Bristol is one of the best British cities to visit in the winter, but it’s often overlooked by tourists who flock to London, Manchester, and Liverpool. Luckily for you, that means you can enjoy all of the attractions of a traditional British city, without the crowds.
Rummage at the St Nicholas Market
St. Nicolas Market is the ultimate go-to destination for local, independent traders, where you can find anything from seasonal fudge to vintage clothing to handmade silver jewelry. It’s ideal for present shopping or even getting something special for yourself.
Even if you don’t need to shop, it’s still worth a trip to see the pre-WW2 architecture in the Old City, the area of Bristol’s city centre that survived the Blitz. You can always stop in for a falafel wrap at Eat A Pitta or the Christingle pie (roast parsnips, west country cheddar, leek, and chestnut) at Pieminister.
Drink some real ale at a traditional pub
Baby, it’s cold outside, which is why you should relax by the fire in a traditional pub, like ‘The Old Bookshop’, ‘The Cadbury’, ‘The Beer Emporium’, or ‘The Old Duke’. You can get traditional English meals and a selection of craft beers at a reasonable price.
Go ice skating
Every winter, an outdoor ice rink is built in Millennium Square, so hire a pair of skates and try out some moves on the ice, while music plays in the background. It’s fun for all the family!
If you’re less steady on your feet, then you can always get a nice hot chocolate and people-watch at the rink.
Enjoy a floating feast
If you prefer your water in a liquid state, you can eat at any of the restaurants and pubs that find their home on the river that runs through the center of Bristol. (Don’t worry, they’re tethered to the land.) One of the most popular is ‘Under The Stars’, which is themed like a pirate ship where you eat beneath twinkling fairy lights, or the ‘Three Brothers’, where you can enjoy burgers. Both serve up festive meals with a twist!
Take a walking tour
If this is your first time in Bristol, then you may not notice a lot of the little details that make the city so special. However, you can take a walking tour from local experts, like the Bristol Highlights Walking Tour, to immerse yourself in history, or the Ultimate Bristol Walking Tour, where you can see the famous Banksy street art that dominates the city and visit old pirate haunts.
Dance to some live music
No matter what type of music you like, you can enjoy it in Bristol, from blues to reggae, dub-step to house, jazz to techno. There is a whole range of venues from the glorious ‘Colston Hall’ to the intimate ‘Start The Bus’ to the floating ‘The Thekla’.
Visit a speakeasy
One of the hidden parts of Bristol are the speakeasy bars that are dotted around the city centre for those who know where to look. This includes the ‘Milk Thistle’, where smartly dressed waiters will serve you as you relax on a decadent leather chesterfield couch under incredible chandeliers, and the ‘Red Light’, whose entrance is marked with a red light (surprisingly!) and a payphone.
Visit Longleat Safari Park
If you’re wanting to see some pretty cool animals, then head to Longleat Safari Park, which is an hour outside Bristol. Most of the animals will be keeping warm indoors, but it’s a unique time to see them. We can particularly recommend the Winter Safari during the Festival of Light.
If you don’t have transport, you can hire a car at Bristol airport using BookingCarEurope and save up to 30% on your rental compared with going direct.
Watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks
Clifton Suspension Bridge is an architectural feat in its own right, a Grade I listed building dating back to 1864, from which you can see the plunging depths of the Avon Gorge. However, on New Year’s Eve, you can enjoy a vastly different view by watching all the city’s fireworks displays.
Hopefully, this article has encouraged you to see all Bristol has to offer this winter. Just make sure to wrap up warm!