Bristol is an incredible city to visit because there are so many amazing galleries, restaurants, cafes, and small businesses to explore and enjoy. In fact, the Sunday Times recently voted Bristol as the best UK city to live in. The only downside to living in Bristol is that there’s no beach side in walking distance from the city. However, just outside of Bristol there are many famous and beautiful beaches. Many beaches are just a 90-minute commute out of the city. It’s that easy! Continue reading to discover the top 15 beaches near Bristol that are perfect for a fun day out of the city!
Beaches near Bristol:
1- Severn Beach, South Gloucestershire – one of most popular beaches near Bristol
This beach is a popular destination because it’s just so close to the city. It’s only a brief 25-minute cruise by car or a 40-minute trip by train. Just hop on the train at Bristol Temple Meads. This is the perfect length of time because if you head out early you have the whole day to enjoy everything that South Gloucestershire has to offer. There are some really picturesque drives and walks in the area where you can relax and recharge and soak in the wholesome atmosphere of this sleepy town. If you’re an avid bird watcher you may see some rare birds if you are lucky enough to go there during the migrating season.
On top of this, Shirley’s Café is a happening spot right on the beach. It’s the best place to pick up some fish and chips to make your beach getaway complete!
2- Southerndown beach, Vale of Glamorgan
The idyllic views from the cliffs on Southerndown are absolutely unforgettable. There are also many great recreational activities to sink your teeth into like surfing, paddling, or even hunting for fossils. If this wasn’t enough there’s also a fascinating winding walk that takes you to a historical castle on the water. There are also some reasonably priced cottages and holiday homes for rent if you want to make a weekend out of your trip!
It takes approximately one hour and 13 minutes to drive from Bristol to Dunraven Bay, where you’ll find the beautiful Southerndown Beach. It’s more convenient to drive to the beach so this one isn’t strongly recommended for those who are travelling without a car! As already mentioned, this town is rich with historic buildings and heritage walks. This is why you could definitely fill in a couple of days exploring this gem of town!
3- Bluepool Corner, Gower
This incredible beach is also located in Wales but it’s definitely worth the slightly longer trip! Getting to Bluepool Corner from Bristol can take up to two hours. This is why it’s a much better option if you have the whole weekend to spend in the area. However, even if you’re just there for the day you’ll love Bluepool Corner. Many people travel to this beach to swim in the Blue Pool, a stunning emerald natural bath in the rock face. It’s an incredible experience to just dip your toes into this natural wonder! There’s also a little bit of local history to whet your appetite! The cliffs surrounding the bay were damaged in the 18th century in an attempt to discover treasure that was left from a Portugese shipwreck!
4- Sand Bay, Weston-Super-Mare
If you’re looking for the perfect beach getaway with your family then look no further than Sand Bay Beach. It’s nestled in the heart of the Weston-Super-Mare, which is one of the most famous beaches in the area. This is a fantastic spot for young children to explore the beach. It’s actually quite close to Bristol clocking in at just a 45-minute drive from the city. In fact, from the long sandy beach you can look over the Bristol Channel towards South Wales and relax and soak up the sun! Also, pets are allowed without a leach on the beach so it’s also a great spot to bring the family pup!
5- Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset – one of most popular beaches near Bristol
This is one of the most popular and well-known beaches near Bristol. Burnham-on-Sea is quite close to the touristic Weston-Super-Mare, but it has a more down-to-earth feel to it. The small town that overlooks the seafront is very sweet and it has a handful of great restaurants and small-shops. If you have young children, Burnham-on-Sea is a really convenient option. There is a romantic promenade where you can go for long walks with a pram or a little toddler who wants to run and explore! There are even lovely play areas marked out so your family can enjoy the beach safe and sound.
The best part is that Burnham-on-Sea is only a 40-minute drive from Bristol. You can even park your car at the beach if you arrive before five. It’s also easy to get there by train, just keep in mind that the station is a little distance from the beach, so you’ll need to get a bus from the station to the seafront.
If this wasn’t enough, the beach is only a hop-skip-and-a-jump to Berrow and Brean. This is a beach that is a massive 7 miles long! In fact, it’s one of the longest beaches in all of Europe! Just keep in mind that you will need to check the tide times before heading out to this beach. This is just so you can make sure that you’ll be able to have a dip and cool off!
6- Portishead, North Somerset
Now, the city of Portishead doesn’t technically have a beach. However, before you scroll down to the next destination it’s definitely worthwhile checking out what this place has to offer.
