Top 7 walks to discover in Bristol

Best Bristol walk: View of Bristol from Ashton Court

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Bristol or if you’re looking for a lovely Sunday stroll, I would recommend these 7 walks in Bristol. From trendy Harbourside to stately Ashton Court, all suggested walks will let you explore Bristol off the beaten path and enjoy the green spaces in the city. Find city walks, woodland walks and river walks to suit your fancy. All walks can be tailored to the distance you want, from 20 minutes to a couple of hours.

Contents:
1. Trendy Harbourside
2. The grand streets of Clifton and Redland
3. The classic Downs
4. Serene Leigh Woods
5. Stately Ashton Court
6. Hidden Snuff Mills
7. Hilly Blaise Castle Estate

1. Trendy Harbourside

Famed by locals and tourists alike, the Harbourside walk is the best walk in the heart of Bristol city. Perfect for a Sunday stroll with your family, friends and dogs, this river walk leads you along the waterfront on Spike Island, from the M Shed museum to the tip of Spike Island. All you need to do is follow the signposted route.

Best Bristol walk: Views of Hotwells colourful houses from Harbourside
Views of Hotwells from the Harbourside

The walk is dotted with many top attractions, such as the M Shed museum, the SS Great Britain, Banksy’s Girl with the Pierced Eardrum graffiti, Bristol Marina and the Underfall Yard. Many cafés and pubs also line the Harbourside offering a well-deserved rest and refreshment. If you venture to the tip of Spike Island, which I would recommend despite its unappealing look, you can enjoy fantastic views of Clifton Village and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

2. The grand streets of Clifton and Redland

Another great walk in Bristol explores the streets of Clifton and Redland. Forget about Whiteladies Road and Princess Victoria Street, and venture into the back streets and side streets of these two Victorian neighbourhoods. Which route should you follow for this city walk? Try College Road, St John’s Road and Ravenswood Road. Pick a street that tugs at your heart strings and get lost in the maze of streets.

Best Bristol walk: Grand architecture in Clifton Village
Victorian building in Clifton Village

Both Clifton and Redland offer some of the best Victorian architecture in Bristol. The terraced houses and streets are a marvel to discover. The neighbourhoods also tend to be quiet and peaceful, so you can enjoy the grandiose architecture among the blooming trees bordering the streets.

3. The classic Downs

The Downs is a large park at the top of Clifton that is well-known by locals. Ideal for strolling, playing sports, walking your dog, sunbathing and picnicking, The Downs consists of Clifton Down to the south and Durdham Down to the north. You can easily reach the Downs from Bristol centre by walking up Whiteladies Road.

Best Bristol walk: Green space in The Downs with sun setting
Clifton Down parkland

The south western edge of the Downs stops at the Avon Gorge. From the viewpoint near Circular Road, you can enjoy lovely views of the gorge as well as the Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you’re lucky, the ice cream van might even be there to greet you. From here you can also admire charming sunsets over the gorge.

4. Serene Leigh Woods

Leigh Woods is on the opposite side of the Avon gorge to the Downs and can be accessed by crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The name Leigh Woods denotes the village as well as the woods. While the village presents some interesting houses and buildings, the serene woodland offers one of the most beautiful walks in Bristol. There are two entrances and two car parks (free at the time of writing), one on North Road and one on Valley Road.

View of Avon Gorge, Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol from Leigh Woods
View of Clifton Suspension Bridge from Leigh Woods

The forest is interspersed with paths, but don’t be fooled, it is easy to get lost if you don’t know the woods well. A map of the woodland trails is available at the two entrance sites. From the south eastern edge of the forest, you can enjoy stunning views of the gorge as well as the Clifton Suspension bridge. The woods also descend into the valley from where you can join the river Avon path.

5. Stately Ashton Court

Ashton Court is a verdant park and wood set in the grounds of a stately manor. The bright yellow mansion is located in the heart of the park and now hosts a café. Ashton Court is reachable by foot via the Clifton Suspension bridge and Leigh Woods, or via Hotwells by crossing the river. There are three car parks on-site, all pay and display.

Best Bristol walk: Deer park in Ashton Court with views of Bristol
Deer park in Ashton Court

Ashton Court offers many attractions, such as deer parks, walking trails to enjoy with your family, friends and dogs, a golf course and a mountain bike course. The park is one of the take-off sites for the famous hot air balloons you regularly see flying over Bristol. Ashton Court also presents lovely views of the city of Bristol and its surrounding valleys and hills.

6. Hidden Snuff Mills

Snuff Mills is a woodland area that follows the River Frome. The woods create an enchanting setting for a river walk along the Frome Valley Walkway. Snuff Mills is hidden in the Stapleton area of Bristol, a 15-minute drive from the centre. The entrance and car park for the landmark can be found along the quaint street of River View.

Best Bristol walk: River walk in Snuff Mills
Frome Valley Walkway in Snuff Mills

Snuff Mills, as its name indicates, features old mills dotted along the riverbank which you can explore. Nested in an enchanting valley, the landmark seems a timeless place and you easily forget that you are in the city. If you follow the riverside path upstream, you will reach Oldbury Court Estate, the grounds of a former stately home now transformed into a leisure area.

7. Hilly Blaise Castle Estate

Blaise Castle Estate is a large park and woodland located 20 minutes to the north west of Bristol centre. Blaise Castle offers one of the top walks in Bristol. The park is set on a hill so the maze of woodland paths can be steep. If you venture into the woods, don’t forget to check out the map and try not to get lost.

Best Bristol walk: Blaise Castle Estate
Blaise Castle

Blaise Castle Estate houses, in the parkland, a 19th century mansion now turned into a social history museum. A folly castle overlooking Bristol is hidden at the top of the highest hill in the heart of the woodland. To reach the castle, just walk up the steepest paths and you should reach the small clearing housing the castle.

Explore Bristol further

From the majestic Clifton Village to the hip Gloucester Road and charming Harbourside, discover the vibrant and eclectic Bristol neighbourhoods. Check out the top places to visit with the Bristol travel guides and discovery tours by A Dragon’s Escape.

View of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Clifton from Spike Island
Clifton Suspension Bridge & Clifton Village

Explore more: Walks beyond Bristol

From the Cotswolds to the Mendip Hills, the Brecon Beacons and beyond, escape the hustle and bustle of Bristol city and walk along charming country paths, across enchanting valleys and over breathtaking hills. Explore country walks, coastal walks and mountain walks and find the top 7 walks near Bristol.

Rolling hill with stone wall and sheep grazing on the Crook Peak walk in the Mendip Hills near Bristol
Rolling hills on the Crook Peak walk

Plan your escape

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the Escape travel guide packed full of ideas to explore Bath, Bristol, the Cotswolds and beyond. To receive this exclusive guide as well as inspirations every month to explore and plan your escape, enter your email address and subscribe to the Escape Monthly newsletter.


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References: Visit Bristol, Visit Bristol (2)

Featured image: View of Bristol from Ashton Court

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