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27 Day Trips from Bristol: The Best of the South West

Looking for a list of quick day trips from Bristol? Luckily, there are plenty of destinations within a two-hour drive from the city that are perfect for day trips. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful countryside retreat, a day at the beach, or a dose of history and culture, there’s something for everyone.

With 27 day-trip options to choose from, you’ll never run out of ideas for your next adventure. Explore the stunning landscapes of the Cotswolds, visit the mysterious Stonehenge, or take a trip to the charming seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, head over to Wales to discover its beautiful countryside and coastline. No matter what your interests are, there’s a day trip from Bristol that’s perfect for you.

Heading to Bristol and looking for the best day trip ideas? We've got you covered with our comprehensive guide, from the majestic Stonehenge to the breathtaking Cheddar Gorge. Uncover the ultimate day trips from Bristol, essential activities in the city, and the most picturesque spots in Somerset. Discover what Bristol and its surroundings have to offer for an unforgettable experience in South England.

Why Bristol?

Bristol is a vibrant city located in the southwest of England, known for its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural scenery. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a range of attractions and activities to suit all interests.

One of the main draws of Bristol is its proximity to some of the most beautiful and historic locations in the UK. From the rolling hills of the Cotswolds to the rugged coastline of Wales, there are countless day trips that can be taken from Bristol area.

Another reason to visit Bristol is its thriving arts and music scene. The city is home to a number of galleries, museums, and music venues, showcasing both local and international talent. Whether you’re interested in contemporary art, classical music, or underground dance parties, Bristol has something to offer.

In addition to its cultural offerings, Bristol is also a great place to explore the outdoors. The city is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including the Mendip Hills, the Quantock Hills, and the Brecon Beacons. Whether you’re looking to hike, bike, or simply take a leisurely stroll, there are plenty of options for outdoor activities in and around Bristol.

Overall, Bristol is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or the great outdoors, there are plenty of reasons to visit and explore this vibrant and exciting destination.

destinations. From the mystical Stonehenge to the natural splendor of Cheddar Gorge, our guide highlights the best day trips you can enjoy. Things to Do in Bristol, England: Dive into the vibrant city life with our comprehensive Bristol, England travel guide. Explore beautiful places near Bristol and uncover hidden gems in Somerset for memorable days out in Bristol.

Day Trips From Bristol: An Overview

If you’re living in Bristol or just visiting, there are plenty of day trips that you can take to explore the surrounding areas. From historic castles and picturesque villages to stunning natural scenery and adventure parks, there is something for everyone.

Here are some of the top day trips from Bristol that you can consider:

  • Bath: A beautiful city famous for its Roman Baths and Georgian architecture.
  • Cheddar Gorge: A limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills with rugged terrain and beautiful scenery.
  • North Cotswolds: A picturesque region with rolling hills, quaint villages, and historic market towns.
  • South Cotswolds: Another stunning region of the Cotswolds with charming villages, scenic walks, and historic landmarks.
  • Mendip Hills: A range of limestone hills with plenty of walking trails and stunning views.
  • Quantock Hills: A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with plenty of walking and cycling trails.
  • Exmoor: A national park with stunning scenery, wildlife, and plenty of outdoor activities.
  • Glastonbury and Wells: Two historic towns with plenty of cultural and historic attractions.
  • Stonehenge: A prehistoric monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Tyntesfield: A beautiful Victorian Gothic house with stunning gardens and parkland.
  • Weston-super-Mare: A seaside town with a long sandy beach and plenty of attractions.
  • Exeter: A historic city with a beautiful cathedral and plenty of cultural attractions.
  • Exmouth: A seaside town with a long sandy beach and plenty of water sports.
  • Chepstow and the Wye Valley: A historic town with a beautiful castle and stunning natural scenery.
  • Hay on Wye: A charming town famous for its bookshops and literary festival.
  • Port Enyon: A beautiful coastal village with stunning views and plenty of outdoor activities.
  • Brecon Beacons: A national park with stunning scenery, wildlife, and plenty of outdoor activities.
  • Gloucester: A historic city with a beautiful cathedral and plenty of cultural attractions.
  • Berkeley Castle: A historic castle with plenty of cultural and historic attractions.
  • Wookey Hole Caves: A network of limestone caves with underground rivers and stunning rock formations.
  • Clearwell Caves: Another network of limestone caves with a rich mining history.
  • Crealy Resort: A family-friendly adventure park with plenty of rides and attractions.
  • Techniquest, Cardiff: A science discovery centre with plenty of interactive exhibits.
  • Avon Valley Railway: A heritage railway with steam trains and plenty of historic stations.
  • American Museum and Gardens: A museum dedicated to American history and culture with stunning gardens.
  • Westonbirt Arboretum: A beautiful arboretum with plenty of trees and walking trails.
  • Dyrham Park: A beautiful historic house with stunning gardens and parkland.

