November is a funny old month. The clocks have changed (hello, darkness at 4pm- we’ve missed you!) and most of us are just waiting for Christmas to kick into gear. But as tempting as it is to retreat inside and curl up under a blanket, there are plenty of things to do in Bristol this November. This month we’ll see old and new arrive in the city, like the long-awaited Christmas markets and the opening of several new restaurants! So, it’s time to wrap up, explore the city and beyond, and check out our guide to the best things to do in Bristol this November to make for an unbelievably fab month.
1. Have your fill of ‘all-you-can-drink beer’ at this Oktoberfest celebrations
Oktoberfest? In November? We’re not going to question it! Just enjoy a weekend of oomph-pah-pah and all things Oktoberfest at Propyard on November 10 & 11. Hoptoberfest will be serving up all-you-can-drink steins from some of Bristol’s finest breweries, and beyond, all with a side of bratwurst! Pumping out the tunes, MBE Norman Jay will be bringing the (Mister) Good Times on Friday night, while the frontman of Bristol’s iconic IDLES, Joe Talbot, will be taking the decks on Saturday.
2. Sip on mulled wine in an igloo at Bristol Christmas Market
Bristol Christmas Market makes its grand return on November 3 to the Broadmead shopping district. This year’s market is set to run for seven very festive weeks, coming to an official close on December 23. During its run, visitors will get to peruse the offerings of over 50 festive stalls packed full of gifts, festive treats, unique crafts, and more, alongside numerous bars and food stalls.
This year, the market will once again be home to Christmas Igloos and Ski Gondolas – which guests can book out with their friends to enjoy Bratwurst platters, charcuterie boards, cheese boards, and festive tipples. New this year, however, is a 15m high Ferris wheel, a candy-themed escape room and a reindeer sleigh ride, plus two large snow machines guarantee Bristol will have a white Christmas this year. Keep an eye out for the Big Man himself!
Candlelight concerts combine breathtaking live music performances with the enchanting glow from thousands of candles to make for an unforgettable winter plan. Relive iconic on-screen moments with a magnificent Hans Zimmer tribute and hear your favourite Christmas tunes performed on strings. What’s more, you can also listen to modern day hits by the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift with a classical twist at this series of magical candlelit concerts.
4. Pop down to this one-off return of a much-loved Bristol tapas restaurant
Once the go-to place for authentic Spanish tapas in Bristol, Pata Negra sadly closed in 2020. But has made a comeback for autumn. Relaunching with a six-week pop-up at Bambalan, it’s sticking around for most of November. But, offering all-day dining, as well as take-away bocadillos at lunchtime and a selection of Spanish wine, this might be your final chance to try Pata Negra.
To celebrate, the Hyde & Co Group will throw some extra special ticketed events on November 2 and 16. Expect cult favourites like sobrasada with a crispy soft-boiled egg, manchego and honey, jamón ibérico croquetas and patatas bravas with aioli picante, as well as plenty of delicious new dishes, including tapas sharing feast for £30pp.
5. Take an enchanting trip to Narnia at Longleat
Longleat’s legendary Festival of Light returns with more life-size lanterns than ever before from November 11 to January 7. This year, the focus is on arguably the most magical Christmas story of all, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Step through the wardrobe and discover a world of illuminated characters, from the mighty Aslan to the bewitching White Witch. You’ll also discover show-stopping worlds of treasured Children’s tales like Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, and Winnie the Pooh.
Elsewhere at Longleat, you can meet ‘Britain’s biggest singing Christmas tree’, grab the Santa Train to the North Pole, and journey through the iconic winter safari. Longleat House will also be even more luminous this year – a phenomenal light show will bring its historic facade to life each evening, synchronised to festive music. (To get the best view, make sure to follow the Garden trail.) Plus, there will be an all-new 60m fountain display on Half Mile Pond!
6. Witness a spectacular firework display this Guy Fawkes Night
With Guy Fawkes Night falling on a Sunday (November 5) this year, the weekend will be full of celebrations. Bristol is hosting a number of firework displays in green spaces and will see magical, glowing eruptions take to the sky. Head on over to Clifton Observatory (November 5) where one of Bristol’s most iconic views will be lit up from 6pm. While on the other side of the city, on November 3, you’ll find Bristol’s biggest firework display in Downend.
Other displays include Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park (November 3 – 5), Gloucestershire County Cricket Club (November 3), Bristol Fireworks Fiesta at Canford Park, (Nov 4), Knowle Cricket Club (Nov 5) and Henleaze Community Fireworks (Nov 4).
