The Best Beaches Near Bristol

While Bristol will never be a place that springs to mind for sandy beaches, the surrounding area doesn’t fall short of offering some splendid seaside retreats. A stone’s throw away, you’ll find charming former Victorian seaside resorts that make for a perfect day out or for a nice stroll.

Venture a bit further away, and you’ll find lovely beaches for building sandcastles and enjoying a swim in the sea. You will also find one of the coast’s most photographed landmarks in Durdle Door. Let’s dip into a few options that beckon with their unique charm and are within a comfortable distance from Bristol.

Growing up around Bristol, I have fond memories as a child of packing up the car and visiting all the beaches I have included below, and as an adult, taking my daughter and partner to them. I hope you can also create some great memories there! The ones further afield you might consider an overnight stay.

This Summer Near Bristol

Strawberry Picking | Beaches

Under 1 Hour Away

Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

golden sands of weston super mare with the grand pier in the background

Weston-super-Mare, often simply referred to as Weston to locals, is a charming seaside town nestled along the shores of the Bristol Channel, Weston-super-Mare has been a popular holiday destination for generations, thanks to its sandy beaches, vibrant promenade, and a range of attractions like the grand pier, amusement arcades and a giant ferris wheel.

One of the main draws of Weston-super-Mare is its expansive beach, which stretches for miles along the coast. The soft, golden sands are perfect for sunbathing, building sandcastles, or taking leisurely strolls along the waterfront. Weston is closest of the sand beaches near Bristol, The beach is also known for its picturesque views of the distant Welsh coastline and the iconic Grand Pier that extends out into the channel.

Marine Parade, BS23 1AL

40 Minutes

Clevedon Beach, Somerset

clevedon beach with clevedon victorian pier in the background with people relaxing on the pebbled beach

Clevedon Beach, along the Bristol Channel, is a pebble beach known for its Victorian charm. While the beach itself isn’t ideal for swimming due to mudflats, it offers a pleasant atmosphere for a stroll. The iconic Clevedon Pier which you might have seen on a few movies stretches out over the water, perfect for enjoying the views of the river Severn and across to wales on a clear day.

Just across the road from the beach there are some nice cafes for coffee and a spot of lunch, the coastline here makes it perfect for is a nice evening stroll.

Marine Parade, BS21 7QU

30 Minutes

Brean Beach, Somerset

seven miles of beach at brean

Stretching for a whopping seven miles, Brean Beach in Somerset boasts one of the longest stretches of sand in Europe. Families flock here to build sandcastles on the vast golden beach, while walkers and dog owners relish the fresh sea air and endless coastline.

The beach is backed by dramatic dunes, and the impressive Brean Down rises at one end, offering stunning panoramic views and a glimpse into Somerset’s history with its Napoleonic fort which you can visit by climbing the vast steps of Brean down.

Brean Beach, TA8 2RS

55 Minutes

Burnham on Sea, Somerset

burnhams iconic lighthouse, perched proudly on stilts on a lovely sunny day

Burnham-on-Sea Beach, tucked away on the Somerset coast, is a breath of fresh air – a perfect escape from the everyday grind of Bristol. The first thing that catches your eye is the iconic lighthouse, perched proudly on stilts. Then, there’s that endless stretch of golden sand – just begging for a barefoot walk or a sandcastle competition (adult supervision not required!). At low tide, the whole beach opens up like a giant playground, revealing hidden rock pools and a peaceful landscape that’s perfect for spreading out a picnic blanket or having a game of frisbee.

The seafront is lined with those cute little shops and cafes you only find at the beach, perfect for grabbing an ice cream cone and watching the world go by, Its a very relaxing place to walk and talk for miles.

Burnham-On-Sea Beach, TA8 1BB

45 Minutes

This Summer Near Bristol

Strawberry Picking | Beaches

Under 2 Hours Away

Exmouth, Devon

Exmouth Beach boasts two miles of golden sand, This family-friendly haven offers calm waters perfect for paddling, while rock pools teeming with life provide endless entertainment for curious explorers.

Adventurous types can enjoy watersports like kayaking and windsurfing, while walkers and cyclists can explore the surrounding UNESCO Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the chance to grab a bite at a beachfront restaurant or try your hand at classic seaside fun like crazy golf along the lively promenade.

Exmouth Beach, EX8 2AZ

1hr 35 Mins

Dawlish Warren, Devon

The small but delightful town of Dawlish has an amazing beach that offers a mix of sand and pebbles, stretching over a mile. Watch the world go by from the scenic promenade, or spot a historic steam train chugging past on the iconic railway line which runs right next to the beach.

Feeling peckish? Dawlish boasts a delightful lawn area with cafes and shops, ideal for grabbing a refreshing drink or indulging in some seaside candy floss. Dawlish Beach is a perfect choice for relaxation, with beautiful scenery and a laid-back atmosphere

Dawlish Warren, EX8 2AZ

1 hr 35 Mins

Just over 2 Hours Away

Durdle Door, Dorset

a rare sight of durdle beach empty at sunset

I feel nothing I type about Durdle door will be enough to explain what its actually like so here goes my best shot! Durdle Door Beach on the Jurassic Coast – is like something straight out of a postcard, but even better because you get to experience it for real. The rock formation, Durdle Door, is incredible – an amazing backdrop for lazy beach days and photos that will make your friends jealous.

It must easily be one of the most Instagram pleasing places you can visit and we are lucky that its only a 2 hour drive away from Bristol, I recommend going in the summer but expect it to be busy! I don’t think unless you go very early in the morning you’ll ever find this place empty, Its one of those places you will visit in the UK that will make an unforgettable experience.

The surrounding cliffs and coastal paths allow you to explore the area’s natural beauty, offering panoramic vistas of the coastline. Facilities here include a beach side cafe, toilets and a massive car park, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable day by the sea

Durdle Door, BH20 5PU

1 hr 35 Mins

Woolacombe, Devon

people enjoying the waves at Woolacombe Beach

Along the North Devon coast, Woolacombe Beach is a picturesque haven boasting three miles of pristine golden sand, making it an ideal destination for families seeking a relaxing day by the sea and one of the best beaches near Bristol. The beach, backed by scenic sand dunes, offers a serene escape from the bustling crowds, while its crystal-clear waters and lifeguard service during summer ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience. Woolacombe is also a surfer’s paradise, attracting both beginners and seasoned surfers with its regular sets from the Atlantic.

Apart from its natural beauty, the beach area offers an array of facilities including eateries serving lovely meals, amusement rides for the little ones, and beach huts for hire. Surrounded by an array of shops and offering a range of activities such as pirate adventure golf, horse riding, and coasteering, Woolacombe promises a delightful coastal escape for families making it a must-visit destination from Bristol.

Woolacombe Beach, EX34 7DJ

2 hr 15 Mins

Weymouth, Dorset

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