10 inspiring things to do on a winter’s day in Bristol
Bristol snow

Leaves are falling from trees, cold air is blustering and the days are getting shorter and darker.

Inevitably, it’s that time of year when the boots and winter coats return with a vengeance.

But, before you start miserably yearning for summer, check out all the things you can do in Bristol this winter to keep you from feeling glum.

From vibrant markets to and marvellous museums (and a sprinkle of Bristolian festive fun) there’s always something to do in Bristol during the winter months.

1. Soak up an amazing view

Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol
Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr / CC

Climbing up to Clifton Suspension Bridge on a crisp cold day when you are wrapped up warm is so rewarding. Walking over the 150 year old bridge, you can take in the picturesque sights from 250 feet above the Avon Gorge river. This view is especially spectacular and stunning with a warm evening glow.

2. Taste exotic flavours and discover hidden gems

Seeking refuge from the rain in this lovely place 💯 #bristol #market #england #uk #europe #bristoluni

A photo posted by Daily wills (@daily_wills) on

St Nicholas Market is open Monday to Saturday and is always buzzing with character. The shops here are divided into three sections. The Glass Arcade has a selection of food markets to choose from – Greek, Spanish, Caribbean, Moroccan and more. You’ll find an old Fashioned sweet shop and a South African food and drink store, as well as a pre-loved record store in The Covered Market.

Finally, the Exchange – which has everything from a hot sauce emporium to a shop specialising in fossils, gems and crystals – is your best bet for quirky purchases. On top of that, St Nick’s will be hosting outdoor Christmas Markets until Christmas Eve.

3. Feel festive

Bristol Christmas German market
shrinkin’violet / Flickr / CC

Broadmead’s annual Bristol German Market has 38 traditional chalets decorated with festive greenery and colourful lights. As a result you can’t beat the festive atmosphere into the heart of the city centre during November and December. Delicious seasonal food and drink can be found here in spades, as well as traditional German Christmas decorations and gifts.

4. Get your skates on

At-Bristol science centre are hosting their annual seasonal ice rink until January 5 – Harbourside’s third one to date. Millennium Square will once again be transformed into a winter wonderland. Skate under the sky with friends or family next to At-Bristol’s dazzling and giant silver disco ball.

5. Have fun on the harbour

Bristol Harbourside Market
The Pizza Bike / Flickr / CC

Speaking of Harbourside, the market there takes place in the heart of Bristol every weekend. Located – as you might have guessed – just by the harbour, this is a lovely place to take a walk and watch the boats dock.

An independent alternative to the high street, Harbourside Market is a great place to shop, eat and relax. Plus their first ever Christmas Markets launched in November in Anchor Square, not far from the At-Bristol Ice Rink. With decorations, live music, entertainment, comfy seating, cosy blankets and warm fire pits the Christmas Harbourside Markets are the ideal place to spend a wintery afternoon.

6. Muse over the museum

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Matt Brown / Flickr / CC

Explore the collections of art, nature and history on display in the beautiful Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on Queens Road. Entry to the Museum is free and it’s a cosy place to get lost on a dire weather day. Some of their most fascinating exhibits include Egyptian mummies, South West wildlife and sparkling and the collection of colourful minerals, gemstones and crystals. Into your art? There are some fantastic French, Victorian and Eastern collections on display here too.

7. Travel though time

M Shed Bristol
Heather Cowper / Flickr / CC

From the prehistoric period to the present day, M Shed museum tells the city’s story in an interactive and creative way. Feast your eyes on film and photographs from years gone by and listen to moving, personal accounts of Bristol through the ages. There are even rare and quirky artefacts to see and enjoy. It’s a brilliant place to explore on a cold day and – even better – entry is free.

8. Shop ’til you drop

If all else fails on a rainy day, there’s always good old retail therapy to get you through. Cabot Circus Shopping Centre is a shopaholic’s dream, with over 90 big name shops to choose from including Apple, Zara and Harvey Nichols. The centre also has a variety of tempting restaurants and cafés on site so you don’t even have to venture outside to grab a snack.

9. Lose yourself in a movie

Finished with your shopping spree and it’s still raining outside? Pay a visit to the Showcase Cinema, conveniently housed in Cabot Circus. The Showcase offers a contemporary and luxury trip to the cinema, and with 13 screens you can find a film to suit everybody’s tastes.

If you fancy something a little more intimate, spend an afternoon at the little cinema that can – Cube Microplex – and enjoy the cheapest screenings of the latest films in town.

10. Don’t pay a penny for a panoramic view of the city

Cabot Tower Bristol
Heather Cowper / Flickr / CC

Cabot Tower is a Grade 2 listed building that was built in the 19th century to commemorate John Cabot, 400 years after he landed in the country later known as Canada. The 105 foot tall tower is set in the gorgeous parkland of Brandon Hill near vibrant Park Street. Climb the spiral staircase for free and you’ll be greeted with an awe-inspiring panoramic view of Bristol. On a clear day – even if it’s chilly – you can see for miles.

How would you spend a bad weather day in Bristol? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

Like this? Try these:

10 stunning images of Bristol in the autumn
Here’s what Bristol has planned for Christmas
10 warming winter food and drink spots in Bristol

Main image: Thomas Guest / Flickr / CC