I don’t know about you, but once Halloween is over I’m chomping at the bit to get my festive on! Christmas in Bristol is one of my favourite times of the year. The city is brimming with wintry fun around the yuletide season – out come the twinkly lights, the Christmas markets and the mulled cider, while inside, festive theatre shows and meetings with Santa fill up the calendar. I’ve rounded up the best Christmas activities for kids taking place in Bristol and the surrounding area so you can make the festive season even more magical for your little ones. MERRY BRISTMAS!
Please let me know if you hear of any more special Christmas events in Bristol and I’ll add them to the list.
Children’s Christmas events Bristol 2022
Victorian Christmas at Brunel’s SS Great Britain (3-4, 10-11 December)
Travel back in time 100 years and celebrate Christmas Victorian-style with raggedy characters and traditional handmade decorations. The ship’s dockyard will be transformed with Christmas greenery and falling snow and there’ll also be a visit from Father Christmas. Arrive after 4pm (until 6.30pm) to experience the magic by night.
Christmas Spectacular at St George’s Bristol (17 & 19 December)
Be filled with festive wonder watching the Bristol Ensemble and the 90-strong City of Bristol Choir joining forces in this glorious mix of music and readings.
Children’s Christmas Carnival at St George’s Bristol (18 December)
Kick Christmas off to a brilliant start with this entertaining children’s Christmas concert featuring Prokofiev’s well loved musical tale, Peter and the Wolf.
Festive Fiesta at St George’s Bristol (20 December)
Enjoy a sparkling festive concert featuring much-loved carols, Christmas choral works and orchestral pieces under the baton of David Ogden, with City of Bristol Choir and the Bristol Ensemble. Audience participation welcomed!
Winterland at Propyard (Thurs-Sun until 4 January)
A new festive experience has landed at Propyard this Christmas! The Winterland extravaganza includes an indoor ice rink, ice bumper cars and a ‘real life’ animatronic polar bear, as well as an Apres Ski Bar, courtyard undercover crafts market and street food.
Santas on the run Bristol (11 December)
Pre-empt those mince pies and get into the true spirit of Christmas with hundreds of other Santas on the Run, who will be running 2k around Charlton Farm in aid of Children’s Hospice South West. There are two wave times of 11am and 2.30pm – join in or enjoy the spectacle of hundreds of sprinting Santas!
Winter Walking Safari, Wild Place Project (3 December – 8 January)
Grab your hats and gloves and head to Wild Place Project to experience the beautiful nature trails while spotting amazing animals from around the world.
Free Christmas things to do Bristol
Treefest at St Mary Redcliffe Church (1-4 December)
Treefest is a spectacular festive display of over 100 Christmas trees held within the splendid gothic church of St Mary Redcliffe.
Meet Paddington, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway
While Santa and the Elves are busy on their marmalade adventure, families will have the chance to meet with Paddington at storytelling sessions in his cosy Christmas tipi! A limited number of spaces will be available to reserve in advance, but there will also be walk-up spaces available for each session on the day.
Family carol service, Bristol Cathedral (18 December)
Get into the Yuletide spirit at Bristol Cathedral’s Family Carol Service (3.30pm) which includes well-known readings from the nativity story and carols sung by Bristol Cathedral Choristers. Children (and adults!) are invited to come dressed as wise men, angels, or shepherds.
Christingle at St Mary Redcliffe (10 December)
Hear the Christmas story in a child-friendly Christingle service at one of England’s finest churches, St Mary Redcliffe. Featuring popular carols and nativity tableau.
Toddler Christmas events
Christmas for toddlers is catered for in Bristol! Take a look at these festive events for little ones.
Toddler Christmas carols, Bristol Cathedral (21 December 10am & 2pm)
Nervous that your toddler might not last the length of a traditional carol service? Bring little wrigglers along to Bristol Cathedral’s Toddler carols – a relaxed 45-minute carol concert. Characters from the Christmas story are brought to life as you move around the building (so no sitting still on laps or worrying about noise!)
Spiegeltent’s Baby Disko (26 November)
Bristol Christmas events don’t get much cuter than this! Get ready to shimmy in your sparkles and clown around at the Spiegeltent’s Baby Disko for ages 5 and under on Waterfront Square. An exciting event filled with music, dancing, silliness, face painting, bubble blowing, dressing up and fun games.
Ice Skating in Bristol
Festive Ice Skating at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park (26 November-1 January)
Swish and swirl on 500 square meters of glittering ice at Avon Valley, then soak up the atmosphere with seasonal treats at the apres-skate bar. Skate aids available on a first come first served basis.
Ice rink at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway (16 November – 2 January)
Twirl to your heart’s content or zoom round on IceByks® on the UK’s biggest ice track, surrounded by snow-topped Christmas trees and Santa’s enchanted ice castle. Toddlers-only skate sessions take place 10-11.30am Monday-Friday, seal aids can be hired for under 10s and sessions last 30 minutes.
Best Christmas events for kids near Bristol
Stuck for family-friendly things to do this Christmas? Take a look at these Christmas days out near Bristol…
Farrington’s Elf Academy (3-4, 10-11, 17-18 December)
Join the Elf Academy and learn how to be one of Santa’s little helpers before meeting the big man himself. Learn the secret elf wave, how to make reindeer food, plant a magical candy cane seed and create an edible snowman.
Afterwards, Santa will be around to give a gift and certificate to say thank you for helping him with all the elf jobs!
