It’s getting cold outside and a chill has snuck into all our houses. Yes, you could stick the heating on and pour money down the drain. Or, you could get outside and warm up those bones by walking about. Nothing beats seeing wrapping up and tackling the crisp landscape of England at this time of year – it’s our belief that the country never looks more beautiful during the winter months – especially when your end destination is a pub. So try one of these winter walks near Bristol that all end at a pub.
It seems obvious, but when you can’t be bothered to leave Bristol the Harbourside provides one of the city’s best walks. Wandering all the way from the Old City to Underfall Yard, you’ll take in many of the city’s greatest sights, from the SS Great Britain to the colouful houses of Cliftonwood, as well as all the boats, rowers and birds on the water.
There’s no shortage of pubs either – this helpful budget pub crawl goes all around the harbour – but we recommend stopping at the Grain Barge, the floating pub boat. Our tip: Stop for a veggie roast on a Sunday.
Grain Barge, Hotwell Rd, Bristol BS8 4RU
2. Blaise Castle
A little further out, but still in Bristol, we could spend all day discovering/getting lost in the grounds of Blaise Castle. From the 400 acres of parkland – full of babbling brooks and exciting overgrowth – to the glade where this folly sits the landscape is like nothing else you’ll find in the city. Situated only a stone’s throw from the gates of the Blaise Castle Estate, The Blaise Inn is the perfect start and end to your visit to this beautiful area.
The Blaise Inn, 260 Henbury Rd, Henbury, Bristol BS10 7QR
3. River Avon
The River Avon Trail scratches all the way from Pill to Pulteney Bridge in Bath. You might not want to walk all that way, but if you start in the east of Bristol you’ll find plenty of brilliant pubs on the way into our sister city. We talked about all the riverside pubs between Bristol and Bath here, but realistically you won’t be able to do them all in one day and is worth breaking up. If starting in Bristol, we recommend getting as far as the Old Lock & Weir, a traditional boozer specialising in ale and cider. But the Jolly Sailor and The Boathouse are both worth planning your winter walks around from Bristol.
Old Lock & Weir Inn, Ferry Rd, Bristol BS15 3NU
Take in the picturesque village of Pensford, as you wander by pretty cottages, beneath the breathtaking Pensford Viaduct and follow the River Chew. If you fancy turning a decent walk into a big walk, a detour to the Stanton Drew Stone Circle should be on the cards – it’s one of the largest stone circles in the country with 26 surviving upright stones.
For pubs afterwards, there are three in the village of Pensford. The George and Dragon, The Travellers Rest and, our pick, The Rising Sun – it has one of the best beer gardens in England, which might not be a must for winter walks but is still handy to know.
The Rising Sun, Church St, Pensford, Bristol BS39 4AQ
5. Chew Magna
The Chew Valley Circular is a fairly easy walk, and only takes about an hour, but is no less lovely because of it. Discovering this quaint village and the valley of the River Chew, you’ll come across old churches, great houses and ancient bridges on your winter walk. Fancy something a bit more arduous? Well, you’ve got the whole of the Mendips on your doorstep from Chew Magna, with a walk down to the Chew Valley Lake another popular choice. Sitting beside the fire at The Pelican with a pint or two is the perfect finish to wherever you end up.
The Pelican, 10 South Parade, Chew Magna, Bristol, BS40 8SL
Taking a trip to Bradford on Avon is as easy a pie, with direct trains from Temple Meads taking only half an hour. From here you have a whole canal system to explore, but our favourite walk is Bradford-on-Avon and Avoncliff Circular. Take in the centuries-old Tithe Bar, before wandering through the Avon Valley countryside to Avoncliff. Here you’ll find the Cross Guns, a 16th-century pub with open fires, a beautiful garden and panoramic views of the River Avon. Afterwards, head back through Barton Farm Country Park.
Another walk, this one stating an ending in Avoncliff, however, is the Two Valleys Walk. A circular route along the river and through the neighbouring villages of Freshford, Iford and Westwood. There’s also a train station in Avoncliff, which is handy!
Cross Guns, 159 – 160, Avoncliff, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 2HB