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Free Christmas Events in Somerset and Bristol, 2023

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A Guide to the Best Free Christmas Events in Somerset and Bristol in 2023

December is a notoriously expensive time of year, and we’re all conscious of the rising cost of taking our families out, especially at Christmas time. You may be looking for ways to save money whilst still going out with the family and enjoying the festive season.

If you’re wondering: What is there to do at Christmas near me that is free? – I’ve come up with some suggestions.

Even though many of us are on a tight budget this year, it’s possible to enjoy some Christmas events that are free or very low cost.

I have come up with some great ideas for Christmas experiences and things to do with kids that will get you into the festive spirit but won’t break the bank! Here is our guide to the best free (or very low cost) things to do in Somerset and around Bristol this winter.

Free Christmas Events in Somerset, 2023

Carols at the Rec, Bath

Where: Bath Recreation Ground, Pulteney Mews, Bathwick, Bath BA2 4DS

When: Wednesday 13th December 2023

  • Doors open 5.30 pm
  • Carols 6-7 pm

Price: FREE but must have a ticket for entry

Come along for a festive evening of carols, family fun and a celebration of Christmas in the heart of Bath.

Carols at Bath Abbey

Where: Bath Abbey

When: Saturday 25th November at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm; Saturday 2nd December at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm; Saturday 9th December 2023 at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm (Shopper’s Carols)

The popular Shoppers Carols, an informal 20-minute service with traditional carols. Everyone is welcome, no need to book.

Bath “Lights the Night”

Where: Bath City Centre

When: Wednesday 15th November 2023

  • Procession 5.30 pm

Price: FREE

Bath Lights the Night is an event to celebrate the lights switching on in the city. Watch a lantern procession come through the streets with beautiful handmade lanterns created by schools, families and friends at the Bath Carnival, accompanied by a Samba band.

Watch the procession from outside the Roman Baths Shop, Primark or by the York Street Arch.

Following the Bath Lantern Procession through the city and Christmas Light switch on, head to the Abbey for a music event…

Music in the Abbey

Where: Bath Abbey

When: Straight after the Lantern Procession (6 pm)

Price: Free event, book tickets online in advance

Join for an evening of celebration filled with light from the procession with music and singing from the Bath Rock Choir at Bath Abbey.

Yeovil Christmas Light Switch On

Where: Quedam Shopping Centre, 10 Ivel Square, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1EY

When: Saturday 18th November 2023

  • Starting from 3.00pm
  • Silent Disco – 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Book in advance)
  • Christmas Light Switch On – 6:30 pm

Get in the festive spirit at the Yeovil Christmas light switch-on. Enjoy live music and dance performances, a craft market, family-friendly creative activities at Yeovil Art Space and seasonal delights at EPS Yeovil.

VW Cruz parade

Where: Nailsea, Clevedon, Portishead

When: Saturday 9th December, From 5.00 pm

Where: Weston super Mare

When: Sunday 10th December 2023, From 5.15 pm

Price: FREE for spectators. Costs to join the parade in your VW – see website for fee.

Raising money for The Grand Appeal, you can watch a festive VW Cruz, as over 100 VW’s drive around North Somerset towns covered with tinsel, lights, baubles, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, elves, stickers, and anything festive.

Light Up The Lake, Clevedon

Where:Clevedon Marine Lake, Old Church Road, Clevedon

When:2nd December 2023

  • 4 pm – Meet at the Pier
  • Procession from the pier to the lake with North Somerset Samba
  • 5 pm – Light show at the Lake, Darklyte Collective fire dancers

Price:Free Event

Light up the lake is the big winter celebration at Clevedon seafront. Bring a lantern, torch or glow sticks and join in the lively procession from Clevedon Pier to the Marine Lake, following a Samba band.

At the lake, watch it light up with fire dancers, paddle boards decorated with fairy lights, illuminated model boats and other floating vessels.

Visitors are invited to give generously to a bucket collection for MARLENS, the local volunteer-run charity which continues to fund raise toward the management and further development of Clevedon Marine Lake.

Clevedon Christmas Illuminations

Where: Clevedon Pier, Hill Road, Pier Copse and Alexandra Gardens

When: Friday 24th November 2023

Clevedon Pier Christmas Light Switch-On Event – 5pm to 7pm. Free entry on the pier.