Avon Valley Christmas Days (3-24 December)
There’ll be magic, song and dance in Santa’s Sleigh Surprise Show, then a chance to snap a piccie with the man in red at Avon Valley this year! Discover a magical forest by wearing special elf specs, hop on The Polar Express Miniature Steam Train, pick a gift from Santa’s toy shop and see how Mrs Claus makes gingerbread people, before creating your own reindeer food to take home. 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.
Ocean Adventurers Christmas Workshop and Grotto, Cheddar (selected dates in December)
A magical 2.5 hour experience hosted by one of Santa’s elves. Make reindeer food, decorate festive gingerbread snacks, create a decoration for the Christmas tree to take home and meet Santa in his grotto! There’s also role play street featuring a special Christmas Lapland Post-Office, snow ball fights with the elves, an Elf on the Shelf hunt around the soft play, use of the soft play when not visiting Santa’s Grotto and more!
Christmas at Dyrham Park (1 Dec-2 Jan)
Get into the spirit of a 17th-century winter wedding inspired by former residents William Blathwayt and Mary Wynter who married at Christmas time in 1686. From 16 December, there will be a popular poetry trail for adults, plus childrens’ trails through the parkland, and local choirs will be singing in the chapel on selected weekends.
Christmas at Tyntesfield (3 December-2 January)
Soak up up a Victorian Christmas atmosphere inside Tyntesfield house as the Gibbs family and servants set about their festive preparations. There’s also a roaming Father Christmas (try and spot him during your visit!), Christmas horse and carriage rides, local choirs crooning Christmas classics in the chapel, a festive audio trail, plus seasonal Sunday markets for a spot of festive shopping.
Children’s Christmas shows
The Nutcracker, Bristol Old Vic (24 November-2 January)
Bristol Old Vic presents a bold and wild theatrical re-telling of The Nutcracker, full of magic, adventure and show-stopping dance numbers. Be transported to a fantastical kingdom where toys come to life, nutcrackers can talk and anything feels possible.
Shaun the Sheep in concert, with live orchestra, Wills Memorial Building (27 November)
Alongside a look back at Shaun’s origins in Wallace & Gromit: up to his present-day antics, the show includes Aardman’s 2021 festive special, The Flight Before Christmas, performed with live orchestra for the very first time.
Concert ticket holders can also book a Shaun the Sheep model-making workshop with an Aardman expert.
Belle and Sebastien at Bristol Old Vic (2 December – 8 January)
Join Belle and Sebastian as these mischievous, playful and kindred spirits adventure into the wild to escape and discover themselves. A classic family tale reimagined by Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic.
Cinderella at Bristol Hippodrome (2-31 December)
Join Cinders as she goes from rags to riches, outwits her very wicked sisters and meets her dashing Prince Charming. Starring Craig Revel Horwood, and all your classic pantomime ingredients, expect hilarity, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses. Fab-u-lous darling.
Bursting with heart-warming storytelling and festive cheer, Granddad welcomes imaginative input from the audience as he weaves three brand new tales. Expect exquisite puppets and captivating storytelling to create an enchanting and magical Christmas show.
Christmas Tales with Granddad at The Wardrobe Theatre (16 December – 2 Jan)
Creating a sense of the fireside in the theatre, Granddad will welcome imaginative input from the audience as he weaves his own brand of heart-warming storytelling and festive cheer for 3 to 8 year olds.
Join Gerda on her quest to the frozen north as she tries to save her best-friend Kaj from the icy, wicked clutches of The Snow Queen. An unforgettable folk tale, full of heart, courage and a lot of laughter.
Wilda and the Winter Whirlwind at Redgrave Theatre (28 November)
The wicked Winter Witch has reared her icy head and declared a forever freeze across the land! It is up to brave Wilda to save the day. Puppetry, song and physical theatre combine in this magical, festive tale about courage and community.
Robin Hood and Marian at Redgrave Theatre (selected dates 25 Nov – 2 Dec)
An explosive musical adventure for the whole family; sword-wielding, dragons, venison pasties and more archery than you can aim your arrow at. Join swashbuckling power couple Robin Hood and Marian as they take from the rich to give to the poor.
Aladdin at Redgrave Theatre (selected dates 10 – 31 December)
With spectacular scenery, spellbinding special effects, lots of audience participation and, of course, a thrilling carpet ride, Aladdin promises to be the biggest pantomime ever staged at the Redgrave Theatre that will keep the whole family entertained.
A Christmas Carol at Arnos Vale Cemetry (17 November-2 December)
Red Rope Theatre Company return to the Anglican Chapel with this 3-hander gothic horror inspired version of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’. Recommended for 14 years+ due to darker themes and content.
Christmas light trails near Bristol
Christmas Light Trails near Bristol
I’m all for adorning as many things in twinkly lights as possible, beaming neon-coloured lights into the world and making foliage glitter! One of our family traditions is to visit one of the magical Christmas light trails near Bristol each December and they never fail to get us into the festive spirit!
Santa events in Bristol
No travel restrictions can stop the big guy in red’s plans to visit Bristol this Christmas! Yes, Santa Claus IS coming to town and here’s a round-up of places your little ones can see Santa in Bristol this Christmas.
Got a Christmas event in Bristol? Email me at email@example.com
Liked this post on things to do in Bristol at Christmas? Find more festive action taking place in the city: