The return of chilly weather brings out the festive side of Bristol. Do a lap around their ice rinks, take in tens of thousands of twinkling lights decorating the downtown streets, or catch a show at the oldest continuously operating theater in the country, the Old Vic.
A choir has been singing at Bristol Cathedral since 1140, and you can join in the tradition by taking in a Carols by Candlelight concert.
Warm up at Bristol Christmas Market, which has more than 50 stalls selling specialties like mulled wine, traditional sausages, and sweet treats. Visits from Santa and his reindeer are a total delight for kids, too.
On New Year’s Eve, head to Clifton Suspension Bridge for a spectacular view of the city lit up by celebratory fireworks.
Spring is festival season in Bristol, and all kinds of thematic events—from music to beer to walking—get enthusiastic locals outside to enjoy the warmer temperatures and locally made treats.
At the end of April, much-loved musicians take over the city’s stages for the Bristol Folk Festival. Make sure to see a show at St. George’s Bristol, a former church renowned for its acoustics.
Grab a pint of ale—or several—at Camra Bristol Beer Festival in March. Over 100 beers, ciders, and perries (made from locally grown perry pears) are on offer every year.
Bring your comfiest shoes for Bristol Walk Fest, which lasts the entire month of May. Walking enthusiasts head to historic sites or wander along nature trails alone or in groups.
Spring means picnics in the park, so join locals unpacking their baskets at one of Bristol’s most popular green areas, The Downs.
Summers are rarely too hot in Bristol, which is why almost all of the most popular annual events take place outdoors. There will undoubtedly be some rain, but it’s nothing a light raincoat can’t handle.
Circus performances, comedy lineups, and a film festival—you can find all these and more at July’s Bristol Pride, along with the always-exciting Pride Parade.
Indoor and outdoor performances of the bard’s best-loved works can be found all around the city during the Bristol Shakespeare Festival in July.
In August, dance till you drop at one of the city’s largest celebrations, Bristol Harbour Festival. This waterfront festival features hundreds of performers packing parks and amphitheaters.
Temperatures may be cooling off, but locals are reluctant to head indoors, packing the calendar with ongoing events and taking in the fall foliage. Enjoy the city’s autumnal colors at one of the many public parks, or head out to one of the Bonfire Night celebrations.
A spine-tingling walk through the bat enclosure is one of the best parts of Skeloween at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Kids can also learn about vertebrates while checking out displays of animal X-rays.
You can experience fall foliage at any of the city’s tree-filled spaces, but it’s worth making the trek to Tyntesfield for the Golden Tree Walks, filled with hundreds of rare tree species.
On November 5, grab a toffee apple and head to Bonfire Night displays across the city. There’s a fun set-to-music version at Avon Valley Wildlife and Adventure Park.