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Bristol is a thriving city, full of culture and history. It’s also extremely well-placed in southwest England for some excellent day trips.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most beautiful places you can visit in the region and some super fun activities you can try out. So grab your bags and get ready to explore as we look at the best day trips from Bristol.

Bath

Visit historic Bath as a day trip from Bristol

Visit historic Bath as a day trip from Bristol

Bath was famously the home of Jane Austen, but even if you’re not a fan of literature, you’ll still get something out of a trip to this charming town.

One of the biggest landmarks in Bath is the roman baths where you can find the ruins of a public bathing and socialising complex used by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. There’s an onsite museum to give you more information about the archaeological site and you can also take an audio tour.

If you want to try out some bathing for yourself, head to the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, England’s only thermal spa where the natural hot waters can work wonders for your health.

You can get to Bath by train several times throughout the day, including direct trains that will get you there in no time. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop at one of the many chic coffee shops or visit the Jane Austen Center.

Cardiff

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

It takes less than an hour to get from Bristol to Cardiff, making it a perfect day trip. As the capital of Wales, it’s full of great activities to fill your day.

First on your agenda should be the National Museum Cardiff, a free museum and art gallery all about Wales, including botany, zoology, and geology.

You should also visit Cardiff Castle, a medieval castle that sits at the heart of the city. Inside, you can explore the castle towers, visit the inner keep, and explore the courtyards.

Before heading back to Bristol, finish the day off with a little trip down to Cardiff Bay where you’ll find a huge range of bars and restaurants overlooking the marina as well as the millennium centre where you can catch an evening show.

Cheddar Gorge

Cliff Road in the Cheddar Gorge

Cliff Road in the Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is located about 30 kilometres from Bristol and makes an excellent day trip, it was voted the second greatest natural wonder in Britain (source).

If you love history, wildlife, or nature – or you simply have a sense of adventure – you should plan to spend a few hours here the next time you’re in the area.

It is a natural landmark where you can view gorgeous caves and cliffs, but it also includes exhibits to help you learn about long-ago ancestors.

Even better, you can go rock climbing or explore the caves on your own if you’d like to spend a little more time there.

Weston-super-Mare

If you’re looking for one of the best day trips from Bristol using public transport, you can take the train from Temple Meads to Weston-super-Mare in about 30 minutes.

This lovely seaside town is one you won’t forget, in part because it offers something for everyone. Included in the perks of visiting the town are quiet walks over Sand Bay, lively Punch and Judy shows, and a nostalgic pier.

You can also visit their impressive helicopter museum for lovers of flight, and don’t miss the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival if you’re there during the summertime.

Weston-super-Mare is home to a playhouse, theatre, several museums, and beautiful gardens. It also offers attractions such as arcades, fudge factories, eateries, and a go-kart track, making this a very fun place to visit.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey in the beautiful Wye Valley, perfect for a day trip from Bristol

Tintern Abbey in the beautiful Wye Valley, perfect for a day trip from Bristol

Located just over the border from Bristol in Wales, you can get to Tintern Abbey in around 30 minutes if you drive, or in roughly 2.5 hours by bus or train. Visiting the Abbey as well as the Wye Valley is one of the most beautiful day trips from Bristol.

The abbey was founded in the early 1100s and since then, it has changed a bit. Even from afar, the structure is nothing short of extraordinary, and as long as you wish to see something interesting, you can walk on the grounds and experience something new. The natural beauty it offers never fades, and it’s especially fun for people who love history.

The odd thing is that Tintern Abbey wasn’t really regularly tended to until the early 1900s, but since then it has been well taken care of and therefore, you can enjoy its magnificence today whenever you visit. Just the sheer size of the structure will surprise you.

Salisbury

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

In just over an hour by direct train, you can take a day trip from Bristol to the nearby city of Salisbury.

The city is home to Salisbury Cathedral which is famous for holding the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

And make sure you spend some time wandering the old city centre where you’ll find quaint little buildings and a mixture of architecture dating as far back as the middle ages.

Longleat Safari Park

Longleat is a drive-through safari park located just an hour away from Bristol so it makes for a perfect family day trip.

It opened in 1966 when it was the first park of its kind outside of Africa. Here, you’ll have the chance to see tons of safari animals, including giraffes, tortoises, lemurs, sheep, ostriches, zebras, and so many others. You can enjoy a boat cruise around Half Mile Lake or visit the monkey temple, which is nothing short of extraordinary.

