GetOutside Champions: Jen and Sim Benson
Jen and Sim Benson are endurance athletes and authors/photographers of outdoor adventure guidebooks.
Despite the industrial and maritime history, Bristol still boasts some amazing green spaces right inside the city itself. Discover five of the best here.
Brandon Hill, the oldest park in Bristol, is set 260 feet above harbour level. It’s home to Cabot Tower, a large tower built in 1897 in honour of John Cabot’s voyage from Bristol and the continent of North America. The tower is free to climb, and the balcony is 102 metres above sea level. If you want to tackle to the steep twisting steps, you can enjoy panoramic views of Bristol and the harbourside from the top.
Brandon Hill may be of interest to you if you’re into history, as it was also the site of several battles in the civil war. Remains of the Water Fort that overlooks the river can still be found. However, in modern day, it is suitable for a peaceful picnic for the family.
The park contains almost 100 different species of tree, amongst other wildlife and flowers, meaning you’ll feel totally immersed in nature on your visit to the Brandon Hill.
Brandon Hill is also suitable for dogs (if kept on a lead). There is also a dog-free play area for the children, making it suitable for the whole family.
If you’re into exercise, Brandon Hill could be a good place for a workout due to the hills. There are also outdoor exercise stations along a ‘trim trail’.
Finally, Brandon Hill has featured on ‘Skins’, the TV series, a few times. So for fans, the park is a must see!Open in OS maps
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city in Bristol College Green. Surrounded by the Lord Mayor’s chapel, the Cathedral and Abbey Gate house and other historic and important buildings – there is plenty to see.
The green is perfect for office workers to take a break, due to being in the city centre – and there’s often ice cream vans!
Bristol college green is a regular venue for media launches and other events – so if you time it right you may get to see something interesting! You can also have a look online, as there are often festivals and events held here.Open in OS maps
A historic park 10-minutes from Bristol city centre, the estate was once a family home, but is now open to the public.
There are a wealth of activities held here, from hot air ballooning to fitness classes. Have a look at their website for events held.
Ashton Court Estate is host to a variety of activities, such as Parkrun every Saturday morning at 9am, which is free to sign up to. The estate also has a horse-riding trail, running routes, disc golf, deer parks and a natural play area for the children. There is plenty to do at Ashton Court Estate, for an enjoyable day in the great outdoors.
Although the estate is free to enter, some of the activities may cost – so be sure to check this out first. It is free to enjoy walks and runs around the park. And, of course, with cafes and picnic areas there is plenty of choice for food and refreshments breaks during your visit.
Hengrove Park is the perfect place for families, as it is home to the biggest free play park in the south. There is a special wheels park for BMX riders and skateboarders – the perfect safe place to enjoy riding and skateboarding.
For younger children, there is a sand and water play area, that even comes with buckets and spades! There’s a toddler’s area too with a feature including a pirate ship.
If your kids want a challenge, there is a ‘challenge zone’, that includes a climbing pyramid and wall as well as a hamster wheel, slides, tunnels and webs. There are also plenty of pretty places to relax and enjoy the scenery with a picnic.Open in OS maps
Castle park is just on the harbour, and not too far from the city centre.
Residing in Castle Park is a ‘physic garden’, which is a pretty display of herbs and flowers. The garden was built as part of a programme that helps the homeless population in the city to learn and practice horticultural skills and work toward gaining qualifications in horticulture. The garden contains a wealth of scents, so if you like flowers it is definitely a must see (or smell).Open in OS maps