Bristol is but if you want to escape the city for a day you may wonder what are the best day trips from Bristol? Then look no further in this post I gathered all the top day trips you can take from Bristol including what you should do there and more! This is the perfect list for you to know all the best things to do near Bristol all year round!
14 Best Day Trips From Bristol
Table Of Contents
Bristol offers a lot of transportations in order to travel to and from the city so it’s pretty easy to take the best day trips from Bristol even if you don’t have a car or cannot rent one. So don’t worry there is plenty of options for everyone here!
So let’s get right into the topic!
If you’re in Bristol and looking for a cool day trip to take or a weekend getaway then the Cotswolds area is an easy pick as this offers so many amazing villages and spots to visit, you can even hike through them!
Chances are you already know about Bath, only 8 minutes train away from Bristol and being a major city of the South- West of the U.K as it is a UNESCO heritage city Bath obviously make a great day trip from Bristol.
Bath is well known for its unique elegant georgian architecture which you can see if you visit the Royal Crescent and The Circus.
The main attractions of the city you cannot miss are The Roman Baths (you can even try the water at the end of the tour!), Bath Abbey, you can get an amazing view of the city if you climb the 212 steps of the Abbey! The Pulteney bridges is an iconic landmark and a must-see in Bath, you can also get down there and walk along the Avon River. After this you can taste the famous Sally Lunn’s Bath bun for afternoon tea!
Another historic part of Bath is the fact that it’s home to Jane Austen, the author of “Pide and Prejudice” you can visit The Jane Austen Centre for £12.
If you’re visiting Bath during the wintertime then you have to make sure to plan your visit when the Christmas Market is there, I’ve done in 2017 and I loved it!
The Cotswolds, one of the most picturesque areas out outstanding beauty in the United Kingdom makes a fantastic day trip from Bristol. Reachable in just little over one hour, a one day Cotswolds itinerary stars early morning in Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the most popular village. Because of its popularity, it’s good to arrive there as early as possible.
There are so many things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water that you could spend the entire day here without running out of places to see. Firstly, start your day with a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast cooked with local ingredients, at one of the cafes along the river.
For a village of only 3,200 inhabitants, Bourton-on-the-Water has a lot of touristic attractions. The Motor museum hosts an impressive collection of old cars and motorcycles, but also a fantastic selection of antique toys that will bring back memories from your childhood. The Model Village replicates the village on a scale of 1:9, the same way it used to look like in 1930. Just outside the village you will find Birdland Park and gardens, which is home to over 500 different bird species.
If you like walking, a 40 minutes long trail leads to Lower Slaughter, another village of outstanding beauty with a working mill transformed into a museum
Contributed by Joanna from The World In My Pocket
One of the best day trips from Bristol is to the beautiful Cotswolds village of Castle Combe. Situated in Wiltshire, and only half an hours drive from Bristol, it’s easy to see why this pretty chocolate box village is so popular amongst tourists.
Visiting Castle Combe is like taking a trip back in time, as there have been no new houses built since the 1600s. Made from locally sourced honey coloured Cotswolds stone, the buildings are quaint and unique. As well as exploring all the beautiful nooks and crannies of the village, it is also worth checking out St Andrew’s Church, which has one of the oldest working clocks in the country.
The other must visit building in Castle Combe is the Manor House Hotel. It is a stunning ivy-covered luxury hotel, with an 18 hole golf course, a Michelin star restaurant and the most perfectly manicured gardens. If you get hungry and want to try a traditional afternoon tea, then head over to the Old Rectory Tearoom. Or if you fancy a supercar day, visit one of the fastest motor car racing circuits in England, that is just outside the village. This village might be small but there is plenty to do on a day trip!
Contributed by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
Cardiff or Caerdydd in Welsh is a great option for a day trip from Bristol. Easy of access with or without a car there are a lot of amazing things to do in Cardiff,
My favourite thing I did in Cardiff was the visit of Cardiff Castle, I spent two hours there and I think I could have spent a little more time actually, it’s a great activity for everyone, including kids as it feels like a true adventure to explore the Castle and its surrounding!
Bute Park is the next thing to do if you spend one day in Cardiff, there you can also take a boat to Cardiff Bay.
The city has a lot of arcades that are really fun to explore or shop for souvenirs, and of course, you can visit the inside market of Cardiff where you can try traditional Welsh Biscuit, although careful it’s raisin inside not chocolate chips!
Just like Bristol Cardiff is a harbourside city, you can enjoy a walk along Cardiff Bay and check out Mermaid Quay, Pierhead Building and spot the famous “People Like Us” sculpture.
If you want a bit of a break from the city, a day trip from Bristol to the Brecon Beacons National Park will be perfect for you.