These are just some of the top day trips from Bristol that you can take. There are plenty of other options depending on your interests and preferences.

Historical Destinations

If you’re a history buff, Bristol and the surrounding areas have plenty of historical destinations to explore. Here are a few day trips you won’t want to miss:

Bath

Just a short 15-minute train ride from Bristol, Bath is a must-see destination for anyone interested in history and one of the best day trips. The city is famous for its Roman Baths, which were built nearly 2,000 years ago. You can explore the ancient baths, see the original Roman plumbing, and even taste the mineral-rich water that made Bath a popular spa destination in the 18th century. In addition to the Roman Baths, Bath is also home to stunning Georgian architecture, including the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

Stonehenge

A bit further afield, but still within easy driving distance of Bristol, is the mysterious Stonehenge. This prehistoric monument is thought to have been built around 5,000 years ago, and its purpose is still a matter of debate among archaeologists and historians. Nevertheless, the iconic stone circle is an impressive sight to behold, and a day trip to Stonehenge is a must-do for anyone interested in ancient history.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery located in the Wye Valley, just across the border in Wales. The abbey was founded in the 12th century and was once a thriving center of monastic life. Today, the ruins are a popular destination for visitors who come to admire the Gothic architecture and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. The abbey is surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it a great place to go for a walk or a picnic.

Whether you’re interested in Roman history, prehistoric monuments, or Gothic architecture, these historical day trips from Bristol are sure to satisfy your curiosity.

Nature Escapes

If you’re looking for a break from city life, Bristol has plenty of nature escapes to offer. Here are some great day trips from Bristol for nature lovers:

Cotswolds

The Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. With rolling hills, picturesque villages, and plenty of walking trails, the Cotswold villages is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and a great day trip. Some of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds include Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Stow-on-the-Wold.

Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean is a beautiful ancient woodland that covers over 42 square miles. It’s a great place to go for a walk, cycle, or horse ride, and there are plenty of trails to choose from. You can also go kayaking or canoeing on the River Wye, which runs through the forest. Other activities include visiting the Clearwell Caves, Puzzlewood, and the Dean Heritage Centre.

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is a spectacular natural landmark that’s perfect for a day trip. The gorge is over 400 feet deep and is home to some of the UK’s most impressive limestone cliffs. You can take a guided tour of Gough’s Cave, which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites, or go rock climbing on the cliffs. Other attractions in the area include the Cheddar Reservoir and the Mendip Hills.

Avon Valley Railway

Avon Valley Railway is a must-visit for train enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This heritage railway offers visitors the chance to ride on a steam train and experience the golden age of railways. The Avon Valley Railway also boasts a number of historic stations along the route, each with its own unique charm and character. Visitors can step back in time and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a bygone era.

American Museum and Gardens

The American Museum and Gardens is a fascinating attraction that celebrates American history and culture. The museum’s collections include a wide range of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history, art, and culture of America. The stunning gardens that surround the museum are also a highlight, with beautifully landscaped grounds that offer visitors a tranquil oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum is a beautiful arboretum that is home to a wide variety of trees and walking trails. Visitors can explore the arboretum’s many paths and trails, which wind through a stunning landscape of trees, flowers, and other plants. The arboretum is also home to a number of rare and unique species of trees, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

National Trust Tyntesfield

The National Trust Tyntesfield is a stunning Victorian Gothic house that is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. The house itself is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture, with ornate detailing and beautiful interiors that are sure to impress visitors. The gardens and parkland that surround the house are also a highlight, with beautifully landscaped grounds that offer visitors a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park is another beautiful historic house that is surrounded by stunning gardens and parkland. The house itself is a fine example of 17th-century architecture, with beautiful interiors and period furnishings that transport visitors back in time. The gardens and parkland that surround the house are also a highlight, with beautifully landscaped grounds that offer visitors a peaceful retreat from the stresses of modern life.

Seaside Getaways

Looking for a day trip to the beach or want to explore charming seaside towns? Lucky for you, Bristol is surrounded by some fantastic seaside destinations that are perfect for a day out. Here are three of the best:

Weston-Super-Mare

Weston-Super-Mare is a classic British seaside town that’s perfect for a day trip from Bristol. The town has a long sandy beach, a pier with plenty of amusements, and a promenade lined with shops and cafes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at some water sports like windsurfing or paddleboarding.