Even better, you can stop and have a snack, buy souvenirs, or even schedule a wedding or other special event on the grounds. In other words, you won’t just be driving around looking at animals up close if you visit this attraction. There is a lot more to do.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds town of Lower Slaughter

The Cotswolds town of Lower Slaughter

The Cotswolds are only 50 miles from Bristol and can be reached in around an hour on a good day. It is an area located in Central South-West England known for its stone-built towns and villages made with iconic Cotswolds stone.

Some of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds are Chipping Campden, Broadway, and Cirencester.

Of course, you can get out and enjoy the rolling countryside too where you’ll find wildlife walks and manor houses dotted among beautiful landscapes.

We can all agree that some of the best things in life are free. However, visiting London is far from cheap and is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Apart from booking your accommodation and organising your train to London Kings Cross station, there’s so much to do in London without forking out a single penny – it’s just knowing where to go and what to do.

Whether you’re completely skint or just fancy stretching out your budget a little longer, here’s our list of the best things to do on your trip to London that are completely free.

The Tate Modern

Atrium in the Tate Modern, one of the best free things to do in London

Atrium in the Tate Modern

One of the most beloved attractions in London, the Tate Modern is home to a wide collection of permanent artwork including that of Picasso, Warhol and Matisse. The gallery lies in what was previously the Bankside Power Station on the south bank of the Thames.

Whilst some of the larger temporary exhibitions may require a fee, the permanent collection here is free to visit. If you’re a fan of galleries and museums, you should definitely organise a visit here during your stay.

Houses of Parliament

The iconic Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are one of the best things to do in London for free

The iconic Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are one of the best things to do in London for free

Built during the 19th century, the Houses of Parliament are a quintessentially British landmark, home to arguably the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben. If you’re a UK resident you can book a free ‘Inside UK Parliament’ guided tour up to six months in advance. All you need to do is contact a member of the House of Lords or your Member of Parliament (MP).

For everyone else, there are still guided tours of the Palace of Westminster but these require a paid ticket. You can also take an online guided tour, which is also free should you still want to take a look inside the neo-Gothic wonder.

Kensington Gardens

The sprawling Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

The sprawling Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Perfect for an afternoon stroll or picnic, Kensington Gardens is a stunning collection of trimmed lawns and beautiful fountains among the Royal Parks of London. There is a trove of attractions here just waiting to be explored, including the Serpentine Gallery and the Albert Memorial.

For the children, there is the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, which is home to a wooden pirate ship, a sensory trail and numerous play sculptures. Better still, all of the sights here are free, as are all of the other Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Regent’s Park. You can easily spend hours out in the open without breaking the bank.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard at the Victoria Memorial

Changing of the Guard at the Victoria Memorial

The most iconic ceremony that takes place in London is, of course, the changing of the guard. Typically, the event takes place outside Buckingham Palace at 11 am every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, but it’s always best to check the schedule before you arrive.

Dressed in their traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, the King’s Guard will march around in unison to music in a display of remarkable pageantry. During this, they will switch responsibilities with each other and return to their duties. Whilst it’s one of the best things to do in London for free, it is also very popular, so make sure to get there early if you want the best spot.

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in London

The Natural History Museum in London

One of the largest collections of nature in the whole world, boasting over 80 million items, the National History museum takes you back through time as far back as the Prehistoric Period.

Learn how the dinosaurs roamed the Earth from an animatronic T-rex or go see the humongous blue whale suspended from the ceiling. There is so much to do and see here that you can easily spend the whole day walking around the exhibits.

Whilst donations are welcome, the museum is free to enter, except for the special exhibits. It is always best to visit on weekdays after 2 pm or at opening time on a weekend if you don’t want to be stuck in long queues. You will also need to book your tickets prior to arrival and select your designated time.

Sky Garden

Hang out in the Sky Garden with a view of London below

Hang out in the Sky Garden with a view of London below

Providing some of the best views of Central London, the large glass dome is dedicated to three storeys of beautiful public gardens, including an open terrace and several observation decks. It’s the ideal place to hang out and pass a few hours and you can also grab a few drinks should you choose to do so. Visiting the Sky Garden is one of the best things to do in London for free.

You are free to explore the Sky Garden on weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm and weekends from 11 am to 9 pm. You can get your tickets online up to three weeks in advance and these can sell out quickly. Walk-ins are sometimes available so it may be worth visiting early in the day if you were unable to get yourself a ticket.

You may not immediately associate the bustling city of Glasgow with hiking, but the truth is that Glasgow offers easy access to a number of adrenaline-pumping trails. If you are moving to the city and you happen to be a keen outdoor adventurer, don’t miss these five awe-inspiring hikes within easy reach of the city.

West Highland Way

The West Highland Way Hike outside of Glasgow

The West Highland Way Hike outside of Glasgow

The West Highland Way is a famous hiking trail that winds through dramatic scenery all the way up to Fort William. This sometimes arduous trek was in the headlines most recently as actor Sam Heughan followed the Way to help him cope with the loss of his father.