The “Light Up The Parks” project organised by volunteer group, Clevedon Community Lights Group are lighting up the town of Clevedon. You can wander through an illuminated wonderland between Hill Road and Clevedon Pier this Christmas.

Portishead Christmas Light Switch-On

Where: Portishead High Street

When: Monday 27th November 2023

  • Starts 6.15 pm
  • Lights On 6.45 pm

Santa will be flying in on his sleigh especially for the lights switch on! Followed by an outstanding fireworks display.

Ilminster Christmas Victorian Night

Where: Ilminster Town Centre, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN

When: Friday 24th November 2023

  • 5 pm – 9 pm
  • Lantern parade 6.30 pm
  • Light switch on 7.00 pm

A free event for all the family to kick-off the festive season. The Christmas lights will be switched on, market stalls, late-night shopping, entertainment, food and drink to buy.

Santa’s Grotto, Martock

Where: Martock Parish Hall, Martock, TA12 6JL

When: Saturday 2nd December 2023

  • 10.30 am to 1.30 pm

Price: Free Community Event

Bring the kids along to meet Santa and his Elves and play some festive games. There will be refreshments available to buy.

Christmas Family Activities, Museum of Somerset, Taunton

Where: Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4AA

When: Friday, 1st December 2023 – Saturday, 30th December 2023

  • 10:00 – 5:00

Price: Activities £1-2

Visit the museum to paint a plate for Santa and follow the festive trails! An Elf Trail (1st – 23rd) around the museum and the 12 Days of Christmas interactive Trail (28th – 30th). These low cost activities are perfect to keep the kids entertained over the festive season.

Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury

Where: Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8DB

When: 1st December to 30th December 2023

  • 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

Price: Entry – Adult/£8.50; Concessions £6.95; Child (5-17) £4.00; Child (under 5)/Free. Museum Unlimited Annual Pass – Pay once and visit for a whole year Free of Charge. Activities/£1-2

Although admission to the museum isn’t free, with the annual unlimited pass, you pay once and the rest of the year is free. There are lots of low cost activities going on over the festive period at the museum:

  • 1st – 30th December – Join in with the reindeer trail and spot the cuddly reindeers around the museum (£1 per trail).
  • Tuesday 19th December – Feast! Join us in the farmhouse kitchen to discover how to make traditional Christmas food
  • Wednesday 20th December – Get creative with Christmas crafts and activities.
  • Friday 22nd December – Decorate a plate ready to leave a mince pie out for Santa and carrot for Rudolph (£1.50 donation).
  • Saturday 23rd December – Decorate a plate ready to leave a mince pie out for Santa and carrot for Rudolph (£1.50 donation).

Free Christmas Events in Bristol, 2023

Christmas at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway

Where: The Mall, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS34 5DG

Mog’s Christmas Trail – Free

When: December 2023

This heart-warming story will be brought to life in a magical interactive trail around The Mall. Pick up a free booklet at the information desk and explore The Mall to discover the whole story, collecting stamps at each playful station where lights twinkle, mice dance and Mog gets up to all sorts!

Free Early Years Story Mornings with Santa & The Festive Elves – Free

When: 1st to 15th December 2023

  • Monday – Friday: 9.30am / 10.30am / 11.30am

  • Sunday 11 am

Join Santa in his Sitting Room for gentle mornings of story filled festive fun for Early Years visitors. Santa will be reading Mog’s Christmas amongst other classics. No booking required.

Free Santa’s Festive Takeover…all day! – Free

When: Saturdays, Sundays and the week leading up to Christmas. From 10am – 6pm each day (11am-5pm Sundays).

Santa and the elves will entertain throughout The Mall with Festive Parades, Fun and Games, and even a Santa and The Festive Elves Show!

Look out for Santa throughout the day as he roams and meet and greets visitors to The Mall for selfies and Christmas wishes and to see if you have found all of the stops on Mog’s Christmas Trail.

Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day

Where: Broad Street and High Street, Chipping Sodbury

When: Sunday 3rd December 2023

  • 11am-6pm

A free festive event for all the family.

The streets will be lined with stalls offering a wide selection of gifts and food including traditional mulled wine, mince pies and roasted chestnuts.

Local cafés, public houses, shops and restaurants will also all be open.

