Visit Bristol in a Campervan

A city with a swashbuckling pirate history, the Bristol of today still holds a treasure trove of attractions.

There’s a tonne of things to do and places to visit in Bristol, whether you’re looking to explore the cities vibrant arts and culture scene, travel back in time with the fantastic museums, shop till you drop on the markets, enjoy café culture at the stunning harbourside developments - or get back to nature in the city parks.

Bristol sits right in the heartland of the English countryside, and there are some incredible places to visit near to Bristol city too. A trip to Bristol can include including wandering through quaint country estates, exploring gorgeous natural woodland and even trips to the infamous south coast beaches.

Wondering what is the best way to make the most of your stay in this area? Why, with a Motorhome in Bristol - that’s how! Explore Bristol and its surroundings with your camper, whether you bring your own or take advantage of the campervan hire Bristol companies offer. The cities location means it benefits from some delightful campsites near Bristol, making it easy for you to take full advantage of the urban and countryside delights on offer.

Things to do in Bristol

The only problem with visiting Bristol is knowing where to start! When renting from a Campervan Hire Bristol specialist, you might just find some great tips on their site - and as good a place as any is the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of many examples of Brunell’s infamous engineering genius that can be found throughout the city. Walk across the bridge itself and take in the panoramic of the picturesque Avon Gorge. Having crossed the bridge itself wander up to one of the many vantage points, Giants cave or the peak of Observatory Hill being favourites, for a fabulous view of the 150-year-old, Grade 1 listed structure. From Observatory Hill you can then partake in a famous Bristolian pastime, if you’re feeling brave... and whizz down the Rock Slide.

One major landmark down, head to Bristol harbourside where the city’s maritime history blends with hipster modernity to great effect. You’ll see a replica of the SS Britain, another of Brunell’s masterpieces and the first ship to be both made of iron and equipped with a screw propeller. The SS Britain made history as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic and now serves as a maritime museum. Another particular gem docked in the harbour is The Matthew, a replica of the ship John Cabot sailed from Bristol to discover North America. The Matthew offers public trips around the harbour and the Avon Gorge, some of which come with a fish and chips dinner!

Aside from the remarkable history, Bristol’s harbourside is a haven for all things hipster. Peruse the Harbourside Market on Bordeaux Quay (every Saturday and Sunday) for a pirates bounty of treasures. You’ll find independent stalls selling wares to the accompaniment of live music and moorish street food. Other excellent shopping spots include Park Street, Cargo at Wapping Wharf and the Christmas Steps, all of which boast fantastic coffee shops and cafés for some shopping sustenance.

If it’s more history you crave, then explore Bristol’s fantastic museums, Bristol Museum, M-Shed Museum and The Georgian House Museum. Or for some history in the fresh air, stroll through Arnos Vale, a beautiful Victorian cemetery with wildflower gardens and an adorable little café.

Art lovers fear not, Bristol’s vibrant arts scene is not being neglected. Bristol is the stomping ground of Banksy, the world's most famous graffiti artist. Banksy’s works, including Well Hung Lover, Mild Mild West and Girl With A Pierced Eardrum, can be found sprinkled across the city. Grab a map of his works and undertake an alternative treasure hunt of his urban artwork. More institutional artwork can be found at the Bristol Art Gallery or by popping into one of the many independent galleries. A standout star is the Arnolfini Centre, an international arts centre and gallery that exhibits everything from contemporary art to live performances of theatre, music, dance, poetry, book readings and lectures, as well as cinema screenings. It’s a one-stop shop for the cutting edge of contemporary art across all artistic disciplines.

