I love going for a leisurely walk in autumn – there’s nothing better than enjoying a breath of fresh air, the sound of leaves crunching underneath your feet and a bit of sunshine (if we’re lucky!). And the best thing about a walk is, it’s free! Here are my top 10 free walks in and around Bristol.
1. You can’t beat going for a walk around Bristol’s harbourside on a sunny autumn day – it’s a view that never gets boring. I often pass just by the Arnolfini and over Pero’s Bridge through to Millennium Square on my travels, but when I get the chance, it’s lovely to walk all the way around the harbour through Baltic Wharf and Underfall Yard. There are a few lovely pubs en route too like the Grain Barge, the Cottage and the Orchard Inn, so it’s also the perfect excuse for a spot of lunch or a relaxing drink.
2. If I want to escape the city, Arnos Vale is the perfect getaway as it feels like you’re in a completely different world. Although it’s not a million miles away (just off the Bath Road) this stunning woodland walk feels ‘other worldly’ and is a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll with the family or just your own thoughts.
3. When I first moved to Bristol, I spent a lot of time at Blaise Castle Estate – so this part of the city will always hold a place in my heart. There’s something for everyone – a fantastic play park for the kids, lots of adventures to be had and peaceful walks along the river. If the weather’s not too bad you can spend the whole day here.
4. One of my favourite walks is through Wapping Wharf with its eclectic mix of independent restaurants and cafes. From there you can pass through the dockside by the iconic M Shed cranes and take a stroll up Brandon Hill. At the top, you can take the steps up to Cabot Tower where you can finally relax and enjoy stunning views of the city.
5. Little Miss Diva and I love to join the River Avon Trail at Netham Lock and take a walk along the river through St Anne’s. There are lots of lovely places to walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal including Conham River Park and Hanham lock where there are two lovely tranquil pubs: the Old Lock & Weir Inn and Chequers.
6. Ashton Court Estate is another firm favourite of mine because there is just so much green space whether you want to relax in the grounds and just breathe in the scenery, amble through the 850 acres of woodland or play a bit of sport with the kids. There’s also a café where you can stop for a warm drink and enjoy the view.
7. Back to the city again and if you haven’t been on an official Banksy Walking Tour then put it on your bucket list! It’s a self-guided tour thought up by Visit Bristol, so can be done at your leisure and costs absolutely nothing. A great day out with lots of selfie opportunities which might convince the younger ones to come along!
8. Another lovely walk is Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court Estate where you can meander along the river before popping to the playground. This is a great place for dog lovers and you often see our furry friends taking a splash or a swim in the river Frome.
9. One of the first things I did when I came to Bristol was to walk across the Clifton Suspension Bridge. However, I can’t say I enjoyed it and I will never do it again! If you’re not scared of heights though it really is worth doing and Leigh Woods, with all it’s natural beauty, welcomes you the other side.
10. A post on Bristol’s best walks wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The Downs. This open space often plays host to festivals and bigger events but on a weekend in autumn it’s a great spot for a leisurely walk and a spot of people watching.