This hotpost destination is only a 20-minute drive from Bristol. I repeat, a 20-minute drive! This small town is very hip and it has a diverse selection of restaurants, pubs, and shops to explore. The best part of Portishead if that you can enjoy a lovely view of the Bristol Channel. There is a great spot called the Lake Grounds where you can stroll through the gardens, enjoy the view, hire a boat, or take a toy boat to play with in the pond. There’s even a café, playground, and trampolines for the whole family to enjoy.
Even though there is no beach in Portishead it still has so much to offer young families wanting a relaxing break out of Bristol! The fact that it is so close to the city centre also means that you can make it there for a breezy day-trip without too much time spent on the roads.
7- Barry Island, Wales
There is so much to do and see in Barry Island. It’s only takes about an hour to get there by car. If you want to take public transport the train take a bit over 2-hours and can cost as little as £15. Approximately 23 trains head to Barry Island every day so there are a lot of options to get there and back home. There is even parking available on the street so it goes without saying that Barry is an easy and accessible place to get to.
When you’re actually on the island, there is a fun theme park and quaint beach called Whitmore Bay. There are even some colourful beach huts littering the sand that make for a great photo opportunity.
The Barry Island Pleasure Park has family rides and also games for older folks like dodgems! The promenade has some great cafes and amusements. It’s also the setting of the famous T.V. show Gavin and Stacey. So if you’re a fan you’ll definitely enjoy checking out the area! There’s so much to do and see that if you want to skip the large summer crowds you can make a trip there in the cooler months. You’ll still enjoy the fresh sea breeze and get a break from the hustle and bustle of Bristol.
8- Saint Audrie’s Bay, Somerset
This gorgeous spot is nestled at the foot of Quantock Hills. This bay has a pebbled beach and a nice view of the Bristol Channel. There is something so exotic about Saint Audrie’s Bay that keeps visitors coming back for more. What make this spot famous are the two spectacular waterfalls that cascade down the cliffs and into the beach. Not to mention the lush natural surroundings that make your feel a million miles away from Bristol. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes to get to Saint Audrie’s Bay.
It’s also quite easy to park and access this relaxing bay. There’s parking available at the holiday park and they also have a small shop in case you need to stock up on sunscreen or snacks! Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to get to Audrie’s Bay via bus or train. It can take over 3-hours so it’s not as convenient as many other options on this list. However, if you have the time and you’re planning on staying for a couple of days then it’s still a budget friendly option!
Also, keep in mind that there are quite a few steps down to the bay. Even though this keeps it private and secluded it isn’t a recommended trek for young children or elderly people. Dogs are also allowed on this beach and it’s also a great spot for fishing enthusiasts. Overall, this is definitely one of the most private getaways from Bristol that you’ll find along the coast!
9- Kilve Beach, Quantocks
Kilve is a very romantic and special beach along the coast. It’s only a little over an hour drive from Bristol and an almost 2-hour bus trip. However, it’s well worth it to travel out of your way to discover this unique spot. Kilve Beach is located in the Quantocks, halfway between Minehead and Bridgwater. When it’s low tide there are an endless amount of rock pools to explore. This is why it’s a very popular option for families with young children. Even if the weather isn’t perfect for a dip in the sea it’s still great for relaxing and spending quality time with those that you love. As you can imagine, this is a hot spot for romantic picnics and spreads. So don’t forget to bring some cheese platters, fruit, sandwiches, and other delicious snacks!
This is the kind of place that you want to come and think as it just has that poetic energy to it. In fact, Wordsworth once spent some time living at Alfoxden House, a building near the beach, with his sister. This celebrated poet even mentioned this the Kilve beach in a poem. With a recommendation like that, how can you refuse? Although there is a picnic area and dogs are allowed keep in mind that there is no lifeguard service or any shops or businesses in the immediate area. However, in our opinion, this is part of its wild and romantic charm.
10- Dunster North Beach, Somerset
This great spot is just an hour and a half drive from Bristol. Many people living in the city actually try to make a trip out here at least once a year to escape the city rush. The pebbly beach is close by a stunning gold course and affordable holiday village. The views overlooking the Bristol Channel are breathtaking. If you get a little bored just lying on the beach all day then Dunster could be the place for you! This is because it’s a very popular spot for walkers. There is a 25-mile path that goes along the coast and cuts through the beach. On top of this, there is also the West Somerset Railway Line, which still runs with a vintage steam train. Passing through the countryside in this old train can really take you back in time!
There are also plenty of parking spots available near the beach. Actually, it’s quite simple to drive right next to the sand if you have any one in your group with limited mobility. The nearest town is Minehead where you can pick up any essential items!
Top 15 Beaches close to Bristol
11- Bossington Beach, Minehead
Bossington Beach is one of the most picturesque and private beaches on this entire list. It’s just under a two-hour drive from the center of Bristol and it’s totally worth the hike. You can also park at the National Trust in Bossington village and take a short walk the rest of the way. This will also give you a chance to check out the local town!