Get in the festive spirit and enjoy a full range of entertainment on the stage throughout the day including local bands, choirs, and dance and theatre groups. Victorian entertainers will be on the street together with Punch & Judy and a visit from Father Christmas on his sleigh at around 5.30 pm.

Street Carols in Clifton, Bristol

Where: Princess Victoria Street and Fosseway Court

When: Saturday 16th December 2023

  • From 4:30pm
  • 5:30pm warm refreshments in the Church

Fun Day and Christmas Light Switch On, Yate

Where: Yate Shopping Centre

When: Saturday 25th November 2023

  • 11 am to 5 pm

Price: Free event

Enjoy free kids fair rides, meet and greets, face painters, music and tribute acts and more.

Santa’s Grotto will be open in the Central Square from Sunday 26th November from 10am until 4pm and each successive Saturday and Sunday running through to Christmas week when it will be open more often, closing on Christmas Eve at 1pm.

Santa’s Grotto suggested contribution £1 (Jessie May Children’s Hospice). There will be stickers and certificates for each child on their visit to Santa who will be located outside the Grotto.

Christmas Family Craft Session, Winterborne

Where: Winterbourne Medieval Barn, Bristol, BS36 1SE

When: Saturday 3rd December 2023

  • 10.00 am – 12.00 pm, or
  • 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm

Price: £4.07 (inc. booking fee)/Child

Join for some family festive crafts. These workshops will be held in the beautiful main barn so there is plenty of space to move around, get creative but do wrap up! Recommended for ages 5-11 years (approx). Free (limited) parking on site

Kids Creative Club, Almondsbury Creative

Where: 10 Gloucester Rd, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4AA

When: Every Friday

  • 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm

Price: Free (Booking in advance recommended)

Two hours of free kids entertainment, including singing, dancing, crafts, movies, popcorn and more!

Santa’s on a Bike, 2023

Where: Leaving from Winterbourne, Bristol, BS36 1JL, through Bristol City Centre, to Charlton Farm, Wraxall, BS48 1PE

When: Saturday 2nd December 2023

  • Depart Winterbourne from 12:30pm
  • Arrive Charlton Farm around 2.15 pm

This is an amazing sight to see with lots of motorbikes riding in convoy, bikers dressed in Santa costumes and raising lots of money for charity.

Christmas Fairs and Markets in Somerset

Bath Christmas Market

Where: Bath City Centre, Bath, BA1 1LZ

When: Thursday 23rd November to Sunday 10th December 2023

Price: Free Event

Walk through the historic streets of Bath in a winter wonderland and soak up the festive atmosphere. Featuring over 200 twinkling chalets amongst some of Bath’s most iconic monuments, selling a variety of high quality artisan products, food and beverage stalls.

Christmas Market at Weston Museum

Where:Burlington Street,Weston-super-Mare, Somerset,BS23 1PR

When:Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December 2023

  • 10 am to 3 pm both days

Price:Free Entry

  • Lots of stalls selling Christmas gifts
  • Clara’s Cafe with the usual tempting treats, alongside some seasonal specialities
  • Christmas Children’s Trail (50p each) – Find Santa’s missing reindeer around the galleries
  • Santa will be visiting between 10:30am – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 3:30pm (Saturday and Sunday) for photos and a Christmas natter. (Please note that meeting Santa is a FREE activity, and does not include a present from Santa)

Explore the museum afterwards, which is free.

Frost Fayre, Glastonbury

Where:Glastonbury High Street

When:25th November 2023

  • 10 am to 6 pm

Price:Free Event

  • Held on the last Saturday in November, Glastonbury’s Frost Fayre kicks off at 10 am but is officially opened at noon by the Mayor.
  • Lots of stalls
  • Late night shopping
  • Father Christmas and his helpers
  • Buskers and street entertainment
  • Live performances on 5 Stages
  • Official “lights switch on” for the Market Square Christmas Tree
  • Children’s Fairground Rides
  • Children’s Worlds – crafts, shows and story telling for kids (in the Town Hall)

Cadbury House Christmas Fayre, Congresbury

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton, Frost Hill. Congresbury, BS49 5AD (In the Great Room)

When: Thursday 23rd November 2023

  • 6.00 pm – 9.00 pm

Prepare for an evening filled with joyous Christmas merriment that the whole family can enjoy. The debut Christmas Fayre will feature an array of stalls offering delightful Christmas treats, as well as an assortment of delectable hot and cold food and beverages, including beloved festive classics such as mulled wine, hot chocolate, and mince pies. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without indulging in treats for Santa and his reindeer, which will be available for purchase.

