17 of The Best Day Trips from Bristol

July 13, 2020

It should be no surprise to anyone that I love Bristol. It’s a city I feel has everything I’ve ever looked for. One of those things being in such a great spot to take day trips from! Located in the South West of England and on an awesome train line, the options are endless for day trips. Whether you’ve got your own car or need to use the train/coach system to get around you’ll be able to get out and explore so much of the country.

 

Day trips from Bristol are the perfect way to get out and explore even if you have limited time. From a quick 10 minute train ride to another city to a 90 minute car ride into the mountains. Charming English villages, green rolling hills, cute shops & fantastic views these places have got it! To find out more check out this list of the 17 best day trips from Bristol.

Bath

Distance from Bristol : 13 miles
The best (and quickest) way to get to Bath from Bristol is on the train. In less than 10 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads you’ll step foot into a charming and regal British city. The largest city in the Somerset county known for the infamous Roman baths, but the city is so much more than that. Stroll around the city and take in Pultney Bridge & Weir, marvel at the Circus (which no does not have elephants only beautiful homes), wander through Queen Square and enjoy Alexandra Park. Immerse yourself in history with a visit Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths or treat yourself to a spa day at Thermal Bath Spa. If you want something a little more unique, head up over Bath in a beautiful hot air balloon and experience the city from above. After all that exploring you’ll likely be in need of fuel, so head over to Dough for a delicious pizza and then to The Canary Gin Bar to have the most perfectly hand crafted cocktail made just for you. This is the perfect day trip for anyone who might be short on time while visiting Bristol because it’s so close, but you can definitely spend a whole day (or more) exploring all the charms of Bath. To see more things to do in Bath click here.

London 

Distance from Bristol : 120 miles
The capital of England and one of the most visited cities in the World, London is often high on most peoples England bucket list. And why shouldn’t it be? The city itself is incredibly beautiful with history that dates back to Roman times.  No matter what station you arrive into you’ll be central to all the action, and with the tub system what it is (besides crowded) you’ll be able to explore the city even if you can’t do it on 2 feet. Head for South Bank for iconic views of the city, the London Eye and the vibrant life of London. Try to snag a view of the Royals by checking out Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Camden Market, Portobello Market, Covenant Garden, Spitalfield Market, and thats just naming a few. The market scene in London is off the charts and you never know what you’ll come across at any of them. You’ve got your pick of dozens of museums, including the Museum of London, The V&A, The British Museum, The Tate Modern, The Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and of course the iconic Natural History Museum. For concrete jungle and more green space London has tons on offer. Wander along the Camden locks all the way to Little Venice admiring the houseboats. St-James Park is full of beautiful birds, Observatory Hill in Greenwich has amazing views back towards the city and Richmond Park has beautiful deer and lovely walking paths. Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus are the perfect places to stop and people watch as the world goes by. For more to do in London click here.

Glastonbury 

Distance from Bristol : 27 miles
Glastonbury, so much more than just an epic music festival. Known also for it’s ancient and medieval history, Glastonbury has a sort of magical and dare I say “hippie” vibe to it which makes it a fun and unique place to visit from Bristol. Although the festival brings in tons of visitors some never see the town, and they are definitely missing out. But if you are headed out of Bristol to the festival you’ll have a seriously amazing time with incredible musicians and festival vibes. For absolutely incredible views over the Somerset levels head up to Glastonbury Tor. The whole site is managed by the National Trust but free to walk. Climb the lush green hill towards the roofless St-Michaels tower, it can get a bit windy here so hold onto your hats, and marvel and the landscape stretching out below. Glastonbury Abbey is rife with medical history, and even the ruins let you know that it held some serious power in the county before is was dissolved. The ancient history extends to more than just castles and holy ground, think fairies and crystals. If you’re in the market for a set of new crystals, some incense or anything else in that realm then you’ll be able to find it here in Glasto. Visit the Mystic Garden Gallery for all sorts of gorgeous works of art and The Faerie Realm for another trinkets and magical mementos. On a beautiful slice of farm land you’ll find The Somerset Rural Life Museum. The barn here underwent a £2.4 million makeover and now houses a beautiful gallery depicting folk festivals, arts & crafts and educational interpretive boards. Stop in at Well House Lane to see The Chalice Well, a natural spring that actually rises up from the depths of the Tor or walk a little further to see the White Spring which is the same concept except the water here is white (from calcite) whereas the Chalice Spring is a red colour due to iron. Glastonbury is an enchanting town that should be visited for more than just the festival, and perfectly located and a train and bus line too so it’s easy to get to even if you don’t have your own vehicle. For more to do in Glastonbury click here.