Located a couple of hours away from Bristol, the Brecon Beacons are one of the 3 national parks in Wales. They feature some of the most amazing views in the country and are a paradise for hikers. The most famous hike is Pen-Y-Fan. There are several routes going up to the summit but the best one is the horseshoe ridge walk. This 10 miles loop takes about 5 hours to complete. It’s not an easy hike but once you get to the top, you will be mind blown by the stunning views over the Cwm Llwch valley.
The Beacons are also a great place to go rafting! There are loads of rivers and waterfalls everywhere.
Finally, if you love history, you can go and visit some of the beautiful welsh castles and towns. Brecon, Crickhowell and Hay on Wye are beautiful!
Please note that you will need a car to explore the Beacons. There aren’t any trains going from Bristol to the Brecon Beacons and even if there were, you would still need a car to get around. It’s only 1:45 by car and renting a car for a day should cost you less than £30.
Submitted by Pauline from Beelovedcity
Although often overlooked by tourists, Coventry is a great option for a day trip from Bristol. Because many of the city’s main tourist sites are located close together in the city centre, nearly all of them can easily be seen in a day.
Some of the most famous Coventry attractions are the two cathedrals. The city of Coventry was horrifically bombed by the German Luftwaffe during WWII, and large portions of the city were destroyed. Because of its height and size, the first site bombed during the Blitz was the Old Coventry Cathedral in the city centre. Today, you can visit the ruins, learn about the war, and even head up to the top for great views over the city. Afterwards, head to the New Coventry Cathedral, which was built right next to the ruins in favour of tearing them down. The New Coventry Cathedral is particularly worth checking out to see all of the beautiful stained glass windows.
Coventry was also was voted to be the UK City of Culture in 2021, a title this underrated gem definitely deserves. If you want to learn more about the fascinating history of Coventry, consider stopping into some of the city’s museums, such as the Herbert Gallery or the Coventry Transport Museum.
For a delicious meal, head to Taste Vietnam, or pop into Sprinkles Gelato shop.
Contributed by Dagney from Cultura Obscura
Cheddar Gorges and Caves
Cheddar Gorge is located 30 miles south of Bristol on the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills. Getting there is easiest by road, following the main A38 from Bristol towards Taunton before following the hills along to the village. There are public transport options but a 45minute journey time will turn into 2 hours with a number of changes.
Cheddar Gorge is the deepest gorge in England and as you walk up the gorge or take the open top bus the cliffs tower above you. These limestone cliffs follow the path of the ancient rivers that flowed and the road has tight bends and narrow spaces.
At the bottom of the gorge are the caves. These are some of the deepest in England and two are open to the public. If you like adventure then you can take a caving lesson and explore beyond the pathways in the public area.
Away from the caves and gorge Cheddar village has a number of small shops including Cheddar cheese and local cider, both of which need tasting while you are in the area. There are lots of places to eat in Cheddar, but our favourite is Frank’s which is a small restaurant tucked away by the mill pond in the bottom of the gorge.
This small village and gorge can fill an entire day with stunning walks along the cliffs once you have finished exploring the caves and shops.
Contributed by Suzanne from Meandering Wild
Besides being a great city to visit near Bristol, Gloucester is one of the places you must visit if you’re a Harry Potter Fans! Gloucester Cathedral is one of the locations in the UK that was used to film some bits of the Movies we all love.
Only an hour away by train, Gloucester is super easy to access and most of the spots of interest of the city are within walking distance.
Gloucester Cathedral is free to visit, however if you want to take photos of the inside of the Cathedral you have to buy a photo permit for only £3, it helps to keep the Cathedrale in good conditions so play fair and buy it! For more historical building you can check out the remains of Greyfriars and the Small Anglican Church of St Mary De Crypt.
If you’re into beer then you have to take a tour of Gloucester Brewery, for beer and gin around Gloucester Docks. The tour of the Brewery cost £25 they only tour the Brewery twice a month so make sure to book in advance!
Oxford is a city with a worldwide reputation as it is the home of many prestigious colleges and people from all over the world comes to study there every year. Just as Gloucester, Oxford is a destination to check for Harry Potter fans as you can find several places where parts of the movies were shot (Bodleian Library, Divinity Room…).
Obviously you can visit plenty of Colleges in Oxford and historical building in Oxford.
Some of the top things to do in Oxford if you only have one day to spend there
Another great activity to do in Oxford if you visit on a warm day, or if you feel brave enough in the winter cold, is to take a Punt Tour to have a different view of the city! All of those things make Oxford one of the best day trips from Bristol!
Salisbury & Stonehenge
The Wiltshire town of Salisbury is about an hour and a half by road from Bristol. It is famed for its medieval gothic cathedral and half-timbered houses in the town centre. The cathedral houses the best-preserved copy of Magna Carta said to be the model of the American declaration of independence and you should also visit the cloisters. I can also recommend the cathedral refectory (snack bar) which gives the best views of the cathedral spire which is the tallest in England and serves a good range of cakes and sandwiches.
