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Nine festive activities to do in Bristol over the Christmas holidays that aren’t basic

Staying in Bristol over the Christmas break with nothing to do?

If you’re staying in Bristol over the Christmas break, it is the perfect time to do things that you can’t do during term time. Experience Bristol free of deadlines, messy housemates, and a hangover from a sports night at Fishies that leaves you bed-bound. This guide provides nine wholesome and Christmassy things to do in Bristol over the break that will allow you to explore new parts of the city you never get to see and treat yourself to things you can’t splurge on when you’re spending all your money on pints and iced coffee.

1. Bath ice skating

Although the Bath Christmas Market closed on the 10th of December, you can still visit the city for some outdoor ice skating. In the centre is a massive outdoor ice rink that is £14.50 per person. Not the cheapest, but worth it if you enjoy pretending you’re a skating pro and experiencing your Christmas movie moment. Getting to Bath couldn’t be easier – £6.10 for a return ticket (with a railcard) and it’s only 12 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads.

2. The Vintage Winter Wonderland

Millennium Square turns into a Christmas wonderland up until 2 January. If you aren’t a fan of the overpriced Bristol Christmas market, this is an alternative that has different rides and stalls, as well as loads of food and an après bar. With live music on Thursday evenings and DJs on the weekend (can’t get more Bristol), you can pretend that you’re at Après ski drinking mulled wine and cider, despite being just 15 minutes from your house.

3. St Nicholas Flea market

Running behind on your Christmas gifts? The St. Nicholas flea market, which is usually open every Saturday, is open every day up until Christmas Eve. It is full of stalls with unique items like second-hand jewellery, prints, old maps, leather jackets and handmade gloves. There are also food stands just around the corner as part of the indoor market which makes this a perfect activity over the break to prepare for Christmas. What’s more Bristol than some thrifted knick-knacks?

4. Visit the SS Great Britain and enjoy a festive tea

4. Visit the SS Great Britain and enjoy a festive tea

The Bristol Zoo Project is a charity that helps to conserve nature and educate people about saving wildlife and preventing extinction. At Christmas, they have different events where you can walk along different trails and see the animals, with Christmas decorations. It’s running until 7 January so if you’re a fan of nature or fancy something wholesome that gets you out of the house, this £17 activity (that gives you access for the whole day), is perfect.

6. Grab a roast dinner

It’s not Christmas without a roast! For many of us, the only way to get into the Christmas spirit is by wolfing down crispy potatoes and pigs in blankets (possibly the best part?). Consider trying one of Bristol’s many restaurants that will meet your turkey needs, without needing hours of cooking and washing up.


7. Visit the Everyman Cinema

The stunning cinema on Whiteladies Road is possibly the cosiest way to watch a film this festive season. If watching the thrilling Saltburn doesn’t take your fancy, don’t worry because the national chain also shows classic Christmas movies throughout December. Take yourself back in time and watch Love Actually or Home Alone with some hot popcorn for the most immersive experience.

8. See a Pantomime

Going to the theatre is a classic Christmas activity. It’s hard to find time during university to go and there are rarely as many options as there are over Christmas. At the Old Vic, located on the historic King’s Street that is lined with pubs and outdoor seating, you can see the Four Seasons pantomime until January 7th. If you’re more of a Disney fan, Rapunzel is playing at Redgrave Theatre in Clifton up until the New Year. With student tickets available, going to see a pantomime is a wholesome activity that doesn’t break the bank.


9. See a Christmas ballet at the Hippodrome

If you’re not a fan of musicals or plays, the Hippodrome is putting on classic Christmas ballets like Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. If, like me, you like to daydream about being a professional ballet dancer rather than a university student, go and see these Christmas classics, that, as a bonus, make you feel civilised and give you something to talk about at your Family Christmas dinner.