Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Beautiful Bristol and Beyond

As 2014 came to a close, and we started thinking about the year ahead, John and I talked about things that we would like to do differently in 2015. One thing that we both want to do is to explore the South West more. There have been seasons in our marriage where we have had a lot of weekends away for various celebrations and holidays, and in those seasons, when we find ourselves with a weekend at home, all we want to do is relax and stay put. However, it feels like that busy season of life is changing, which means we'll be home more. We've decided to be intentional about going on regular adventures as a family, just day trips to places that are nearby and won't cost much money, but will widen our perspective and bring that sense of feeling refreshed that exploring somewhere beautiful always gives us.

I recently asked on a Facebook group that I am part of if anyone could recommend any places within an hour's drive of Bristol that are worth visiting. There was an overwhelming response, both from people who have visited many wonderful places that I have never heard of, and from women who also want to go exploring and adventuring with their families. As Facebook can be a bit of a bottomless pit when it comes to retrieving information once any time has elapsed, I thought it would be useful to create a list of all of the places that were recommended. The list also includes places that we have already visited and loved, and would be very happy to return to. If you are local to Bristol, I hope that you find this list useful. There is a mixture of places to walk, National Trust Properties and Country Parks, with a few pubs and tea shops thrown in, because a walk outdoors always feels complete with a coffee and some good cake at the end of the day.

If you have any other recommendations, I would love to hear from you - please do feel free to share your favourite places to visit in the comments section.

Barley Wood Walled Garden in Wrington

Bristol (within the BS postcodes)
Barley Wood Walled Garden - amazing views, incredible food, a wonderful place to go for a little bit of respite with space for children to explore.
Chew Valley Lake and Country Farm (the farm doesn't reopen until March 2015.)
Chew Magna - Very close to Chew Valley Lake. The Bear & Swan do excellent food.
Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court
Easter Compton
Axbridge Reservoir & The Almshouse Tea Shop comes highly recommended
Slimbridge Wetland Centre for plenty of wildlife
Tyntesfield (National Trust) I particularly like their walled kitchen garden, where you can purchase the produce that has been grown there.
Dyrham Park (National Trust)
Abbot's Pool (near Ashton Court) - beautiful place for a weekend walk

Symonds Yat in the Wye Valley

Tintern Abbey & Brockweir farm shop
Wye Valley
Forest of Dean
Puzzlewood (in the Forest of Dean)
St Fagan's National History Museum (Comes very highly recommended with lots to explore.)
Margam Park
Caldicot Castle

Lacock Abbey (National Trust)
Farrington Gurney Farm Shop - this is also the home of England's only tulip farm, where you can buy enormous bundles of 50 varieties of tulips when they're in bloom. (April - May)
Kilve Beach
Brokerswood Country Park (Wiltshire)

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