Whether you are visiting for the first time or a local looking for the best day trips from Bristol, UK, you’ll be in for a treat here!
Bristol is a beautiful and lively city but it’s also an excellent base to explore South West England and South Wales.
There are many day trips you can take from Bristol. They include small villages, English Heritage sites, seaside towns and plenty more!
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Best Places to visit within 1 hour of Bristol
Distance: 13 miles / 30 minutes
Bath is one of the largest cities in the county of Somerset and the perfect local if you are looking for day trips from Bristol. Rich in history, beautiful architecture, quaint streets filled with boutique shops and restaurants.
It sits in the valley of the River Avon. It famously gets its name from the Roman-built baths. It is only 11 miles southeast of Bristol, so it is the ideal place to visit for the day and experience the beauty of it.
Bath is a great location for couples, friends, and families as there will be something for everyone. But especially history buffs who have an interest in Roman history.
HOW TO GET TO BATH FROM BRISTOL: The best way to get to Bath is to take the train. It’s only 20 minutes, quite cheap and you will arrive in the city centre. See prices here.
Although you can drive there, it will take you a bit more time and you will have to pay for car park. All in all, if you have to choose between the car and the train, take the train!
Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour from Bristol which includes a guided tour with a local guide. Click here to see the prices.
Distance: 19 miles / 40 minutes
Near the village of Cheddar, you will find the Cheddar Gorge. A limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills has rugged terrain and beautiful scenery.
It is a great potential option to be added to a list of day trips from Bristol, especially if you time it right with the Cheddar show that takes place there.
This is also the location of the oldest complete skeleton, known as cheddar man, which is believed to be 9000 years old. It was found there in 1903.
It is only a short distance North of Bristol so perfect for families where children may find the stories behind the location fascinating.
It’s a great place to visit if you want to go on a short road trip from Bristol.
Also, if you are into photography, you will be in for a treat! There are many photo opportunities here.
HOW TO GET TO CHEDDAR GORGE FROM BRISTOL: The best way to get there is by car. Not only is it the easiest way but it’s also a very scenic drive.
Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour from Bristol which also includes Wells. Click here to see the latest prices.
Distance: 22 miles / 45 minutes
Located only 45 minutes from Bristol, Wells is one of the smallest cities in the UK and an excellent day trip for families and history lovers.
The main attraction is Wells Cathedral. Located in the centre of the town, this gothic edifice is rather impressive.
Just next to it, you’ll find the Bishop’s Palace and Gardens. This is a great place to visit with children. Not only is it beautiful but it’s also a very quiet and relaxing place.
You should also make sure to wander around and discover the beautiful streets of Wells especially Vicar’s Close which is the oldest purely residential street in Europe.
If you love British movie, you will also be happy to know that Wells is home to some Hot Fuzz filming locations!
HOW TO GET TO WELLS FROM BRISTOL: You can easily get to Wells by car. It’s a rather nice drive as you will go through the countryside. You can easily park your car in Wells although you may have to pay for that.
If you don’t want to drive, you can also take the bus 376. It goes to Glastonbury but stops in Wells before that. It takes a bit over 1 hour.
Finally, you can also opt for a guided day tour from Bristol which includes both Wells and Cheddar Gorge. See prices here.
Distance: 4 miles / 15 minutes
If you want to visit a cute village near Bristol, you may want to opt for Long Ashton.
It’s a very pretty place to visit and you’ll find local cafes and pubs where you can get a meal.
It’s also home to a fantastic property, Ashton Court Mansion.
Finally, it’s a great place to go on a hot balloon ride. If you’ve always dreamt of doing that and want to discover Bristol under a new angle, that will be perfect for you! Click here to see the latest prices.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can either drive to Long Ashton or take the bus X9 from the Centre. Either way, it’s very quick, only 15 minutes.
Distance: 17 miles / 25 minutes
The Cotswolds is a very special and unique part of the country and one that can be accessed as a fantastic Cotswold day trip from Bristol.
Suitable for couples, families, individuals, and adventure seekers, the location does have something to offer for everyone. It covers a large 800-mile square foot area, and it is filled with plenty of things to see and do.