Clevedon

If you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxed seaside getaway, Clevedon is the perfect choice. This charming town is home to a pebble beach, a historic pier, and some lovely coastal walks. Make sure to check out the Victorian seafront buildings, including the striking Clevedon Hall.

Barry Island

Located just across the border in Wales, Barry Island is a popular seaside destination that’s well worth the trip from Bristol. The town has a long sandy beach, a funfair with plenty of rides and attractions, and some great fish and chip shops. Make sure to take a walk along the promenade for some stunning views of the Bristol Channel.

City Breaks: Day Trips from Bristol

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, Bristol is a great starting point for a city break. Here are three nearby destinations that are worth considering:

Cardiff

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is just a short train ride away from Bristol. This vibrant city has plenty to offer, from historic castles to modern shopping centers. You can visit Cardiff Castle, stroll through Bute Park, or explore the National Museum Cardiff. For sports fans, Cardiff is home to the Principality Stadium, where you can catch a rugby or football match.

Exeter

Exeter is a charming city in Devon, known for its historic cathedral and picturesque quayside. You can take a guided tour of the cathedral, walk along the River Exe, or visit the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Exeter is also a great base for exploring the nearby Dartmoor National Park, where you can go hiking, cycling, or horse riding.

Gloucester

Gloucester is a historic city in the Cotswolds, famous for its stunning cathedral and picturesque docks. You can take a guided tour of the cathedral, visit the Gloucester Waterways Museum, or explore the Gloucester Quays shopping center. Gloucester is also home to the Gloucester Rugby Club, where you can catch a match at Kingsholm Stadium.

No matter which city you choose, you’re sure to have a great time on your city break from Bristol.

Family Friendly Trips

If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, Bristol and its surrounding areas have plenty of options to keep everyone entertained. Here are three family-friendly day trips you won’t want to miss:

Longleat Safari Park

Longleat Safari Park is a great day out for animal lovers of all ages. Located about an hour’s drive from Bristol, this safari park is home to over 500 animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, and monkeys. You can drive through the park in your own car and get up close and personal with the animals, or take a guided tour on a bus. There are also plenty of other attractions at Longleat, including a maze, a boat ride, and a jungle cruise.

Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo is a must-visit for families with young children. Located in the heart of Bristol, this zoo is home to over 400 species of animals, including gorillas, penguins, and lemurs. There are plenty of interactive exhibits and activities for kids, including a play area and a bug exhibit. The zoo also hosts regular events and activities, so be sure to check their website before you go.

SS Great Britain

The SS Great Britain is a fascinating piece of maritime history that the whole family can enjoy. This steamship was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and launched in 1843. Today, it’s been fully restored and is open to the public as a museum. Visitors can explore the ship’s decks, cabins, and engine room, and learn about life on board during the Victorian era. There are also plenty of interactive exhibits and activities for kids, including a chance to dress up in Victorian clothing.

Cultural Experiences: Day Trips from Bristol

If you’re looking for a day trip that’s rich in culture and history, Bristol has plenty of options. Here are three destinations that are worth checking out:

Bristol to Stratford-upon-Avon Excursion: Discover the charm of Stratford-upon-Avon, a quintessential English town and a top choice for the best day trips from Bristol. Our Bristol England travel guide not only highlights things to do in Bristol, England, but also guides you through the historic streets of Shakespeare's hometown. Experience the cultural and historical richness of Stratford-upon-Avon, along with other beautiful places near Bristol. Whether you're exploring the literary heritage of Stratford or enjoying the scenic beauty of Somerset, our suggestions for days out in Bristol promise a journey filled with discovery and delight.

Stratford-Upon-Avon

The birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a charming town that’s steeped in history. You can visit the house where the famous playwright was born and raised, as well as other sites that are associated with his life and work. The Royal Shakespeare Company also performs here, so you might be able to catch a play while you’re in town.

Oxford

Home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Oxford is a city that’s packed with cultural treasures. You can take a tour of the university and its many colleges, which have produced countless famous scholars and thinkers over the centuries. The city is also full of museums, galleries, and historic buildings, so there’s plenty to see and do.

Wells

Located in the heart of Somerset, Wells is a small city that’s packed with character. Its most famous landmark is the stunning Wells Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and boasts some of the finest Gothic architecture in the country. The city also has a number of other historic buildings, including the Bishop’s Palace and the Vicars’ Close, which is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited street in Europe.

No matter which of these destinations you choose, you’re sure to come away with a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Adventure Day Trips From Bristol

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, there are plenty of adventure day trips from Bristol that will get your heart racing. Here are three destinations to consider:

Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons offer some of the best hiking and climbing in the UK. With its rugged terrain and stunning views, this national park is a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast. You can take a guided hike to the summit of Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, or go caving in the underground caverns. If you’re feeling brave, try your hand at white water rafting on the River Usk.

