Jingle those bells and pull those crackers: Bristol is in full swing for the Christmas season, and there are plenty of ways to inject festive joy into any lingering grinches.
Now that the cold snap is upon us, it's beginning to actually feel like Christmas, finally. What better way to continue the mood than with a spot of Christmas shopping? The Victorian Arcade in Clifton Village is bedecked with lights, and full of lovely little indie shops to marvel at. Otomí, the Mexican gift shop is a great place to find some brightly coloured kitchenware, or how about some cheerful bags of dried chillis to ward off Jack Frost nipping at your toes. All the lights reflect prettily off gems twinkling in the handful of jewellers lining the walkway, and after a brisk stroll around the arcade, you can warm up with a mug of hot chocolate at Bar Chocolat, one of the best in the city. Plus, you can pick up a couple of edible chocolate gifts whilst you're at it!
Beautifully colourful Christmas shopping at Otomí
Nothing gets us more excited about Christmas than the festive food specials. One of our ultimates is the Burger Joint Christmas burger. Going one better than the turkey and stuffing sandwich you see in red packs lining supermarket shelves, Burger Joint have pimped this leftovers classic to the max. As well as a wonderfully juicy turkey breast, you get brie, bacon and sausage stuffing as well as cranberry sauce and mayo. YUM! Having one of these behemoths will always warm the coldest of hearts and have you laughing more heartily than St Nick himself.
A short wander up Whiteladies Road will lead you to one of the cosiest pubs in Bristol, The Port of Call. This pub has had a revamp in the last year; it's now a perfectly festive feeling spot, with two wood-burning stoves, a heap of cushions and dogs regularly milling around the place, and it's one of the most relaxed ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.
The beautiful and cosy Port of Call - plethora of dogs not pictured...
For a good dose of Christmas lights you can't get much better than College Green and Park Street. Pop into Swoon Gelato for a scoop of their mince pie special gelato, or why not try the brand new mulled wine offering? If you're after a winter warmer instead, indulge in a cup of their seriously thick traditional Italian hot chocolate. Sitting in the window with your sugary delights whilst watching the fairy lights twinkle away will be sure to turn your Bah Humbug into a Bah Yumbug... #sorrynotsorry
Glorious Christmas lights at College Green. With thanks to @eleanore_photography for the lovely photo.
The Victorian era was the time when good old Father Christmas really became popularised, hence why you still see so many cards and wraps adorned with imagery from this era. After all, a Christmas Carol is one of the must watch festive films. And what better way to feel all Dickensian than taking a trip to The Christmas Steps? A criss-crossing of lights all the way down leads you from shop to shop, giving you the chance to peak in at the curiosities before popping in to The Christmas Steps pub at the bottom. One of Bristol's oldest pubs, the dark wood takes you right back to the Victorian age. Stop in for an ale and know me better man.
Cosy log fires are the order of the day at The Christmas Steps pub...
If you aren't quite ready to give up on a Dickensian Christmas head to The Milk Thistle for a dose of low lights and taxidermy. The Milk Thistle serve up some super-elegant festive cocktails, or even a thimbleful of sherry if you're that way inclined. With candles lighting up the dark corners and casting their long shadows, you'll be feeling a warm glow by the time you leave, although that might also be the result of the three cocktails you just imbibed...
Timeless elegance at The Milk Thistle.
Wapping Wharf may be a new edition to Bristol but that doesn't mean it lacks in Christmas spirit. Do a spot of shopping at the independent shops, and then pop into Bristol Cider Shop for mulled cider and grilled cheese on sourdough bread. Nothing says Christmas like a good cheese board, so start as you mean to go on, before you head home and devour an entire block of stilton.
Melty, oozy, cheesy goodness at Bristol Cider Shop.
Where's your favourite spot in Bristol to get ya festive on? Let us know!
With thanks to Abby from Bristol Eating Adventures for this article.