Mince Pie Gelato and Clementine Sorbetto. Meanwhile Pieminister are offering a Christmas Feast for your delectation - choose a starter, scrumptious, warming festive flavoured pie, stick (such as pig in blanket, stuffing ball, mini yorkshire and cranberry sauce) and a pudding for £18 at their Broad Quay, Stokes Croft and St Nick's Market sites. Do yourself a Yuletide favour and try a Pinkmans' festive sour-dough-nut - they are out of this world! They also do an excellent lie in mince pies, chocolate bread and turkey sandwiches. Pop into to their Park Street shop/cafe to admire their festive decorations, warm up with a homemade chai and indulge in a heavenly baked feast.

Pieminister Christmas pie

Image - Pieminister Christmas pie

22 December - take a day trip out of the city 

Bristol makes a great base to discover Christmas celebrations taking place in the South West. Go on a magical journey to meet Father Christmas at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park (24 Nov -25 Dec). Head to the Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole Caves Santa to see the stunning illuminated caves, decorated for Christmas. There are also festivities taking place at WWT Slimbridge, Longleat, Sudeley Castle, Cheddar Gorge, Avon Valley Railway and lots more.

23 December -indulge in a day of pampering and indulgence at one of Bristol’s spas.

The Lido has all sorts of blissful packages on offer including a ‘Spa and Dine’ package which includes a one-hour spa treatment, access to the steam room, sauna, open air pool and outdoor hot tub plus a delectable 2-courses at the poolside restaurant. You can also get your hands on their range of spa gifts here or gift vouchers make the perfect Christmas present. Bristol Harbour Hotel also offer similar gift experiences for more marvelousness and wellbeing. 

Lido Bristol at Christmas

Image - Lido Bristol

24 December - last minute Christmas Shopping

Still missing some Cristmas pressies, no fear! Give someone a gurt lush Christmas with Bristol-themed goodies galore from Bristol Tourist Information Centre (open from 10am-3pm on Christmas Eve) many of which can be found at the online shop. Snap up everything from local sweet treats, to mugs bearing Bristol's coloured houses, prints from local artists, street art and the most-excellent #MerryBristmas tote bags (£10 each) to carry all your Christmas swag in in.

25 December - have a #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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