Edward Heath the former British Primeminister lived close to the cathedral and enjoyed playing the organ and conducting the choir. His house Arundels in the close is open to visitors.
You can easily combine a visit to Salisbury with a trip to Stonehenge. The world-famous neolithic stone circle is just eight miles away on Salisbury Plain. The visitor centre has a cafe, toilets and a gift shop as well as an exhibition explaining the history of the stones and the wider landscape. it is only a short walk from the visitor centre to the stones but there is a shuttle bus for the less able. At present visits have to be prebooked. It is free to walk in the wider landscape and you can get a good view of the site without paying.
Ann, The Platinium Line
Bristol makes a great day trip from London but there are equally some great day trips to take from Bristol itself! One of our favorites is Dunster Castle. On a day trip from Bristol to Dunster Castle, you can take in the coast, countryside, villages, plus historic heritage sites. Driving time is under 2 hours each way but there are so many great sights along the route you’ll definitely need to plan on a very full day and maybe even extend to an overnight stay.
Dunster Castle is a Heritage Trust site near the coastal town of Minehead in beautiful Somerset. The castle sits dramatically high on a hill offering stunning views, beautiful gardens and gorgeous interior detail. The original castle dates back to the 11th-century but the 13-century gatehouse is all that remains from that era. What we see today is the result of many years of work by generations of the Luttrell family who have owned the site for more than 600 years.
Below the castle is the picture-postcard perfect medieval village of Dunster with tea rooms, cafes, pubs and shops to explore. If you prefer a traditional English seaside town Minehead on the edge of Exmoor has a sandy beach and all the usual trappings you’d expect.
If you have time on your way to or from the castle or if you decide to spend more than one day be sure to take a walk in the Quantock Hills which was the first Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) to be established in 1957. Kilve Beach is also worth a stop for fossil hunting and cliff walks.
Contributed by Sarah from Live Dream Discover.
Frome is another town in Somerset that has nice streets similar to Cotswolds. The town is not big, and it is always good to plan the trip together with Bath which is only half an hour away drive. But it is also a fairly easy 40-minutes’ drive from Bristol so that you can enjoy one day in Frome with no worries or planning extra accommodation.
Frome filled with tiny nice cafes and restaurants but everything closes by 5 pm, so it is always good to plan your visit in the first half of a day. Frome is extremely relaxing and gorgeous to walk around. However, the best thing to do in Frome is to visit the famous Frome market. Be careful though, the Frome market is opened only on the first Sunday of every month from 10 am to 3 pm. So, plan well.
Alternatively, it is a fantastic idea to visit Frome while on your tour of the famous Longleat Safari Park. It is #1 Safari Park in England and the first drive-through safari park outside Africa built-in 1966. There is a lot to tell about this park, check more information on their official website. This is pretty amazing to see lions, tigers, cheetah, and wild rhinos walking in the wild. Apart from safari, there are lots to do at the main square, walking into the maze, adventure castles, and monkey temples; visiting gorillas, giant crocodiles, and jungle creatures. This activity should definitely be planned for a day, and maybe for two. It was one of the best day trips from north London to us.
Contributed by Ana from Parenthood4ever
Only a short min drive away from Bristol ( or 45min bus from Bristol Temple Meads) the quaint village of Wells is a great day trip from Bristol for those who want to escape the city and see some stunning architecture.
One of the main landmarks of Wells is the impressive Wells Cathedrale (it’s 49m high) also known Saint-Andre Cathedral; both the outside and the inside of the Cathedral are equally mesmerizing. The visit to the Cathedral is free however it is recommended to donated £5 to help with the maintenance, which I think it’s pretty cheap to visit such a beautiful building.
Opening hours: 10 AM-4 PM Monday – Saturday; 12 PM-4 PM Sunday
Close to the Cathedral, you can visit the Bishop’s Palace where you can enjoy a peaceful garden with water fountains, and a lovely coffee shop to enjoy your surroundings.
Another very famous spot to check-in Wells – and probably one of the most captured in photos – is the Vicars’ Close that will make you travel all the way back to the mid 14th Century.
Also if you visit on a Wednesday or Saturday morning you can check out Wells Market which offers a lot of amazing foods and goods.
Weston-Super-Mare is the perfect day trip to take from Bristol if you’re looking for a chill day near the sea, even in the middle of Autumn, that’s when I visited with my brother and we had a lovely day out.
Walk along the Grand Pier on Weston-Super-Mare beach and enjoy a small indoor theme park fun for everyone. You can also find great fish and chips at the Waterfront Fish Bar.
For a great sunset experience at the end of the beach you find Marine Lake Beach and its path between the lake and the sand that is the perfect spot to take photos as well.
That’s a wrap on the best day trips from Bristol you can take if you ever fancy going out of the city and want to know the best places to visit around Bristol! Have you ever been to one of those destinations? Or do you have a recommendation of your own? If you do let me know in the comment 🙂
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Best Day Trip From Bristol, UK