Bristol city centre to light up with circus acts this Christmas

Bristol will switch on its Christmas lights in spectacular style this year with an explosive circus-themed event on Friday 7th November . 

Visitors will be treated to a high-energy show combining performances from world-class trampoline and aerial artists, jugglers and music – before the Christmas lights are switched on to mark the start of Bristol’s Christmas shopping season. New Christmas decorations and illuminations will be revealed throughout Cabot Circus.  

The fun will begin at 4.30pm, as Bristol Cathedral Choir perform in The Galleries to mark the opening of the Christmas Grotto, before the choristers make their way as a procession through Broadmead and into Quakers Friars square, before arriving at Cabot Circus for a stunning musical finale full of festive cheer.

From 6pm, crowds will be wowed by a dazzling show under the glass roof by Circulus, a company of world class acrobats that are widely known as the group from the BBC One prime time show ‘Tumble’.

The show will begin as performers emerge from a giant wrapped present, before a trampolinist showcases a high-impact routine. Aerial performers will then take to the stage for a combined silks and hoop routine, before jugglers, an aerial cloud artist and hand-to-hand acrobats all build to a crescendo, before the countdown begins and the new lights are switched on for the first time. 

Celebrations will continue throughout Bristol Shopping Quarter as the famous German Christmas Market opens in Broadmead, offering festive fare and locally crafted gifts.  

Stephanie Lacey, Cabot Circus Centre Director, commented: “We’re thrilled to be unveiling brand new Christmas decorations this year with a spectacular event that will bring the excitement of Christmas to Bristol.”

John Hirst, Chief Executive of Destination Bristol added: “This fantastic event will be the prelude to the Christmas lights being switched on throughout the city centre.  It marks the start of our Christmas festivities in Bristol Shopping Quarter including the return of the Christmas markets and a giant snow globe which will be located near to M&S in Broadmead for the first time from 14th November- Christmas in Bristol starts here!”

The Galleries Centre Manager, Colin Lang comments: “This is our 24th Christmas grotto in as many consecutive years so we’re delighted to be a key feature in the curtain raiser of what promises to be a spectacular event involving the whole of the Bristol Shopping Quarter, and we will carry on with present-loads of festive cheer with Santa set to stay in his Arctic-themed Grotto right up until Christmas Eve.”

The Bristol City Centre Christmas Lights Switch-on takes place on Friday 7 November and the event will begin at 4.30pm at The Galleries. The switch on will take place from 6pm in Cabot Circus.

Key event timings:

4.30pm – Bristol Cathedral Choir sing in procession led by Santa and his elves
4.35pm – Grotto MC Jack FM DJ Alice announces the arrival of Santa to his Arctic-themed Grotto, marking the grotto officially open
4.40-5pm – Bristol Cathedral Choir sing carols around the Grotto
(30 minute rest period)
5.30pm – Bristol Cathedral Choir begin procession from The Galleries through Broadmead to Cabot Circus, stopping to perfom at the podium and Quakers Friars Square
5.50pm – Bristol Cathedral Choir procession finishes with a performance under the Christmas tree at Cabot Circus
6.00pm – Circulus performance begins
6.20pm – Countdown and lights switch on begins

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For further media information or to arrange attendance at the event on the 7th November please contact Kara Nelson or Sara Gillespie on 0117 910 6360 or email