Walking in Bristol
Bristol and its surrounding countryside have many opportunities for those wishing to enjoy a leisurely stroll or more challenging trek. The city is often described as, "best explored on foot" due to it's high proportion of pedestrian-only areas, hidden streets and numerous parks and green spaces. We even have an annual Walking festival! You can enjoy a sightseeing stroll, guided and themed tours, a longer promenade on the outskirts and a full day's trek in the nearby countryside of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. So get those walking shoes on, grab a map and explore!
Bristol City Walking
Bristol's central area – which includes the Harbourside, Old City, and Bristol Shopping Quarter – is well signposted for visitors on foot. Look out for the blue information points dotted throughout the city, which feature detailed street maps and key points of interest to help you find your way. You might want to just wander under your own steam and take in the city, download a map, or pick one up from the Tourist Information Centre.
Discover Bristol at your own pace with our free MP3 audio tours. These are a unique way of exploring Bristol where you can save the tours to your MP3 player or smartphone and let them guide you through our incredible city.
Alternatively, you may want to follow one of these walks.
The Harbourside is a serene, yet vital presence at the city's heart and is a haven for walkers looking to enjoy the city views and take it traffic-free strolling. Follow the Harbour Heritage Trail to find out more about this area. Or make your way to M Shed, also in the harbourside area, as it is a starting point for as many as 20 walking itineries including a sculpture trail, city-centre nature trail and churches trail. You can download free maps on the M Shed website.
To take a walk around the historic Old City and what remains of the Norman city walls, follow the Old City Heritage Trail.
Guided and Themed Walks
There are lots of guided and themed walks that you can choose to take around the city, in which experts will highlight specific interest points along the way. Find out more in our sightseeing and tours section.
Explore Bristol's Neighbourhoods
Head out of the city centre and experience Bristol's neighbourhoods by foot. There are a number of special walks including the Bristol South Skyline Walk, where you can see magnificent views of Bristol, and learn about the history, wildlife and people of one of the lesser known areas in Bristol. Starting from near Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station, the walk is available as a long walk and a shorter one for people who want something which is less strenuous but still has plenty to offer in terms of interest. You can download the walk here.
East Bristol has many different parks, green spaces and nature reserves to explore and stretch your legs in. Discover East Bristol is an interactive map where you can find out more about the walks and facilities in each place.
The countryside is close at hand, wherever you are in Bristol. It surrounds the city, and is easily accessible too. Bristol is a great base for exploring Somerset, Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds, The Mendip Hills and Wiltshire. Discover sweeping hills, tumbling rivers, dramatic caves, serene woodland and fantastic beaches.
We recommend trying some of the walks on the outskirts of Bristol including the Avon Wildlife Trust walks, the River Avon Trail, the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, the Avon and Frome Valley Railway Path, Walks in Somerset and Walks in South Gloucestershire.
Maps and Route Planning
The routes on the National Cycle Network in and around Bristol are not only used by cyclists, but also by walkers who can make the most of the network’s safe, clean and traffic-free paths.
Parks and Green Spaces
Bristol has hundreds of beautiful parks and green spaces, from magnificent municipal spaces such as the historic Queen Square to parks great for sports and picnics such as Greville Smyth. Here you can walk, have a picnic, admire scenery or meet friends. Many of the city's parks, also have their own downloadable walks that you can follow, including Durdham Downs, Blaise Castle Estate, Arnos Vale Cemetery and Woodland, Ashton Court Estate, Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills, Leigh Woods, Stoke Park Estate, Troopers Hill and Frenchay Moor. For a list of some of Bristol's parks see here.
Here are some other useful links for walkers.
- Bristol City Council Walking Page - Further information on walking in Bristol.
- Bristol Ramblers Groups - One of the largest walking groups in the country. They arrange around 300 walks each year, ranging from short to long, from rural to urban.
- Walking for Health - A Bristol City Council initiative which supports Bristol’s diverse communities to become more active through walking.
- Bristol Walking Festival - An annual event that encourages visitors and residents alike to get out and explore the city.
- Stanfords Bookshop - Based in Corn Street, Bristol, Stanfords offers a wide range of walking books and maps for the local area.