Wondering how to get around Bristol in summer? Whether you’re happiest on water, wheels or with feet firmly on the ground, read up on our recommended ways to see the city.

Two women cycling in Clifton, Bristol

Image credit: Tamany Baker 

On the water

With the River Avon snaking through the city and the historic floating harbour at its heart, travelling by boat is actually one of the most convenient (and fun!) modes of transport in Bristol and it’s never better than on a hot summer’s day.

Made up of a fleet of five ferries, hop on one of the Bristol Ferry Boats at any of the 17 stops, which can get you all the way from Temple Meads to the city centre. While the waterbus service run 364 days a year, they also offer extra tours in summertime and have Sundown Sailings lined up this year.

Regular public ferry services are also provided by Number Seven Boat Trips, to get you from A to Z. What’s not so regular is their colourful, characterful boat designs – look out for an angry dog or a lovable shark!

Departing from Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Watershed and Welsh Back, Bristol Packet Boat Trips are another great way to explore the city. Choose from a 45-minute tour of the Harbour, an Avon Gorge cruise or even a leisurely two hour long trip complete with a cream tea.  

For a truly unique perspective on your surroundings, a stand up paddleboard should be your water-based transport of choice. The SUP Bristol instructors will help you get the knack of paddleboarding while also pointing out sights on the docks and Harbourside.      

Bristol Packet boat on River Avon with Clifton Suspension Bridge in background

Image credit: Bristol Packet 

Get on your bike

Don’t be put off by the hills – Bristol is an incredibly bike-friendly city, even named the UK’s first cycling city back in 2008. There are plenty of cycle lanes on and off the roads as well as the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, Festival Way, Strawberry Line and Avon Cycle for more scenic rides.

A hassle-free way to hire a bike in Bristol is through Webbs Cycle Shop, who can bring their bikes to you and collect them again. They can provide all the gear you need too, from helmets and panniers to locks and lights, so you can leave it off your packing list.

Travelling as a duo? Cycle the city in unison with Bristol Tandem Hire, either on one of their recommended routes or on a trail of your own making. You can hire the tandems for anything from half a day to a week or more.

One of the easiest ways to pedal your way across town is by jumping on a YoBike. All you need to do is download the app, which lets you find the YoBikes nearest to you and shows you where parking spots are when you’re ready to drop your borrowed bike off. Best of all, it costs just £1 per hour.

Group of people on tandems from Bristol Tandem Hire

Image credit: Bristol Tandem Hire

Ride the bus

Running from April to September, the Bristol Insight bus is an unbeatable way of getting around Bristol if you’ve got a list of the major attractions you want to tick off. The hop-on hop-off service stops at 17 locations on its route, including Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Cabot Circus and many more. As well as excellent views from the open top deck, you get the bonus of brushing up on your Bristol knowledge with a fact-packed commentary along the way.

There are also public buses to get you anywhere and everywhere in the city – check out our guide to public transport in Bristol for a full rundown of services. First's group tickets offer great value and their mTicket app not only lets you buy in advance but at a cheaper price too.  

Mum and two children in front of Bristol Insight open top bus

Image credit: Bristol Insight Open Top Bus Tours 

Stay on foot  

Stretch your legs and see some of the best bits of Bristol at the same time, from city centre side streets and the traffic-free Harbourside to the many inviting green spaces and parks. Wander between neighbourhoods, discovering sights as you go, or you can see our suggestions for specific walking routes to follow.

Themed walking tours give you a chance to get to know your way around Bristol while also learning about a piece of its history and character. Step back in time on a maritime heritage adventure with Treasure Island Trail or Bristol Pirate Walks, admire some of the street art Bristol is famous for, or let the Show Of Strength Theatre Company take you on a storytelling tour in unusual places.  

If stopping for a bite to eat or few drinks as you journey through the city sounds like your kind of walking tour, you're in luck too. Uncover new beers to love with Bristol Hoppers and Bristol Brewery Tours or foodie delights with The Bristol Food Tour, who also run a cycling tour.

Treasure Island Trail guide in costume for walking tour

Image credit: Treasure Island Trail 


However you plan to get around Bristol this summer, show us what you discover during your visit by using the #SummerInBristol hashtag on social media. Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with everything that’s going on too!

Read next: Travelling around Bristol

Pin it for later:

Best ways to get around Bristol in summer Pinterest cover


Bristol Ferry Boats
Bristol Ferry Boats

Explore Bristol's Harbourside by ferry, go on a trip with friends or colleagues, or simply get from A to B without worrying about traffic

Number Seven Boat Trips
Boat Trip
Number Seven

Passenger boat company providing public ferry services and private charter trips around Bristol and on the River Avon

Bristol Packet Boat Trips
Boat Trip
Bristol Packet Boat Trips

Enjoy harbour tours and river trips with Bristol Packet Boat Trips with public timetabled trips and private hire available.

SUP Bristol - Stand Up Paddleboarding
Outdoor Activity/Pursuit Centre
SUP Bristol - Stand Up Paddleboarding

Try stand up paddleboarding with SUP Bristol and see Bristol Floating Harbour from a truly unique angle. Explore the vibrant and historic Harbourside with SUP Bristol's expert and enthusiastic instructors to show you the ropes.

Webbs Cycle Shop & Custom Bike Hire
Webbs Cycle Shop & Custom Bike Hire

Webbs Cycle Shop specialise in all types of cycle hire, including group bike hire for hen and stag parties, family, guided and corporate hire. Webbs Cycle Shop has an impressive bike hire fleet and boasts available for hire children’s bikes, road bikes, tandems, tag-alongs and trailers.

Bristol Tandem Hire
Bristol Tandem Hire

They offer high spec tandems to hire, for you to explore the city, the region or even further. Discover the fun of riding a tandem for yourselves. Twice as nice.

Bristol Insight: The Open Top Bus Company
Bus/Coach Tour
Bristol Insight: The Open Top Bus Company

Sit back and relax on the distinctive red open top buses, and enjoy the Original Bristol Tour from an unrivalled platform.

Bristol Pirate Walks
Walking Tour
Pirate Pete

Join Pirate Pete for a one-hour guided walking tour of Bristol's historic harbourside, with tales of discovery, slavery and piracy.

Bristol Street Art Walking Tours
Walking Tour
Bristol Street Art Walking Tours

Explore the latest street art where the walls change weekly, and celebrate Bristol's unique creative culture.