Summer is finally here and the sun is shining (almost) every day. We’ve all got an eye out for day trips from Bristol, but nothing is as unbeatable as a beach trip. Ditch the concrete jungle that is Bristol for a day and head to the coast, where you’ll find a selection of beautiful beaches near Bristol all under a two-hour drive.
1. Clevedon Beach
One of the closest beaches to Bristol, Clevedon Beach is a classic. The long, pebble beach runs south-west of the old Victorian seaside resort of Clevedon and is home to an iconic Grade I-listed pier with a Japanese pagoda and glass restaurant. If you fancy venturing a little further up the beach head to the quiet sand and rock beach, Ladye Bay, nestled between rugged rocks and cliffs.
2. Porlock Bay
It may be more of a drive but once you arrive at Porlock Bay you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful expansive coastline. Located on the Bristol channel, the coastline features shingle ridges, salt marshes and a submerged forest. Walk along the beach at Porlock Bay and up to Porlock Weir, to grab a bite to eat (including some amazing oysters) and explore the cute harbour village filled with fishing boats providing that classic seaside feel.
3. Weston-super-Mare Beach
Weston-super-Mare should be well known to most Bristolians. It’s less than an hour’s drive from here (less than two hours by train) and features almost two miles of sandy shores. A flat and level promenade runs alongside it, with the iconic Grand Pier offering a classic amusement park with up-to-the-minute entertainment. Meanwhile, the Marine Lake has sea-water bathing and its own sandy beach when the tide is out!
4. Ogmore Beach
The brilliant thing about being in Bristol is that you can easily venture across to Wales for a change of scenery, like visiting the gorgeous beaches the country has to offer. Ogmore Beach is a lovely sand and pebble beach on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and it’s great for a variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, fishing, and walking. The beach in the Vale of Glamorgan looks out towards Tusker Rock, which is completely visible at low tide and is a popular diving spot.
5. Portishead Marina
Just ten miles away from Bristol, Portishead has the closest sandy spot to get some fresh sea air. A walk along the beach here will take you to the marina and to a cute little pier, where you can watch the yachts moor in and out throughout the day. You’ll also find a little piece of Bristol with a coffee shop and bakery, Mokoko – nothing better than coffee, pastry and seeing boats go by.
6. Rest Bay
Another Welsh wonder is Rest Bay in Porthcawl, south of Swansea and north of Ogmore-by-Sea. The bay is a long, sandy and unspoiled beach offering a great spot for surfing and other water sports, tidal pools and a waterfront cafe. For those wanting to learn to surf, Porthcawl Surf School which overlooks Rest Bay is the place, plus you can hire surfboards or take up paddleboard lessons too.
7. Burnham Beach
There are eight beaches in the Burnham area, but it is Burnham Beach itself that has the most to offer- plus it’s award-winning. Burnham was once a small fishing village back in the late 18th century before it began to grow in popularity as a seaside resort. Less than an hour’s drive from Bristol, a visit to Burnham Beach is great for swimming and paddling and boasts a beautiful lighthouse.
8. Kilve Beach
Lying halfway between Minehead and Bridgwater and in the heart of the Quantock Hills, Kilve Beach is a quiet beach for some well-deserved respite. The shoreline is mostly rocky with plenty of rockpools to explore towards low tide. One of the best features of Kilve Beach is the large grassy area behind the beach which is ideal for enjoying a picnic on a sunny day.
9. Sand Bay
Often referred to as ‘Weston-super-Mare’s hidden gem’, Sand Bay is a long, sand and shingle beach just under an hour’s drive away from Bristol. It boasts great views across the Bristol Channel to South Wales and is a large and relatively wild beach. If you’re looking to escape from the crowded beach at Weston-super-Mare in peak season, head two miles north to Sand Bay, and take a walk along the quiet, sandy beach. And be sure to enjoy a slice of cake at The Sand Bay Tearooms or a fish supper at Sand Bay Fish and Chip Shop for some traditional seaside grub.
10. Shaldon Beach
Down in Devon, Shaldon Beach is surprisingly easier to visit than it first appears. (Taking no more than an hour by train or car.) The stunning seaside town and fishing harbour of Teignmouth offers long sandy beaches running off it, jam-packed with activities. But to avoid the crowds, our tip is to take the passenger ferry across the water to Shaldon Beach. It’s far more peaceful and secluded, with a lovely traditional fishing village charm. You can also just enjoy both beaches whilst visiting from Bristol!