When you think of Bristol, it’s likely that harbourside views, iconic suspension bridges, and vibrant street art spring to mind. However, what if I told you that Bristol is also an excellent springboard to a plethora of golden sand, pebble-dashed, and hidden cove beaches?
From the stunning shores of Somerset to the sandy stretches of South Wales, each beach on this list boasts a unique charm and offers an ideal getaway from the city bustle.
Whether you’re a surfer looking for the perfect wave, a family hunting for a summer picnic spot, or a couple searching for a romantic sunset, there’s a beach that fits the bill.
1. Ladye Bay
📍 Location: North Somerset
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 14.4 miles
Ladye Bay is located near the village of Clevedon in North Somerset, England. Situated within the Bristol Channel, this is one of many beaches in the area well known for its extreme tidal range which fluctuates as much as 12 metres between high and low tide.
Subsequently, it’s important to check the tide in advance of your visit and throughout the day. The best time to visit this beach is at low tide when the wide expanse of sand is exposed, which is perfect for playing on or walking along.
2. Clevedon Beach
📍 Location: Clevedon
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 15.7 miles
Clevedon Beach is a charming and picturesque pebble beach located on the coast of Somerset and a popular destination for families and couples who want to enjoy a peaceful day by the sea.
This beach offers stunning views of the Bristol Channel, with the famous Clevedon Pier as its backdrop as well as a Victorian-style lido, which is perfect for swimming and sunbathing during the summer months.
3. Sand Bay Beach
📍 Location: Kewstoke
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 16.7 miles
Sand Bay Beach is a beautiful sandy stretch of beach located just 7 miles southwest of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset. The beach offers breathtaking views of the Welsh coastline and is a popular spot for birdwatchers, with many species of birds frequently spotted.
Compared to some of the other beaches on the list, Sand Bay Beach is relatively peaceful and quiet, making it an ideal location for a relaxing day out with friends and family.
4. Severn Beach
📍 Location: South Gloucestershire
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 16.9 miles
Severn Beach is a great spot for a day out in the sun. Located at the mouth of the River Severn where it meets the Bristol Channel, this South Gloucestershire beach offers stunning views and plenty of space to soak up the rays.
At high tide, the water can come right up to the sea wall, but at low tide, a wide expanse of mud flats is revealed, providing ample space for beachgoers to spread out and enjoy the sunshine.
Take a stroll along the shore, build sandcastles, or simply relax and take in the scenery. Whatever your preference, Severn Beach is sure to be a hit on a sunny day.
5. Weston-Super-Mare Beach
📍 Location: Weston-super-Mare
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 20 miles
Weston-super-Mare Beach is an old Victorian seaside resort with a long and sandy beach located in the heart of the town. The beach is a popular destination for families and offers an extensive range of activities, from donkey rides to sandcastle building.
The promenade here runs the length of the beach, with various shops, cafes, and attractions as well as a designated swimming area, which is perfect for a refreshing dip in the sea during the summer months.
6. Burnham Beach
📍 Location: Burnham-on-Sea
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 31.9 miles
Burnham Beach is one of the best beaches in Somerset, known for its beautiful sand dunes and stunning sunsets as well as its incredible pier, which offers panoramic views of the beach and the surrounding area.
This beach is great for families with little kids as it has a wide range of activities and amenities nearby including; cafes, shops and arcade machines.
7. Brean Beach
📍 Location: Somerset Coast
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 37.9 miles
Brean Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Somerset coast and there are several car parks available for visitors to use. The main car park is located at the end of South Road in Brean, just a short walk from the beach.
At low tide, a wide expanse of sand and rock is exposed at Brean Beach, revealing numerous rock pools that are perfect for exploring.
8. Kilve Beach
📍 Location: West Somerset Coast
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 50.6 miles
Kilve Beach is located on the West Somerset coast, near the village of Kilve. The beach is situated within the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a popular spot for fossil hunting.
Like the other beaches in this area, the tides at Kilve Beach can vary greatly depending on the time of year and the phase of the moon. At high tide, the water can come right up to the base of the cliffs, leaving little room to explore.
However, at low tide, a wide expanse of rocky shoreline is exposed, revealing a variety of interesting geological features and fossils.
9. Barry Island Beach
📍 Location: Barry
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 56.4 miles
Barry Island Beach is a lovely stretch of sandy beach located on the Vale of Glamorgan coast, just 10 miles south of Cardiff, Wales. The beach is a popular destination for families and offers a range of activities, from donkey rides to surfing.
Barry Island Beach has a promenade that runs the length of the beach, with various shops, cafes, and amusement arcades. Visitors can take a stroll along the boardwalk, which offers stunning views of the beach and the Bristol Channel.
The beach also has a designated swimming area, which is perfect for a refreshing dip in the sea during the summer months.
10. Merthyr Mawr Beach
📍 Location: Merthyr Mawr
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 62.0 miles
Merthyr Mawr Beach is located on the Vale of Glamorgan coast, just south of Bridgend, Wales. Backed by sand dunes, this incredible beach offers breathtaking views of the Ogmore Estuary.
Located roughly 1.5 hours drive from Bristol, this beach is a popular destination for families and offers a range of activities, from sandboarding to kite flying.
