As capital of the South West, Bristol makes the perfect base to explore the very best the region has to offer. World-famous attractions, iconic landmarks and beautiful countryside are all just a short train, bus journey, car ride or cycle away! So why not add a few extra days onto your stay in the city and tick off some iconic sites at the same time?

Here’s our pick of the best day trips west of Bristol - you can get to many of the closer attractions using public transport, or booking an excursion with Rabbie's Tours, who offer a multi-day trip to the mountains and coasts of South Wales, as well as various day trips across the South West, as do Mad Max Tours.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, about 25 minutes from central Bristol is home to some of the biggest zoo animals, including tigers, African elephants, white rhinos and farm animals. One of Noah's Ark's most popular areas is the 20-acre 'Elephant Eden', the UK’s first African Elephant bull facility. In addition to outdoor play areas, there’s also a huge soft play area and thrilling slides, making it a great all-weather day out.  

Elephants at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol - credit Noah's Ark Zoo Farm
Image: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm


Tyntesfield is a spectacular National Trust Victorian Gothic Revival estate situated near Wraxall, North Somerset. If you watch Sherlock or Dr Who, chances are you’ve already seen a fair bit of the house and gardens.  Follow the trails, take a gander inside the house or pitch up for any number of exciting events which take place throughout the year.

Gothic mansion house with girl running in front - credit Rob Stothard, National Trust
Image: Tyntesfield, credit Rob Stothard National Trust


One of Bristol’s best-known bands take their name from this coastal town, just 10 miles from central Bristol. Marvel at the yachts on an amble round the Marina, go boating during the summer months at the Lake Ground or take a walk along the river for beautiful estuary views looking out to Wales and Avonmouth Docks in the distance. Portishead also has its own open air pool which is heated using green energy and has great views across the Bristol Channel.

The open air swimming pool in Portishead, near Bristol
Image: Portishead Open Air Pool


Travel slightly further south and you'll reach Weston-super-Mare on the Somerset coast. The coastal town is home to the famous Grand Pier, which offers family fun for all ages including a 300-metre indoor go-kart track, F1 simulators, arcades and rides. Or opt for a traditional English seaside experience and seek out some ice cream and proper fish and chips on the beach.

There's also a water adventure play park for warmer days, or more beachy places to explore at nearby Sand Bay and Brean Down

A wheelchair user and their dog on the Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare near Bristol - credit The Grand Pier

Image: The Grand Pier 


Clevedon is a charming Victorian seaside town with a Marine Lake and restored Grade I* listed Victorian pier - you may recognise the latter as the backdrop in One Direction’s You and I video or from the film, Never Let Me Go starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. Broadchurch fan?  Much of ITV’s award-winning drama was filmed here - see how many locations you recognise. Clevedon Golf Club poses a challenge to golfers of all abilities, set high above the Severn Estuary, the view from the cliff-side opening holes over the Bristol Channel is spectacular.

The Marine Lake in Clevedon is widely recognised as the biggest and best of its kind with aquatic sports and outdoor swimming available throughout the year. Events in Clevedon are plentiful and varied, from art trails, flower shows, live music, workshops and even triathlons.

Clevedon Pier - credit Discover Clevedon
Image: Clevedon Pier, credit Discover Clevedon

Mendip Activity Centre

Open seven days a week, there are plenty of activities for you to choose from whether you're coming with family or friends. Learn to ski or snowboard on their dry ski slope, have a go at climbing or abseiling in the on-site quarry, or take to the water with kayaking, paddleboarding or raft building. There's also on-site family campsite Basecamp during the summer months, with the option of an all-inclusive getaway including your stay, activities and food at Camp Bigfoot.

A group of people tackling the muddy assault course at Mendip Activity Centre near Bristol - credit Mendip Activity Centre
Image: Mendip Activity Centre

Thatchers Cider

At Myrtle Farm in Somerset, you’ll find the Thatchers Cider orchard where you can join a tour and find out how the immensely popular cider is made.

They've also got a shop where you can buy their ciders, alongside local produce such as cheeses and chutneys. Draught ciders are available straight from the barrel, so you can try before you buy. You can also stop into their pub next door, The Railway Inn, if you want some food to enjoy alongside local ciders.

Thatchers Cider in a glass at Thatchers HQ, Myrtle Farm, near Bristol - credit Thatchers
Image: Thatchers Cider

Tredegar House

Pop over the Severn Bridge to this 17th century Welsh mansion where you’ll find some of the earliest landscaped gardens in Wales. Stomp around the parkland, spot wildlife on the lake or take a peek inside the house.

Exterior of Tredegar House in Duffryn, South Wales, near Bristol - credit National Trust

Image: Tredegar House, credit National Trust


Why not tick off two countries in one day? It takes just 50 minutes to get to the Welsh capital from Bristol by train. The city is jam-packed with fun things to do - discover 2000 years of history at Cardiff Castle, watch an international rugby match at the Principality Stadium, try white water rafting at Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) or just mooch around the buzzing revitalised waterfront at Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff Bay - credit Visit Cardiff
Image: Cardiff Bay, credit Visit Cardiff 

The Royal Mint Experience

Explore a display of coins from 80 different countries and learn more about the fascinating coin making process from preparing blank metal discs to striking your very own coin. Guests can begin their coin collection by taking home a special coin that they helped to make.

A group of people looking at one of the exhibits at The Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant, South Wales, near Bristol - credit The Royal Mint Experience
Image: The Royal Mint Experience

Caerphilly Castle

Located in South Wales, Caerphilly lies 8 miles north of Cardiff and around an hour from Bristol. The town is famous for its medieval castle - the largest in Britain after Windsor – and Caerphilly cheese, which is similar in flavour to cheddar and known affectionately as ‘the crumblies.' 


Love surfing? Did you know Porthcawl is one of the closest surfing beaches to Bristol and London?! Get your wave fix at Rest Bay in South Wales just an hour and a quarter from Bristol - totally doable in a day for swell lovers. There’s also the Wales Coastal Path to walk, donkeys to ride and fairground fun to be had at Coney Beach, plus day trips to Ilfracombe (a seaside town in Devon) on the world’s last seagoing paddle steamer (leaving from Porthcawl pier).


Just a 20-minute drive from Porthcawl is the village of Ogmore-by-Sea. With its vast sandy beaches and dramatic rock formations, Ogmore is popular with fossil-hunters, wildlife spotters and walkers. Seek out the haunted Norman castle, go rock-pooling, explore the dunes and discover Ogmore Castle in this delightful seaside location, just an hour and a half away from Bristol.

The Gower

The Gower peninsula was designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty back in 1956. Around two hours away from Bristol, walkers, birdwatchers and surfers flock to this stunning spot. Home to dazzling, vast, award-winning beaches like Rhossili Bay, wooded valleys and dunes, you’ll also find man-made historic monuments like the 13th century ruin, Oystermouth Castle.

Three Cliffs Bay in the Gower Peninsula, Wales - credit Andrew Pickett

Image: Three Cliffs Bay in the Gower peninsula, credit Andrew Pickett VisitBritain

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