10 ways to beat the January blues in Bristol

And just like that, the festive season is over for another year.

The fridge is the barest it’s been in weeks; the Christmas tree is looking more than a little sorry for itself; and the festive films have disappeared in a puff from Netflix.

But there’s no need to despair – January doesn’t have to be so bad. I don’t buy into any of that “new year, new me” malarkey but I DO believe that January can be one of the most exciting months of the year, if you let it!

There’s loads going on in Bristol this January and it’s a beautiful city to explore in the winter sunshine.

Here’s 10 ideas of how to beat the January blues in Bristol…

Padlock bridge in Bristol harbouside

1. Sign up to a class at the Folk House

January’s a great time to discover a new skill or hobby and Bristol Folk House has a huge range of evening courses and one-off weekend workshops for you to try.

Whether you want to learn a new language, try your hand at pottery, or give the ukulele a go, there’s bound to be something to float your boat.

The Spring term runs from 7 January until April, so sign up soon to guarantee your place.

2. Treat your tastebuds to a Food Tour

If you have any room leftover from Christmas, Bristol is one of the best foodie cities to explore in the UK.

Whether you’re visiting for the first time, or are a Bristolian born and bred, The Bristol Food Tour is an excellent way to discover some of the city’s top food spots and hidden gems.

Tours take place across the city – from Stokes Croft to South Bristol – and cater for all tastes, with 100% Vegan Tours and Sweet Tooth Tours available. Find out how to book your place now.

Inside St Nick's Market in Bristol

3. Join a supper club for a good cause

91 Ways to Build a Global City might just be my favourite movement in Bristol right now.

With a vision to unite the community through food, this social enterprise runs pop-up supper clubs, themed around each of the 91 languages spoken in Bristol.

All the money raised is then pumped right back into the community to help strengthen ties, promote diversity and tackle isolation.

January’s supper club will be a three-course, home-cooked Italian feast at The Station – could there be a better time to join?! Find out how to reserve your spot, whilst giving back to a great cause.

4. Step back in time at Bristol Old Vic

Did you know that Bristol is home to the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world?

Bristol Old Vic underwent a major refurbishment in 2018, more than 250 years after it was built, and has now reopened to the public with a brand new programme of comedy, theatre, dance and spoken-word events.

Throughout January, you can catch a range of quality shows, from classics like ‘A Christmas Carol’, to The Wardrobe Ensemble’s modern-day take on ‘Hercules’.

Or if you don’t fancy a show, why not take a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic theatre itself (available Thursdays and Saturdays) or simply relax in the brand new bar and kitchen, 1766,  set against the beautiful old theatre backdrop.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre at night

5. Have a laugh at the Slapstick Festival

There’s no better way to beat the January blues than by having a good chuckle and January sees the return of Bristol’s annual Slapstick and Silent Comedy Festival.

There’s loads going on throughout the month, from classic comedy screenings at the Watershed and live performances at the Old Vic, to exclusive Laurel & Hardy screenings inside the magnificent Bristol Cathedral.

Check out the full Slapstick Festival Guide to see what’s going on and where.

6. Blow away the cobwebs at Ashton Court

We can all feel a bit cooped up over Christmas, so January is the perfect time to get out and enjoy some fresh air.

Bristol is packed full of beautiful green spaces but few are as impressive as Ashton Court Estate and Country Park. As well as acres of woodland and walking trails, Ashton Court is also home to a historic mansion, a deer park and a cute cafe – perfect for warming up with a hot chocolate on a cold day.

Deer at Ashton Court in Bristol

7. Sit back and relax to a story or two

‘Let Me Tell You a Story, Jack’ is one of Bristol’s most popular open-mic story-telling nights and is the perfect way to relax, whilst enjoying some entertaining anecdotes, poetry and limericks!

Entry is FREE and the next event takes place on 15 January at LeftBank in Stokes Croft, to the theme of ‘Status & Reputation’.

If you’re feeling particularly inspired (what with it being a new year and all!), why not tell a story of your own? You’ll be rewarded for your bravery with a free drink!

And while you’re in the Stokes Croft area, be sure to check out some of the incredible street art, including Banksy’s world-famous ‘Mild Mild West’.

Stokes Croft street scene

8. Unwind at the Lido Spa

If you need a bit of R&R after all the Christmas cheer, there’s no better place to unwind than the Bristol Lido in Clifton.

Originally the old Victorian swimming baths, the Lido is set in a beautiful historic location and offers a range of spa treatments; a heated pool; hot tub; sauna; plus an award-winning restaurant and tapas bar on-site.

Check out some of the spa packages and deals on offer to make the most of your visit.

9. Wander in a “Window Wanderland”

Forget about walking in a winter wonderland… January is all about the “Window Wanderland” – a free walking trail around artistic window displays in Bristol.

Local artist, Lucy Reeves Kahn, launched the trail in 2015 to help tackle isolation in the community and get people out and about, exploring their local streets. It’s a great way to see the creative side of this city, famed for its artistic talent and inspiration.

The arts trail will kick off in Easton in Bristol from 25-26 January and move to other parts of the city throughout February.

Download the walking trail map to find out how to make your way through this year’s Window Wanderland.

10. Chill out with a board game

Keep it cheap and cheerful this January with a board game!

On 8 January, The Tobacco Factory in Bedminster will be teaming up with games company, Rules of Play, to provide 4 hours of board game fun for just £3.50 per person.

Or if you can’t make that date, Bristol is also home to Chance & Counters – Bristol’s only dedicated board game cafe, with over 600 games, expert games-master staff, and an excellent selection of drinks and nibbles to keep you entertained.

What’s even better, Chance & Counters is located in the super cosy Christmas Steps arts quarter – perfect for hiding away on a rainy January day.

Charcuterie board at Chance and Counters board game bar in Bristol

So there you have it – 10 ways to beat the January blues in Bristol. What do you have planned this month? I’d love to hear your recommendations!


1 Comment

  1. January 4, 2019 / 9:40 am

    What a great selection of activities to get your through the blue misery of January! Will have to work through them! Thanks for sharing.

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