Wells 

Distance from Bristol : 22 miles
Located not too far from Glastonbury, Wells is the perfect place to stop into on your way to/from Bristol. A cathedral city in Somerset, and the smallest in the country with a population of about 12,000. Named after the natural springs on the cathedral grounds, Wells shares a diocese with Bath and a lot of the city has been untouched since the 14th century. Fun fact about Wells, if you’ve seen the Simon Pegg film Hot Fuzz (if you haven’t it’s well worth a watch) you’ll recognize some of the landmarks. Most iconic and possibly the most beautiful place to see in Wells is the Cathedral. This was the first cathedral in the whole of Europe to be designed in only the Gothic Style. Construction began in 1176 and for the next 300 years it continued to what we see today. One of the most incredible pieces of architecture in Somerset, if not England the details are incredibly intricate and the entire building makes you feel completely tiny. Marvel at the exterior and don’t miss. the interior or the surrounding grounds either. There is no doubt that Wells is an old city, and nothing proves that more than Vicar’s close. This is the olden Medieval planned street in Europe and it was plotted out back in the 14th century, and most of it remains the same now. The homes were built to provide residences to the serving priests at the time, which is why it has it’s name. Charming seems like an understatement, and this is the perfect place to stroll along. Wells Market Place is still a vibrant life force in the city surrounded by lovely shops and cafes and local market stalls. Bishop’s Palace still has a moat and fortified walls from it’s days as an acting palace for the Bishop’s of Bath and Wells. These lush greens are encircled by a beautiful stone building and lovely gardens in the spring. If your day trip from Bristol happens on a Wednesday or Saturday you’ll be treated to the fantastic outdoor markets. Stop in for specialty foods, fresh and local produce and at Christmas time it’s the perfect place to find a gift or two. A charming little city that should not be overlooked, Wells is small enough to fit in with another location for a day trip too. For more to do in Wells click here.

Gloucester 

Distance from Bristol : 40 miles
An hour north of Bristol by train, car or coach, Gloucester lies on the edge of the Severn River between the Forest of Dean and The Cotswolds. Known by a lot of people because of the lovely stories by Beatrix Potter, and more recently Harry Potter. However Gloucester is far older than both of those pieces of “pop” culture. Founded in 97 AD by the romans and held a king in 1216, Gloucester has been around a long time. The major attraction here is definitely Gloucester Cathedral as it dates back to the 670’s. This spectacular cathedral has been used in the Harry Potter films, where the cloisters of the cathedral were turned into the iconic hallways of Hogwarts. It was also used for a Doctor Who Christmas Special and the most recent Sherlock Series with Benedict Cumberbatch. Even if you haven’t seen any of those series Gloucester Cathedral is simply stunning. From the stained glass to the gorgeous exterior and the grounds, it’s a must visit for sure. Second to the Cathedral, the Gloucester Docks house some of the cities best eateries and views. 15 monolithic victorian warehouses exist here, and have been turning into a museum of maritime history, housing, and even the Gloucester Quays Mall. Keeping to the maritime theme the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal is a 16.5 mule canal opened in 1827. Set out for a walk, or find a find with a long boat and travel down river. For anyone who has ever read a book by Beatrix Potter or had one read to them, you’ll want to visit The House of the Tailor of Gloucester. This cozy museum and shop in College Court and houses some seriously beautiful pieces of history. Find out how Beatrix Potter created the stories and where she drew her inspiration from. Stop in at Hubble Bubble Coffee House for a sweet treat and delicious brew before setting off to explore the city itself. While there are some commercial heavy areas the city itself is full of charm and beautiful buildings to be admired. For more to do in Gloucester click here.

