Places to escape outdoors near Bristol

Visitors enjoying the view at Dyrham Park

Whether you’re in search of adventure or just seeking a peaceful retreat, everyone needs to escape now and then. We look after some beautiful spots where you can recharge your batteries and awaken the senses – from hearing the squelch of wellies on a muddy walk to tasting salty sea air on the coast. What’s more, you don’t even have to travel far to leave the hustle and bustle behind.

Close up shot of walking boots

Claim your South West walking guide

Feeling inspired to visit one of the special places below? While you're there, pop into visitor reception and use the code BRISTOL2018 to claim a copy of our South West walking guide (available while stocks last). From coastal meanders to woodland wanders, where will your feet lead you next?

Standing Stones at Avebury

Avebury

If you’ve ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of our prehistoric ancestors, Avebury is the place to go. This special landscape is brimming with ancient history, from the mysterious Bronze Age cemetery known as Seven Barrows to the famous stone circles – the outer of which is the largest in the world. You can get up close to the stones to really experience history at your fingertips, or, from the top of the henge bank, try and see how far they spread into the distance. If you’re in search of peace and quiet you might want to explore the Avebury Manor garden with its series of characterful ‘rooms’ – Church Garden is a great spot to stop and enjoy a picnic. Those with plenty of energy might want to try the Wiltshire Walking Challenge with walks in 12 different places across the county, all through beautiful countryside.

Bright bluebells on the clifftops at Brean Down

Brean Down

When the sun is shining, there’s nothing better than escaping to the sea. Brean Down is only 33 miles from Bristol, and it’s the perfect place to roll up the trouser legs for a paddle. If you’re feeling energetic, clamber up 200 steps from the beach to the rugged headland with its ancient field systems and crumbling fortifications from the Napoleonic and Second World Wars. Up on the high cliffs you’ll find paths flanked by vibrant wildflowers, and you may even spot peregrine falcons soaring on thermals overhead or hear skylarks trilling in flight. After a walk to stretch the legs, take a trip to the Cove Café for a treat or find a sheltered spot on the beach to sit and watch the waves washing over the sand.

Children on the adventure playground at Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park

There’s plenty to keep young explorers occupied at Dyrham Park, from rolling down grassy slopes to balancing along natural beams and building dens in the hidden Hollow Ways play area. Toddlers can get their hands messy with regular wild woodland sessions, and the whole family can stretch their legs rambling around the parkland with one of our rangers in search of the resident herd of fallow deer. With all that running about in the fresh air your little ones might need a bit of a rest, so why not find a sunny spot in the tea garden to refuel with tasty snacks?

View over the parkland at Newark

Newark Park

On a clear day the view from this high point on the Cotswolds escarpment stretches to the Mendip Hills 30 miles away, but you don’t need to go that far to make the most of being outside. There’s plenty of space for the whole family to run wild here – whether you’re rambling through woods searching for geocaches, peering under logs to find bugs or spotting birds of prey soaring overhead. From late June your little ones will also be able to scramble, clamber and run around the new play garden, inspired by the stories and nature of Newark Park.

The Palladian Bridge and Bath skyline seen from Prior Park Landscape Garden

Prior Park

As spring blends into summer we begin to settle into the routine of long lazy days exploring the great outdoors. At Prior Park the last of the wild garlic is fading, replaced by the bold colours of cowslips and even a few orchids in the pasture. Take a wander along wooded pathways that reveal glimpses down the sweeping valley, or unfurl the picnic blanket beside the lake where the cygnets are getting bigger by the day. If you’re in need of refreshment you can seek out the Tea Shed tucked away among the trees, and find a peaceful nook to enjoy your reward. Tucked away in this sheltered haven, it’s easy to forget that the bustling city of Bath lies just beyond the treeline.

Children jumping off a log at Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield is the perfect place for adventurers both big and small to explore their wild side. Roam through acres of meadows and cool shady woods, settle down for a picnic in the garden or seek out one of the play areas scattered around the estate. Will you get your hands dirty building dens from sticks, fly through the air on the rope swing or test your balance on beams and ropes? Once a month you’ll find our storytellers in the garden, weaving tales inspired by classics like The Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland. There’s plenty to discover inside too, including a sneak peak behind the scenes, under floorboards and behind walls as we install a new fire alarm system. Can you spot all the tiny knitted firefighters who are keeping an eye on the work?