The Ultimate Bristol City Dog Walk

Bristol has a lot to interest those lucky enough to visit our great city. The ultimate dog-friendly Bristol city walk aims to keep both you and your pooch entertained. This approximately ten mile walk includes off-the-lead parks for your dog, fantastic dog-friendly restaurants and cafes, and a Banksy or two!

You will experience an exciting array of all that Bristol has to offer from stylish Clifton to vibrant Stokes Croft and Montpellier.

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The route

Firstly, this route is intended to take the day with stops for food and exploring.

Secondly, it is intended is for dogs who are used to walking long distances that include hills, please read the full route and consider whether or not it is suitable for your dog.

If not, you don’t have to do the full route, you can pick the part that most interests you. See a description of each area below.

Finally, it is recommended that you take this walk in daylight as there are some areas without street lighting (e.g. the Downs) and areas with a vibrant nightlife scene (e.g. Stokes Croft) that may not be suitable for your dog.

You can use this link for the route in Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/NhahYVtP9PtUdUtAA

Mapped route of the Ultimate Bristol Dog Walk

Location 1: The Clifton and Durdham Downs

The Clifton Down and Durdham Down, locally called ‘The Downs’, are a vast area (162 hectaces) of protected parkland in the city of Bristol. See more here, including pictures.

Start here by parking on or as close as you can to the Sea Walls on Circular Road (BS9 1PG). Take some time to take in the sights and give your pooch a good run and stretch. If your dog is like mine, you’ll want to burn some excitable energy to encourage more obedient walking.

From the downs you will make your way to the Clifton Observatory via a beautiful tree-lined promenade.

Dog-friendly places to eat

There is a small café near large Westbury roundabout that serves teas and coffees.

Things to see

  • Beautiful views of the river Avon, the Clifton Suspension bridge and further afield to Avonmouth.
  • There’s always something happening on the downs, plus lots of other dogs for pooch to meet.
  • The gorgeous large houses that line the edges – some fantastic Victorian beauties!

Dog etiquette

Dogs can walk off the lead on the downs. However, you should stay away of the roads that surround, and in some areas cut through.

Location 2: The Clifton Suspension Bridge and Observatory

The Clifton Observatory is a great place to visit with families. The observatory and caves are not dog-friendly, but there is a little park for someone to wait with the dog while others popped inside. From the park you can see fantastic views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the river Avon. You can also grab a coffee and snack at the 360 Café. Next we head to Clifton Village.

Dog-friendly places to eat

  • The 360 Café at the Observatory Is a very popular café offering coffees, ice creams, snacks, sandwiches and alcoholic beverages.
  • The White Lion, next to the Avon Gorge Hotel, has a large terrace with an amazing view of the Suspension Bridge. This place is great for a drink with your dog on a sunny afternoon. Prior booking recommended.

Things to see

Dog etiquette

There is a small park around the observatory where you can let your dog off, but it is usually very busy and so better to keep your dog on the lead.

Location 3: Clifton Village

Clifton Village is a suburb of Bristol with a village community and feel. It’s full of boutique shops, gorgeous places to eat and excellent pubs and bars. It’s well worth spending some time looking around and taking it all in. If you started this walk in the morning, which I recommend you do, this would be a great place to grab brunch.

From here you will pass through Victoria Square Gardens and onto the Victoria Rooms fountains. The route then takes you right towards Park Street, but there is an option to turn left towards Whiteladies Road and back to the Downs instead. 

Dog-friendly places to eat

  • Saffron is a Mediterranean café that offers great Instagram-worthy breakfasts and allows well-behaved dogs. It is just off Victoria Square Gardens and on the route.
  • The Albion is a favourite for many Bristolians. Situated opposite the Saffron café (above) on the same route, it is a large pub that it set back a little way from the street. Extremely dog-friendly and a great country pub feel, with fantastic food. Prior booking is recommended.
  • The Clifton Sausage is a good lunch or dinner spot where dogs are allowed in the bar area. Great, hearty food that everyone enjoys.

Things to see

  • Victoria square is a pretty little walled park where your dog can run around off the lead. It is surrounded by large Victorian town houses.
  • There are lots of little independent boutique shops that are worth poking your head into, such as the French Grey shop which also has a vegan cafe.

Dog etiquette

On the lead road-walking.

Location 4: Park Street

Park Street is a steep hill full of shops and restaurants. You will start at the top (what most people call ‘The Triangle’) and head down towards Bristol Cathedral and Bristol City Hall. Near the top of park street there are roads that take you to Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Park. Turn right up Berkeley Square and keep walking till you find the park at the end. You can let your dog off the lead inside the sizeable park. There’s lots to see (and smell for your pooch) and you can even take in the views of Bristol from the top of Cabot Tower (free).

As you walk back through Berkeley Square towards Park Street, on the left you will see St George’s music hall on the left and the Georgian House Museum on the right. Unfortunately, neither are dog-friendly but still worth looking at.

As you walk down Park Street you will see lots of shops and cafes. We highly recommend that you stop at Mrs Potts Chocolate House for a hot chocolate and something to eat. They allow well-behaved dogs, but be ready for queues as it’s very popular.

Dog-friendly places to eat

Mrs Potts Chocolate House is a heaven for chocolate fiends. In one of our Instagram Bristol stories you can see how gorgeously presented the hot chocolates are, let alone the cakes! Well-behaved dogs allowed inside. 