Clevedon 

Distance from Bristol : 14 miles 

Oh how I love to be by the sea! Anyone else? If so Clevedon is the perfect place to escape the city for the sea. Easily accessible by car and also by public transit you’ll be skipping stones and chowing down on chips in no time. The highlight for many visitors is the iconic Clevedon pier which opened in 1869, was damaged in the 1970’s and officially reopened as part of a trust in 1989. For less than £3.50 (which goes into the upkeep of the pier) you’ll be able to walk out and be gifted with some beautiful views. A fab spot for anyone into photography as it really is a beautiful place to photograph, plus the sunsets here are known to be quite spectacular. Take a walk along the rocky beach, or head to the opposite end of town along Marine Parade to Layde Bay where things are a whole lot more quite and you can see only a sliver of the pier. Even in the dead of winter, on a sunny day you’d think you might be on holiday down by the beach, almost.
Also impressive and with the same namesake is Clevedon Court. This manor house dates back to the 13th century and was home to the Elton Family and is now managed by the National Trust. Admire the gorgeous architecture and stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens. While a sandy beach, Clevedon does not have, they do have a really cool Marine Lake! Boasting 15,000 meters of sheltered water in the Bristol Channel you can hire sail boats, canoes and go for a swim. Quite a sight to see on those hot summer evenings as the sunsets too. The town itself is all sorts of charming with lovely cafes and restaurants facing the sea, unique and locally owned shops and some of the prettiest houses in Somerset county. If you fancy a good walk make sure to go out to Poets Walk. You’ll go out along the nature reserve and find yourself looking back over the town to the most beautiful views. For more to do in Clevedon click here.

 

Oxford 

Distance from Bristol : 75 miles
While some may think Oxford is way too far for a day trip, you’re missing out! Grab the train from Bristol and leave the car at home. Located in South Central England, Oxford is is home to some of the World’s most iconic universities. Not only that, the city itself is overflowing with history and magical little corners everywhere you look. Whether you’re into architecture or want to be transported to some of your favourite stories, Oxford has so much to explore, especially in a day. If you’re a Harry Potter lover you’ll know that a lot of the film series was filmed here. The most iconic being the staircase where Harry first arrives to Hogwarts can be found at Christ Church College. While the rest of the college campuses in Oxford may not be featured in Harry Potter they are definitely worth visiting. I would definitely recommend checking out some of these colleges on your Oxford visit: All Souls, Christ Church, Exeter, Trinity, Corpus Christi, Magdalen and The Queens just to name a few. The Bodleian Library is another gem for book lovers, as one of the oldest libraries in Europe it is also one of the most beautiful. No photos are allowed in the library but it is definitely worth while to see it for yourself. One of the most photographed locations in Oxford next to every college campus is The Bridge of Sighs. Actually named Hertford Bridge which is on New College Lane near Weston Library, and is best photographed early in the morning or well after most of the tourists have fled as it can be hard to get a shot of it free of people. The absolute best views of Oxford can be found by visiting The University Church of St-Mary. While the church itself is free to visit and lovely, the best part about it is that visitors can climb the tower for what are surely the best views of Oxford. For a small fee you can climb the 127 stone steps to the top of the tower and marvel at the city from high above. The balcony at the top is very small so it’s best to get up there first thing in the morning or right before close to not feel rushed by other visitors. This is the perfect place to get amazing photos of Radcliffe Camera and to see miles across the city. For more to do in Oxford click here.

