Bristol is one of the best places to live in the country thanks to its incredible food, beautiful Harbourside, some of the best shopping, amazing music, a rich culture and history – the list just goes on.
But the only thing it’s really missing for those lovely summer days is a beach.
Fortunately though, you don’t have to book time off work and head off to Devon or Cornwall – there are actually plenty of beaches right on our doorstep. Well, nearly!
These are the best beaches within an hour or so’s drive from Bristol:
1. Clevedon Beach
A long, pebble beach that runs south-west from the old Victorian seaside resort of Clevedon. Kids will love exploring the rock pools, stacking the pebbles, unearthing fossils and watching the boats sail by. There are plenty of cafes and amenities all along the seafront and promenade and it’s worth taking a stroll along the newly refurbished Clevedon pier.
Where? Clevedon Beach, North Somerset
Ogmore beach is a gorgeous sand and pebble beach in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. A lovely beach for walking, playing or just chilling with a good book and a picnic. Enjoy the lovely views and stunning sunsets.
Where? Ogmore beach, Ogmore-by-Sea, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
3. Uphill Slipway Beach
Uphill Slipway beach is in the village of Uphill at the south end of the long Weston-super-Mare beach. This is a popular beach for Kitesurfing and windsurfing as you can park on the beach and set up safely. Another tick in the box is the nature reserve set back from the beach near the marina.
Where? Uphill Slipway Beach, Weston-super-Mare
Wales’ Southerndown beach is the ideal spot for sunbathing, paddling, surfing and canoeing. There are plenty of rock pools to explore or and fossils to discover. The attractive beach is joined to the heritage coast path which leads to an interesting castle along the cliffs.
Where? Southerndown, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
5. Sand Bay
Sand Bay is a long expanse of sand and shingle, lying just two miles north of Weston-super-Mare. Often referred to as ‘Weston’s hidden gem’, it’s a large and relatively wild beach with good views across the Bristol Channel to South Wales. This relatively quiet beach is popular with walkers taking the sea air.
You can enjoy a cuppa and cake at The Sand Bay Tea Rooms at the end of the day.
Where? Sand Bay, Weston-super-Mare
Brean is a seven mile stretch of sand running to Burnham-on-Sea. It has extensive tidal flats favoured by walkers and beach sports enthusiasts.
Where? Brean, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset
Further along from Brean lies Berrow beach, which has a section protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its rare sand dune habitat. Part of this area is a Local Nature Reserve. The beach is home to the shipwreck of the Norwegian barque SS Nornen, which ran aground in 1897.
Where? Berrow, Somerset
8. Kilve Beach
The beach of Kilve lies about halfway between Minehead and Bridgwater in the heart of the Quantocks. The shoreline is mostly rocky with plenty of rockpools for the kids to explore towards low tide.
After you’ve made your discoveries and had fun on the beach, you can enjoy a picnic on the large grassy area behind the beach.
Where? Kilve, Somerset
9. Rest Bay
Rest Bay is one of the most popular surfing destinations in South Wales and the closest surf beach to Bristol. On any given day, you’ll find a rideable wave at Rest Bay. The beach is long and sandy and also popular with walkers and families.
Where? Rest Bay, Porthcawl, Wales
10. Burnham Beach
There are eight beaches in the Burnham area, all of which are within 15 minutes of junction 22 of the M5 motorway. Burnham Main Beach is an award-winning one. Patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months, the beach is mainly sandy and is great swimming and paddling as well as enjoying donkey rides and kids entertainment in the summer.
The famous pier is just a few short steps away and there are various shops and cafes close by.
Where? Burnham Beach, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset
11. Weston-super-Mare Beach (main)
One of the longest naturally occurring beaches in the UK, the golden sands of Weston-super-Mare is a great place to relax, play, walk or enjoy one of the many events taking place throughout the year. And you can’t go to the beach without paying a visit to the iconic Grand Pier.
Here you’ll find everything from arcade machines and thrilling rides to a relaxing traditional afternoon tea in the Edwardian-style tea rooms. The pier charges a £1 entrance fee per person. Children in pushchairs are free of charge.
Days out with the family
12. Barry Island
Get your Mr Whippy or candy floss and enjoy the promenade, adventure golf, amusements, shops, funfair rides and beautiful sands. The south-facing beach of Whitmore Bay is a sweeping crescent of perfect golden sand flanked by a wide promenade. The small sandy beach at Jackson’s Bay is nearby.
Where? Barry Island, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
13. Ladye Bay
The small cove at Layde Bay is one of the prettiest beaches along the Somerset coast. A small stretch of sand between the rocks and backing onto the densely vegetated cliffs.
Where? Ladye Bay, Somerset