The pebbled beach is quite large and it has a lovely backdrop of farmland and rolling hills. You really feel like you’re in the beating heart of regional England. Even though the beach is really special there’s so much more to explore here. There is an absolutely unique ecosystem thriving in the marshland near Bossington Beach. Every season there is always a diverse array of birds and insects that live in this area. Even if you’re not passionate about bird watching, everyone will find something to see here. When you’re visiting Bossington Beach it’s impossible not to feel the history all around you.
Just a short walk along the beach and you’ll find several WWII forts and even limekilns that were used to produce limestone for agriculture. These structures are still standing strong and are interesting to see if you’re at all curious about local history!
Now, most importantly, keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to swim at Bossington Beach. Unfortunately, the currents are very strong so swimming is not advised.
One of the best parts of Bossington Beach is the town. It’s a quaint English-village with sweet looking cottages and gardens. You’ll definitely feel a million miles away from the city here!
12- Clevedon Beach, North Somerset
This beach is in a little Victorian seaside village nestled right next to the Bristol Channel. The beachside is pebbly and it’s a popular area for people looking for sea glass. You’ll find a lot of beautiful little pebbles amongst the rocky shore. One of the most unique features of this beach is the historical pier. It costs £3 for adults to walk down it and admire the channel. This pier actually has a rich film history. It was in a One Direction video and was a film set for the dramatic film “Never Let Me Go”.
This amazing beach really deserves a couple of days to enjoy everything it has to offer. Just a short distance from these pebbly shores there is a fascinating garden and vintage Victorian bandstand. If you don’t feel like taking a dip in the sea there is also a recreational lake that offers swimming, canoeing, sailing, and even the popular extreme sport, zorbing!
If you have young ones with you there’s even a nice playground and a miniature train ride. The coastal walks are absolutely spectacular. There are also a wide range of cafes and restaurants available. Some of the most popular include Salthouse Bar & Restaurant, Five The Beach, and Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust, to mention but a few!
13- Ogmore by Sea, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
This is another great beach in our list that’s in the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan. Ogmore by Sea has so many things to offer people traveling out of Bristol for the day. It’s only 75 minutes by car so it’s not too far out of the city. The beaches are sandy and golden. There is also a convenient car park located right next to the beach. Generally, it should only cost you £6 for a full day of parking. This makes Ogmore by Sea quite an affordable day trip.
If you have little children then you will love Ogmore. There are little rock pools spread around the beach that is perfect if you want to avoid any rough seas for early swimmers. One of the best parts about this beach is that it’s one of Wales’s best-kept secrets. Come Summer time you won’t find it hard to find a spot. The beach is quite expansive so you will have the privacy to relax with your loved ones and also have some quality “me time”.
If this wasn’t enough there are also stunning dunes, the ruins of Ogmore Castle are nearby, and there is a relaxing coastal walk. There are even some nice restaurants and cafes in the area if you want to grab a bite to eat or have a refreshing drink!
14- Rest Bay, Porthcawl, Wales
Are you a bit of an adventure seeker? Then forget about the tourist traps and head to Rest Bay! This beach is very popular with amateur and professional surfers alike. Almost every day, you’ll find a bunch of surfers waiting for that perfect wave. Actually, most days the surf can be pretty good! There are even some brave souls trying windsurfing! Even though this is a surfer’s paradise, Rest Bay is also popular among avid walkers and families.
The beach is sandy and the coast is enormous. It’s just a beautiful beach to visit all year round. Porthcawl is just a little over an hour by car and it’s also easy to get there by bus or train. Most journeys will take under two-hours, so it’s a great destination for everyone!
15- Layde Bay, Somerset
This little cove is a pretty big secret amongst locals. This is a very lovely part of the Somerset coast. There’s also a nice wooden boardwalk that takes you to the Celedon Seafront. Like a couple of other beaches in the list swimming isn’t recommended unless you’re a very strong swimmer. The tides are just a little too strong. However, this beach attracts a lot of climbers, dog owners, and families who are enjoying a relaxing day by the waves. Layde Bay is just a short drive out of the city and you’ll feel refreshed and recharged after a day of chilling by this pretty spot.
Now you have found out about top 15 beaches near Bristol, but…
These are just a few of the beaches near Bristol that are great for a day out with family and friends. There are so many more places to discover and enjoy near this vibrant and diverse city! With so many amazing beaches at your fingertips, you’d be crazy not to head out and explore everything these places have to offer.
To find out more about getting to and from beaches near Bristol check out the link below. Here you can work out your best route and even purchase your train tickets ahead of time!