While the entire hike is 76 miles, you can still trek a portion of it whenever you have a few hours to spare on the weekends. Simply make your way to the little town of Milngavie, and from the main street you will find a sign directing you to the Way.

Cort-Ma-Law Circuit

Overlooking Glasgow is the picturesque undulations of the Campsies. These rolling hills are a popular walking spot for many Glasgow residents, and you can soon become one of them. If you’re not yet a Glasgow resident, then you should seriously consider moving to the area. Not only for these hikes, but for the city itself.

Ensure you hire local services to get the most out of your move, they may even be able to give you hiking advice around Glasgow. Doree Bonner are a Glasgow removals company that could help you make it happen. Soon, you will be embarking on hikes like the Cort-Ma-Law without having to travel too far.

You can begin the sometimes steep but always breath-taking Cort-Ma-Law circuit, which leads you up to the summit of the hill for which it is named, and then onwards across the hilltops until you begin to descend again toward the B822, also known as Crow Road. This entire hiking route can be considered a half day walk and needs to be seen to be believed. If you live in the Glasgow region, then it won’t be far to go.

Dumgoyne

Located 14 miles from the city, you will find the steep volcanic mount of Dumgoyne, which – rather pleasingly – you can access from the Glengoyne Distillery if you would like your hike to include a whiskey-tasting bonus.

Climbing and descending Dumgoyne can be rather taxing, but if you extend your trek to include the gentler slope of the Earl’s Seat, you will be able to enjoy plenty of opportunities to drink in the stunning landscapes around you. Don’t miss the silvery glint of Loch Lomond off in the distance.

The Whangie

Explore the unique rock formations of the Whangie, just outside of Glasgow

Explore the unique rock formations of the Whangie, just outside of Glasgow

This rather amusingly named rock feature is located in the Kilpatricks, and offers a slightly challenging but undeniably picturesque 2.7 mile hike.

As you climb, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Loch Lomond, and once you reach the moorland at the top, the 360-degree views will take your breath away and amply compensate for any scrambling you had to do on the way up.

With the cost of everything soaring, the last thing anyone needs when they’re backpacking around Europe is to be hit with hefty data roaming charges that can leave a big hole in your wallet. But many Brits are still unaware that they’re racking up huge mobile bills when abroad, leaving them outraged when they get back home and discover they’ve been unknowingly clocking up data charges as they travelled.

Since Britain left the European Union, most mobile networks stopped providing free roaming in EU countries, which allow their citizens to make calls and use mobile data at no additional cost while in member states. But Brits may not know that when they’re in an EU nation and using data for such things as maps and messaging that they’re incurring charges that could add up to large sums.

According to a survey commissioned by mobile network Lebara UK, some Brits are paying up to £1,000 in roaming charges while on holiday in the EU. As many as one-third of British people holidaying in places like France, Spain and Italy were paying such enormous bills that were mostly made up of roaming charges, the survey found.

Other destinations where Brits were holidaying when they were being charged for mobile data roaming included Germany, Greece and Croatia. Respondents to the survey, carried out by OnePoll in early August and involving 2,000 people, also visited the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.

What’s All the Roaming About?

When you’re backpacking around Europe, in towns and cities you don’t know, the most essential tool is right there in your pocket — allowing you to easily find hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs, and snap all the sights as you go. Sharing picturesque images with pals on social media is another must-do while abroad, making them green with envy that you’re on your travels in exciting places while they’re stuck at home.

So it’s no surprise that almost half of survey respondents (44%) said they used mobile data for social media use in EU countries — posting pics to Instagram, TikTok and other online platforms to keep their followers updated. A total of 42% of those who took part in the poll said they used mobile data for maps, so they could quickly locate the places they wanted to be. Others (28%) streamed music on their mobile devices; 20% used mobile data for gaming; and 16% were looking for love while abroad — not in pubs and clubs but via dating apps.

Avoiding Big Roaming Charges in the EU

Before you head overseas on your next big trip, check with your mobile network provider to see if free roaming in the EU is included in your package, or if there are extra charges. Even if you have to pay more, small sums can quickly add up when you’re downloading, streaming, scrolling or searching on your phone.

For those unlucky enough to have no free EU roaming, they may want to consider getting a SIM-only deal before they head away. These are available in the UK from networks like Lebara and they don’t tie you into any contracts and provide the amount of EU data roaming you’re likely to need.

So when you get to your destination, swap out your usual SIM for your new one, giving you the freedom to roam like home. You can then enjoy your holiday without the worry of clocking up data charges as you travel and being landed with a massive bill when you get back that would certainly ruin the happy memories of those carefree European days.