Clevedon Winter Market

Where: Hill Road, Clevedon, North Somerset

When: Thursday 7th December 2023

  • 6 pm – 9 pm

Price: Free Event

As well as the Christmas market stalls and street food, you can expect to see Father Christmas, Traditional Fete games, Rock Choir performances on Hill Road, Clevedon school choir /band. The local independent shops will have late night opening.

Hestercombe Christmas Market

Where: Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 8LG

When: Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November 2023

  • 9am – 5pm,

Price: £6/Adults, Children (Under 15)/FREE

Although this event isn’t free, I’ve included it because admission to Hestercombe Gardens is included in the ticket price which makes for a reasonably priced family day out.

A Posset Christmas Market, Portishead

Where: Portishead High Street, North Somerset, BS20

When: Sunday 10th December 2023

  • 2pm – 6 pm

Price: Free Event

The event stretches the High Street and has a great variety of gift stalls, food and drink and charity stalls. A fun fair will also be present for all to enjoy .

Combined with Live entertainment and local shops, the event is a lovely festive afternoon.

Christmas Artisan Craft Fair at Ashton Court Mansion

Where: Ashton Court Mansion House, Long Ashton, North Somerset, BS41 9JN

When: Sunday 26th November 2023

  • 10 .00 am to 4.00 pm

Price: £2/Adult, Children (Under 16) FREE

Local independent artists and crafters showcase their ‘not on the high street’ handmade crafts. All stands are inside the Great Hall and Georgian lounges.

Christmas cafe serving teas, coffees, cakes and mince pies.

Afterwards, explore the estate and take a winter picnic!

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Mini Christmas Market

Where: Noah’s Ark Farm Shop, Clevedon Road, Wraxall, North Somerset, BS48 1PG

When: Saturday 2nd December 2023

  • 10.30am – 4pm

Browse a selection of Christmas gifts and artisan crafts at the mini-Christmas Market in the Farm Shop. The Christmas Market is free to enter but the zoo is still chargeable.

(See below for more info on Christmas at Noah’s Ark)

Christmas Fairs and Markets in Bristol

Bristol Christmas Market

Where:Broadmead in Bristol Shopping Quarter, BS1 1UX

When:3rd November – 23rd December 2023

Price:Free Event

Walk through the streets of Bristol in a winter wonderland and soak up the festive atmosphere. In the very centre of the market, you will find an impressive 30ft Christmas tree, with a spectacular display of sparkling lights and decorations. Santa himself will make multiple appearances, along with elves on stilts, bubble-blowing soldiers, balloon artists, and Christmas choirs. The stalls will be selling a range of truly unique gifts, handmade crafts, pick up a traditional festive drink and treat yourself to a bite to eat. Book an igloo or ski gondola online and enjoy an exclusive experience with friends and family, while sipping on mulled wine, cider or hot chocolate.

Blaise Castle Christmas Market and Winter Family Fun Day

Where: Blaise Museum, Henbury Road, Bristol, BS10 7QS

When: Saturday 18th November 2023

  • Blaise Community Garden Winter Market 10am – 3pm.
  • Blaise Museum 11am – 4pm

Price: Free Event

Come and spend the day at Blaise Museum with seasonal craft activities and guest storyteller Michael Loader. Visit the Blaise Community Garden Winter Market and explore 20 stalls of collectables, gifts, crafts and more.

The Vintage Winter Wonderland in Millennium Square

Where: Millennium Square, Bristol Harbourside, BS1 5DB

When: Friday 10th November to 2nd January (closed Christmas day)

Price: Entrance to the event is completely free, just pay as you play

  • The Après Bar – Serving a warming selection of drinks for those cold wintery nights. Mulled wine and cider will be flowing with the option of snuggling up with a blanket and listening to live music on Thursday evenings. DJ’s will be running late into the night during the weekends.

  • Fairground rides and stalls – a great selection of rides and activities for little ones, from the big ferris wheel to dodgems, smaller rides and games to win prizes!

  • Food Stalls – Take your pick from bratwurst sausages, Yorkshire Pudding Wraps, mulled drinks, crepes, churros and other festive treats!

