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What’s on this Christmas? Festive events & activities near Bristol/Bath

It’s not long until the TV ads begin, the shelves fill up with festive goodies and the calendar is becomes crammed with Christmas events! There’s no denying it anymore… Christmas is coming.

Family Christmas Events

So, in the spirit of things (and because everything books up so quickly!) we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite family Christmas activities and festive events for children near Bristol/Bath.

All outdoorsy, all good fun, and all a little bit magic.

And when the Christmas sparkle has dwindled, take a look at our activities, adventures and challenges for 2024

What’s on near Bristol/Bath this Christmas?

1. Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas

Westonbirt’s illuminated trail is always the highlight of our Christmas calendar. Just north of Bristol, Westonbirt create the most magical light display through their beautiful trees. It’s hands down our favourite Christmas event. This year, Santa’s Elves have been causing chaos at the Arboretum, I can’t wait to see what mischief they’ve been up to….

As well as the trail, there’s a Christmas village at Westonbirt with food & drink stalls and traditional fairground rides.

Book soon because tickets sell out fast.

  • Dates: Various dates between 24th November – 23rd December
  • Price: Adults £19 – £21, Children £12- £14 (under 2s free)
  • Food available? Yes
  • Father Christmas? Yes. I believe he’ll be making a short appearance
  • Dogs? No
christmas lights at westonbirt
photo credit (and title image): Johnny Hathaway for Forestry England.

2. Festive Fables with Father Christmas, Bristol Zoo Project

Father Christmas is popping up in Bristol Zoo with his forest friends, Deer Darlington and Squirrel Nutkins.

This is a lovely day out with the kids, visiting the zoo and heading to the woodland tipi where Father Christmas will share stories filled with messages of kindness and compassion for the natural world, including the story of the humble Christmas tree.

  • Dates: Drop-in story sessions with Father Christmas run on 2 – 3rd, 9 – 10th & 16 – 23rd Dec
  • Price: Christmas Story sessions are free with zoo entrance fee; Adults £11.42, Children £8.55, under 2s free
  • Food available? Yes – cafe at zoo
  • Father Christmas? Yes
  • Dogs? No

3. Go Wild Go West’s Christmas Adventures

It’s lovely to join in with these children’s Christmas events, but there’s nothing stopping you having some festive family adventures from your own doorstep!

Check out the Go Wild Go West Christmas Adventure Guides, filled with festive fun and merry mischief for all the family. These outdoor activities are great for the kids to enjoy over the Christmas period.

  • Dates: Any time, any place!
  • Price: £9.50 for the whole family
  • Food available? Take a picnic and a flask of hot chocolate on your adventure
  • Father Christmas? His elves certainly feature
  • Dogs? Absolutely
outdoor christmas activities for children
Festive fun

4. Breakfast with Santa, Slimbridge

I’m a big fan of Slimbridge Wetland Centre so our family can never resist a festive excuse to visit…

This Christmas, they’ve created a wonderful wetland grotto. Children can meet Santa, receive a gift from him and then enjoy a full English breakfast at the Kingfisher cafe enjoy before spending the full day at the wetlands centre – with lots of festive activities to take part in.

  • Dates: 9th & 10th, 16th & 17th, 21st- 23rd December
  • Price: Child ticket £12, under 4s free (but gift and breakfast for them can be added on). Adults £9.95 with breakfast
  • Food available? Yes, at the Kingfisher Kitchen
  • Father Christmas? yes
  • Dogs? No
christmas events near bristol
photo credit: Slimbridge

5. Twilight Tobogganing at Mendip Activity Centre

If I ask the kids whether they’d like to meet Santa or go tobogganing… there’s only one answer: TOBOGGANING! This is a great Christmas activity close to Bristol and Bath at the Mendip Activity Centre.

After whizzing down the toboggan slope, complete with snow machine and festive music, head up to the Alpine Balcony for hot chocolate and candy canes.

*Twilight Tobogganing sessions also available or maybe have a go at skiing or snowboarding this Christmas?

