Christmas can be an expensive affair so I’ve done all the research to bring you 20 free and affordable family-friendly events that could save you a bob or two during the school holidays. Have I missed anything? Please feel free to share – Broke in Bristol - & beyond is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Have a great Christmas everyone!
Thu Dec 19. Toddlers Carols at Bristol Cathedral. Free.
It’s events like these that I briefly wish Little Miss Diva was still a toddler! Take your toddlers and babies to this short and informal carol service where you won’t have to worry about them staying still or quiet!
Thu Dec 19 – Carol singing in Perrett’s Park. Free.
This free event right on my doorstep is the perfect way to get into the festive mood. Carol Singing starts at 6:30pm and there’ll be mince pies and hot drinks on sale.
Fri Dec 20. Play & learn sessions at Trinity Centre. Free.
Children aged five and under and their families are invited to play, learn and have fun together during this drop in session which starts at 10am and ends at 11:30. Staff from Central Bristol Children's Centre will be available throughout the session to support and offer advice around child development, health and wellbeing, finances, free nursery places for two and three year olds and training opportunities.
Until Sun Dec 22. Elves Workshop at The Galleries. Free.
A dedicated team of Christmas are elves are moving into The Galleries Shopping Centre this Christmas, to host a series of free elf-inspired events, where little ones can learn all the vital skills it takes to work with Father Christmas. From 11 ‘til 5pm.
Sat Dec 21. Xmas Solstice Dancing Fountain at St George Park. Free.
A magical evening of beautiful music at St George Park with entertainment from the Dancing Fountain.
Until Jan 5. Ice Skating at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway. From £4.
As there’s no ice skating at Millennium Square this year, I’ll be taking Little Miss Diva to The Mall in Cribbs for our annual ice-skating fix. Prices start from £4 for toddlers and it’s cheaper to go during the day.
Sat Dec 21. Charity Christmas Lights Display. 23 & 25 Tunbridge Way, Emersons Green, BS16 7EW. Free, donations to South Glos Parents & Carers.
Make the most of the final weekend before Christmas and take your family to this Bristol address where special visitor Elsa from Frozen will be making an appearance from 5.00 ‘til 6.00pm. There will be photo opportunities with Elsa in the sleigh and the chance to buy hot chocolate.
Sun Dec 22. Tobacco Factory Christmas Markets. Free.
Lots to see and do at this Christmas market in BS3 and a great chance to pick up some local Christmas presents.
Until Tue Dec 24. Santa’s Grotto at Cabot Circus. Check prices.
If you’ve got little ones who still believe there’s still a few slots left to see Santa Claus at Cabot Circus before Christmas!
Tue Dec 24. Christmas Eve party. Toby Carvery. Free.
There’s a Christmas Eve party at the Toby Carvery in Maes Knoll and it’s free entry after 3pm. You can also take kids to one of it’s Breakfast with Santa events on various dates.
From Sat Dec 21. Cinema trips – Vue and Odeon. From £2.50.
Take little ones to see Abominable or The Grinch in the morning and save a fortune on usual ticket prices. Odeon Kids is showing Maleficent, Abonimable and Toy Story 4. Or, for up to 40% off cinema trips all year round find out how to get your hands on a Gourmet Society card.
Mon Dec 23 & Tue Dec 24. Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Bristol Cathedral. Free.
Come along to Bristol Cathedral for one of the most-loved and traditional Christmas services. Join in with singing your favourite carols and hear readings from figures from across Bristol's communities in the stunning surrounds of the Cathedral.This event is always busy – so get there early.
Tue Dec 24. Christmas Eve at the Thunderbolt. Free.
Every year the Thunderbolt on the Bath Rd hosts a free Christmas party for families. From 4 ‘til 8pm there will be Christmas drinks and snacks and three bands will be playing a mix of music with a few Christmas tunes thrown in.
Until Dec 25. Submergence in Millennium Square. Free.
Submergence is an immersive walkthrough lightshow, created by Squidsoup – a UK-based international group of artists, researchers, technologists and designers. Created by thousands of individual points of suspended light, this lightshow comes to Bristol after making an appearance at Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA and Canary Wharf in London.
Now until May 2020. Wildlife Photographer of the Year. M Shed. £6 adults, under 16s free.
I’m going to drag Little Miss Diva to this exhibition over Christmas because it’s the kind of thing she’ll moan about going to but will actually love once she’s there! Now in its 55th year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcases spectacular photography of the natural world.
Now until Jan 5. Bump Roller disco at Millenium Sq. £7.50 with skate hire.
There’s no ice skating at Millennium Square this year but you can swap your ice skates for your roller skates. Bump Roller Disco is a little bit more expensive than the other activities in the blog but could be your festive treat for the family.
Until Mon Dec 23. Bristol local Christmas markets. Free.
Some of the city’s independent traders will be in Broadmead every day until Monday 23 December 2019 selling everything from gorgeous gifts to festive food and drink. You can also check out Harbourside Christmas market on Dec 21 and 22. When it comes to markets, we’re very lucky as our city has some of the best independent Christmas Markets.
Now until April. Do you believe in Magic? Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Pay what you think.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s major winter exhibition, Do you believe in magic? features over 200 fascinating objects and stories that reveal how magic has been used to heal, hunt and harm across the world.
Until Jan 5. Christmas Elf Hunt at Clifton Observatory. Children £2.50, adults £4.
Santa’s Elves have taken over Clifton Observatory and you are invited to explore the Clifton Observatory and Cave to help find every elf. Climb to the top of the tower and check out the Camera Obscura, then venture down to the depths of the Giant’s Cave searching for elves in return for a festive treat!
More from Broke in Bristol:
Free Uber rides or meals for NHS staff this Christmas.
Big savings at local businesses with Bristol's new discount card.
How to save £140 and keep the family warm this winter.