Sustainable Christmas Shopping in Clifton, Bristol: Our Guide to Hyper-Local and Independent Shopping
by Sarah Starling
Christmas is undeniably a season of giving, a time when many of us open our wallets a bit wider to spread joy and warmth. By carefully choosing where and how we spend our money, we have the power to uplift our local community and make a positive environmental impact through buying sustainable Christmas gifts. Through this guide, we aim to help you navigate your festive purchases in a way that not only brings joy to your loved ones but also champions small businesses and prioritises our planet’s well-being.
Shop Local and Shop Small in Clifton this Christmas
Designed with the conscious shopper in mind, this walkable journey takes you through the charming streets of Clifton and along Whiteladies Road, introducing you to independent gems perfect for every gift category – from delightful foods to unique homewares. Use our guide to embrace the festive spirit while championing sustainable shopping and supporting local businesses.
If you’d like to save a copy, you can download it here, or you can access via the map below or linked here. The businesses are numbered to make them easy to find, but the route can be followed in any order.
A Christmas Shopping Guide from Whiteladies Road to Lower Redland Road and Cotham Hill to Alma Vale Road
We start at the top of Whiteladies Road so that you’re moving downhill towards the city centre and towards Ashwell & Co. The destinations are split into two; food and drink stops, and shops. On the map and PDF, you can see the shops have red icons and the food and drink stops have blue ones.
The next cluster of destinations takes us just off Whiteladies Road onto Cotham Hill. Cotham Hill and the streets connecting to it feel almost like a little village centre – for regular shopping, there’s everything from a hardware shop to tailoring services and hairdressers. This area has enough to keep you busy for several hours on its own, so if you’re looking for a shorter route, I recommend starting here at stop number 3.
For our final section, we cross over Whiteladies Road and head towards our final stop at Ashwell & Co. If you’re really pushed for time, the three shops in this section will cover most gifting needs, as well as the all-important sustainable Christmas tree!
Easy Public Transport Links to Clifton Down
Our Sustainable Christmas Shopping route is easily accessible via public transport from across the city. Whiteladies Road can be reached by bus, train or e-scooter. If arriving by bus alight at the Clifton Down Shopping Centre. Clifton Down train station is a 30 second stroll from Whiteladies Road or a 5 minute walk from Ashwell & Co.
Places to Christmas Shop in the Clifton Down Area
No Christmas would be complete without gifts for our pets, and few businesses know pets as well as Alfie & Bella who have been trading since 1850! Selling everything from treats and toys to accessories, coats, beds and more, Alfie & Bella can provide you with any practical presents that you think your furry loved one might like. For Christmas, they also stock festive and fun items like Christmas stockings.
The Bristol Artisan is you one-stop shop for all things wrapping paper, cards and decorations. A carefully selected collection of over 60 independent makers and businesses mean that if there’s anyone on your list who you’re not quite sure what to get them, chances are you can find something in here. In addition to paper suppliers you can also buy candles, plants, jewellery art and beauty products.
I could happily spend hours in Amphora Aromatics. You can buy a huge range of essential oils here, as well as their own brand face and skin care, as well as everything you need to make your own. The knowledgeable staff can talk you through every aspect of the various oils and their properties. My top tip is their ‘Festive’ aromatherapy blend. I buy this every year to use in my diffuser – it’s the scent of Christmas in a bottle! Amphora Aromatics have been steadily working to move away from plastic packaging into recyclable options, so you can feel confident that you’re not buying single use plastic. Their shampoo bars make great stocking fillers, as do their hand creams and lip balms.
Flux Gallery has work from a huge variety of UK makers, covering ceramics, paintings, jewellery and more. You can also buy gift vouchers, and book jewellery-making days such as a silver bangle workshop, ring carving workshops and textured bracelets. An incredible array of beautiful things that make perfect gifts.
