For this to truly qualify as being a short hop from Bristol, you’ll need to start in Bath. But whichever way you ride the flat, easy and 90 percent traffic-free 16 miles along a disused railway track, you’ll witness the countryside of both the Avon Valley and the South Cotswolds at their absolute finest. Handy places to stop and feed children include riverside pubs such as the Bird Hand and the Jolly Sailor, and the Bitton railway station teashop.
Bristol: St Phillips Road, BS2 0JE; Bath: Pulteney Bridge, BA2 4AT. www.bristolbathrailwaypath.org.uk
The famous safari park first opened in 1966, and its first lion (a handsome boy called Marquis) arrived the same year. The big cats remain the main attraction, but there are over 1,250 animals to keep everyone entertained. There’s also a Jungle Kingdom, featuring animatronic dinosaurs standing among the otters and lemurs, plus giraffe feeding and a hedge maze.
Warminster, BA12 7NW. www.longleat.co.uk
The bathing area here is shallow enough for children to be safe, but there are no lifeguards, so pay close attention. If things get a bit gnarly there’s a meadow for picnics, and a play area for more traditional entertainment. Warleigh Weir is easy to access on foot or bike from Bath (a 50-minute drive from Bristol), so it’s well worth parking up in the historical city beforehand, then returning to explore it afterwards.
Warleigh Weir, Claverton, BA2 7BH.
The. World’s. Biggest. Trampoline. Park. The biggest one. In the entire world! Incredible. There are 100 trampolines inside for some hardcore bouncing, plus some dodgeball courts, a foam pit and myriad other activities with exciting names (Battlebeam, Wipeout, Basketball Slam Dunk). Be sure to stop in at the AirHop Café to refuel after all that activity.
Patchway Trading Estate, BS34 5TA. www.airhop-bristol.com
Which is, officially, an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site Of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area Of Conservation. Kids will be beguiled by the stalactite caves, which were created by Ice Age melt-waters but look like aliens made them. Gough’s Cave is famous for being where Cheddar Man, Britain’s oldest complete skeleton, was found in 1903.
Cheddar, BS27 3QF. www.cheddargorge.co.uk