• Menu
Home » Destinations » Europe » United Kingdom » England » Bristol » 23 Best Day Trips From Bristol (Suggestions From A Local)

23 Best Day Trips From Bristol (Suggestions From A Local)

This article may contain affiliate links, which may earn us a commission - at no extra cost to you - if you use one of our links. Please see our disclosures page for more information.

One of the many things we love about living in Bristol is how you only need to drive for 45 minutes and technically be in a new country, or drive for just 90 minutes and be in stunning Devon.

What this means is that there are so many epic day trips from Bristol you can take ensuring every weekend is unique. Here are our favourite days out near Bristol…

Best Day Trips From Bristol

Berkeley Castle

Approx 20 miles (45 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire
Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire on a sunny day

We’ve recently discovered Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire and it was such a fun day out!

Berkeley Castle is roughly 45 minutes north of Bristol. Here, you’ll find a historic 12th-century castle, which many kings, queens and famous people have frequented over the years.

Like King Edward II who was imprisoned and tortured here. Or Sir Francis Drake who was a friend of the Berkeleys.

Inside Berkeley Castle upstairs
Inside Berkeley Castle

The current Berkeley family still live in the castle, so some of the rooms aren’t open to the public and the castle is only open on certain days of the year.

However, there’s still plenty to explore inside and throughout the grounds. It’s even been used as a filming location for various period dramas like Poldark and Wolf Hall.

Inside Berkeley Castle
Wolf Hall filming location at Berkeley Castle

When we visited, there was even a medieval sword fighting re-enactment happening, which was included in the price of our ticket and very entertaining to watch!

Bath

Approx 13 miles (45 minutes away from Bristol by car, 10 minutes by train)

Views of Bath and Pulteney Bridge
Views across Bath’s river with Pulteney Bridge in the distance

Just 10 minutes away by train, the city of Bath is the very essence of English idyll.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Bath offers lots for culture and history lovers. There are the Ancient Roman baths, a stunning abbey, Jane Austen-inspired attractions and stunning botanical gardens.

And as Bath is a very walkable city, it’s easy to see the highlights of Bath in just one day (without rushing).

On your next visit, why not consider walking part of the Cotswold Way? This infamous 102-mile-long route starts/ends outside Bath Abbey. And you can look forward to such stunning views along this stretch, such as this one from the Prospect Stile Viewpoint.

READ NEXT: Cotswold Way Circular Walk Featuring Bath & Prospect Stile Viewpoint

Stunning views from Prospect Stile Viewpoint
Stunning views across the Bath countryside from the Prospect Stile Viewpoint

Bowood House and Gardens

Approx 32.5 miles (55 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Bowood House
Bowood House in autumn

If you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for the day, then why not visit Bowood House and Gardens in Wiltshire?

This historic 100-acre estate is privately owned by the current Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne and is less than an hour’s drive away from Bristol.

Here, you’ll find a stunning Grade I listed Georgian property nestled within a picturesque estate that features grottoes, temples, a waterfall and even an arboretum (or pinetum).

Bowood House & Gardens
The Pinetum at Bowood House

No wonder Bowood House and Gardens has graced our silver screens time and time again, such as within ITV’s period drama, Sanditon and the infamous Poldark TV series.

Please note that the Bowood estate is closed to the public through winter, but you can visit daily between April and November.

Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Approx 26 miles (45 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Lots of swans at Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Slimbridge is just 30 minutes up the M5 from Bristol and offers a great day out for all involved.

It’s brimming full of birds, ducks, swans and geese — you can even feed some of them from the palm of your hand!

There are always various special events happening to keep children entertained such as giant Lego trails and specialist talks, and if you’re not visiting with kids, it promises a relaxing walk through trees and by the water’s edge… lovely!

Frome

Approx 23.5 miles (1 hour away from Bristol by car)

Frome, Somerset
One of the pretty cobblestone streets in Frome

Frome in Somerset is a beautiful and historic town, which is roughly 25 miles away from the centre of Bristol.

In less than an hour’s drive, you could be perusing knick-knacks in various independent stores and wandering along cobblestoned streets that time forgot.

This is the perfect town to while away a few hours. You can even combine it with a trip to Farleigh Hungerford Castle, which is just 10 miles north of Frome and makes for an interesting visit.