Rag Trade is a dress agency, meaning their selection is carefully curated and while everything in the shop is preloved, there’s a wide variety of ages of clothing, from very recent to vintage pieces. This is what makes Rag Trade different from a vintage shop. In fact, you can think of some of these pieces as being future vintage – they’re items which are well made so they’re not going to fall apart after a few washes. Rag Trade Boutique has designer and high street clothes, bags, shoes and accessories.
If you’re looking for inspiration for Christmas cocktails, or alcohol for parties or gifts, Corks will be able to help. You can buy single bottles or gift boxes, as well as gift cards. There is also a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
Papadeli is another treasure trove deli on our list. Papadeli prioritise small, sustainable producers and some of their notable products are Cornish made chocolates from Chocolarder, jams made in Bristol, local Dunleavy wine, Brindisa olive oil, Italian panettone and Greek extra virgin oils. They also offer hampers and cooking classes. Personally, I find it impossible to go to Papadeli without taking something home from their takeaway counter – made in house, their meals are a perfect way to have homemade food with minimal effort.
Not a shop as such, but its hard to miss the array of Christmas trees on the corner of Alma Road and Whiteladies Road. Open from 24th November, you can’t go wrong with a tree from Bristol Christmas Tree Shop. You can choose from Nordmann Fir, Fraser Fir, or Norwegian Spruce, with prices starting at £18.00. The trees are grown just up the road in the Mendips so they are both local and sustainable. You can arrange for delivery, click and collect your tree, or browse in person. Delivery is very convenient, but does anything beat the Narnia-esque magic of being surrounded by trees, even for just a minute or two?
The crowning star on our sustainable Christmas tree (and yellow star icon on the map!), is us here at Ashwell & Co. Sustainability is woven into the very fibres of Ashwell & Co, and Christmas shopping is no exception. From our carefully chosen new items, such as headbands and fascinators from Able Mabel to our stunning selection of hand-picked vintage clothing, bags, jewellery and accessories, and our newly-added homeware selection, we are your real-life gift guide this Christmas.
As well as our shop, we also have our tea room, so why not book in for our seasonal afternoon tea as a reward for all your hard work and a shopping trip well done?
Places to Eat and Drink – Cafes, Restaurants and Delis in the Clifton Down Area
Divino Deli have been providing a taste of Italy since 2013. As well as sustaining snacks to power you through your shopping trip (hello D. Barbero chocolates…), you can also buy a wide range of foodie gifts, like hampers, gift vouchers or even homemade sauces and fresh pasta if you’re gifting swiftly.
If you’re looking to start your shopping extravaganza with coffee and treats, we recommend Burra. Serving locally produced Extract coffee and baked goods from Hobbs Bakery, it doesn’t get much more local than that for a coffee shop!
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to pizza in Bristol, but it’s safe to say that Bosco is one of the absolute best. If you’re looking for a pitstop for lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with Bosco. As well as a comprehensive pizza selection there are also mains, pasta, salads and cicchetti (smaller portion dishes). They also do a great weekday lunch deal between 12 and 5.
Another great option for a meal is The Metropolitan. They serve food for sharing, with a focus on great ingredients. Their seasonal menu currently features mapo tofu & mushroom noodle salad, pan-fried Cornish cod and slow roast pork belly among others. They also offer set menus and weekend brunches.
If you’re ready for another pitstop, or starting your journey here, we recommend Mr. T.G. Pullin’s Bakery. This shop serves Extract Coffee and their own range of sourdough bread, cakes and pastries. Make sure you check out the cruffins!
If you fancy stepping off the streets of Bristol and into little corner of Spanish heaven then Bravas is a must visit. This extremely authentic tapas bar is unlike anywhere else in Bristol. Perfect for a quick bite and a glass of cava or make an evening of it and enjoy a Spanish tapas feast. One of our favourite Bristol eateries.
Did you know that one of our closest neighbours is a 50-seat theatre? The Alma Tavern and Theatre has shows almost year-round, including Christmas-themed shows in December. They offer a pre-show dining option, and if you’re looking for a Christmas mini-break in Bristol, they have luxury rooms on the top floor.