Towns & Villages near Bristol

With characterful countryside villages, historic hamlets and vibrant coastal towns surrounding it, Bristol is the best place to extend your stay and explore the west and all it has to offer.

South Gloucestershire

Just north of Bristol is the market town of Thornbury, home to Thornbury Castle, where King Henry VIII once stayed. Having been recently refurbished, the castle is the perfect spot for an afternoon tea, a decadent meal fit for a king, or even a royally good night’s stay at the hotel. Not too far from the castle, you can visit 6 O’clock Gin distillery tour, taste the fragrant flavours or create your own gin with their workshop, or visit Jekka’s, a family-run herb farm which runs tours, open days and masterclasses. The town itself has many cafes, restaurants, shops, pubs and walks to enjoy, too.

Just down the road from Thornbury are the villages Olveston, Almondsbury and Easter Compton (where The Wave inland lake and Bristol Zoo Project are situated), again with quaint pubs, garden centres, lovely walks and safe cycle routes. Or try visiting the alpacas at Wolfridge Alpaca Barn in Alveston, complete with café and alpaca experiences. The White Hart pub in Littleton-upon-Severn has one of the most beautiful pub gardens with quiet, countryside views. Or try The Anchor Inn at Oldbury-on-Severn, close to another level country path walk, called Severn Way which leads you to Thornbury Sailing Club.  Catch the train from Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach and stroll or cycle along the river-side path, take in the views across the border into Wales and even walk underneath the Prince of Wales Bridge.


Venture slightly north again, and you’ll find the rural town Berkeley, where the historic and picturesque Berkeley Castle is, as well as nearby WWT Slimbridge Wetlands Centre (which was home to conservation pioneer Sir Peter Scott) and Purton Ship Graveyard where you’ll see an eery row of abandoned old ships banked up on the shores of River Severn.  Westonbirt Arboretum with its ancient woodlands and wonderful walks is also in Gloucestershire, this time a bit further inland.

North Somerset

Heading south of Bristol, you hit North Somerset and its spectacular coastline and countryside landscapes.

Just across the Clifton Suspension Bridge, you find Ashton Court Estate where the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is held every year in August. Further into North Somerset is Tyntesfield National Trust – a Gothic revival mansion and gardens – and nearby Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm with giraffes, elephants and bears as well as many kids play areas (indoors and outdoors).

North Somerset Coastal town of Portishead with its lido and boating lake as well as plethora of pubs, cafes and restaurants draws in visitors year-round. Follow the coast down a few miles and the next town is Clevedon which boasts an award-winning Grade I listed Victorian pier, iconic Curzon cinema, many independent shops and a marine lake for paddleboarding, kayaking and cold water wild swimming. Follow the new pier-to-pier route from Clevedon south to the next town down, Weston-super-Mare, a seaside town with The Grand Pier, a marine lake and plenty of street art to boot.

Somerset and The Mendips

Again, south of Bristol is the picturesque area of Mendip Hills which has Chew Valley with its to play watersports and go boating – ideal for pre-dinner activities (try Salt and Malt for amazing fish and chips or Pony Chew Valley where renowned local chef Josh Eggleton is at the helm). Chew Valley Animal Park is near to the village too, and family-friendly festival Valley Fest is held here every August as well. Hugging the edge of Mendips is Mendip Activity Centre with various outdoor adventures to be had from dry slope skiing to archery, tobogganing to caving and many in between. Afterwards, quench your thirst with a traditional west country Thatchers Cider, a cool cider at The Railway Inn right where the cider is produced! You can catch the Mendip Xplorer bus 376 from Bristol through the Mendips – it’s been voted one of the most scenic bus routes and you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you stop off at Pensford to see the beautiful viaduct, and also Glastonbury to see the Tor and soak up the independent and creative spirit there. The other side of the Mendips you’ll find the historic town of Cheddar (yes, where the cheese is originally from!) with the most spectacular Cheddar Gorge and Caves, as well as Wookey Hole Caves, also nearby.

Bath and North East Somerset

The beautiful city of Bath is just a ten-minute train journey from Bristol Temple Meads station making it a fantastic day trip from the city. You can also cycle there from Bristol along the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, expect Georgian architecture, golden Bath stone adorning the buildings and of course Roman history aplenty at the famous Roman Baths. You can even relax in the warm, natural thermal spa waters at Thermae Bath Spa, complete with views across to Bath Abbey from the rooftop pool.

Nestled in between Bristol and Bath is the town of Keynsham, a market town dating back to Medieval times, with walking and cycling routes, cafés, bars and restaurants too.  Don’t miss The Lock Keeper pub with its garden and terrace overlooking the river – a locals’ favourite! Then there’s Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park also close by with farm animals, soft play and rides, and Avon Valley Railway with its steam engine trains. Venture a little further and you’ll come across the Kelston Roundhill – an ancient circle of trees atop a hill – very close to Bath Soft Cheese where you can buy scrumptious locally-made cheeses or try out their dairy delights in their café.

Explore beyond Bristol

Find out what there is to see and do in the regions surrounding the city.


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Take a memorable day trip

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