January isn’t the easiest month of the year. It’s cold and wet and none of our friends ever want to do anything. The highs of December – from Christmas to waving goodbye to 2023 – 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 end January knowing that it was the best month of 2024 – so far!
January might be the coldest month, but bopping along to Queen will warm you up. On January 26, the legendary 1970s rock band will get the Candlelight treatment at The Mount Without. Get ready for a string quartet to play the likes of Under Pressure, We Are the Champions, Don’t Stop Me Now, Bohemian Rhapsody and more, all under the gentle glow of candlelight. To get your tickets head here.
2. Dance all night at Bristol’s New York-inspired cocktail bar and disco
The recently opened Death Disco should shake off the cold this January. Bringing together avant-garde cocktails with an ever-changing host of resident and guest DJs, the 180-capacity venue is the latest venture from Hyde & Co – you know, the guys behind some of the city’s best cocktail bars like The Raven and The Milk Thistle. Inspired by the 1970s disco scene in New York, it is the vibrant, hedonistic and inclusive addition to Bristol’s nightlife we need for 2024.
January is a dark month, a very dark month, but we say embrace it! Start the year under UV lights, with this new and immersive Paint in the Dark experience. With a brush in one hand and a glass of wine (or a beer or a soft drink) in the other, brush up on your painting skills on January 16. The adults-only, drink and paint workshop will rekindle your love of art under a neon glow, as you rekindle your creativity. To get your tickets head here.
4. Awake the cider apple trees with a Wassail
Let’s face it, January is a bit dry when it comes to holidays. But this ancient tradition is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment – especially in the cider-loving South West. If you don’t know what a wassail is, it’s all about blessing the fruit trees for a good harvest later in the year, particularly apple trees – essential for cider enthusiasts in Bristol. Expect Morris dancers, music, mulled cider, and the banging of pots and pans to scare away evil spirits! You’ll find numerous events throughout Bristol and beyond this January, but two of the biggest we found are at Dyrham Park on January 6 and Tyntesfield on January 27.
5. Escape Bristol and enjoy a winter staycation in the UK
Bristol was recently crowned the best place to visit in the UK for 2024. So we’re expecting January to be a busy time for the city as people flock here for staycations. But where are we meant to go? Well, have no fear, because there are plenty of places to flee Bristol for. Boasting varied landscapes and quaint little villages, our country is 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.
6. Spot the popular West End musical Wicked flying into Bristol
The critically acclaimed musical Wicked is getting back on the broom and flying off on tour. It has already been seen by more than 11 million people but, now in its 17th year, will be at Bristol Hippodrome from January 23 to February 25. This will be only the third time the production has travelled to theatres across the UK, so you won’t want to miss out! To learn more head here.
7. Warm up this winter on a 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 Apple on Welsh Back to The All Inn in Fishponds there are so many wonderful places to grab a glass this January. Check out our list of the best places in Bristol for mulled cider (and mulled wine).
8. 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 something for plant-based eaters to enjoy in Bristol, Veganuary or not. Here are our favourite vegan restaurants in Bristol.
9. Go for a wintery walk that ends at the pub
We’ve spent a lot of time indoors during December. So if you need a break from your living room this January, there are several lovely wintery walks in and around Bristol – many of which end at a cosy pub too. From a wander down the River Avon to visiting Stanton Drew Stone Circles, these are all worth getting your walking boots on for. If you want even more winter walks near Bristol check these out here.
9. Stay in an actual Tudor castle once used by Henry VIII
Yes, that’s correct, the historic Thornbury Castle once housed Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn for a short period – and is the only Tudor castle that is also a luxury hotel. From the “budget” Deluxe rooms to the Catherine of Aragon Tower Suite – you’ll have to climb the atmospheric spiral staircase to reach the largest four-poster bed of any UK hotel – every room is fit for kings and queens.
Elsewhere, you’ll find 15 acres of land surrounding the castle to discover, with stunning views and endless activities for all who stay. Stroll through The Rose Garden, take up a new skill like falconry; or relax with a spa treatment. You can also stop by for a royal feast in one of Thornbury Castle’s 3AA rosette dining rooms.
10. Wig out at Bath Jazz Weekend
If you ask us, the first weekend of January is the hardest of the year. Luckily the Bath Jazz Weekend is back just in time to lift our spirits. It invites some of Europe’s finest jazz musicians to Bath at Widcombe Social Club. From January 5 to 7, expect some of the best and highest quality contemporary jazz to take the stage, such as Alexander Hawkins, & Larry Stabbins, Claude Deppa’s Middle Eye, Robert Mitchell’s True Think, Julie Tippetts & Maggie Nicols and many more.
11. Release your inner Scot for Burns Night
Scotland is a long, long way away from Bristol. So Burns Night (January 25) – the celebration of the poet Robert Burns – is never going to be the biggest party. But there’s still plenty of fun to be had! Many will be gathering at home to tuck into haggis, shortbread and a wee dram of whisky or two, before belting out Auld Lang Syne and reading aloud the Scot’s poetry. But events at Spirited, The Square Club (both Jan 25) and The Old Market Assembly (January 26) will help bring Bristol’s Scottish communities together.