UPDATED: CLICK THE LINK DIRECTLY BELOW FOR THE CURRENT GUIDE
This fab festive family guide features places to go and things to do this Christmas in Bristol and North Somerset. Includes handy information on ice-skating rinks, Christmas markets, Santa’s grotto and Victorian Christmas celebrations.
CHRISTMAS IN BRISTOL AND NORTH SOMERSET 2017
Our festive guide includes fun places to visit at Christmas in Bristol and North Somerset.
I’ll be adding more details as I spot them and when you send them in so do keep checking back if you’d like to hear more.
CHRISTMAS IN BRISTOL
Visit Bristol Cathedral and choose from its full Christmas and Advent programme. Christmas celebrations include:-
- Friday 15 & Saturday 16 December, 7.30pm – Carols by Candlelight
- Sunday 17 December, 3.30pm – Family Carol Service
- Tuesday 19 December, 5.15pm – Shoppers Carols
- Toddler Carols Wednesday 20 December, 10am – Toddler Carols
It doesn’t matter if you can’t make one of these special dates as families are always welcome and can visit free 365 days a year! We went last summer and learnt a lot about our beautiful cathedral and the broad range of activities they offer families. You can find out more in my Bristol Cathedral blog.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
For a special family treat, you could walk across College Green to visit to Swoon and enjoy one of their award-winning gelati which they make from scratch.
My boys couldn’t believe their luck when we took them there earlier this year. This year’s Christmas themed flavours include panettone, mince-pie and mulled wine. My hands-down favourite festive sorbetto was Biscotto di Nonna (Gingerbread Biscuit). Absolutely delicious! Last Christmas I went behind the scenes and you can see how they actually make gelato in this video.
MILLENNIUM SQUARE’S FESTIVE FAIR
There’s a lot going on in Millennium Square. Did you know that “At Bristol” has now rebranded as “We the Curious” with a new vision to build a culture of curiosity? It’s a place where you’re encouraged to touch and fiddle with the exhibits which is perfect for my three curious sons. At Bristol was one of the few attractions which has continued to appeal to our family from age 3 to 13! When we had little ones they enjoyed the Toddler Takeover sessions. I look forward to discovering whether “We The Curious” has the same pull. I do hope so! Just outside in Millennium Square you can enjoy:-
- ICE SKATING SESSIONS (Until 16th January). When I tried this out recently, after a cautious start, I remembered how exhilarating this is. Note to self: Remember to join in and don’t let the children have all the fun!
- SKYVIEW WHEEL. Admire the Christmas lights and fair from above during a five minute ride on the Skyview Wheel in Millennium Square.
PRICES:- Adult £6.00, Child (4-16) £4.00, 3 yrs & under £1.00, Concession £5.00, Family ticket 2 + 2 £18.00
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Pop into Aprés Bar next door to the skating rink where the grown ups can enjoy a selection of draught beers, mulled wine and hot cider in the container bar this winter. Seating is outside but heaters, rugs and fairy lights make it feel festive and seriously snug. Open 11am to 11pm.
SS GREAT BRITAIN, BRISTOL
Victorian Christmas Weekend – Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th December
Visit the SS Great Britain which is open every day, except 24 and 25 Dec and the second Monday in Jan (8 Jan 2018). On the Victorian Christmas weekend you can step into a Dickensian winter scene with Victorian characters and snow falling around the decorated dockside at Bristol’s SS Great Britain.
- meet the ragged Victorians
- Make your own Victorian Christmas card
- Christmas carol singing
- Meet Mr Brunel
- Discover the ship’s Christmas stories
Have a look at SS Great Britain website for other forthcoming events.
BRISTOL CHRISTMAS MARKETS
While you’re doing your Christmas shopping, why not browse around Bristol’s markets for some unique gifts?
We had a wander around Bristol Shopping Quarter Market in Broadmead and spotted little treasures like hand-made Christmas decorations and these Bristol blue glass baubles.
There’s plenty of street food on offer and as we browsed, the tempting aromas of griddled German sausages and warm donuts vied for our attention. A street performer juggling fire offered colourful casual entertainment and the giant Christmas tree in front of the entrance to Cabot Circus shopping centre completed the scene.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Warm up with a mulled wine at the German Christmas themed Jägerbarn Bar in the middle of Broadmead.
CHRISTMAS IN NORTH SOMERSET
NOAH’S ARK ZOO FARM, WRAXALL
History & Mystery of Christmas at the Ark
Last weekend Noah’s Ark invited us over to see what they’ve laid on for Christmas this year. We had a fabulous day out enjoying the enormous rural site, the variety of animals from meerkats to tigers, hours of fresh air and talking to the knowledgeable staff who seemed to be able to answer every question an inquisitive nine year old could throw at them! In addition to the normal activities, here’s what you can expect there for Christmas.
- Follow the lights and complete the trail around the zoo on your mission to find St Nick and claim a delicious reward! The trail, lit with hundreds of Christmas lights, finishes in the N-Shed where St Nick is hiding. (Entry to the History and Mystery tour and illuminated trail is included in the day ticket price.)
- See the elephants working out ways to eat the Christmas trees which are suspended from the rafters above them. The zoo looks at forms of enrichment for the animals so seasonal props like these Christmas trees can help to keep the elephants stimulated.
- Find the Christmas trees decorated by the keepers and join in with the fun while helping them raise money for charity. Emma and Julie from the African department were telling me about the work of their chosen charity, The Giraffe Conservation Foundation. As well as a collection box, they’re coming up with creative ways to raise money such as charging £1 to let the public feed the giraffes which will go towards helping giraffes which are endangered in the wild through habitat loss as well as being hunted for meat, clothing and jewellery.
DATES FOR THE DIARY AT NOAH’S ARK
- Saturday 9th December: Ark Angel choir performance at 2pm in the Ark Arena when Zoo Keepers sing some tunes to fundraise for the Crisis Centre.
- Saturday 16th December: Portishead Brownie group is putting on a Christmas Nativity at 2pm in the Ark Arena. (included in the entry price)
- Saturday 23rd December: Come along and get involved with your very own Christmas Nativity with real live animals. At 2pm in the Ark Arena we’re inviting you to get involved and tell the Christmas Story. All props and script will be provided just turn up on the day and get involved.
TYNTESFIELD NATIONAL TRUST, WRAXALL
A Very Victorian Christmas
- Tyntesfield takes the season’s best loved traditions and brings them to life with their immersive Victorian experience. With stockings full of festive family fun, traditional decorations, storytelling, dancing and games, soak up the atmosphere as the Gibbs family and their servants prepare for the festivities. Pre-bookable house tickets are now sold out but there will be tickets available on the day from the Ticket Office on a first come, first served basis.
- Christmas Concerts in the Chapel
- Festive Food and Craft Market
- Christmas shopping in the Cow Barn Shop
Thank you to our Christmas in Bristol and North Somerset Sponsor
Many thanks to my husband’s independent accountancy practice Coben Associates for kindly sponsoring our Christmas in Bristol and North Somerset Guide. If you need help with your accounts or would like a free consultation, click the logo below for Coben’s contact details.
If your organisation would like to be involved in supporting this or any of our community features please email jane @ practicallyperfectmums.co.uk.
If you have any other information or updates about local Christmas events, then please comment below or email me on the address above.
HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON!
P.S. Details of these and more events will be on the Special Events Calendar.
Always check with the organiser before you travel as times and prices may be subject to change.