In The Cotswolds, you will find farms, quintessential villages, lively towns, and plenty of castles and country houses to explore. The most popular villages to visit in the Cotswolds are Bourton-on-the-Water, Castle Combe and Burton (the last two are closer to Bristol).
The location is typical English with rolling countryside and picturesque dwellings. Last of all, for anyone who loves to be close to nature, The Cotswolds has many nature reserves and parks to investigate.
You will also find quite a few National Trust properties here including the Snowshill Manor.
HOW TO GET TO THE COTSWOLDS: Although there are train stations all around the Cotswolds, this is definitely an area you should explore by car.
It’s a quick drive from Bristol and you will be able to visit several villages in the same day.
Distance: 44 miles / 55 minutes
Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, and while you may be entering a different country to go and visit it from Bristol it is extremely close. Making it an ideal option when it comes to day trips from Bristol city centre.
Cardiff is everything you would expect from a bustling capital city while still having a “small town feel” to it.
It is filled with high street shops, busy streets filled with boutiques, bars, and restaurants, as well as Cardiff Castle to explore.
You will find that this place is great for couples or friends who are wanting to experience the social aspect of it. But it is an accommodating city for families as well. You can go on a boat tour of Cardiff Bay and discover all the famous landmarks. It’s a fun thing to do as well as a pretty cheap activity. See prices here.
If you love discovering filming locations, you’ll also be in for a treat! Some very famous movies and series were filmed in Cardiff.
Finally, if you are a foodie, you can also opt for a food tasting tour in Cardiff. You’ll get to discover the famous sights and taste 6 different food and drinks. See prices here.
HOW TO GET TO CARDIFF FROM BRISTOL: The best way is to take the train. It’s very quick (50 minutes) and also pretty cheap. See the latest fares here.
As you will be going from one city to another, it’s better to leave the car at home. The train will be quicker and you won’t have to struggle to park (or pay for the carpark).
Distance: 22 miles / 45 minutes
Weston-Super-Mare is a cute seaside town in the county of Somerset. It’s a popular day out from Bristol, especially for families.
You’ll find a long beach where you can go for a walk or, in summer, for a swim.
The Pier is one of the best places to visit. You’ll get to enjoy the views over the beach and play with the arcade games.
You’ll also find many fish and chips along the promenade. Make sure to grab one for lunch as they are incredibly delicious!
You can also visit one of the two museums in the town, The Helicopter Museum and Weston Museum.
HOW TO GET TO WESTON-SUPER-MARE FROM BRISTOL: The best way to get there is by car. It only takes 45 minutes and it’s very easy. Also, if you are planning to go to the beach, it will come in handy to have a car to carry your stuff.
Alternatively, you can take the train from Temple Meads. It’s direct but takes 1h30. See fares here.
Distance: 19 miles / 45 minutes
Wookey Hole is a small but vibrant village in Somerset. It is delectable with its small shops and cute eateries, but it also has an array of caves and caverns to explore. The most popular attraction is the Wookey Hole Caves.
Wookey Hall has some great advantages and is perfect for families, especially with younger children.
The perfect family day trip from Bristol. It is only a short distance away from Bristol city centre and will give you the peace and tranquillity you expect from village life without you running out of things to do.
As it’s very close to Wells you can also combine these 2 locations into the same day trip.
HOW TO GET THERE: You will need to drive to get to Wookey Hole. It only takes 45 minutes from Bristol.
Distance: 27 miles / 55 minutes
Glastonbury is famous in the entire world for its music festival. As much as it is a great festival to attend, the town of Glastonbury itself is also worth a visit.
It’s a quiet and quaint town with colourful houses, cute little cafes and a friendly atmosphere.
Whether you are a couple looking for a romantic day trip from Bristol or a family with young children, Glastonbury will be an excellent destination.
You can walk around the town and discover the colourful murals before heading to Glastonbury Tor and Abbey.
The Somerset Rural Life Museum is also an interesting place to visit and quite good fun, especially with kids.
Finally, you can also hit two birds with one stone by visiting South Cadbury Castle on the same day. It’s located about 30 minutes from Glastonbury and is a great thing to do if you like to discover ancient ruins. You can also book a tour from Glastonbury for this part. Click here to see the prices.
