The Perfect Winter Day in Bristol

bristol german christmas market

My trip to Bristol was a complete revelation.  the city charmed me with its beautiful street art, vibrant food scene and quirky vintage stores. 

Winter is a great time to visit – it was snowing Christmas baubles and the mulled wine was flowing all around me. So vigorously, in fact, that I’m still getting the stains out of my jeans. But that’s beside the point, because this website isn’t sponsored by Vanish… yet! #AimingHigh, am I right?

What’s really important here is that I love wintertime. Cities coming alive to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock? That’s my jam! Quite literally, you can even watch me sing it on YouTube. But none of this is why you’re here… You want to know how you, too, can have the perfect winter day in Bristol – and I’m about to tell you!

Breakfast at Boston Tea Party

boston tea party bristol

Kick the day off with a hearty breakfast at Boston Tea Party, an artsy Bristolian café chain. I had their Reuben sandwich, which I wholeheartedly recommend because after having it I didn’t eat until dinnertime! Granted, I got up at 1pm that day, but my point still stands (albeit a little shakily). I paid a visit to the café near Stokes Croft and I recommend you do too, because it is right next to our next stop…

Gloucester Road graffiti

bristol graffiti

I’ve already written a full post about the incredible street art of Gloucester Road, but I’ll say it again – the wall murals in Bristol are breathtaking. If you still think of graffiti as talentless vandalism, the elaborate paint jobs in this lovely English city will definitely make you reconsider.

Vintage shopping

bristol vintage shopping

I have severely limited my shopping sprees – all my extra money is now being put toward travel and this website. But every now and then I like to rummage through some treasure troves and see if I can get a good deal on some vintage gems. Bristol has some of the coolest vintage stores I’ve ever seen, especially along Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft.

Late lunch at Za Za Bazaar

bristol sheds za za

Although I’d normally opt for a hole-in-the-wall full of character, but this place pretty unique. For one, Za Za Bazaar is the biggest restaurant in the UK with enough space to feed a thousand hungry bellies at once!

It serves anything from sushi, noodles and Tex Mex to pizza, Vietnamese, pasta and ice cream. If you’re going with a bigger group or can’t agree on which cuisine you fancy this is not a bad bet. It’s also conveniently located right in the middle of our next stop…

Fun harbourside museums

bristol m shed

Bristol’s harbourside is more magical than I expected – and it’s home to some pretty cool museums. My favourite is M Shed which will introduce you to life in the city from prehistoric times to the present day, free of charge. It’s also currently hosting prints from Natural History Museum’s world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 exhibition which are pretty incredible.

Another great place to visit in the area is At-Bristol – a science museum where you can check out hundreds of hands-on exhibits as well as UK’s first 3D Planetarium! And right in front of it you will find our next stop…

Ice skating

ice skating bristol

In my naughty guide to winter in London I already discussed my belief that ice skating is a population control technique first and a sport second. Why else would hundreds of people strap freaking machetes to their feet and take to an ice-covered battlefield? But I digress. There is a lovely ice rink in the centre of Bristol, where you can live out your murderous adorable winter fantasies. Prices start at £6.50 and after 6pm they have groovy disco sessions!

Clifton Suspension Bridge

clifton suspension bridge bristol

I wasn’t sure how to fit the Clifton Suspension Bridge into the schedule – it’s a bit far from the centre and not particularly easy to get to. But it’s so pretty lit up at night, with cars swooshing past you, that I couldn’t help but include it in this guide.

If you get a chance, go visit this iconic symbol of the city of Bristol – it’s no incident that visitors from all over the world have been coming to this Grade I listed structure for almost 150 years. The view over the picturesque Avon Gorge is worth the effort!

Bristol German Christmas Market

german christmas market bristol

And now, for the grand finale! The Bristol German Christmas Market with its Bavarian-inspired chalets and giant advent calendar is nothing to be sniffed at. Unless you have a cold, in which case I forgive you and am sending you a dozen virtual hugs!

My favourite part of the market was – no surprise here – the beer garden and the food. Gingerbread hearts, spicy gluhwein, hog roast, crepes and waffles, cheeses, mulled cider… I could go on, but I’m not unkind like that. So feed yourself first and then book a trip to Bristol.

Have you ever been to Bristol? Which is your favourite place in the UK to visit around Christmas? I’m looking to explore some new cities this winter and would love your advice!

  • I really need another trip to Bristol. I used to live there (er over a decade ago) and it was great then but so many fab changes since too.

    • Bristol is great! I’d love to visit again – the vintage shopping, the cafes… it’s fabulous 🙂

  • Assia Shahin

    I study at Bristol uni (technically not now – I’m on my year abroad) and love the city! If you go back check out Park Street vintage shops 🙂

    Assia | http://www.assiashahin.com

  • Frey de Fleur

    Can’t believe you got so much done! I have friends at Bristol uni so I will have to visit them and see the christmas market x

    http://www.freydefleur.com

  • I once visited Bristol with my family when I was really young, so I don’t remember much about the place. After reading this article and looking at those amazing clicks; I am again inspired to visit Bristol and freshen up my old memories.

  • william yao

    Wow! What a charming city! In the past, only know the name of Bristol, know any further knowledge for it. But now, you gave me such a wonderful view for the lovely city! Thank you for sharing!