Berrow Beach & Burnham-on-Sea

Distance from Bristol : 34 miles
This is a destination you’ll need a car to get to, and it is definitely worth it. This is also a beach that you can drive your car onto which makes it even more cool. Stretching up to 6 miles in length backed by some pretty sand dunes, Berrow Beach is located in Burnham-on-Sea. Perfect for a day out walking no matter the weather. Sunny days are obviously the best, but this beach is great to watch a storm come in, plus you can wait out the rain drinking tea and eating lunch in your car. When the tide is out at Berrow Beach you’ll get a glimpse of something pretty special. The wreckage of the MV Nornen, a Norwegian ship which ran aground here in 1897 still sits at the bottom of the sea. At high tide it’s impossible to see the wreck, but if you time it right you’ll actually be able to walk right out and get a better look at it. Come for a dog walk, a horseback ride or just a sunny afternoon picnic with friends. It is known to get a bit windy here so it can also be the perfect spot to do a bit of kite flying. From the beach you can also walk North towards Brean or South towards the lighthouse at Burnham-on-Sea. Both of these beaches are home to some absolute stunner sunsets in the South West. If you walk out to Burnham Village be sure to head into the little town which was once just a simple seaside fishing village. To see more of Berrow Beach click here.

Westonbirt Arboretum 

Distance from Bristol : 25 miles
Located in the quaint town of Tetbury in the Cotswolds is the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum. Westonbirt also might be the most well known arboretum in the country. Established in 1829 by Robert Holdford and backs onto the Highgrove Estate belonging to Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. Managed by Forestry England, Westonbirt covers over 600 acres and is home to over 18,000 trees and shrubs. Nearly 20 miles of marked paths are here to be explored by visitors all year round. Dogs are permitted here on most of the trails, and only while on a leash. Pick up a map from the reception area and then head off to spend a few hours exploring the incredible collection of trees and plants housed here. The Old Arboretum is perfectly designed to offer gorgeous landscape views and scenery as well as housing some pretty and exotic trees. Silk Wood has got some exotic plants but mostly traditional trees dating back to the 13th century. From collections of Maple trees from all over the World to Walnut and Lime trees the variety of trees found hear lend to some very beautiful views. In addition to all of this you’ll also find a newly installed Tree Top Walkway running trails, Gruffalo Sculptures and a cafe. Best visited in the Spring when everything is in bloom or Autumn when all the leaves start to turn golden and gorgeous. Another big  draw to Westonbirt is the Enchanted Christmas Event. During the holiday season explore the arboretum in a whole new way. Westonbirt is draped in beautiful lights with interactive light displays, illuminated trails and even a Christmas Village. . For more to do at Westonbirt click here.

Tyntesfield

Distance from Bristol : 10 miles
In North Somerset lies a castle. Okay not officially a castle, but it’s pretty dang close! This National Trust owned property is a Victorian Gothic revival house and named after the Tynte baronets who owned the estates in the area since the 1500’s. Tyntesfied is the perfect Bristol day trip for anyone interested in history or beautiful gardens and estates. Previously the manor house was used as a hunting lodge and a farmhouse and in 2002 it was purchased by The National Trust.100’s of thousands of visitors make the trip to Tyntesfiled every year and it’s not hard to see why. You’ll be able to explore the interior of the manor house including the libraries, drawing room, main rooms and the chapel. The entire manor ouse is full of beautiful stained glass, victorian furniture, paintings and so many old and beautiful books. The house itself sits on 150 acres of parkland which was acquired with the purchase of the manor house including a section of woodland. On a bright sunny day make your way to the Orangery, which you’ll be able to smell from miles away. Admire the beautiful greenhouse and glasshouses here too, it’s hard not to. In the spring and summer you’ll get a chance to see beautiful blooms all through the property and incredibly manicured gardens worthy of a dozen photos, or more. Dr. Who and Sherlock Fans may also recognize Tyntesfield as it was used in several episodes in both series. The National Trust site also puts on an incredible display at Christmas which will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. For more on that click here.

West Bay

Distance from Bristol : 61 miles
Part of the incredible Jurassic Coast, West Bay is an amazing spot to visit on a day trip from Bristol. This World Heritage site is also known as Bridport Harbour located on the coast in Dorset. While the drive from Bristol to West Bay is about 2 hours one way it is totally worth it! The biggest draw for anyone looking to visit West Bay is definitely the scenic coastline. The golden rock cliffs seem to go on for miles and have tons of walking and cycling trails to enjoy the views. The beach in the heart of Bridport Harbour is the centre of it all with a jetty that hosts markets and is home to an awesome rowing contest every summer. There are fishing trips to be had, and rowboats can also be hired for an afternoon on the water. While the town of Bridport may be small it doesn’t lack in all the things you could want in an English seaside town. Fancy a pint or two, The Station Kitchen is a great option for all. Fish & chips on the beach? You can grab some from any of the numerous vendors on the high street and take it for a stroll for the best views. One other major draw to West Bay is for anyone who might be a fan of the BBC drama, Broadchurch. Any fan of the show will instantly recognize the town and the cliffs from the series, which is very cool to see in person. There is an awesome caravan park just down from Bridport Centre with everything you need to make the trip more than 1 day too. For more on this area click here.

