January is hardly the easiest month of the year. It’s cold, wet and none of our friends ever want to do anything. The highs of December – from Christmas to waving goodbye to 2022 – often leave us feeling low in the first month of the year. Luckily for you, we’ve unearthed plenty of fun things to do in Bristol to help kick those January blues. And rest assured, you’ll definitely end January knowing that it was the best month of 2023 – so far!
January may be the coldest month, but bopping along to the legendary 1970s pop band ABBA will certainly warm you up. On January 14, the Swedish pop group will get the much-awaited Candlelight treatment. A Tribute To ABBA replaces the iconic disco ball with hundreds of sparkling candles, while a string quartet perform ABBA’s greatest hits, such as Super Trouper, Mamma Mia, and Take a Chance On Me. There will be nothing like hearing Dancing Queen at the incredible St. Mary Redcliffe Church this January. Let the winter take it all and get your tickets here.
2. Try Britain’s best beer at this local Bristol brewery
Lost and Grounded, based in St Anne’s, was crowned the best UK brewery at the Brewers Congress Brewing Awards 2022. But it wasn’t the only award the Bristol brewery took home either, as the it also won Beer of the Year.Helles is described as “gentle and balanced,” as well as “soft, bready, floral.” If you want to sample Britain’s best beer, you’ll happily find it stocked in pubs and shops across Bristol. Or you can wait until January 13 for its Taproom to reopen again.
3. Catch the world-renowned Varna International Ballet at Bristol Hippodrome
The Varna International Ballet and Orchestra celebrates its 75th anniversary with a tour of the UK for the very first time. It will arrive in Bristol between January 5 to 7. The company – comprised of 40 dancers and 30 musicians – will bring its performances of Giselle, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker to our shores and will continue touring the UK until March 2023. Some truly special things to do in January this year.
4. Hit all the right notes with a new intimate wine bar at Wapping Wharf
The owners of Bristol restaurant Tare have launched a wonderful new wine bar at Wapping Wharf. Picole will have a far greater focus on wines than its sister site, with a focus on natural, low-intervention wines. Head Chef, Rino Di Donato, has also prepared a selection of small plates and sharing boards to enjoy too, such as fried pommes anna, cauliflower arancini, steamed mussels and more. To learn more head here.
5. Escape the city and enjoy a winter staycation in the UK
After a global pandemic, many of our now facing a cost of living crisis. The idea of finally going on an international holiday this year looks less likely by the day. But the UK doesn’t have to be a total prison. Boasting varying landscapes and quaint little villages, our country is actually a mecca for culture, with tons of stunning sights and historical landmarks to uncover across the island. Check out our pick of the best winter staycations in the UK here. Or you could stay even closer to home at Bristol’s Artist Residence, recently voted the best place to stay in the South West.
6. Warm up this winter by sipping on a lush hot mulled cider
Cider. The most delightful nectar possibly created, and better yet Bristol and Somerset are home to some of the best brews. But the days are getting colder, so why not snuggle up with a tipple that’s sure to warm you up from the inside out? From The Cider Box at Wapping Wharf to the pop-up Piste Ski Bar in Clifton there are so many wonderful places grab a glass this January. Check out our list of the best places in Bristol for mulled cider (and mulled wine).
7. Go vegan for the month
Veganuary rolls around once more, and it seemingly gathers speed every January. We say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, so why not check out all the vegan delights that Bristol has to offer to inspire your next dining out experience. From vegan junk food by Oowee to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine by Eat A Pitta and Koocha, there’s definitely something for plant-based eaters to enjoy in Bristol, Veganuary or not. Here are our favourite vegan restaurants in Bristol.
8. Explore the gorgeous green spaces of Bristol and beyond
We spent a lot of time indoor during December. So if you’re in need of a break from your living room this January, there are a number of lovely walks less than an hour away from Bristol which are worth getting your walking boots on for. From nearby Clifton Downs and Ashton Court Estate to further afield with a cliff-top walk across Cheddar Gorge. Check out these stunning winter walks less than an hour from Bristol here.
9. Try a cracking curry from Bristol’s TikTok kings of Indian cuisine
Last month, we spoke to one of our favourite curry houses in Bristol. Not only have they conquered Indian cuisine, however, but somehow TikTok too. With 30k followers on TikTok and 14K followers on Instagram, Urban Tandoor have gained quite the cult following in Bristol. Unsurprisingly, they picked up the Diners Choice Award – “a new category that rewards curry establishments that are able to engage their customers through social media” – at last year’s British Curry Awards. See behind the scenes of your favourite TikToks this January and order a cracking curry too.
10. Wig out at the return of Bath Jazz Weekend
If you ask us, the first weekend of January is the hardest of the year. Luckily the Bath Jazz Weekend has returned just in time to lift our spirits. After two years away, it invites some of Europe’s finest jazz musicians to Bath at Widcombe Social Club. From January 6 to 8, expect some of the best and highest quality contemporary jazz to take the stage, such as Karen Street’s L’Esprit Du Jazz, Robert Mitchell’s True Think, Orphy Robinson, Comfort in Chaos and many more. Learn more here.
11. Celebrate Lunar New Year in Bristol
You might still be reeling from New Year’s Eve, but there are more celebrations to be had this January. Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year returns to Bristol this month. There are two main events happening over the weekend of January 28. Firstly, the Chinese supermarket Wai Yee Hong will be holding festivities in Eastville with performances and a food market. While you can also head over to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery for even more activities. Head here to learn more.