11. Ogmore Beach
📍 Location: Ogmore-by-Sea
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 62.1 miles
Situated roughly a 1.5-hour drive from Bristol is Ogmore Beach. This beach is one of the largest in the area and offers stunning views of the Bristol Channel.
Ogmore Beach is a popular choice for families visiting the area thanks to the range of activities available in and around here including rock pooling and horse riding.
12. Dunraven Bay Beach
📍 Location: Southerndown
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 62.4 miles
Nestled within the rugged beauty of the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales, Dunraven Bay, also known as Southerndown Beach, is an idyllic beach spot to visit.
At low tide, this designated Heritage Coast exposes a captivating rocky shore, brimming with rock pools that are teeming with marine life making it the ideal playground for curious children and adults to explore.
13. Minehead Beach
📍 Location: Minehead
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 62.8 miles
Situated on the picturesque Somerset coast just 62 miles from Bristol, Minehead Beach is a delightful seaside escape that effortlessly blends traditional charm with natural beauty.
This long, sandy beach, gently sloping into the Bristol Channel, is the perfect spot for families, swimmers, and sun worshippers alike. With its quaint promenade and the old-fashioned seaside amusements, Minehead Beach offers a delightful nod to the British beach holidays of yesteryears.
14. Monknash Beach
📍 Location: Monknash
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 63.8 miles
Hidden along the stunning Glamorgan Heritage Coastline in South Wales, Monknash Beach, also known as Monknash Coast, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This secluded, pebble and sand beach, flanked by dramatic cliffs, offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling popular beaches.
It’s a place of wild natural beauty, where the sound of the waves and the call of seabirds are the predominant sounds, and where the rhythm of the tide sets the pace. At low tide, the sea reveals rock pools teeming with marine life, a delight for explorers of all ages.
15. Llantwit Major Beach
📍 Location: Llantwit Major
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 65.1 miles
Located in the charming town of Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, Llantwit Major Beach is a beguiling blend of pebble and sand, backed by striking cliffs that tell a story stretching back millions of years.
The beach is part of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, known for its stunning landscapes, and is renowned for its extraordinary geological features, including dramatic cliff formations and ancient fossils.
All of which makes it a paradise for geology enthusiasts, beachcombers, and fossil hunters, with the chance to discover relics from a prehistoric age.
16. Nash Point Beach
📍 Location: Marcross
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 65.7 miles
Situated on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast in South Wales, Nash Point Beach is a lesser-known treasure that offers a serene escape from the busier neighbouring beaches.
However, it’s not just the beach that draws visitors to Nash Point. The area is perhaps best known for its iconic twin lighthouses, which have stood guard over the rugged coastline since the mid-19th century.
The Nash Point Lighthouse is one of the few in the UK that are open to the public, and a climb to the top offers panoramic views over the Bristol Channel and the surrounding countryside.
17. Rest Bay Beach
📍 Location: Porthcawl
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 67.6 miles
Situated just a short drive from the bustling town of Porthcawl in South Wales, Rest Bay Beach is a haven for beachgoers, offering a beautiful expanse of golden sand against the backdrop of the Bristol Channel.
Known for its clean waters and excellent surf, Rest Bay is a magnet for surfers, bodyboarders, and watersport enthusiasts of all levels. The consistent Atlantic swells provide perfect conditions for catching waves, as such you’ll often see a colourful array of surfboards and kitesurfers dotting the horizon.
18. Porlock Weir Beach
📍 Location: Porlock Weir
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 70.0 miles
Tucked away within the magnificent Exmoor National Park in Somerset, Porlock Weir Beach is a coastal gem that exudes a timeless charm. This unique pebble beach, situated by the quaint hamlet of Porlock Weir, offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The beach is flanked by a charming harbour filled with small fishing boats, and the landscape is dominated by the dramatic hills of Exmoor, creating a truly picturesque setting.
19. Lyme Regis Beach
📍 Location: Lyme Regis
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 72.1 miles
Located on the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Dorset, Lyme Regis Beach is a picturesque location that beautifully blends natural splendour with rich historical intrigue.
This bustling beach, with its distinctive curve of golden sand and shingle, is nestled beneath colourful cliffs and overlooks the tranquil waters of Lyme Bay. It’s a perfect spot for family days out, sunbathing, swimming, and even the quintessentially British pastime of beach hut lounging.
20. Sandbanks Beach
📍 Location: Poole
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 72.9 miles
Located just over a 1.5 hours drive from Bristol is Sandbanks Beach. This beautiful sandy beach is located in the town of Poole and backed by sand dunes and offers stunning views of the English Channel.
Sandbanks Beach is a popular choice for families and offers a range of activities, from sunbathing to windsurfing as well as a number of nearby amenities including toilets, cafes and restaurants.
21. Bournemouth Beach
📍 Location: Bournemouth
🚗 Distance From Bristol: 77.4 miles
Nestled on the sun-soaked southern coast of England, Bournemouth Beach serves as a vibrant seaside destination that captivates visitors with its golden sands and sparkling blue waters.
This award-winning beach, known for its cleanliness and excellent facilities, stretches for seven glorious miles, offering an abundance of space for all kinds of beach activities.
Whether you’re looking to bask in the sunshine, build intricate sandcastles, or enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea, Bournemouth Beach is an idyllic setting for all.