  • Dates: Various dates but booking up fast…
  • Price: £10 per child
  • Food available? Yes, at the Alpine Bar
  • Father Christmas? no
  • Dogs? No
fun christmas kids events near me
Photo Credit: Mendip Activity Centre

6. Tree planting near Bristol/Bath this Christmas

One of our favourite family Christmas activities is tree planting. Good for heart, soul and planet plus a way to justify having a Christmas tree! This is a lovely festive event with the family and unlike EVERYTHING ELSE at Christmas, it’s free!

There are plenty of tree planting events across Bristol, Bath and Somerset throughout winter. Here are a few to keep an eye out for. If you know of any other tree planting days, please do let me know here.

Tree planting events near me:

plant a tree near me

7. Festive Family Crafts at the Community Farm

*No 2023 announcements yet but there are some awesome autumn owl prowls!

These are really fun (and popular) Festive Family Craft sessions held at The Community Farm near Chew Magna, Somerset.

During the workshops you’ll be making three natural decorations, using simple hand tools, along with your very own wreath, all whilst enjoying some delicious, mulled apple juice and yummy festive treats!

A fantastic Christmas event for both kids and adults!

  • Dates: Saturday 3rd December, morning and afternoon sessions
  • Price: £19 for adult & child. £10 per additional child
  • Food available? Yes
  • Father Christmas? no
  • Dogs? No
christmas craft activities with kids near bristol
photo credit: Community Farm

8. Starling Murmuration at the Avalon Marshes

There’s nothing more incredible than watching the swooping, curling, pulsating throng of a Starling murmuration.

At dawn and dusk, hundreds of thousands of birds come together to perform this mesmerising dance in the air. For a truly magical Christmas treat, visit the Avalon marshes on a clear, crisp evening as the sun sets to watch this incredible spectacle.

Call the Avalon Marshes Starling hotline to learn where the starlings roosted the previous evening: 07866 554142

  • Dates: November – February 
  • Price: free!
  • Food available? No
  • Father Christmas? No, but you may spy his sleigh flying past on Christmas Eve
  • Dogs? On leads
starling murmuration
Starling murmuration

9. Longleat Festival of Light

No list of Christmas events near Bristol/Bath is complete without a mention of the Longleat Enchanted Trail.

This is a really spectacular light display if you can bag yourself a ticket. The theme this year is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and other Treasured Tales and it is incredible. All your favourite characters, along with a giant tree display and the best water fountain I’ve EVER seen!

  • Dates: Various dates from the 11th November – 7th January
  • Price: twilight tickets £29.95 per adult; £22.45 per child *doesn’t include full access to Longleat Park
  • Food available? Yes
  • Father Christmas? Santa Train to meet the big man, additional price.
  • Dogs? No

10. Christmas at Cheddar Gorge

There’ve been elves spotted at Cheddar Gorge Caves too. A team of them have been hard at work constructing a fantastical workshop deep inside Gough’s Cave. Our family loves this Christmas activity with a twist…. A festive trail combined with a tour of the amazing caves south of Bristol/Bath.

There’s the chance for the children to see the elves checking destinations, sorting letters, making toys and inspecting the famous sleigh to ensure all is well before the great man sets off on Christmas Eve. As part of the fun, you’ll sing some festive songs, listen to a special Cheddar Christmas tale and receive a gift from Father Christmas himself, all within the stunning surroundings of the incredible show cave. But if you went last year, expect to pay a fair bit extra this year….

  • Dates: Selected dates from 11th November
  • Price: Cheddar Gorge Day Ticket required: Adult £25.95, Child (5-15) £19.45, Under 5s free
    with Christmas Trail add on: Child with gift £5.99, Adult £3.99
    Adult: £20.95 Child: £15.70 Under 5s: £5 £3.99 £5.99
  • Food available? No. But La Rocca in Cheddar does a great pizza
  • Father Christmas? Yes
  • Dogs? Yes
Christmas events in Somerset
photo credit: Cheddar Gorge & Caves

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