HOW TO GET TO GLASTONBURY FROM BRISTOL: You can easily get there by car. Parking is easy and often free.
If you don’t want to drive, you can also take bus 376 from Bristol city centre.
Distance: 17 miles / 33 minutes
If you are looking to occupy the kids on a day out from Bristol then Puxton Park could be the answer.
A great location for the whole family and includes facilities such as soft play, aerial climbing and slides, and approximately 40 acres of open countryside.
The perfect place to run off some energy and have some fun. Only a short distance from Bristol city centre, this is a great place to consider for younger children.
Tickets can be bought online and are pretty affordable. They also offer annual memberships.
HOW TO GET THERE: It’s an easy 30 minutes drive from Bristol. You will find a car park on site.
Chew Valley Lake
Distance: 12 miles / 30 minutes
One of the largest artificial lakes in the UK with an area of 1200 acres, the Chew Valley Lake is a great location for families to walk around and for couples to enjoy a great walk together.
Chew Valley Lake often attracts rare wildlife including birds, so if you are an avid bird watcher then this should be added to the list of day trips from Bristol.
With a picnic area and also plenty of walking trails, it could also suit people who enjoy hiking. Beautiful scenery in the open countryside and not too far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
HOW TO GET TO CHEW VALLEY LAKE FROM BRISTOL: The best way is to drive there. It’s very easy, it only takes 30 minutes and will be the most convenient way.
Distance: 13 miles / 30 minutes
Clevedon is an English town west of Bristol and is not too far away so could be considered as a great day trip from bristol without a car because of the great public transport links.
It is a traditional Victorian seaside town, that offers an excellent high street filled with shops, great bars, and restaurants but also the option of cliff-top walks if you are a bit more of a thrill-seeker.
However, if you love the tradition of an English seaside then eating some fish and chips and enjoying an ice cream on the beach can be just as fulfilling here. Perfect for families, couples, and friends to enjoy some time together.
HOW TO GET THERE: Driving is the quickest and cheapest way to get there. It only takes 30 minutes and you can easily park there.
Distance: 40 miles / 45 minutes
Gloucester is a bustling city not too far from the rural beauty of The Cotswolds. It’s known for 11th-century Gloucester Cathedral, which has Romanesque and Gothic architecture, plus the tomb of King Edward II.
Not only are the quaint streets to explore but Gloucester has the docks with restored Victorian warehouses. A great location if you are interested in historical architecture.
The National Waterways Museum is also worth a visit, celebrating the industrial past. A perfect option to be considered as a great day trip from Bristol and one that would suit all ages because of what the city has to offer.
Distance: 31 miles / 45 minutes
If you are looking for another quintessential seaside town that is typically English then Burnham-on-sea could be the option to consider. As one of the best Bristol days out, this is a great option to consider.
There are plenty of things to see and do in the town and some amazing references to traditional English holidays.
Make sure to stroll along the promenade with the family, enjoy some classic fish and chips and embrace the beautiful sandy beaches.
Best places to visit within 2 hours of Bristol
Salisbury & Stonehenge
Distance: 51 miles / 1 h 35 minutes
Salisbury is a medieval cathedral city that would make a fantastic day trip from Bristol by train. It is a bit further out, but it is so worth it.
Aside from the town being full of history and stunning architecture, there is one main attraction that brings the tourists in year after year and that is Stonehenge.
A Stonehenge day trip from Bristol to see the prehistoric monument on the Salisbury plain could be ideal.
It is believed that the stones were brought there across from Wales thousands of years ago and are a religious element where the sun rises and sets.
It is a fantastic location, perfect for anyone who takes an interest in the stone-age period or for families who have children learning about it in school.
HOW TO GET THERE: If you only want to visit Salisbury, the best way is to take the train from Temple Meads. It’s only 1 hour and will save you time. See fares.
If you also want to visit Stonehenge, it will be better to drive so you can easily access both locations.
Finally, you can also opt for a guided day tour from Bristol. Click here to see the prices.
Brecon Beacons National Park
Distance: 75 miles / 1 h 50 minutes
Located a bit less than 2 hours from Bristol, the Brecon Beacons are one of the 3 national parks in Wales.
