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5 Family Day Trips from Bristol

5 Outdoor Family Day-Trips near Bristol

Bristol is in an ideal location for venturing out on family day trips. With South Wales, Gloucester, Somerset and Devon all within easy reach, we’re spoilt for choice of outdoor places to visit.

Set your alarm for early(ish) to make the most of the day, get a packed lunch ready and choose your next adventure from our list of the ‘Top 5 Day Trips from Bristol’.

Llanthony Priory

1. The Black Mountains

Crickhowell is a beautiful, bustling little town just south of the Black Mountains, and east of Brecon Beacons National Park. Only a 1 hour drive from Bristol, it’s a great place for a day adventure. There are so many walks and hikes that you can choose from depending on whether you’re accompanied by little legs, medium legs or just adult legs!

– Table Mountain

We enjoyed walking up Table Mountain with the children. It’s a good, challenging hike. You can easily see the peak from Crickhowell which adds extra excitement for the children as they can see the mountain they’ll be tackling!
Crickhowell to Table Mountain

– Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf is also a fantastic ‘first peak’ for children. A moderate, 5 mile round walk with beautiful views.
Walking Sugar Loaf mountain

day trip from Bristol
Walking the Dragon’s Back

– Dragon’s Back

As a bigger challenge, we enjoyed walking along the dragons back; a 7 mile climb along the infamous spine of the dragon… be careful not to wake her!
Walking the Dragon’s Back

*It goes without saying that in the mountains, the weather can change dramatically very quickly! Make sure you have checked the weather forecast and carry a local map (or OS app), plenty of food, water and warm layers with you.

– Public transport from Bristol.
Train from Bristol Temple Meads – Cardiff – Ebbw Vale Town.
Taxi to Crickhowell

walking in the black mountains
The Dragons Back in the mist

2. Somerset Levels

Flat, far-reaching and filled with cider – what better place to explore in a day trip from Bristol!?

– Avalon Marshes

The Avalon marshes are a beautiful wetland landscape with various nature reserves to explore by foot or bike. From November to February, head to Shapwick Heath or Ham Wall at dusk to enjoy the incredible Starling murmurations.

starling murmurations

Watch as thousands upon thousands of Starlings fly in to roost for the night, swirling and swooping in the most incredible way before bedding down.

As ever with nature, they don’t perform on request but the anticipation is all part of the fun! Try calling the Avalon Marshes hotline to hear where the Starlings roosted the previous evening to be in with a better shot of seeing them.

In Spring and summer, enjoy walking along the boardwalks and listening for booming bitterns, croaking frogs and spotting an abundance of wildlife.

shapwick heath
Shapwick Heath

– Views of the levels

Climb up any of the hills surrounding the levels to enjoy spectacular views stretching across to North Devon, Wales, and out to sea. Our favourite family walks with spectacular views are Draycott Sleights, Cheddar Gorge and Dolebury Warren. Find more information here.

Views from Draycott Sleights

– Somerset Cider

You can’t visit the levels without enjoying the cider! There’s a number of small, independent cider makers across the levels that open up their barns to visitors wanting to taste some of their brew.

Why not try cycling between the cider barns? Being so flat, the levels are great for a family cycle too.

– Public Transport from Bristol:
376 bus to Wells. Taxi.

Somerset cider
Cider barrels at Wilkins Cider Farm

3. The Quantocks

The Quantock hills are a beautiful area to explore just over an hour South of Bristol. Gnarled woods surrounding the infamous Dead Woman’s Ditch lead up to a heather and gorse covered plateau with incredible views out to sea. With so much space and relatively easy walks, it’s a great place for a family day trip.

Discover our 3 favourite walks in the Quantocks here. Alternatively, take your bike for a challenging mountain bike ride or join a horse-riding trek.

– Public transport from Bristol:
Train from Bristol Temple Meads to Taunton. Bus 28 to Bicknoller

4. The Beach

Alternatively, how about a day at the beach!?

Big skies at Berrow Beach

– Somerset’s Beaches

Just South of Bristol are the beautiful estuary beaches of Brean Down, Berrow, and Sand Point. These dog-friendly beaches are particularly beautiful in winter when they’re largely deserted and the sand stretches for miles out to sea. Arrived equipped with buckets & spades for sand castle building and a kite for windy days.

Brean Down has a lovely little National Trust café and the option of a bracing walk along the headland to the old fort which is well worth exploring.

There is also a 9-mile, family friendly bike route from Brean to Weston-Super-Mare along the Brean Down Way.

– Public Transport from Bristol:
Train from Bristol Temple Meads to Weston-Super-Mare, then bus 20 to Brean.  

The fort at Brean Down

– Fancy a swim?

Porthcawl beach in South Wales is also easily accessible from Bristol for a day trip. There are beautiful dunes to explore and waves to surf. Can be busy in summer.

– Public Transport from Bristol:
Train from Bristol Temple Meads to Bridgend; then bus to Porthcawl.

5. Offa’s Dyke

Offa’s Dyke is a fantastic, challenging hike for children. There are many different options for where to start/end your walk – the full path is 177 miles so we dipped in and out! Our chosen spot at Llanthony Priory is just 1hr15 mins from Bristol so a great adventuring day trip!

Parking at the priory we could clearly see right up to the top of the Dyke so the children knew the challenge ahead of them. As we climbed the path we stopped to take in the view – it was stunning. We talked a lot on the way up about the history of the Dyke, both fact and fiction and the battles that took place between the Welsh and English (all googled on the way!) Many ‘energy boosters’ (sweets) were needed to aid the children’s legs to the top as well as a hearty packed lunch but their little legs made it with very little complaint…. Actually they did better than me!

views from Offas Dyke
Views climbing Offa’s Dyke

If you’re struggling to get the kids out on a walk – check out our top tips for boosting enthusiasm here!

We celebrated reaching the top and enjoyed looking over one side into England, and then back towards Wales.

– Llanthony Priory

Our walk looped back to Llanthony Priory where we were able to enjoy a game of hide and seek around the priory ruins before celebrating our achievement with an ice cream and a glass of wine!

– Public Transport from Bristol:
Train from Bristol Temple Meads to Cwmbran; taxi to the priory (or alternative starting point).  

Celebrating at the top of Offa’s Dyke

*I have added pubic transport routes for these day-trips. This clearly highlights how inadequate our public transport links to the countryside are.

How do we plot our adventures? Using a map and the awesome series of Wild Guides which share the best, secret spots to explore across the South West. We take it with us whenever we visit somewhere new! Grab a copy here.

outdoor adventures

*I have used and enjoyed the Wild Guide book series for years and I hope you will too. Though I take an affiliate commission for each book sale from my website, this helps cover the running costs of Go Wild Go West.

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