Lacock Village  

Distance from Bristol : 32 miles
About 30 minutes from Bristol you’ll find the magically charming Lacock Village. The village itself is owned almost entirely by the National Trust and the magic is likely what led it to being used in the Harry Potter series for filming locations. One of the best things to do in Lacock is visiting Lacock Abbey. This National Trust site is possibly the most recognizable location thanks to the Harry Potter series, and a stunner. Founded in the 13th century this abbey is beautiful, complete with stunning grounds, gardens and stables on the site. Also on this site is the Fox Talbot museum of Photography. This is a fantastic exhibit for photographers and they also host multiple events throughout the year that are always worth visiting. The village itself is full of beautiful 18th century homes with thatched roof’s, picture perfect gardens and a complete vibe that you’ve stepped into another time all together. The King John Tea Room is a perfect place to visit for a traditional afternoon tea in a cute atmosphere. The George Inn  is a great place to stop for lunch hand/or a pint or two throughout your visit and the Lacock Bakery is a must visit, you’ll be able to smell the fresh bread and sweet treats coming up the street. The charm of this village extends to it’s residents as well. You won’t get too far between the houses before you see lush baked good, fresh jams & chutneys or sweets left out on the wall outside someones house. With honesty boxes and a price list too, you’ll be able to get your hands on some local produce and amazing food thanks to the locals. Wandering through the village, be sure to turn down every alley, every side street and go where the mood takes you, it’s all stunning. For more to do in Lacock click here.

Durdle Door

Distance from Bristol : 75 miles

On the English Channel Coast, less than 80 miles from Bristol is one of the most photographed locations in all of the United Kingdom. There is a good chance you’ve seen photos of this place all over social media and even in calendars or wallpapers on your computer. Durdle Door is located near the village of Lulworth in Dorset and the perfect place for nature lovers and photographers alike. This natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast is simply stunning no matter the time of year, you won’t be disappointed on your visit. Walking the coastal cliffs above the beach is definitely a must do for the best views of the arch and the sea. There are paths on either side of the main beach is the South West Coast Path, one will take you to  Man O’ War Bay. With a beautiful present moon shaped bay and golden sand mixed with rocks out to the gorgeous blue ocean. On the other side is Durdle Door which you can access via the steps down to the beach. Hang out on the rocky shoreline, head out for a paddle or a swim and if you’re brave enough climb out along the rocks to the archway. Back up the top you can head along the South West Coast Path to Scratch Bottom where after a steep climb you’ll have an epic view out back to the arch. Continue onward and upward to Bat’s Head where the views get even better. The SW Coast Path goes from Devon to Dorset (or vice versa) and is one of the stunning walking paths in the country which is definitely worth doing if you have more time.  And if you want a few more costal views and adorable seaside village vibes head over to neighbouring Lulworth Cove. For more to do on the Jurassic Coast click here.

Tintern Abbey
Distance from Bristol : 23 miles
A hop skip and a jump across the Severn Bridge on the banks of the picturesque Wye River is a seriously impressive piece of history in Wales. Founded in May of 1131 by the Lord of Chepstow and boarders Wiltshire in England and Monmouthshire in Wales making it an easy day trip from Bristol. While Tintern Abbey is no longer in use today and is more so ruins, although still incredibly beautiful, the site itself is operated by CADW. What began as a simple stone church is now Gothic masterpiece and a national icon to be discovered. Explore the grounds and wander your way through the ruins as you imagine what life would have been like back in the 12th century for people. If you visit during the off season there is a good chance you could experience the main part of the site without any other visitors which is something truly incredible. Not the largest national site in Wales, but after some time you’ll be glad you have a little extra time to go off and explore the village itself. Stop in for coffee and cake at The Abbey Mill Coffeehouse or lunch hand a pint at The Anchor Inn Pub. Stroll along the banks of the Wye River and explore the nearby trails which will give you excellent views of the Wye Valley and the Abbey from afar. Brockweir Bridge is a great spot for a photo op and continues onto another trail into the lush woodland backing the Abbey too. If you want a little extra adventure there are kayaking trips you can book in for that take you along the Wye River and into the valley too. For more information on Tintern Abbey click here.

