I don’t know about you, but after last year’s lockdown Christmas, I’m chomping at the bit to get my festive on this year! So I’ve rounded up the best family-friendly Yuletide activities taking place this Christmas in Bristol and the surrounding area…#MERRYBRISTMAS!
*As with all events during these uncertain times, there is no guarantee that these events will go ahead. COVID-safety measures will apply – check the individual websites beforehand to avoid disappointment. Please let me know if you hear of any more Christmas events in Bristol and I’ll add them to the list.
Christmas light trails near Bristol
Westonbirt Arboretum Enchanted Christmas (26 November-21 December 2021)
Festive treats don’t get much more magical than this! Delve into the dark woods and experience a glittering feast for the senses at Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas. Make your way along the mile-long illuminated trail through the trees, to help Father Christmas find his reindeer, recover lost presents, and save Christmas!
As well as mesmerising light displays, expect talking trees (a big favourite in our family!), a chance to meet the elves and maybe even a glimpse of a very special guest from the North Pole…
Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle & Gardens (November 26-December 30)
For plenty of wow moments and dazzling thrills, book a ticket for Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light. Go on an enchanting wander through the dark and discover glamorous topiary, sparkling water features, flickering fields of fire, wonderful music and much more!
Christmas at Stourhead (26 November-2 January)
Wander along the illuminated mile-long trail to see the beautiful National Trust gardens at Stourhead drenched in Christmas colour. Discover huge luminescent sculptures rising high into the night sky, glittering trees wrapped in light, giant baubles and a fire garden aglow with flames, all enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics.
Christmas at Longleat (6 November-3 January)
Belt out carols with Britain’s biggest singing Christmas tree, follow the disco balls through the after-dark Hedge Maze, potter along the winding Winter Wonderland path, settle down for story time with owls at the Flight Before Christmas show and meet Santa and his elves! Guests will be able to see Longleat House illuminated, bathed in light shows continued around the grounds.
During the day, you may also enjoy all of Longleat’s animal and adventure attractions, including the Safari Park, Koala Creek, Jungle Kingdom, Jungle Cruise and the iconic Longleat Hedge Maze.
Christmas events in Bristol (and a chance to see Santa!)
BSpoke artists and makers trail (4-5 December)
A collection of makers, artists and designers from the BS16 area of Bristol are coming together to bring you a market shopping experience. Makers display their work from front gardens, workshops, driveways and in some community spaces.
Santa specials at Avon Valley Railway (27-28 November, 4-5, 6, 11, 12, 18, 19, 21-24 December)
Ride in your very own compartment on a heritage steam-hauled train and meet Father Christmas! Meet Santa as you journey through gorgeous countryside before receiving a gift from the big man in red himself and have your photo taken with him on return to Bitton.
Look out for the festive Christmas donkeys on the lawn at Bitton, either before or after you’ve travelled on the train. Once you’ve left, the elves will then be working hard cleaning and sanitising the train before the next passengers arrive.
Socially-distanced Christmas at Perrygrove railway (1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 21-23 December)
Hop aboard the Twilight Express train for a magical journey through the illuminated woods, with a stop off to quaff hot chocolate, see Father Christmas at his snowy station and collect your wooden Christmas tree decoration. Click here to book.
If you’re looking for an extra special treat this year, exclusive VIP packages are available include the chance to see Father Christmas climb down the chimney, listen to a Christmas story and chat with Santa in his festive engine shed. Tailored gifts, refreshments and a private carriage for up to 8 people on your train ride make this a truly festive treat.
Avon Valley Christmas Days (4-24 December)
Discover a magical land, hop on The Polar Express Miniature Steam Train (and snap a snowy shot!) before spotting Santa’s reindeer and a nativity scene complete with live donkeys! You can make your own environmentally-friendly reindeer food to take home and the Post Room will be open for you to send a letter (or use the Avon Valley SMS – Santa Messaging Service) to send any last minute requests to Father Christmas.
You can also book a timed session to see Father Christmas and Mrs Claus and a pick a toy. Tickets include a full day at the park.
Ocean Adventurers Christmas Workshop and Grotto, Cheddar (29-30 November, 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-24 December)
A magical 2.5 hour experience hosted by one of Santa’s elves. Make reindeer food, decorate festive gingerbread snacks and create a decoration for the Christmas tree to take home. Santa will make an appearance during the workshop and invite children to come and see him in his socially-distanced (and Ocean themed) grotto. All kids visiting the grotto get a present that they will be able to pull towards them on one of Santa’s smaller sleighs.
This experience also includes use of the soft play when not visiting Santa’s Grotto. Children can even bring their letter to Santa to post in the North Pole Express post box and receive an actual reply from Santa!
Dean Forest Railway (27-28 November, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 22-24 December)
A Christmassy drive-in festival, The Parking Lot Social will be bringing seasonal cheer to Bristol with a host of yuletide socially-distanced events. From pantomime to cinema evenings and silent discos, all set against the backdrop of a 60ft tall rainbow-coloured Christmas tree and a giant DJing Santa Claus.
Snow White, Bristol Hippodrome (4 December 2020-2 January 2022)
Lesley Joseph will be heading from Chigwell to Bristol this Christmas to star as The Wicked Queen in the Hippodrome’s pantomime. Lesley will be joined by Rob Rinder making his panto debut as The Man In The Mirror and Bristol panto favourite Andy Ford as Muddles
Oz, Tobacco Factory Theatres (10 December 2020-9 January 2021)
This new production by Tobacco Factory Theatres and Pins and Needles is based on the original The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum. With imaginative storytelling, original live music and humour, OZ will transport you to lands both wicked and wonderful.
Will Dorothy have the heart, courage and wit to take on the Great and Powerful Oz in order to find her way home? Sometimes the smallest voice can shout the loudest…
Derek Moran in Jack and The Beanstalk, The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare (11-15, 17-24, 26-31 December, 2 January)
Watch one of the most loved and classic pantomimes of all time, Jack and the Beanstalk! In this magical story, poor Dame Trot and her son Jack hardly have a bean. An adventure, love and Christmas celebration.
Got a Christmas event in Bristol? Email me at email@example.com