RELATED: 11 Unmissable Things To Do in Frome, Somerset

Farleigh Hungerford Castle
Farleigh Hungerford Castle is also near Frome

Cheddar Gorge

Approx 20 miles (50 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Views from Cheddar Gorge in Somerset
Views of the Cheddar Reservoir as seen from the top of Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge in Somerset offers a lot in the way of a great day trip from Bristol.

You can visit the giant caves and learn how cheese is made, you can walk the gorge itself and view stunning landscapes from above, or munch on tasty treats such as cheese, ice cream and fudge from the quaint shops lining the winding rivers.

RELATED: 16 Beautiful Places To Visit in Somerset, UK

Painswick Rococo Garden

Approx 37 miles (1 hour away from Bristol by car)

Painswick Rococo Garden
The pretty Rococo Gardens at Painswick are well worth seeing

Roughly an hour’s drive north of Bristol, you’ll find the charming Cotswold town of Painswick. And one of Painswick’s most loved attractions is the Painswick Rococo Garden.

Here, you’ll find stunning pieces of 17th-century architecture (influenced by a European art movement) nestled among carefully landscaped gardens.

Waterlily pond at Painswick Rococo Garden
Waterlily pond at the Painswick Rococo Garden

While the flora and fauna are a joy to see, the architectural pieces and water features elevate this garden above most others.

Cotswolds Water Park

Approx 39 miles (1 hour away from Bristol by car)

Scott getting ready to paddleboard at Cotswolds Water Park
Scott getting ready for paddleboarding at Cotswolds Water Park

If you’re into watersports such as paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking, (or just want to give them a go), then a day trip from Bristol to the Cotswolds Water Park is a must!

You can do all of these sports and more here, and being just 50 minutes from Bristol, you won’t have to travel far.

The Cotswolds

– Varied mileage and distances; see individual timings below

Stow-on-the-Wold
Stow-on-the-Wold is just one of the many pretty Cotswolds villages you can visit as a day trip from Bristol

The Cotswolds stretch out over 787 square miles and there’s lots to see here. Up first on anyone’s wish list should be some of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.

Here are a few ideas of which to visit first and their approximate distances from Bristol:

  • Lacock (40 minutes from Bristol): Lacock Abbey is home to a few Harry Potter movie locations, while the village is your typical Cotswold affair.
  • Castle Combe (30 minutes from Bristol): Also home to period dramas and filming locations, Castle Combe is another quintessential Cotswolds village, complete with walking trails, picture-perfect cottages and traditional English pubs.
  • Bourton-on-the-Water (1 hour from Bristol): Often nicknamed “Venice of the Cotswolds”, Bourton-on-the-Water is built around a winding river and offers plenty of opportunities for eating cream teas and shopping in little boutiques.
  • Chipping Campden (1 hour 15 minutes from Bristol): Chipping Campden is a small market town but has a delightful selection of restaurants and shops. The popular walking trail: The Cotswold Way also starts here.
  • Stow-on-the-World (1 hour 10 minutes from Bristol): Stow-on-the-Wold is a very picturesque village to explore and if you’re visiting during the summer months, you’ll find quite a few festivals and events happening here.

READ NEXT: 14 of the Prettiest Cotswolds Villages & Towns

The Brecon Beacons

– Varied mileage and distances; see individual timings below

Ponstiscill Reservoir, Wales
Pontsticill Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons is a lovely place for a walk

The Brecon Beacons are an iconic image when thinking about the UK and with the centre of the Brecon Beacons being just over 2 hours away from Bristol, you can see a lot during a day trip.

Our recommendation would be to embark on one of the many walking trails — three of our favourites are:

  • The Four Waterfalls Walk near Ystradfellte (2 hours from Bristol by car): Interesting woodland walk that lets you follow the trail of four waterfalls (one of which you can walk behind for free!)
  • Pontsticill Reservoir (90 minutes from Bristol by car): Relaxing walk around the edges of a stunning blue reservoir, complete with picture-perfect picnic spots!
  • Pen y Fan Hike (90 minutes from Bristol by car): Challenging hike to the top of the highest peak in South Wales to see some of the best views in the Brecon Beacons!

Stourhead

Approx 36 miles (1 hour and 20 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Stourhead Estate
Stourhead is one of our favourite National Trust places!

