Winter Walks in Bristol

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Jeremy Fennell

It can often feel like all we do at Christmas is eat. To try and counteract the extra calories it’s not uncommon to bravely don boots and hats and take off for a walk in the countryside. With the weather getting colder it can be tempting to stay indoors. But that would mean missing out on some of the beautiful vistas on offer, transformed by the frost and the winter sun. We’ve gathered some of our favourite Bristol strolls for you to embark on this winter period.

Floating Harbour

An old favourite, the Floating Harbour circular walk is popular throughout the entire year. At a gentle two and half miles long, the route is suitable for all ages and buggies and wheelchairs alike. Taking in Millennium Square, Bristol Cathedral, the Arnolfini, M Shed, the SS Great Britain and the Matthew, there really isn’t much of Bristol’s historic centre that you won’t see on this walk. So get out of the house, soak up the festive atmosphere and see the centre decked out with lights and trees. There are also lots of great pubs on the route if you get too cold and fancy a break: check out the Nova Scotia, Grain Barge or Pump House in particular.

Photo Credit: Silas Price

Find the route for the Floating Harbour circle route here.

Durdham Downs

Especially striking in the morning frost, the Durdham Downs are a thing of beauty when the mist descends. You’ll see many-a-walker enjoying a post-Christmas dinner stroll up here, whether you’re near the water tower at the top end of Blackboy Hill, or further west overlooking the picturesque Avon Gorge. With 441 acres to cover, the Downs can provide for even the most determined walker, and as with any open space the best plan is to allow your feet to do the navigating. With the going flat and paths to walk on if the ground gets wet or difficult, the Downs are suitable for any age and mobility. If you get a bit chilly, head over to Café Retreat for a warming cup of tea.

Photo Credit: Ben and Carole

For more information on the Downs, see here.


For a history fix, take a turn at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield house and gardens. Set in 150-acres of gardens and grasslands, this 19th Century estate offers a wide array of walks and strolls at all times of day. It’s so popular that all advance tickets to view the house itself have now sold out, but there are a number available from 10am each day on a first-come-first-served basis. No need to worry if you miss out: this year they’re also hosting ‘A very Victorian Christmas’ which includes a number of themed events. Look out in particular for ‘Tyntesfield All Aglow’, a rare opportunity to explore the estate lit up at night. The event runs on four dates in the run up to Christmas, and you’ll need a torch as the paths are only dimly lit.

Photo Credit: Mike*T*

For more information on Tytesfield and their events, see their website.

Ashton Court Estate

For a winter walk that the whole family are bound to love, check out Ashton Court Estate. Just across the Clifton Suspension Bridge, this massive 860-acre site suddenly throws you into the countryside, just moments after leaving the city. With breath-taking views of Bristol and plenty of rolling hills, the estate is a popular spot for that most timeless pursuit: sledding. The best slopes are just north of the house, and you’re bound to see a good handful of other sledders there to guide the way. For an even longer walk, continue on to nearby Leigh Woods, which has many of its own marked trails with views across the Avon Gorge at the rest of the city.

Find information on Ashton Court Estate here.