Cheap Trips Near Bristol: A Rookie’s Guide
Bristol is surrounded by villages, towns, and cities that can be accessed fairly cheaply by public transport. Leo Jay Shire gives a rundown on what they offer.
Bristol is like the capital of the South West. If you live near Bristol it’s likely that you’ll be used to travelling into the city because there’s so much to do. It’s like the eldest child that gets a disproportionate amount of praise from its parents. I wanted to give the little’uns some love and see what some other nearby towns and cities have to offer.
CHIPPENHAM IS TWINNED WITH A TOWN IN FRANCE CALLED LA FLECHE, WHICH TRANSLATES AS ‘THE ARROW’
Chippenham is about half an hour’s train ride away from Bristol. Jamie Cullum went to school there, according to Wikipedia, and it’s twinned with a town in France called La Fleche, which translates as ‘The Arrow’, which is a far cooler name than something that sounds like ‘Chips n’ Ham’. A few of my friends lived in Chippenham when I was growing up, but they all lived in these really cool, beautiful wooded outskirts straight out of a horror film, but they’re all impossible to get to without a car and a good torch. If you don’t have a car or a torch you can get there pretty easily by train and it’s well signposted straight away. It’s full of typical English B&Bs and hotels that seem like nice places to have lunch with your families. If you’re a cycler or enjoy a bike ride, the Wiltshire Cycleway also passes through Chippenham and it’s a lovely route. Bonus points: If you’re into motor sports, Chippenham is also home to Castle Combe Circuit, one of the longest established race car tracks in the UK.
INDEPENDENT SHOPS SELLING EVERYTHING FROM THE QUAINT TO THE QUIRKY.
Frome, pronounced like Froom, is a little bit far out of Bristol I’ll admit. It’s also full of hills. That said, for quite a small town, it makes a pretty good day out. It’s full of independent shops selling everything from the quaint to the quirky. There are vintage shops, haberdasheries and artisan food. It’s full of craftspeople so if you want to pick up a unique present for someone (or even for yourself) this is a good place to head down to. Hop on a train and it will take you about fifty minutes to get there, and the train route goes via some other places worth visiting.
I mostly grew up in Bath so I know it inside out. That said, I’ve never been a tourist there, so this is somewhat a rookie’s guide to tourism in Bath. There’s the typical stuff to do, like seeing the Roman Baths or visiting the Fashion Museum, which has an exhibition of changing fashion’s over the last 100 years which has been on for as long as I can remember. Honestly though, that stuff is pricey. That’s how tourism works. But Bath’s main charm is that it’s just really beautiful and will make you feel like you’re abroad even though you’re not. It has a lot of shops some great parks to chill in (just don’t go to Parade Gardens; it’s gorgeous but they’ll make you pay for entry. Try Sydney Gardens or Victoria Park instead).
This sounds bad, but as far as I’ve ever been concerned West of Bristol is just Wales. This is wrong. Obviously, there are loads of places Wast of Bristol worth going to that aren’t, you know, in another country. Cleveland is on the coast and coastal places are nearly always nice for a day out, weather depending of course. Other than the normal seaside things, a stroll by the pier and a fish and chips for instance, but Clevedon has bonus points because it’s home to Salthouse Fields, which has a miniature railway, crazy golf, a skatepark and general fun day out things to do.
WESTON-SUPER-MARE HAS THE SECOND LARGEST TIDAL RANGE IN THE WORLD.
My first memories of Weston-super-Mare are of going to T4 On The Beach, which hasn’t even existed for the past three years so how early is that for you? Weston-super-Mare is another coastal place so it’s always going to be a good day out if the weather is good. It apparently has the second largest tidal range in the world, which means there will be more or significantly less beach for you to enjoy depending on what time you go. It’s got the Grand Pier, which is fun in its retro-British-sea-side-holiday kind of way, complete with dodgems and ghost trains. Or if you’re feeling fancy and want to splash some real cash, you could be ironic and go to the SeaQuariam, an aquariam full of aquatic animals that is on a pier suspended above the sea, where the aquatic animals live naturally.
Okay, look. In writing this I’ve realised that public transport is really expensive. As a bonus round I thought I’d mention that there are a ton of free things to do in Bristol. Go and use the city like it’s your own free art gallery and search for all the Banksy artwork or go through a stroll in Leigh Woods to find the eery mystical boats of Luke Jerram’s ‘Withdrawn’ exhibition. Or just have a wonder and chill out. Fundamentally, it’s not about the location it’s about your mindset. Whatever you get up to on your free days, make sure you take time out to relax and have fun.
Which other places should be on this list? Are you a local and want to give an expert guide to your area? Let us know @rifemag
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