Stourhead in Dorset offers you the chance to visit the house and learn about the history behind who lived here, but what most people will come to see is the world-famous landscape garden.

Surrounding a large glistening lake is a woodland walk with the chance to explore classical temples and a magical grotto with the most unique view across the lake. And The Temple of Apollo was even used as a Pride & Prejudice filming location!

It truly is stunning (especially in the autumn months when the trees all display reds, oranges and golds).

READ NEXT: 35 Best National Trust Places To Visit

Wookey Hole

Approx 19 miles (55 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Wookey Hole Caves
Wookey Hole lit up in the dark

Similarly to Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole is also your chance to see spectacular underground caves.

But Wookey Hole also offers a large miniature golf course, various museums, mirror mazes and pier games all as part of the ticket price. Plus it only takes about an hour to drive there from Bristol!

Gloucester Cathedral

Approx 36 miles (55 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Gloucester Cathedral
Pretty stained glass reflections inside Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester isn’t usually going to be at the top of a list of day trips from Bristol, but it should be for Harry Potter fans!

Several scenes from the movies were filmed in the cathedral, such as the troll smashing up the toilets in the first film, or where the words ‘The chamber of secrets has been opened’ in the second movie were displayed. Have we convinced you enough to visit yet?

READ NEXT: Gloucester Cathedral Harry Potter Filming Location

Malvern Hills

Approx 64 miles (90 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Malvern Hills and Reservoir
Apparently, we have a thing for photographing reservoirs from above…

The Malvern Hills is one of the best walking trails in the UK as the views are superb and the trails are often very quiet.

It takes about 90 minutes to drive there from Bristol, which means you can easily spend a few hours walking in the countryside and stopping for a picnic as a day out.

Just watch out for sheep that often roam the roads during the spring and summer months!

Avebury

Approx 46 miles (1 hour away from Bristol by car)

Ancient tree at Avebury
Avebury is a fabulous day trip from Bristol – especially for history lovers!

If you don’t quite have time to make it all the way to Stonehenge from Bristol then a very close second best would be the stone circle at Avebury, which is about 50 minutes from Bristol by car.

There’s lots to see at Avebury — from the traditional manor, to an archaeological museum, quaint English village and the aforementioned stone circle, which is over 4,000 years old!

Anyone can see the circle for free, but if you want to explore the manor house as well, then there is a fee to pay (unless you’re a National Trust member).

You can also see lots more historic sites dotted around Avebury as part of the Avebury World Heritage Site. To find out more, check out our Avebury walking guide.

READ NEXT: Epic Avebury Walk – 6 Incredible Historic Sites Await!

Stonehenge

Approx 55 miles (90 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Stonehenge in Wiltshire
Stonehenge during golden hour

Bristol to Stonehenge is one of those bucket list day trips to take as Stonehenge in Wiltshire is such an iconic image in England.

It’s about 90 minutes in the car from Bristol (without heavy traffic), or you can easily embark on one of many day tours that run from Bristol to Stonehenge.

However, entrance to the henge is quite pricey and something that very few know is that you can easily walk through some of the countryside surrounding Stonehenge and see it for free!

READ NEXT: Must-See English Heritage Sites in Wiltshire, UK

Longleat Safari Park

Approx 32 miles (1 hour and 15 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Longleat Safari Park
You can look forward to seeing sleepy lions within a relatively short drive from Bristol

Who doesn’t love heading out on a safari? And when you can do it as a day trip from Bristol, why wouldn’t you?

It takes just over an hour to drive to Longleat from Bristol and offers so much for the whole family to do.

You can drive your own car through the safari park (although you should avoid the monkey enclosure if you don’t want A LOT of damage done to your car), or you can hop on a bus that drives through the full safari.

There is also Longleat House to admire from the inside, as well as mazes, boat cruises, and various fun attractions on its grounds — all as part of one ticket price.

If you’re looking for a winter day out as well, then look out for special events that happen at Longleat such as ‘The Festival of Light’.

Longleat Festival of Light
One of the amazing installations at a previous ‘Festival of Light’ event at Longleat

Oxford

Approx 85 miles (1 hour and 40 minutes away from Bristol by car)

University of Oxford
The ‘Bridge of Sighs’ at Oxford is an iconic photo spot!

