If you’re visiting Bristol for a few days you’ll find more than enough to do in this vibrant city. Steeped in history but also a national media hub and the site of a leading university, Bristol is the perfect synthesis of history and modernity.
But after you’ve experienced some of what the city has to offer you might want to head out and explore the surrounding area. Here are three interesting places to visit near Bristol that are worth taking the time to explore.
1. The CotswoldsImage courtesy of Philip Halling
If you want to get out of the hectic bustle of the city and enjoy some quiet then you have to take some time to explore the Cotswolds. This vast stretch of rolling hills and verdant fields is the biggest area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales. To explore it fully would take weeks and weeks, so if you’ve only a day to spare it’s important to make the most of it. A trip to Painswick is a must if you want to experience a perfect chocolate box village, with beautiful Cotswold cottages lining its narrow streets. There is a selection of shops and restaurants in the town and you can take a stroll around the Rococo Gardens in the grounds of Painswick House.
Image courtesy of Tony Hisgett
Keeping with the rural theme, a visit to Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is an absolute must, especially for amateur ornithologists. Located near Bristol on the Severn estuary, Slimbridge was the first WWT opened in the UK. Its mission is to provide a safe environment for many species of ducks, geese and swan, both native and the seasonal migratory birds. Part of the reserve is landscaped to allow visitors to explore and catch glimpses of some of the inhabitants. Of course there’s more than water fowl to see, with Peregrine Falcons and Merlins a regular sight.
Image courtesy of David Fisher
This limestone gorge is regarded as one of the natural wonders of Great Britain. It is home to a set of caves, two of which are open to the public: Gough’s Cave and Cox’s Cave. The caves served as the inspiration for Tolkien’s fictional Helm’s Deep in The Lord Of The Rings and can be explored on foot. But if you want to get your hands (and the rest of you) dirty you can go on a guided caving expedition which will take you into the depths of the system, all under the experienced eye of caving instructors. But if you’d rather not venture into the dark then the area around the Gorge is stunning, and a trip up the 275 roughly-hewn steps of Jacob’s Ladder will give you a sweeping view over the surrounding area. There’s also a museum of prehistory on the site which reveals the Gorge’s ancient history, as well as hilltop walks and a café for refuelling.
So next time you’re in Bristol be sure to check out these and the multitude of other interesting places to visit near Bristol.
Do you have a favourite place to visit near Bristol? We’d love to hear about it.