Verdict — no, there is plenty to see in Bristol and nearby Bath on a short break, without needing to rent a car to get around.Why rent a car in Bristol?
- A hire car will give you access to visit many more places in South West England. If you are flying in for a slightly longer break, then Bristol’s network of flight routes makes it the best arrival point for exploring Devon and Cornwall, as well as nearby Avon and Somerset.
- Public transport to and from Bristol airport really isn’t that great — apart from the half hourly express bus service to Bristol city centre, and a link with Weston-super-Mare, very few other public transport options are available. To get anywhere else, you will need to connect via Bristol Temple Meads station, or Bristol bus station first. There is no direct coach link from Bristol airport to Bath.
- Getting from Bristol airport to Cardiff by public transport is a nuisance, and there is no view to appreciate if you take the train through the Severn Tunnel. You can enjoy a much more dramatic view from either of the Severn Road Bridges. Note — if you are doing a driving tour into South Wales from Bristol, you can avoid paying the toll by driving out through Ross on Wye, and back over the Severn Bridges, as it is free to travel from Wales back into England — of course, we don’t recommend this diversion just to avoid the toll fee, but if you are heading in this direction anyway, this is the best way to go.
- A car will make it much easier to enjoy nearby Cheddar Caves and Gorge and Wookey Hole Caves.
Why use public transport in Bristol?
- Bristol was rated by Dorling Kindersley as one of the world’s top 10 city to visit in 2009 — so there is plenty to see in the city itself, without needing to venture out much further.
- Bristol is a superb city to walk around, there is no need to even use buses to enjoy most of what the city has to offer.
- Our top recommendation would be to walk out to Brunel’s Clifton suspension Bridge, and enjoy the stunning views this affords. Although you can drive across the bridge, you can appreciate it much more (and avoid the toll of course) by walking across.
- Don’t forget to visit the Clifton Observatory and caves when visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
- Beautiful Bath is just a short hop from Bristol, and this is an easy and enjoyable train ride.
- Better still, why not cycle between Bristol and Bath, and enjoy the first cycle route set up by Sustrans.