6 Outdoor Activities in Bristol for Nature Lovers

Home to two top ranking universities, the UK’s fastest growing tech sector, and often cited as the country’s most vibrant city to live in, Bristol is a mecca of modern living.  

Yet beneath the busy bustle of Bristol the city, is also a Bristol that’s teeming with natural gifts. Centuries old nature preserves are mere minutes away from the city centre. The lush greenery of over 400 parks periodically break the urban sprawl of glass and concrete (as colourful as this can often be in Bristol).

Here are 6 thrilling activities you can add to your itinerary the next time adventure calls you away from the concrete jungle.

Catch Big Ones At The Wave

Nestled in the countryside and miles away from the country’s popular surfing hotspots, one doesn’t typically expect to catch a wave in Bristol. But thanks to The Wave, you can spend your down times hitting the surf without ever leaving the city.

Located just at the Northern edge of Bristol, The Wave is an inland surf park. At its centre is a massive 200 metre pool that produces up to a thousand waves per hour, which then break on an artificial beach. The pool can fit up to eighty people, and with six areas it’s open to pro and beginner surfers alike.

Conquer The Great Outdoors At Mendip

If team games and competitive activities are more your speed, then head on over to the Mendip Activity Centre. Located in the Mendip Hills just beyond the South of Bristol, the facility is a haven for outdoorsy folk and their family and friends.

Pick your thrill. The park offers a bunch of activities that’ll get your muscles working, from family-friendly games of frisbee golf to more extreme jaunts like abseiling and axe throwing. Assault-courses on site are available for team building events, or you can learn what it takes to rough it out in the wilderness through bushcraft lessons.

Quench Your Thirst For Sports At The West Country Water Park

Should surfing not be enough to whet your appetite for watersports, pack your wetsuit and make your way to the West Country Water Park. At only 17 minutes away by car from the city centre, the aquapark offers an instant getaway for weekend explorers.

Visitors can enjoy a plethora of activities on the man-made fresh water lake. Sail and race with your remote controlled boat, or experience that speed yourself with tube rides, wakeboarding water skiing, or jet skiing. An area of the lake is open for swimming, which you can use for a leisurely dip or to train for a triathlon.

See Wonders At The Wild Place Project

Animal lovers will be delighted to know that Bristol also offers a way to connect with their wild side. Home to a diverse menagerie, The Wild Place Project on Blackhorse Hill lets you interact and learn about animals of all species and types–as well as contribute to their protection. The park is part of the Bristol Zoological Society, a charity and conservation effort whose work spans across the globe.

Things to do on-site include educational trails and getting up close and personal with red river hogs and free-roaming lemurs. The award-winning Bear Wood exhibit gives visitors a chance to observe the park’s resident brown bears and wolves from a clear viewing den–a window to a time when thousands of them used to roam Britain’s landscape.

Explore By Walking Through The City

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key than surfing or abseiling, you can’t beat a leisurely outdoor stroll. Spring walks provide a picturesque escape for residents who want to refresh and relax amidst nature. Acres of verdant trails wend and weft around the city; you’re usually less than an hour away from lush woodland and historic estates with sprawling gardens.

Aside from the fresh air and beautiful scenery, walkers can also unpack a bit of history and lore through guided tours. One tour follows the mythical footprints of Goram and Ghyston, two giants who created landmarks in a bid to win over a princess, according to folklore. Heritage tours allow guests to take in the city’s long and rich history by visiting important buildings and sites.

Go Boating

The River Avon–commonly called British Avon to distinguish it from other rivers of the same name–flows through the heart of Bristol. In the 1800s, engineers cut off a section of the river to keep water levels constant. Stretching approximately 70 acres, the area came to be known as the Floating Harbour, and was an integral channel for trade and commerce.

The harbour was rehabilitated in the 1980s and transformed into a tourism and residential zone. Today trendy bars, art venues, and restaurants adorn the waterfront, and boat tours ply the canal on the daily. Book a ferry and enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruising, sipping gin, and learning about the city’s rich maritime heritage.

Plenty of excitement awaits nature lovers in Bristol. Whether serene walks along grassy trails or high octane watersports, the city’s got it all. Work in a little bar hopping and culture-rich festivals into your schedule this year and you’ll never want for something new to do in the city!