Cheddar Gorge 
Distance from Bristol : 19 miles
In the Media Hills you’ll find an amazing limestone gorge and the perfect spot for a day trip from Bristol. Cheddar Gorge is one of those must visit places for anyone visiting Bristol as it’s less than 20 miles by car. The main tourist attraction here are the Cheddar Caves and the clifftop walk from Jacob’s Ladder, both require tickets and can be purchased here. However if you are looking to visit Cheddar on a budget you can walk along the clifftop above the gorge without paying the ticket price. Driving in from Bristol on the A38 you’ll pass a sign and a small area for parking for BlackDown. If you cross the street and don’t mind a steep scramble you’ll be up on the Cheddar Cliffs in no time at all. If you go up the other way you’ll find yourself on the opposite ridge lookout over to Cheddar cliffs, tons of goats and wild horses live up here which is such a cool thing to see. The village of Cheddar itself is quite quaint and charming, tons of shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes. Cheddar reservoir is a great option for a walk if you fancy a different perspective too. For more to do in Cheddar click here.

Breacon Beacons National Park
Distance from Bristol : 73 miles This mountain range in the south of Wales is one of the most stunning and a great option for an outdoorsy day trip from Bristol. There are an endless amount of hiking trails to take advantage of here but it’s best to make a choice before heading out as some of them are quite lengthy. The highest peak in the Brecon Beacons is Pen Y Fan at nearly 900 meters above sea level. Absolutely spectacular views await you at the top, but keep in mind the weather at that elevation can effect what you get to see. The Waterfall Valley Hike is perfect for any waterfall lovers out there. Blaen y Glyn Isaf is home to some stunning falls, wild horses and epic views. If you want to tackle the best of the best plan for The Peaks Hike which will have you conquering Corn Du, Pen-y-Fan, Cribyn and Fan-y-Big which covers 15km and takes around 4 hours. One of the shorter climbs is Sugar Loaf at less than 600 m above sea level and has a unique shape to it. In the summer months this hill is full of beautiful wildflowers which will make anyone want to frolic through them but make sure you stick to the trails. All in all no matter where you decide to go in the Brecon Beacons you’ll be amazed, this slice of paradise is one of the best day trips in Wales and will have you wondering how often you can come back. For more to do in The Brecon Beacons click here.

The Cotswolds
Distance from Bristol : 55 miles
Covering 6 counties in rural south central England, The Cotswolds could possibly be one of the most picturesque areas in the country. Think lush rolling green hills, stone buildings with thatched roofs, stately homes, medical history and babbling brooks (just to describe it a little). There are dozens of villages and towns that make up this area, so here are just a few that are must visits. Bourton-On-Water is beyond charming, with a small river/brook running through the centre, perfect for picnicking, duck watching and enjoying a pint on a patio. Castle Combe is likely one of the most photographed part of the Cotswolds and for good reason. This village is full of cobbled streets, beautiful stone homes with perfect gardens and an iconic bridge perfect for catching that classic car driving over. Winning prettiest village in the Cotswolds is likely Stow-on-the-Wold. Home to Hidcote Manor, this village has so much history to be found in it’s manor houses, museums and tea rooms. Buford is described as the “gateway to the Cotswolds” and what a gateway it is, and only 19 miles from Oxford too! Tetbury is known for it’s lovely markets and the plethora of antique and vintage shopping that can be done. There are truly so many amazing places in this part of the country that as you’re driving through you’ll find so many more places to stop off at. For more to do in The Cotswolds click here.

 

 

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