Crisp air, frost-coated foliage and beautiful views - an invigorating wintry walk is the perfect way to experience Bristol this season. So head out on one of these head-clearing strolls around Bristol…

The Harbourside  

When the mist rises on a chilly winter’s morn, the Harbourside is a sight to behold. You can walk round the whole Floating Harbour in a circuit that ticks off many of Bristol’s sights in one go.

Start outside M Shed and carry on past CARGO at Wapping Wharf, then on towards Spike Island, Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Underfall Yard, spotting Cabot Tower, The Matthew, a Banksy and multi-coloured houses as you go.

Loop back round through Millennium Square, past We The Curious, Watershed and Arnolfini. Warm your cockles with some scrumptious grub at one of the many fantastic restaurants, cafes and bars that line the water’s edge, including No.1 Harbourside, The Architect and Mud Dock.

Redcliffe Parade in the snow - credit Visit West
Image - Redcliffe in the snow

The Downs

Particularly striking when covered in a frosty blanket, The Downs is a whopping 440 acres in size. It’s pretty flat and therefore suitable for miniature legs and any mobility.

Bordering Clifton and Redland, there are some beautiful houses to swoon over as well as tree-lined avenues and stunning views over the Avon Gorge, Clifton Suspension Bridge and distant Severn Bridge. Finish up in handsome Clifton Village and warm your bones with a hot chocolate from one of the many cafés.  

Clifton Downs in the snow - credit Visit West
Image - The Downs

Twinkly urban walk

Make the most of Bristol’s yuletide illuminations and glittering walkways with an amble starting from the fountains near the Harbourside, all the way up lung-busting Park Street and on to Clifton, where the elegant shop fronts are decorated with Christmas trees.

Run out of puff halfway? No problem, stop for a glorious pick-me-up from from one of the cafes along Park Street and Queens Road.

Christmas Lights on Queens Road in Bristol - credit Visit West
Image - Christmas lights on Park Street

Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill

Located just off Park Street, Brandon Hill offers mighty views over Bristol, all the way out to the Mendip Hills – even more enchanting when the ground is a frost-bitten white. Banish shivers with a walk up to Cabot Tower where the views get even better! 

Cabot Tower at the top of Brandon Hill in central Bristol
Image - Cabot Tower

Blaise Castle Estate

Very popular with families, thanks to its folly castle, buggy-friendly paths and humongous children's play area. Pathways lead past the impressive stately home and museum, through a wooded gorge. Youngsters will love seeking landmarks relating to the mythical Bristol giants within the grounds. 

Folly castle in park
Image - Blaise Castle

Ashton Court Estate

Take some winter air at Ashton Court Estate, a massive stretch of countryside that lies just the other side of Clifton Suspension Bridge. 850 acres of wide-open green space and woodland welcome cyclists, mountain-bikers, horse riders, golfers, families and walkers (and plenty of wheelchair and buggy-friendly paths).

Deer wander in fenced-off areas and the views across the city are breath-taking, especially when bathed in a magical wintry light, and behind the stately home there’s a dog-friendly café in the old stables. A great spot for sledging, should it be cold enough for snow.

Ashton Court Estate in the snow - credit Visit West
Image - Ashton Court Estate

Leigh Woods

Not far from Ashton Court Estate, this National Trust woodland is great for a drizzly day as many of the paths run under cover of the trees. There’s a range of colour coded paths (some are buggy-friendly) and mountain bike tracks as well as a play trail for little ones and often family-friendly activities going on.

For a great wintry photo opportunity, make your way to Nightingale Valley on the edge of the woods for jaw-dropping views over the Avon Gorge and Suspension Bridge.

Clifton Suspension Bridge and Observatory from Leigh Woods, North Somerset
Image - Leigh Woods, credit Liz Milner

Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills

Perfect for strollers in need of wheel-friendly paths and kiddy entertainment, there’s a wonderful play park for kids, riverside walks, a nature trail, orienteering path and lots of bird and squirrel life. Beyond the parkland, you can follow the path down to the river Frome, then on towards Snuff Mills, an historic section of the Frome Valley Walkway. 

Oldbury Court and Snuff Mills - Credit: Visit West
Image - Snuff Mills

Arnos Vale Cemetery

This beautiful wooded Victorian garden cemetery just off the Bath Road covers 45-acres. It’s wonderfully peaceful, rich in walks, wildlife and fabulous architecture. 

Graves in the mist at Arnos Vale Cemetery - credit Arnos Vale Cemetery
Image - Arnos Vale Cemetery


Amble around the National Trust’s Tyntesfield extensive gardens and parkland during the winter months and then warm up with a hot drink from The Cow Barn

Tyntesfield Estate in the snow - credit Steve Young
Image - Tyntesfield, credit Steve Young

Westonbirt The National Arboretum

Come Christmas time, Westonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas (selected dates throughout December) sees its beautiful forest trails come alive at night, illuminated in dazzling colours and festooned with thrilling sensory experiences along the way.

 Lit up colourful trees at Westonbirt - Credit Johnny Hathaway
Image - Enchanted Christmas, Westonbirt

Chew Valley

Just a short drive out of Bristol and you’re in the beautiful rolling countryside of the Chew Valley. For a lovely rural ramble, the Chew Magna walk is a lovely circular riverside walk, starting from Chew Valley Lake picnic area and passing through picturesque villages, Chew Stoke and Chew Magna before returning to the lakeside. 

Bridge and turret at Chew Valley Lake - Credit Oliver Jordan
Image - Chew Valley Lake

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Celebrate the wonder of winter birds at Slimbridge, one of the UK’s best nature reserves, just a short motor up the M5. A lovely place to roam around just gazing at birdlife.

Wild bird feed in winter at WWT Slimbridge - credit WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Image - Wild Bird Feed, WWT Slimbridge

Cheddar Gorge

A world-famous beauty spot and one of the UK’s most spectacular natural sights, not far from Bristol. The cliff top gorge walk, with its sweeping views, dramatic cliffs, crags, pinnacles and caverns make this an exhilarating spot for a bracing winter walk. Keep an eye out for local wildlife – the gorge is home to goats, sheep, bats and birds.

An exterior view of Cheddar Gorge, near Bristol
Image - Cheddar Gorge

More things to do in Bristol this winter: