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Winter fun-derland

4th October 2018

Categories: Press Releases

Take a sparkling winter trip to Bristol. From twinkly lights and seasonal shopping on the ‘Mile of Markets’ to nostalgic Victorian revivals staged by landmark attractions and open-air skating at the waterfront, Bristol is a city made for Christmas.

Magical markets and seasonal shopping

Bristol’s ‘Mile of Markets’ returns for November and December 2018, connecting the city’s handsome harbourside to Bristol Shopping Quarter. These include the Harbourside Christmas Market right on the waterside. Bristol’s Christmas Market (9 November – 23 December) and the Local Christmas Market (a collection of artists, makers and independents trading from a mini village of festive wooden chalets) are both found in the Shopping Quarter. There will also be Christmas-themed markets on Corn Street beside the award-winning St Nicholas Market whose collection of independent traders present a seven-days-a-week Indoor Market.

Bristol Shopping Quarter is home to more than 500 stores, more than 50 cafés and restaurants and within easy reach of Bristol Temple Meads station and range of great value hotels. Within Bristol Shopping Quarter, Cabot Circus will host its Christmas lights switch-on event on Friday 9 November.

For the tenth year running, the Made In Bristol Gift Fair (24 + 25 November, 1 + 8 December) returns to the Colston Hall featuring 200 designer-makers selling local crafts and artisan products.

Those seeking Bristol-themed gifts can head for the Tourist Information Centre on the Harbourside for cards and creations from local artists, handmade Bristol chocolates, Banksy-style memorabilia, guided tours and more. Other Christmas markets are taking place in and around the city at venues such as Arnos Vale Cemetery and Tyntesfield, a National Trust property.

In Clifton Village (pictured) shoppers can hunt out treasures in the Victorian Clifton Arcade, where everything from vintage costume jewellery to classic home interiors can be found. After shopping, relax with a winter warmer at newly refurbished Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin overlooking the impressive Clifton Suspension Bridge, which is beautifully lit at night. Festive events in Clifton include the Big Christmas Tree Switch-on.

Shoppers looking for something uniquely Bristol should head for Gloucester Road, the longest independent high street in the country.

Skating, curling and escapism

We the curious brings its Ice Rink and Winter Fair back to Millennium Square (17 November to 6 January). Located beneath the giant silver orb of the country’s only 3D planetarium, the magical real-ice Ice Rink is accompanied by a Skyview Observation Big Wheel, vintage fairground rides, an Alpine-themed Après Bar and a selection of traditional Christmas food stalls. Also, don’t miss Visit Bristol’s sparkly ‘Merry Bristmas’ street art installation in the square for a fabulously festive selfie. Nearby restaurants for a pre- or post-skate meal include Steak of the Art, Watershed café bar, The Stable pizzeria and cider house, No. 1 Harbourside and Za Za Bazaar – Britain’s largest restaurant.

New this year, is Bristol Shopping Quarter’s winter curling rink, a chance to try out this Nordic Olympic sport-on-ice alongside Broadmead’s annual German-themed Christmas market. Venture into Quakers Friars to the new Santa’s Grotto or visit the Galleries

In December, BBC Studios and Escape Hunt are bringing Dr Who-themed live Escape Rooms to Cabot Circus in Bristol’s Shopping Quarter. The live escape game promises a thrilling, immersive experience for all fans of the enduring TV favourite Dr Who – a staple of Christmas family viewing.

Victorian revival
Brunel’s SS Great Britain is one of Bristol’s most impressive visitor attractions and is filled with traditional fun in December. Its Victorian Christmas Weekend will see falling snow covering the beautifully-decorated dockyard as costumed characters stroll among visitors. On-board Christmas dinners and parties can also be booked from November to January for a truly unique celebration, including wintry drinks on the Promenade Deck and food in the ship’s first-class dining saloon.

A Victorian theme continues at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield, a stunning Gothic Revival house where traditional festive celebrations from over a hundred years ago are being revisited with A Very Victorian Christmas (24 November – 2 January). Just six miles from central Bristol and set in beautiful rolling Somerset countryside, it’s a picture-perfect backdrop for a Christmas day out.

Venture beyond Bristol
Enjoy an after-dark stroll among the colourfully-lit trees of Westonbirt Arboretum as part of its annual Enchanted Christmas event - it is always one of the highlights of the season. Follow A Winter’s Trail at the American Museum & Gardens (22 November – 16 December). At the Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park (24 November -24 December) join Evergreen the Elf on a 90-minute journey to the North Pole (Father Christmas will be waiting). Or put the sea into seasonal by taking a trip to Santa’s Grotto on the Grand Pier in Weston-Super-Mare.

Carol Singing and Candlelight
Get into the spirit of the season with Carols by Candlelight events in the magnificent surroundings of Bristol Cathedral (14-15 December) or at the historic New room at John Wesley’s Chapel, the world’s oldest Methodist chapel (19 December). Clifton Cathedral presents Handel’s Messiah with Bristol Choral Society (15 December). A musical festive season at St George’s Bristol will include Classical carol concerts.

Seasonal shows and concerts
In December 2018, Bristol Old Vic continues its festive tradition of imaginative new versions of classic stories with an enchanting new adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless tale, A Christmas Carol.  Tobacco Factory Theatres re-imagine the classic The Borrowers in a new production. The Bristol Hippodrome welcomes Brian Conley and Gok Wan in Cinderella - the ‘fairy godmother of all pantos’.

For more ideas and inspiration, visit

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