My pick of the Bristol area's best family-friendly Christmas activities

December 02 2019

Fishponds Mum, by Claire Stewart-Hall

THERE are lots of exciting things to do in Bristol this festive season. Aside from navigating busy schedules, winding down work for the holidays and doing a lot of recycling (in our new bags for cardboard) it is useful to book a few things in advance to break up the Christmas period – which seems to becoming ever longer, no?

We are still working out how to do everything we did before whilst holding a new baby, making time to play with the older one, washing and drying the growing mountain of washing (drying? In this weather?) and being at (as opposed to doing any…) employed work.


Winter Wonderland at Cribbs Causeway

From late November – booking essential

Here you will find a large ice rink, Santa’s grotto and an upside-down house to look around. It is best to book ahead online. There are little seals to help toddlers that are useful on a first come, first served basis; there are “more seals than ever” says the website, which is good news for little ones, as there were queues last year. My eldest child was pretty terrified of anything Santa-like for four years, so guard your pennies with the Santa’s grotto part. They are separate and cost separately.

Runs until January 6. Ice skating only: adult skater £9.50 off peak, £10.50 peak; child under 12 £6.50 off peak, £8 peak.


Santa’s Grotto on the Green, A Winter Wildlife Wonderland

This is a lovely community event, which is home-grown and inclusive of all of our Fishponds broods. This year it is at the Old Bowling Green and promises to be a great event to see the local wildlife and Santa, too. It is events such as this that bring many people to live in Fishponds and keep families here.

Sunday December 8, 10.30am-4.30pm, no need to book.

The Quiet Session, 9.30-10.30am, booking essential: email


Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS. Call 03000 674890

Fancy wandering around an enchanted woodland beset by fairy mischief? Then this is the woodland trail for you. The illuminations transform the wood and there is much seasonal cheer here for a family day out. I believe there is warmed, mulled wine…

Friday 29, Saturday 30 November, Sunday 1 December, Friday 6, Saturday 7, Sunday 8 December, Friday 13, Saturday 14, Sunday 15 December, Friday 20, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 December. Times: 4pm-9pm.

Advanced booking is pretty essential
Adults: £15. Concessions (students & job seekers): £13. Children (aged 5-18): £7.50 (under 5s go free). Friends: half price tickets and £2 for children on Friday evenings. Groups 10+: save £2 on adult and £1 on children tickets. Access: Carer goes free.