Oxford is such a charming city to visit. It’s just as beautiful and historic as places like Bath and Cheltenham, and is simply one of those bucket list destinations that you just can’t ignore.

Travelling from Bristol to Oxford takes about 90 minutes by car, or you can easily hop on a couple of trains, which takes about 2 and a half hours total.

When in Oxford, make sure you carve out some time to see the University buildings, Oxford Castle and Prison, have a delicious cream tea, as well as wander through the meadows on the outskirts of town. These are all must-dos when in Oxford.

BONUS: Check out Blenheim Palace near Oxford – it’s incredible at Christmas!

READ NEXT: Christmas at Blenheim Palace Review (+ Tips For Visiting!)

Blenheim Palace at Christmas
Blenheim Palace near Oxford is simply charming at Christmas time!

Newark Park

Approx 23 miles (50 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Newark Park Estate
Newark Park on a sunny day

Newark Park is a beautiful National Trust property in sleepy Gloucestershire.

There’s an old Tudor manor house here, which you can explore inside for a fee. Or you can explore the stunning countryside for free.

There are three waymarked walking trails you can follow, each of different lengths and for different levels of fitness. They even take you through sheep fields, through forests, past garlic flowers as well as bluebells.

And if you follow the trails up near the house, you’ll have some of the best views of the Cotswolds, especially if you come during the spring or summer months.

Lydford Gorge

Approx 113 miles (2 hours away from Bristol by car)

Lydford Gorge Devil's Caudron sign
Lydford Gorge is another of our favourite National Trust places

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know we’ve visited a myriad of National Trust places. But Lydford Gorge is by far our most favourite of them all.

Following the twisting and turning of the River Lyd, you’ll embark on a woodland walk that provides the opportunity to see a 30-metre high waterfall called ‘Whitelady’ and bubbling water potholes called ‘Devil’s Cauldron’.

And despite being in Devon, it actually only takes about 2 hours to drive to Lydford Gorge from Bristol!

Salisbury

Approx 52 miles (1 hour and 50 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Haunch of Venison pub in Salisbury
A 700-year-old pub in Salisbury

If you love history, then you’ll love Salisbury. You can see one of the original Magna Cartas in the Salisbury Cathedral, you can wander through the city itself and spot buildings that are hundreds of years old.

You can even eat lunch in a pub that dates back as far as 700 years ago — The Haunch of Venison is not only a historic place to see, but it serves absolutely delicious food!

Similarly to a lot of suggestions on this day trips list, Salisbury is about 90 minutes from Bristol by car.

READ NEXT: One Day in Salisbury Itinerary For A Fabulous Day Trip

Cheltenham

Approx 42 miles (1 hour away from Bristol by car)

Pittville Circus, Cheltenham
Pretty Regency building in Cheltenham

Most famed for its stunning Regency architecture, action-packed festivals and horse racing, there are so many fun things to do in Cheltenham.

It was once the place to be in the 18th century after its spa waters were discovered and commercialised; wealthy Londoners in particular saw it as the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle (and smog!) of the capital.

Nowadays, the stunning stucco facades and ripe history are blended with the modern including a newly established street art scene. And at just an hour’s drive from Bristol, you don’t have to go far for a fantastic day out!

READ NEXT: 7 Fun Things To Do in Cheltenham

Fleet Air Arm Museum

Approx 36 miles (1 hour and 20 minutes away from Bristol by car)

Fleet Air Arm Museum
Historic planes at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Found about 1.5 hours from Bristol is the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton. Here, you’ll get the chance to step back in time and wander among historic planes and aircraft memorabilia…

And even step on board the FIRST British-made Concorde. How awesome is that?

We recently went with my Dad who is ex-army and he was totally in his element… and to be fair, so were we!


We hope this list of the best day trips from Bristol serves as some great inspiration! Where would you like to see first? And have we missed out on any other top day trip ideas? Let us know in the comments below…

Did you like this? Pin ‘Best Day Trips from Bristol’ for later!

Best Day Trips From Bristol (Suggestions From A Local)
If you're finding our blog posts helpful, we would love it if you would consider donating to our "Buy Me A Coffee" site. Thank you so much for your support xoxo
Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 comments