Sponsored Post: Sandwiched between the Cotswolds and Mendip Hills, there are plenty of gert mint lush outdoor activities up for grabs in Brizzle!
Recently voted the UK’s Most Liveable City by The Times, Bristol was also recognised as the Green Capital 2015 and designated the UK’s first ‘Cycle City.’ As you’d expect given its location close to both the Mendip Hills and the ocean, there are more than enough adventure opportunities to accommodate its outdoorsy city dwellers.
Here’s the lowdown on the best Bristol activities on offer.
1. Ashton Court
If you take a look at a map of Bristol, you’ll notice gaping green space to the west of the City Centre. Ashton Court mansion was once an estate owned by a wealthy family of merchants. Now managed by the city council, this Grade 2 protected area of natural beauty is one of the most loved of Bristol’s many green spaces. Two fantastic MTB trails have been built in the area – the closest to any city in the UK! You can hire bikes on site, and get lessons and coaching if need be too.
For those looking for a more sedate afternoon outdoors, there are also two “Pitch and Putt” golf courses, a deer park and several miles of walking trails. The estate has also played host to several music festivals through the years.
It’s fair to say that Bristol likes its festivals. The biggest (and some say the best) has to be the Harbour Festival, a celebration of Bristol’s nautical past. It’s a free festival, boasting several music stages scattered around the city, plus a French food market and various interactive workshops. Another flagship festival is the annual Balloon Fiesta: the twice daily ascent, with the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge as a backdrop, is a sight to behold.
Food, cider and beer festivals have also become increasingly popular, as Bristol’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene steps outdoors. Some of the best include Foodies Festival, Love Food Festival and Bristol Beer Festival (held in the Brunel built Passenger Shed).
3. Rock climbing
Bristol’s rock climbing enthusiasts are lucky enough to enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in the country in Avon Gorge, a deep rocky gash winding its way through the landscape (and designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The climbing is great too, with 70m high crags of quarried limestone offering up plenty of challenge. Several specialist companies offer rock climbing and abseiling activity days for beginners.
4. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is fast becoming one of the most popular water sports around the world – plenty of fun for all the family, and excellent balance and core training. Bristol’s River Avon is one of the most scenic and easily accessible urban locations around, but there are also plenty of beaches nearby if you want to catch a few waves.
5. West Country Games
A trip to Bristol would not be complete without immersing yourself in the rustic ways of the West Country and its curious traditions. West Country Games celebrate all things ‘West,’ so don your wellies and straw hats and prepare for a hilarious day out! Battle it out with your mates in funny games such as Vicky Pollard Handbags, The Cider Run, Mangold Dangling and Wurzel Knockout to name just a few.
When your Mangold really has been completely dangled, head to the farm restaurant on site for a picnic lunch washed down with local cider to round off a great day in the country. Proper job!
Bristol’s ballooning heritage goes back a long way, with Cameron Balloons building them locally since 1971. There really is no better way of seeing Bristol’s famous Avon Gorge and Suspension Bridge than from a small wicker basket high up in the skies!
A real summer highlight would be to combine your ballooning experience with the aforementioned Balloon Fiesta, when hundreds ascend over the weekend.
7. Urban Adventure Challenge – Bristol Outdoor Activity Company
A mashup of orienteering, problem solving and adventure racing, this activity is a fantastic way for a group of friends or colleagues to bond together. Conveniently located around Bristol’s historic Harbourside, the area is divided into separate zones with various challenges to complete. You and your team must use a map and compass to navigate the course, and outwit the other competitors to win the challenge.
8. Leigh Woods Walking Trails
The Avon Gorge, a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is the perfect backdrop for the Leigh Woods walking trails. Dozens of interlinking trails loop their way through the woods, before opening up to offer stunning views of the gorge. They really are a local hidden gem: what other city allows you to move from city to nature with just a 30 minute walk from the Harbourside?
This post is sponsored by West Country Games.