People go backpacking for any number of reasons. The genre really got off the ground in the late 1960s when hippies headed east in search of spiritual enlightenment, and by the 1980s, taking a year off to explore Australia or Latin America became almost a rite of passage.

Recent years have seen the rise of more niche backpacking trips, including long-distance hiking, visiting historic sites such as battlefields and especially sports. Every year, for example, thousands of English cricket fans follow their team to exotic destinations such as the West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, combining their sporting passion with exploring distant lands on the cheap.

The same goes for hardcore horse racing fans. The Sport of Kings boasts a long history not just in the US and the UK but around the world, and fans are willing to travel long distances to see the best races while at the same time poking around the towns and cities which play host to them.

We’ve picked three examples of great travel locations which boast classic horse racing along with plenty of other things to do and see to keep backpackers occupied during their short stay there.

Lexington

Lexington Kentucky, a famous destination for horse racing fans

Let’s start close to home and Lexington, Kentucky. Imagine combining history and horses in one short trip! They have been distilling bourbon, a type of corn whisky which takes its name from a French royal family, in the region for almost 150 years now, and Lexington sits at the very heart with a large number of distilleries to visit. The Buffalo Trace Distillery on the Kentucky River is one of the oldest in the land and even stayed open during prohibition. As for history, take time to visit Mary Todd Lincoln House, one-time home to the wife of Abraham Lincoln, before a peaceful stroll around the peaceful Lexington Cemetry, home to three lakes, 179 species of birds and more than 200 types of trees as well as being the final resting place of many a famous Kentuckian.

Then there are the horses! Whether it’s horse farms, museums, studs or the world-famous Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, in nearby Louisville, the equine world runs through the Kentucky DNA. Closer to Lexington itself is Keeneland which frequently plays host to the Breeder’s Cup, one of the biggest events on the US racing calendar. This year, Medina Spirit will be hoping to improve on second place in 2021, and put the disappointment of Ketucky Derby disqualification in the

Melbourne

Melbourne's Central Station

Melbourne’s Central Station

As mentioned earlier, there is a long tradition of backpacking in Australia. The vast distances involved, the natural beauty and the relative ease of getting around continue to entice travelers from around the world looking for an adventurous or sporting break. As the capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne’s cosmopolitan population has left its mark on the city’s dining options, with Greek, Italian, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants proving to be very popular. Then there are its natural attractions, including the spectacular Great Ocean Road with its beaches and bays as well as the Twelve Apostles, stunning rock formations jutting up from the ocean.

But Melbourne is also sports-daft! It hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Australian Open in tennis and its own local games; Australian Rules Football often attracts attendances in excess of 60,000, while the official website Visit Victoria lists many other orthodox and less orthodox activities. But everything comes to a halt on one day in November when the Melbourne Cup hits Flemington. With many of the Covid-19 restrictions now behind us, race organizers can be looking forward to crowds of 80-90,000 returning for the biggest horse racing event in the Southern Hemisphere. And those crowds will be witnessing the favorite in the Ladbrokes horse racing odds, Loft, attempting to secure the $4.4 million prize. Whilst his stable will be expecting the win, the Melbourne Cup often serves up a shock, especially in 2009 when Shocking won, and it is this uncertainty which makes the race so special.

Ascot

Check out some horse racing near historic Windsor Castle

Check out some horse racing near historic Windsor Castle

Ascot, a small, nondescript town just outside of London, sits in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and it is that regal link which explains its worldwide fame. A short drive up the road sits the impressive Windsor Castle, nigh on 1,000 years of British history lies behind its thick walls and the expansive Windsor Great Park, originally laid out as a private hunting ground for the folks in the castle but now a delightful place for a walk. On the opposite bank of the River Thames is the elite Eton College, where future politicians and inheritors of royal seats receive their expensive education.

Ascot comes alive every June for the Royal Meeting, one of the highlights of the British social calendar. Britain’s pomp and ceremony vie for attention with the racing as each day of the meet starts with the Royal Procession when the Royal Family arrive and take their place in the exclusive Royal Enclosure. But away from the pageantry and the dressing up, the meet offers up some of the finest races in the world, including the prestigious Gold Cup and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the most budget-friendly place to watch these races is in the Windsor Enclosure, which provides a more informal environment. After witnessing the British all dressed up, head back to Windsor and enjoy a meal on the Thames as the sunsets on another exciting day out.


Backpacking started off as a cheap form of travel where interacting with local communities was just as important as visiting a museum. Themed trips such as those mentioned above continue that fine tradition.