Guest Post: Bristol – The Perfect Winter Break

Winter is often overlooked when it comes to planning when to take a mini-break, however, it can be the perfect time of year to escape. Cities nationwide are buzzing with the excitement of the impending Christmas season, with exciting attractions and events planned to aid celebrations. You can also take advantage of a change of shopping scene to pick up fantastic gifts and festive treats for you and your loved ones.

Those who don’t want to face the hoards of crowds in London or Manchester could try a smaller city destination for a more laid-back break. If you haven’t previously considered Bristol, 2012 could be the year it tickles your fancy. It’s an affordable destination, with cheap hotels in Bristol being widely available online. Try Travelodge who have two central Bristol hotels, Bristol Central and Bristol Central Mitchell Lane. Travelodge is a great choice for couples, families and groups, as both double and family rooms are available.

Bristol Christmas

There so much going on in Bristol over the festive period that one visit may not be enough! Browse the German Christmas market in the centre, enjoy the Bristol Christmas Lights and Illuminations Tour or feast at the Love Food Festival at the Spiegeltent ‘big top’.

If you’re bringing the kids along on your Christmassy jaunt, the Enchanted Christmas trail at Westonbirt Arboretum is an essential experience. You should also try to catch the Family Christmas Show at Colston Hall to hear ‘The Snowman’ soundtrack played by the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, and be regaled by the tale of Peter and the Wolf, as told by award-winning comedian Tamsin Greig.

Bristol Shopping

As well as the usual high street favourites, Bristol has some fantastic independent shops and boutiques for you to find an amazing variety of gift and treats. The Cabot Circus shopping centre is the place to head if the weather is bad, or you prefer an ‘everything under one roof’ shopping experience. However, you’ll be most richly rewarded if you wander the 50 independent shops of the Broadmead area.

Bristol Sights

Boasting an impressive, historic harbour, it’’ to be expected that many of Bristol’s sights and attractions are based on or around the water. Jump on a Bristol Ferry Boat Company boat trip, or, if you have little ones with you, why not join Pirate Pete on an hour long Pirate Walk? Bristol Packet Boat Trips also have a great reputation.

Pero’s Bridge is just one of the harbour’s attractions – see that and much more on a Go Cycle bike tour of the harbourside and surrounding area (complete with vintage bicycles!). Or, for a more modern way to explore the area, try a Harbourside smartphone trail or the iTreasure hunt.

Modern art lovers will also not want to miss the Banksy walking tour, which takes in some of the graffiti artist’s most famous works.

If all of the above has managed to convince you to give Bristol a try this year, it’s easy to find budget accommodation in the city centre on the Travelodge website.

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