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7 Absolute Best Day Trips from Bristol

Bristol is fantastic for exploring, with lots of great day trip options. Many visitors overlook these opportunities because they don’t stay long enough.

I was lucky enough to spend a whole month in Bristol, so I had the chance to experience the best day trips from Bristol myself.

You can explore everything from quaint countryside villages to historic cities and beaches. Most trips are accessible by public transport, but I also joined a few guided tours to visit more remote spots.

As your time in Bristol is probably shorter, I have created a list of the best Bristol day trips depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Best Day Trips from Bristol UK

Bath: History and Spa

The historic Roman Baths in Bath, UK, with its famous green waters and stone architecture, under a clear sky. Visitors can be seen exploring the area and admiring the grandeur of Bath Abbey in the background. This ancient site is a must-visit for those exploring things to do in Bath, UK.
The Roman Bath is the main attraction in Bath

Bath is a beautiful city located just 15 minutes away from Bristol by train. The main highlight of Bath is, without doubt, the Roman Baths – an incredibly well-preserved site that showcases life in ancient Rome.

But as much as I love looking at historic baths, I like bathing in an actual thermal spa even more. And you can do that as well in Bath! The Thermae Bath Spa is a modern spa complex with a rooftop pool and fantastic views over the city.

Other popular attractions in Bath are Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge, and the Jane Austen Centre.

How to get to Bath: 15 minutes train ride or 45 minute bus ride from Bristol Temple Meads (It’s so much faster and cheaper than taking a Bath day trip from London)

I took a bus for my Bristol to Bath day trip because the trains were on strike, which happens a lot in England. The bus, taking about 45 minutes one way, was very affordable at £4 for a round trip.

Cardiff: Capital City Vibes

Cardiff Castle standing against a cloudy sky, an emblematic sight that makes you answer the question "Is Cardiff worth visiting?" with yes.
View of Cardiff Castle; one of the best day trips from Bristol by train

Just a one hour train ride away from Bristol is the capital of Wales – Cardiff. It’s the best day trip from Bristol if you’re in the mood for big city vibes. But don’t worry, it’s still a very affordable place to visit, there are so many great things to do in Cardiff for free.

Start your Cardiff day trip from Bristol at Cardiff Castle, a medieval fortress located in the heart of the city. Then head over to the National Museum Cardiff, where you can explore Wales’ cultural heritage through various exhibitions and collections.

Don’t forget to visit Cardiff Bay, a vibrant waterfront area with shops, restaurants, and the impressive Wales Millennium Centre. This fantastic bay is one of the reasons Cardiff is worth visiting.

How to get to Cardiff: 1 hour train ride from Bristol Temple Meads

Stonehenge: Prehistoric Landmark

Panoramic view of Stonehenge on a sunny day, showing the ancient stone formations against a backdrop of blue sky, perfect picture from a day trip to Stonehenge from Bristol.

Stonehenge is one of the most iconic landmarks in England. The prehistoric monument has been standing for over 5,000 years and still baffles visitors with its mysterious origins.

As its such an iconic landmark it can get very crowded, so you need to decide for yourself if Stonehenge is worth visiting.

I found that joining a guided tour from Bristol to Stonehenge was the best way to make the most out of the day trip. We visited Stonehenge, another stone circle, a Harry Potter filming location, and a charming Cotswolds village.

How to get to Stonehenge: Drive for 1.5 hours or take a full day tour. By public transport, it’s about 2.5 hours with a change in Salisbury.

🤩 I love this Stonehenge tour for it’s amazing stops!

Cotswolds: Charming Countryside

Picturesque view of Castle Combe village on a Bristol to Stonehenge day tour, showcasing traditional Cotswold stone houses along a peaceful river, with people and bicycles adding life to the serene setting.
Castle Combe in the Cotswolds

If you’re looking for a peaceful day trip from Bristol, the Cotswolds is the perfect destination. This area of outstanding natural beauty is known for its quaint villages, rolling hills, scenic walking paths, and its sheep.

Some must-see villages in the Cotswolds include Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Castle Combe.

I only visited Castle Combe on my day tour to Stonehenge, but hopefully I’ll get the chance to visit more places in the Cotswolds soon.

How to get to the Cotswolds: The best way to explore the Cotswolds is by car, but you can also join a guided tour from Bristol or take a train to one of the larger towns like Chippenham or Gloucester and then transfer to a local bus.

🤩 See the Cotswolds and Stonehenge in one day with this epic tour!

Oxford: University Town Charm

View of Oxford England, you can see one round-shaped building next to a rectangular building with a green courtyard
The best viewpoint in Oxford: University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Oxford is another great day trip from Bristol for history and architecture lovers. It’s one of the most famous university towns in the United Kingdom.

The most popular attractions in Oxford include the Bodleian Library, Christ Church College, and the Radcliffe Camera. But even just wandering around the city and admiring its beautiful architecture is a great way to spend the day.

I highly recommend climbing the steps of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, you have the best views of the Radcliffe Camera from the top.

Oxford is also one of the best Harry Potter filming locations in England.

How to get to Oxford: 1 hour and 20 minutes train ride from Bristol Temple Meads with one change in Didcot Parkway

Weston-Super-Mare: Beach Day

Wide view of Weston Super Mare beach bustling with people, a ferris wheel visible against a skyline dotted with fluffy clouds. This popular destination offers sandy adventures for visitors, ideal for those exploring Weston Super Mare on a day trip.
Weston Super Mare beach

Weston-Super-Mare is a traditional seaside town located just half an hour away from Bristol by train. It’s a great day trip option if you’re looking for some beach time and fun.

The best things to do in Weston Super Mare include enjoying the sandy beach, visiting the Grand Pier amusement park, and taking a stroll along the promenade lined with shops and cafes.

I’ll be completely honest with you, Weston-Super-Mare isn’t the most beautiful coastal town in England but because of it’s convenient location near Bristol it still makes for a great short day trip to the beach.

How to get to Weston-Super-Mare: 30 minutes train ride from Bristol Temple Meads

Cheddar Gorge: Nature and Adventure

Aerial view of Cheddar Gorge near Bristol, UK showcasing dramatic limestone cliffs with lush greenery, winding roads, and a distant view of a town and lake. Rays of sunlight break through the clouds, highlighting the rugged terrain. Ideal for exploring as one of the best day trips from Bristol, UK.
The best place for hiking near Bristol in Somerset

For a day trip full of nature and adventure, head to Cheddar Gorge. It’s a limestone gorge located about an hour south of Bristol by car. You can also reach it by bus, but the journey will take way longer.

The main attraction in Cheddar Gorge is the stunning walk through the gorge itself. But if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also try rock climbing, exploring the caves, or mountain biking in the area.

How to get to Cheddar Gorge: 45 minutes drive or approximately 2.5 hours by bus

Outside of a train station in Bristol where day trips set off. You can see a few cars and people in front of the Victorian station building.
Most day trips set off at the Temple Meads Station in Bristol

Final Thoughts: Best Places Near Bristol to Visit

Bristol is a fantastic city to explore, but there are also so many great places to visit outside Bristol. Whether you’re in the mood for history, nature, or beach time, you can find it all within a short distance from Bristol.

So make sure to add one (or more) of these day trips to your itinerary and discover even more of the United Kingdom.

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Best Day Trips from Bristol Without a Car

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