7. See some of the greatest wildlife photographs in the world
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is hosting the fifty-ninth Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, meaning you can experience incredible images of the natural world. Starting October 21, you’ll have until April to see all 100 winning photographs from the competition. But seeing as Planet Earth is back on our tellies at the moment, November seems like the most fitting month to see the breathtaking diversity of the natural world in Bristol.
8. Set out on the illuminated trail amongst the magnificent trees
We feel pretty lucky to have Westonbirt Arboretum on our doorstep. Yes, it is beautiful at all times of the year, but it truly comes to life in autumn as the trees turn a myriad of bright and burning colours. Perfect for wintery and autumnal walks this November. Starting November 26, however, you’ll also be able to set out on an illuminated trail through the arboretum. Enchanted Christmas creates a magical world of breathtaking light spectacles and interactive displays amongst these ancient and magnificent trees!
9. Pick up some new skills at Bristol Folk House
Head on down to Bristol Folk House on November 19, where everyone is invited to its first official Open Day. Between 1pm and 5pm, there are a number of taster workshops you can try out, from knitting to sketching, embroidery and ukelele. Plus, you can watch the talented tutors give live demos, like wood whittling, lino printing and line dancing. If you want to pick up a new skill this November, give Bristol Folk House a try.
10. Listen to the leaves crunch as you wander through these local areas
In need of a change of scenery? Why not take a trip out and switch off from the world with a walk across a blanket of leaves? There are a ton of beautiful routes right on our doorsteps and you’ll be surprised where you can get to in less than an hour’s drive. Watch the leaves turn and fall across Somerset, whether it be in the woods near Weston-Super-Mare or from the top of Cheddar Gorge, it’ll definitely give you all the autumn feels and you’ll be glad to have some fresh air. Check out the best autumn walks near Bristol here.
11. Let out your inner big kid energy at this massive LEGO festival
This second edition of this LEGO festival returns to Hutton Moor Leisure Centre in Weston-super-Mare on November 5. The Weston Brick Festival gives kids (and big kids) the chance to play, create and show off their brick-building skills.
Visitors can expect speed-building competitions, large-scale displays and a dedicated building area. It will also offer adult fans of LEGO (AFOL) the opportunity to exhibit their work. Traders will be selling loose bricks, new LEGO sets, retired LEGO sets, mini-figures and accessories too.
12. Witness a ‘ground-breaking historic’ concert at the Bristol Beacon reopening
After waiting five years for Bristol Beacon to reopen, you’d hope it would have something special up its sleeve. Returning on November 30, the first concert back does not disappoint! The opening night will focus on a “spectacular collision of sound and light composed in a unique collaborative process.” Trip The Light Fantastic is a newly commissioned work featuring an all-Bristol line-up made up of globally-renowned orchestral innovators Paraorchestra, electronic artist Surgeons Girl, Charles Hazelwood and light artists Limbic Cinema.
This multi-sensory improvisational experience will light up Beacon Hall for the first time in years. Promising to be, in the words of Charles, “an electro-orchestral feast… like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard before,” a spectacular collision of sound and light composed in a unique collaborative process. We can’t wait!
13. Grab a G&T on Bristol’s new dedicated gin hotspot
The Glassboat was one of Bristol’s most beloved dining spots until it closed last year. Thankfully, the local gin company, 6 O’clock Gin reopened it last month as the ultimate gin destination in Bristol. Not only will you be able to enjoy G&Ts and 6 O’clock Gin cocktails, but buy a bottle (or two) from the onboard store. You can also get hands-on with gin tastings, cocktail masterclasses and gin blending experiences, and enjoy live music evenings and pop-up dining events!
14. Wander around Britain’s wonderful ‘Waterfall Country’
Autumn, we love nothing more than heading out on hikes this time of year. One of Britain’s most glorious sights, Waterfall Country, is no more than a two-hour drive from Bristol. Situated on the south-westerly edge of the Brecon Beacons (or Bannau Brycheiniog), the area is well known for its unusually high number of waterfalls.
You’ll find three of the grandest, most gorgeous and closest on the Afon Mellte. Sgwd Clun Gwyn (the ‘fall of the white meadow’), Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn (the ‘lower fall of the white meadow’) and Sgwd y Pannwr (the ‘fall of the woollen washer’) will keep you mesmerised for hours. But if you want a Hollywood-level famous waterfall, however, you’ll have to visit Henrhyd Falls – these were actually used in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises as Batman’s iconic hideout, the Batcave.