If you love outdoor activities and cute little villages, you will be in for a treat here!
You will find some of the best hikes in the UK! Make sure to go on the horseshoe ridge walk up to Pen-y-fan. This is the highest peak in the Beacons and the views are absolutely stunning!
Admittedly, the hike is a bit challenging but it’s well worth it.
If you are into history, you can visit one of the numerous castles in the area such as Abergavenny, Brecon or Crickhowell Castles.
Finally, get lunch in one of the local pubs in the cute towns of Brecon, Crickhowell or Hay on Wye.
HOW TO GET THERE: You will need to drive to get the Beacons. Although there are a couple of train stations, it’s not worth taking the train. You will need a car to go to Pen-Y-Fan anyway and you’ll have more flexibility if you are driving.
Exmoor National Park
Distance: 63 miles / 1 h 30 minutes
Exmoor National Park is an excellent day trip from Bristol for outdoor lovers.
If you love hiking, you will be for a treat! There are many walking trails in the area. Climbing up to Dunkery Beacon is a popular thing to do. You can also walk the South West Coast Path if you’d rather some sea views.
You can also go horse riding there. The Burrowhayes Farm Riding Stables offer some horse trekking options.
If you are into history, make sure to visit Dunster Working Watermill, Cleeve Abbey or Dunster Castle
HOW TO GET THERE: As for any national park, the best way to get there is by car. It will be easier and will give you more flexibility.
Distance: 62 miles / 1 h 10 minutes
Malvern is another unique town that should be added as a potential option when looking at nice places near Bristol.
This location has more of a Victorian feel to it, so excellent if you are interested in that era of history, for young or old.
The hills close by also have connections with the iron and bronze age, so there is certainly a lot to witness and explore in Malvern.
There are actually three towns within Malvern waiting to be explored, these are Great Malvern, Barnards Green, and Malvern Link.
They all have their own centres offering something different for shoppers and tourists, so you are bound to find something that interests you.
HOW TO GET THERE: Driving is the quickest way to get there. It takes 1h10.
Alternatively, you can take the train from Bristol but it will take 2 hours. See fares here.
Distance: 35 miles / 1 h 10 minutes
Stourhead is a 1072 hectare estate at the source of the River Stour. It is actually a National Trust property so you can expect all of the usual things that go along with that including trails, events, and beautiful surroundings.
Heading south from Bristol it isn’t too far away and is an ideal option to consider when looking for family days out in Bristol.
There will be plenty to see and do here with large open outdoor spaces and gardens to explore. If anyone is keen to be close to nature, The National Trust takes pride in conservation with grounds and wildlife.
You will need to book your tickets in advance on the National Trust website. If you are a member, the entrance will be free but it’s still recommended to book.
HOW TO GET THERE: The best way to get to Stourhead is by car. You will find a National Trust car park near the entrance.
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
Distance: 30 miles / 1 h 05 minutes
If you are an animal lover and want to get up close and personal to some of the more rare animals you wouldn’t find in a park then Longleat Safari and Aventure Park is the option to consider.
This is the perfect family day trip from Bristol, but don’t be fooled as many couples love the chance to go on safari and experience the animals up close and personal.
It was actually the first drive-thru safari park outside of Africa and was opened back in 1966.
They care for the animals and while there is enough to occupy any child or adult here, they will likely hold events throughout the year. A great day out.
You can book tickets online, directly on their website. They also offer annual passes.
HOW TO GET THERE: The best way is to drive there. You’ll find a car park at the entrance.
Distance: 48 miles / 1 h 15 minutes
Quantock Hills are located west of Bridgewater and an hour south of Bristol, meaning it is the ideal day trip with a car.
The Quantock hills consist of heathland, oak woodlands, ancient parklands, and agricultural land. They were England’s first area of outstanding natural beauty and are well worth a visit.
There are walking trails, and hiking options, perfect if you have a sense of adventure and love to be around nature and in the open countryside.
This is a great location for families but might suit couples who have a love for walking and climbing.
HOW TO GET THERE: The best way to get from Bristol to the Quantock Hills is by car. It’s a natural place and taking public transport would be more hassle than it’s worth.
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