Christmas at St. Nick’s Markets

Where: St Nicholas Market, Corn Exchange, Old City, Bristol, BS1 1JQ

When: Open every day until Christmas Eve.

  • Indoor Market – Monday to Sunday: 9.30am to 5pm
  • Street Food Market – Tuesday and Friday: 10 am to 2.30 pm
  • Friday 17th November 2023 is the first outdoor market of the season

Come along to a Twilight Shopping Evening at St Nicks! Until 8.00 pm on Saturday 2nd December you’ll be able to shop for your loved ones, eat some yummy food and enjoy a range of festive entertainment for all the family.

The Brightwell Centre, Bradley Stoke

Where: The Brightwell, Bradbury House , Wheatfield Drive, Bradley Stoke, Bristol, BS32 9DB

When: Sunday 3rd December 2023

  • 11:00 – 14:00

Price: Entry is FREE.

Come and enjoy a fabulous festive market as we countdown to Christmas.

  • Stalls selling gifts and crafts
  • Face painting (£2)
  • Puxton Park’s elves are bringing along some of their gorgeous animals this year for a meet and greet (donation of £2 per person or £8 per family ticket to enter the animal petting area)
  • Music
  • Refreshments

Christmas Market at St Werburghs Community Centre

Where: St Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, Bristol, BS2 9TJ

When: Friday 24th November 2023

  • 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm

Price: Free Entry

A night of merriment with stalls from all around the city. Come along for some live music, food and mulled wine.

Christmas Events and Days out – Special Offers

Look out for some Christmas discount prices at some of the more expensive days out with kids, which makes it more affordable for families.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Where: Clevedon Road, Wraxall, North Somerset, BS48 1PG

When: From 25th November to 31st December 2023

Offer: Kids Go Half Price (online only). One child goes half price with every full paying adult ticket

National Trust Properties

If you’re a member of the National Trust, their properties are free to explore this Christmas. Many have a family Christmas Trails.

Local Light Displays

A fun, free thing to do with the kids at Christmas is to walk or drive around your local light displays – some people go to town! There are always certain roads in every town that really ‘push the boat out’ when it comes to putting on light displays in their front gardens and on their houses. Often when one house starts, their neighbours will join in. There are certain places that make the local news for their fantastic displays and charity fund raising efforts. Here are a couple of those:

Christmas Tree Festivals

Many local churches have Christmas Tree Festivals which you can visit for free or a small donation. They often have refreshments for sale and kids activities too. You can see lots of individually decorated Christmas trees at the festival, created by local schools, clubs and organisations, charities and local businesses. Expect a festive atmosphere and lots of twinkling fairy lights, and sparkling home-made decorations. You can even vote for your favourite tree! Here are a couple:

Somerset Guy Fawkes Carnival Dates, 2023

If you’re reading this post in November, I have to mention the Somerset County Carnival. This is an unmissable FREE event! The UK’s oldest carnival and one of the largest illuminated carnival parades in Europe. It tours the Somerset towns and the dates are as follows:

  • Bridgwater: Saturday 4th November 2023
  • Highbridge and Burham on Sea: Monday 6th November 2023
  • Weston super Mare: Friday 10th November 2023
  • North Petherton: Saturday 11th November 2023
  • Midsomer Norton: Monday 13th November
  • Shepton Mallet: Wednesday 15th November 2023
  • Wells: Friday 17th November 2023
  • Glastonbury 18th November 2023

This is a FREE event run by volunteers, so please donate if you can.

Somerset County Carnival

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Please note, every effort has been made to ensure that all information is correct at the time of publishing this post, but please check the venues website before travelling, as events may be amended or cancelled at short notice. Some of these events may need pre-booking.

If you have any more suggestions for free Christmas events in Somerset and Bristol, we’d love to hear from you!

If you’re looking for more Christmas events in Somerset and Bristol, check out:

The Best Christmas Light Trails in Somerset and Bristol 2023

Family Days Out at Christmas in Bristol, 2023

Family Days Out at Christmas in Somerset 2023

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Check out some winter walks in Somerset, Bristol and the surrounding area.

Are you stuck for Christmas gift ideas? Read our new blog post The Best Gifts for Outdoor Kids, for some inspiration this Christmas. Over 60 ideas (to suit all budgets) that are perfect for outdoor adventurers and their families.

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