Just like last year, 2021 has had its fair share of ups and downs, and we can’t believe the end is fast approaching. But it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Bristol, and we are so ready to embrace the most wonderful time of year. So hit play on the festive playlist filled with Mariah and Bublé and have a jolly festive time with our guide to the best things to do in Bristol this December.
1. Bag a free Christmas sandwich served with a pot of gravy
The purveyors of possibly one of the best sandwiches in Bristol has announced a festive special that’s sure to leave you drooling and running to your local branch for lunch. Sandwich Sandwich has collaborated with The Jolly Hog to create the world’s biggest Christmas sandwich and to top off this festive feast of a sarnie, it comes with a pot of dipping gravy. Plus, Sandwich Sandwich is celebrating the launch of this special by giving away one thousand (that’s right, one thousand) free Christmas sandwiches on December 1. But you can devour this festive treat throughout this month too.
Horrible Histories is coming to the South West this Christmas, unravelling plenty of Christmas traditions for the whole family to enjoy. Join Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas as they team up to save Christmas in this fun panto, with guests able to enjoy the show from the comfort of their own cars. Escape the hectic city and enjoy a day out in Cheltenham or Cardiff.
3. Walk through the beautiful grounds of Ashton Court Estate and witness glowing illuminations
This stunning illuminated walking experience in the heart of Bristol is open to the public during the month of December. Indulge in a range of festive food and drink located in the courtyard from a range of vendors at this light event after wandering through this 45-minute trail. With something for everyone, stroll through the gardens within the estate with a warm mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand and your closest family and friends by your side.
4. Tuck into a menu dedicated to all things pigs in blankets at this festive pop-up
Christmas is edging closer which means we’re entering the season of pigs in blankets- as much as we like the turkey, you can’t deny that pigs in blankets are the stars of the Christmas dinner show. And to get us in the mood for the festive season, one Bristol restaurant is taking our favourite trimming of the Christmas roast to create an unbelievable food and drink menu. Pigsty is going the whole hog by paying homage to the bacon-wrapped sausage with a limited edition menu and it’s anything but boaring, since it features sweet and savoury Christmas classics with a porky twist.
5. Hit up Bristol’s Christmas market
It’s not a December well spent without a trip to the Bristol Christmas Market. Attracting loads of people annually, the huge market spans the entire city centre, with plenty of quirky gift stalls, food stalls and bars to enjoy. Taking the form of a traditional Bavarian market, guests can expect classic grub such as Bratwurst, Dutch pancakes and more, alongside plenty of desserts, cheese and hot chocolate.
6. Tour around this new Christmas art trail celebrating the Netflix release of Robin Robin
Proving once again how much creativity this city has to offer is a very special Christmas mural trail that’s sure to bring plenty of joy this festive season. Netflix, Aardman and popular Bristol street art festival, Upfest, have partnered together to bring a brand new art trail to the streets of Bristol in order to celebrate the launch of Aardman’s new animated short, Robin Robin. You can start the trail on North Street at McColl’s Newsagents and end up at the Rope Walk on Bedminster Parade, paying particular attention to the Upfest Gallery, Rhubarb Jumble, Toyville, Viva La Mexican, The Emporium and more along the way.
Taking place at the beautiful Bristol Cathedral, a talented chamber orchestra will be bringing to life Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Strauss’ Viennese waltz– with a beautiful ballet performance to accompany. The venue will be illuminated with atmospheric candlelight, providing a unique experience for Bristolians to enjoy just for Christmas. Get tickets here.
8. Enjoy vintage funfair games and delicious food at this winter wonderland
Here to add some magic alongside the Bristol Christmas Market and Christmas Adventures light trail is a winter wonderland that makes for a cosy setting as well as bringing plenty of entertainment. Bristol’s Vintage Winter Wonderland features an après chalet-style bar, fairground rides, food stalls and plenty of festive cheer. Taking over Millennium Square until January 3, the attraction will bring plenty of entertainment in the form of a helter skelter, dodgems and vintage funfair games with prizes up for grabs.
9. Explore the city on a glowingly wonderful festive light trail
The festive season isn’t far away and one way of knowing that the holidays are coming is when the Christmas lights in Bristol are switched on. Bristol City Centre BID and and Redcliffe & Temple BID have announced the return of Christmas Adventures, Bristol’s festive light trail, which will see iconic buildings lit up with a selection of the jolliest Christmas lyrics and phrases during December. The full festive trail launches on 1st December when projections at the Harbourside and Old City will be switched on, and the Christmas Adventures will stay in place until December 28.
10. Sip on a festive cocktail or two at this new bar opening in Bristol
Dirty Martini is opening in Bristol this month– bringing tons of delicious drinks for Bristolians to enjoy. Expect festive-themed cocktails, Christmas brunch, martini wings tree sharers and so much more, bringing plenty of fun to the Bristol bar scene for you and your friends to take advantage of this festive season. Choose from a Christmas martini with candy canes, winter fizz with tangerine and cinnamon, or The Snowman, a mix of Jameson’s, Bailey’s, speculoos syrup, cream, soda, chocolate and cookies.
11. Be dazzled by these Christmas light events in and around Bristol
It’s not long until Saint Nick dons his finest furs, and Christmas arrives, so of course Bristol and the wider areas are just itching to put on a show. A sparkling array of Christmas light display events will burst into colour this festive season, and luckily this year should be better than the last one. Numerous places are pulling out all of the stops with some magnificent illuminations for you to tour round, including some in the city and others no around an hour away by car.
12. Devour katsu dishes and poké bowls at this new lunch bar
Known for their unbao-lievable bao buns and comforting bowls of ramen, one of Bristol’s favourite Asian restaurants has opened up a one-stop dining destination with plenty of food to drool over. Located on Queens Road, Woky Ko Lunch Bar will be serving up a delicious array of Asian inspired grab-and-go delicacies, coffee, freshly baked goods and soft serve ice cream. Woky Ko is also introducing poké bowls to the menu with options ranging from signature Korean fried chicken, pork chashu, salmon and Sichuan cauliflower.