Your guide to Christmas in Bristol 2012
Temperatures are dropping, the woolly scarves are coming out and mince pies are lining supermarket shelves: Christmas is just around the corner.
In the coming weeks Bristol will get well and truly into the festive spirit, with a calendar jam-packed with events – from the opening of the Christmas markets to Winter Wonder Zoo.
So whether you’re looking for family fun, ways to celebrate the Christmas countdown with friends or just somewhere to do your shopping in style, Bristol’s got it covered.
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For many of us, Christmas is about enjoying good food – and lots of it! So what better way to spend a chilly December Sunday than in a 1920s-style ‘big top’ tent filled with culinary delights?
Hosted by Love Food, this Christmas event boasts a seasonal demonstration theatre, hot food and a market where you can stock up on cheeses, nuts, wines and sweet treats for Christmas Day.
And this is a day out like no other – the 1920s-style ‘big top’ tent, complete with original stained glass windows, flooring and mirrors, will transport you back to a by-gone era of traditional Christmas merriment.
And this Yuletide extravaganza is perfect for families too – children can try their hand at gingerbread decorations to hang on the Christmas tree at home, at the homemade gingerbread house.
They can also make crackers and clove oranges, as well as have their faces painted.
Admission for adults is £2.50, and children go free.
Find out more about this December 9 event here.
Christmas Lights and Illuminations Tour
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like the warm glow of lights, so this event is a must for anyone looking to get into the festive spirit.
Enjoy an evening bus journey through the city, where you can marvel at illuminated architecture, watery harbour reflections and Christmas lights.
You’ll be guided by live commentary on your 90-minute journey, and receive a £2 hot drink and mince pie voucher to be redeemed at Radisson Blu hotel afterwards. You’ll also get free travel the following day on the 'Hop On, Hop Off' service.
Held on Saturday December 1, 8, 15 and 22, this is the perfect way to welcome the Yuletide season.
The tour departs at 4pm at Stop 1 on Broad Quay, City Centre. Tickets cost £10 for adults; £9 concession and £5 for children (age 3-15).
Children under the age of three go free if they sit on an adults’ lap.
To find out more click here.
If The Snowman is your favourite festive movie, this event is not to be missed: watch the classic film played on a big screen at the Colston Hall while the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera performs the music live!
A magical and enchanting performance, this promises to be a family day out you’ll treasure.
And the fun doesn’t stop there - after the interval, award-winning comedian Tamsin Greig will narrate Peter and the Wolf.
For more information, visit www.colstonhall.org.
Bristol Christmas Markets
Christmas is the perfect time to show your loved ones you care, and what better way than with a unique gift they can treasure?
At Bristol’s German market and local market in Broadmead, there’s no shortage of inspiration.
At the German market, peruse 40 decorated chalets selling traditional German Christmas decorations, lights, nativity scenes and gifts, including wooden toys, soaps, lamps and amber jewellery.
There’ll also be a range of authentic arts and crafts, and delicious German food and drink.
Opening on November 9, the market also boasts a children’s carousel, and is right next to the ice skating rink!
The market will open every day until December 29, from 10am until 7pm.
But Bristol’s market offering doesn’t end there – a range of locally-produced jewellery, Christmas decorations, glassware and fairy-lights will be on sale at the Christmas Local market.
Kicking off on December 6, the market will open every day until December 23, from 10am until 4pm.
And for those looking to enjoy some Christmas delicacies, there’ll be local cider, beers, cakes, cheese, chutneys, biscuits, garlands and chestnuts on offer!
Find out more here.
Colston Hall Christmas Festival
If there’s one thing guaranteed to get you in the mood for Christmas, it’s music. So what better way to spend an evening than at one of the Christmas music extravaganzas being held at the Colston Hall?
Through classics such as Silent Night, In the Bleak Midwinter and O Come, All Ye Faithful, a Carols by Candlelight concert by Raymond Gubbay really conjures the magic of Christmas.
Performed on December 20 by one of the UK's finest orchestras, this concert is staged in full 18th century costume in a candle-light style setting.
Or if you just can’t help joining in, why not snap up tickets to the Christmas Carol Sing-along on December 23?
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a night out after the big day itself, the Last Night of the Christmas Proms on December 29 could be just the ticket.
Find out more about the Christmas Festival here.
Winter Wonder Zoo
For a Christmas day out with a twist, head to Bristol Zoo! On December 20 and 21 the zoo will undergo a festive makeover, becoming home to Santa’s grotto and velvety-nosed reindeer Jingle & Belle.
There’ll also be a Christmas market, carol singing and storytelling round the fire, as well as festive treats including mulled wine and cider, hot mince pies and roasted chestnuts.
Find out more here.
A Hogwart’s Christmas
Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or just looking for a festive night out to remember, A Hogwart’s Christmas is perfect.
Held in the Great Hall of Bristol Grammar School, which boasts vast leaved windows and a 50ft high arched beamed ceiling, this is sure to be a magical night.
Enjoy a meal Harry himself would be proud of, including Broomsticks Bruschetta, Hogsmead Chicken and Candle Nut Supreme and an Edible Candle!
Then be spoilt for choice by the evening entertainment - a fun casino, face painting, glitter makeup, oxygen bar and shisha. Have a sing-along in the karaoke room, then hit the dance floor for a two-hour disco and DJ set.
Held on December 7, 8, 14, 15 and 21 (other dates for venue hire apply), A Hogwart’s Christmas is a night out you’ll treasure.
Find out more here.
12 Stouts of Christmas
Bristol Beer Factory will be welcoming the Yuletide season by selling 12 Stouts of Christmas from December 1.
Head to the brewery where you can meet the brewers themselves, stock up on Christmas beer and have some Stout stew. And hey – it would be rude not to have a pint or two!
Find out more at www.bristolbeerfactory.co.uk.
Aladdin at Bristol Hippodrome
For guaranteed family fun, snap up tickets to see a panto you’ll never forget - Aladdin!
Sharing the role of the magical Genie of the Lamp are Loose Women star Carol McGiffin and Bristol favourite and Big Brother winner Josie Gibson.
And any seasoned Hippodrome panto-goer will know funnyman Andy Ford, who returns for his fourth consecutive year.
Performed between December 7 and January 6, 2013, this is the ideal way to spend a weekend, jazz up Boxing Day or get in the festive spirit on Christmas Eve.
To find out more, click here.