Bristol may boom with culture, history and modern delights, but at its heart, it’s a city of the countryside. Bristol has some fantastic parks and green spaces for the public, both local and visiting, to enjoy. Perhaps best known are Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve and The Downs, consisting of Durdham Down to the Northeast and the gorgeous Clifton Downs to the Southwest. Both Downs are fabulous picnic spots, while Clifton Downs is particularly good for stargazing. The Clifton Downs neighbour the Clifton area which boasts some particularly pretty architecture and excellent cafes. If you want to get up close and personal with some animals, then head to Bristol zoo and gardens, a fabulous little zoo with rare exotic species.

Things to do Near Bristol

Bristol is ideally located for anyone looking to explore the best of the Southwest. Choosing to rent with a  campervan hire Bristol specialist, you can then easily park your motorhome at one of the campsites near Bristol means that you allows easy access to all of the nearby attractions.

Topping the places to visit near Bristol are all the natural attractions. Take a walk on the wild side with a trip to Longleat Safari Park, the UK’s number 1 safari park. Not only can you drive through the animal enclosures, but the park also has opportunities to handle some of the exotic animals (with supervision), a steam train that takes you through yet more enclosures, and is part of a vast country estate which is also open to the public.

For some more traditionally English countryside head to one of the local estates. Oldbury Court is particularly charming boasting green woodland, riverside paths and historic parkland. There’s a delightful walk leading to the river Frame where you can follow a path to Snuff Mills, one of the most picturesque sections of the Frame Valley Walkway where you may catch a glimpse of deer, kingfishers, herons and owls.

Another fabulous estate to visit is the charming Ashton Court Mansion Estate, which also hosts local markets. For more of the region's natural beauty visit Cadbury Hill, a gorgeous patch of public land on top of which stands a Bronze and Iron Age hillfort. Or, explore Westonbirt Arboretum, an international collection of temperate trees you can either walk through or above via a treetop walkway. Finally, there’s the Mendip Hills, an area of natural beauty made up of limestone hills, green valleys and blue lakes. It’s the perfect place to get wonderfully lost.

For a real adventure, visit the Wookey Hole Caves, the UK’s most spectacular show caves. Take a tour through the ancient caverns, learn their history, their mysteries, and possibly meet the resident witch! You won’t find a wackier attraction less than an hour from Bristol!

If you’re more of a sand and sea person, then why not head on over to the coastal town of Weston-Super-Mare? Less than an hour’s drive from Bristol and it comes complete with its own stunning beach, water sports, and all the characteristics of a British seaside town. Anyone for ice cream?

Alternatively, if it’s more of the South West’s stunning cities you want to see, Bath, Wells and Cheddar are just a few of the beautiful historic towns in the region. All three are under an hour from Bristol and even closer to some of the best campsites near bristol.

Where to Park Up

To be right in the heart of the action, park your motorhome at the Baltic Wharf Club Site. A site specifically for motorhomes in Bristol, no tents allowed, the site is situated in the beautiful re-developed docklands. Accessing the city centre is easy with a daily river ferry travelling between the site and the city centre. In addition, cycle paths, bus stops and train stations are all within a mile of the site which itself offers car rental. You have an onsite shop, electrical hookups, BBQ facilities and onsite showers with disabled access.

If you’d rather sit between city and sea, settle down at Myrtle Farm - choose this cozy campsite near Bristol. Located just outside of Weston-Super-Mare and just over half an hour drive from Bristol, you’re surrounded by countryside but close to both the sea and the centre of Bristol. The site itself offers electrical hook-ups and has an onsite “campers shed” with a decent kitchen, washing up facilities and tourist info.

To be right in the middle of all the regions attractions, bed your motorhome down at Brook Lodge Farm Camping. Half an hour from Bristol, Wells and Western-Super-Mare respectively, 25 minutes from Wookey Hole, only 15 from Cheddar and less than an hour from Bath, you are ideally located to hit all the top places to visit in and near Bristol. The site itself is beautiful, nestled in the green countryside and well serviced with electric hookups, drinking water on tap and BBQ facilities. Everything you need for a brilliant Bristolian break. 

For campervans to rent in Bristol, check out Yescapa.co.uk