Mendip Hills

The Mendip Hills are a great destination for rock climbing and caving. With its limestone cliffs and underground caves, this area is a popular spot for adventure seekers. You can also go mountain biking on the trails or take a hot air balloon ride for a unique perspective of the landscape.

Quantock Hills

The Quantock Hills offer a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and cycling to horse riding and fishing. This area is known for its stunning views and diverse wildlife, including red deer and buzzards. You can take a guided hike to the summit of Wills Neck or explore the ancient oak woodlands.

No matter which adventure trip you choose, make sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. Always follow safety guidelines and respect the natural environment.

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Tips for Day Tripping

When planning Bristol day trip, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of your time and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you plan your day trip:

1. Plan ahead

Research your destination and plan your itinerary in advance. Make sure to check opening times, admission fees, and any other important details. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid disappointment.

2. Consider transportation

Think about how you will get to your destination. Will you drive, take public transportation, or book a tour? Consider the distance, travel time, and cost when making your decision.

3. Pack essentials

Make sure to pack everything you will need for the day, including snacks, water, sunscreen, and any necessary equipment or clothing. Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.

4. Be flexible

Allow for some flexibility in your itinerary in case of unexpected delays or changes. Don’t try to pack too much into one day, and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary.

5. Respect the environment

When visiting natural or historic sites, be respectful of the environment and follow any rules or guidelines. Leave no trace and take only memories and photographs.

By following these tips, you can have a fun and stress-free day trip from Bristol and make the most of your time exploring the beautiful surrounding areas.

Getting Around

Getting around South West England and its surrounding areas is easy and convenient. You can choose from a variety of transportation options, including:

  • Car: Renting a car is a great way to explore the countryside around Bristol. You can easily reach destinations like Bath, the Cotswolds, and Stonehenge within a couple of hours. However, be aware that traffic can be heavy in and around Bristol during peak hours.
  • Train: Bristol has two main train stations: Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. Both stations offer regular services and direct trains to destinations around the UK, including London, Bath, Cardiff, and Birmingham and surrounding countryside. Train travel is a great option for day trips from Bristol, as it allows you to sit back and relax while enjoying the scenery.
  • Bus: Bristol has an extensive bus network, with services running to destinations across the city and beyond. Local bus companies, such as First Bus and Stagecoach, offer day tickets and group tickets that can save you money if you’re traveling with others.
  • Bike: Bristol is a bike-friendly city, with many dedicated cycle paths and bike rental options. You can easily rent a bike from one of the city’s many bike rental companies and explore the city and its surrounding areas at your own pace.
  • Walking: Bristol is a compact city, and many of its attractions can be easily reached on foot. Walking is a great way to explore the city’s historic streets, parks, and waterfront areas.

No matter what mode of transportation you choose, be sure to plan your journey in advance and check for any disruptions or delays. With so many day trips to choose from, you’ll want to make the most of your time and ensure a smooth journey.

Planning Your Trip

When planning your day trip from Bristol, there are a few things to consider to make the most out of your experience. Here are some tips to help you plan your trip:

1. Decide on your destination

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose where to go. Consider your interests and preferences. Do you want to explore a small village, historic sites, natural wonders, national parks, or quaint towns? Do you prefer outdoor activities or cultural experiences? Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do, it will be easier to narrow down your options.

2. Check the weather

The weather can greatly impact your day trip experience. Make sure to check the forecast before you head out and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for sunny days, and raincoats or umbrellas for rainy days.

3. Plan your transportation

Depending on your destination, you may need to take a car, train, or bus. Check the schedules and routes ahead of time and plan accordingly. If you’re driving, make sure to check for any road closures or construction that may impact your journey.

4. Pack snacks and water

You don’t want to be caught hungry or thirsty during your day trip. Bring along some snacks and water to keep you fueled throughout the day. Consider packing a picnic lunch if you’re heading to a scenic spot.

5. Consider guided tours

If you’re interested in learning more about your destination, consider booking a guided tour. Many day trip destinations offer guided tours that can provide you with a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the area.

By following these tips, you can ensure a fun and memorable day trip from Bristol.

Bristol is a fantastic base for exploring the surrounding areas, with plenty of day trip options available to suit all interests. From the natural beauty of the Cotswolds and Mendip Hills to the historic cities of Bath and Wells, there are endless possibilities for adventure and discovery. Whether you’re a local looking to explore more of your own backyard or a visitor looking to make the most of your time in the area, these day trips from Bristol are sure to leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for this beautiful corner of England.

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