Things to see

  • Cabot Tower in Brandon Hill Park was erected around 1890 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the journey made by John Cabot to what would become known as Canada. You see all of south Bristol from its viewing towers.
  • The stunning Bristol Cathedral sits at the bottom of Park Street on the opposite side of a small park called College Green to the Bristol City Hall
  • Next to College Green stands a large hotel and a statue of Queen Victoria. The statue was placed in the 1880s and unveiled by her grandson. At the time of writing, I understand that this is the only statue of a female in Bristol.
  • There is a famous piece of Banksy street art at the bottom depicting a naked man hanging out of a window. It has unfortunately been vandalised with blue paint gun splats, but still worth seeing.

Dog etiquette

On the lead road-walking, apart from parts of Brandon Hill Park where your dog is allowed off the lead.

Location 5: The Harbour

We love the vibrant Bristol Harbourside. See our Bristol Harbour post for more information on dog-friendly places to eat and things to do. On this route you will see Millennium Square (great for dogs who love water) and maybe the Matthew (depending on where it is that day). At this point you can take a detour over the bridge to Whapping Wharf for food or a drink.

From here you will walk through Queens Square, along the Welshback towards Broadmead. As you reach the top of the Welshback you will turn right towards Castle Park. But before you do, you will see historic steps leading to the St Nick’s Market and Corn Street, another slight detour that would be worth taking if you have the time!

Dog-friendly places to eat

  • Whapping Wharf has lots of great places to eat. Most will require you to sit outside with your dog or get food to takeaway.
  • You could take another slight detour to see the Habourside food market in the City Centre, if running. This market has a number of pop-up stands with food from different local restaurants.

Things to see

  • Millennium Square often hosts events such as Christmas market, ice-skating rinks, fair rides and roller discos. Fun to walk through and see what’s there.
  • The Lloyds Amphitheatre is a great private building with a large open space in front that is often full of skateboarders. Everyone, including dogs, are welcome to walk through and the skateboarders manage to skim around the constant flow. It offers a great view of the Bristol Harbourside and the Mshed on the opposite side.
  • The Arnolfini is an art gallery with café and bar. On sunny afternoons you will find the harbourside full of people sitting on the floor outside its doors. Usually with a cider in hand. You can’t take your dog inside but you can sit with your dog in its outside bar. 
  • This route will take you through the Queen Square, a small Georgian park where your dog can have a good smell and socialise with other dogs.
  • After Queens Square you will walk along the Welsh back which passes King Street. King Street is a historic 17th century cobbled street with large buildings, including the Llandoger Trow (1664) and the Old Vic Theatre (1766).

Dog etiquette

On the lead as there are roads and busy places.

Location 6: Broadmead

From the top of the Welshback you walk through Castle Park to the Broadmead shopping centre. In Castle Park you can let your dog the lead and allow them to run around the small park. As you enter Castle Park you will see a ruined church at the top of the hill, and next to it a pretty rose garden.

Castle Park leads you into the heart of Broadmead, which contains the older Galleries Shopping Centre and the newer Cabot Circus Shopping Centre. Neither are dog friendly, but there are lots of places to pop into if you are with someone who is happy to wait outside with the pooch.

From Broadmead the route takes you through the Bear Pit to the start of Gloucester Road in Stokes Croft. Here is another opportunity for you to turn left up Park Row (past the hospital) and head back towards the Downs via Whiteladies Road.

Dog-friendly places to eat

Over Finzels Reach bridge from Castle Park you can see the dog-friendly Left-handed giant, which is known for great pizzas and own beers.

Things to see

  • St Peter’s Church in Castle Park was ruined by bombing in World War II. It has been kept in this state as a memorial.
  • Finzels Reach bridge is a masterpiece of functional modern architecture and connects Castle Park to a courtyard of restaurants and wine bars.

Dog etiquette

On the lead road-walking except for Castle Park where you may let your dog off the lead.

Location 7: Stokes Croft and Cheltenham Road

Stokes Croft is an area next to Broadmead that is known for vibrant street art, culture, vegan restaurants and nightlife. It is extremely popular with students. This area is very up and coming and a true highlight is the famous big issue seller Jeff, officially the loveliest big issue seller that we have ever met.

As you continue along the main road you will seamlessly merge onto Cheltenham Road and enter Montpellier. This route continues along this road, but there is a slight detour that you can take down Picton Street and then Picton Lane where you will find more street art and eateries (e.g. the dog-friendly Bristolian café).

Continue up Cheltenham Road and then bear right onto Gloucester Road where you will walk further along the bustling street. When you reach Lona Grill, you turn left onto Berkeley Road and back towards the Downs via Westbury Park.

Dog-friendly places to eat

  • Caribbean Croft serves amazing Caribbean food at a reasonable price. It’s not dog-friendly inside but you can sometimes get a seat outside.
  • El Jefe Jose is a street food shop with an excellent offering of fresh food, perfect snack when on the go (such as a long dog walk!).
  • The Bristolian is great for brunch and light lunches.
  • While not dog-friendly inside, Rice & Things is an authentic Jamaican restaurant that does takeaways – it’s so worth it.
  • Boston Tea Party is a breakfast/lunch chain restaurant known for being dog-friendly.

Things to see

Street art (including a Banksy!), Stokes Croft is full of impressive graffiti that can only be described as art.

Dog etiquette

On the lead road-walking.

Location 8: Westbury Park

The walk to Westbury park passes through residential areas where you can house styles from various different eras. You will find more independent shops, cafes and restaurants, most of which allow dogs inside or out front. From here you enter the downs and walk across to find your car. This is the last chance for your pooch, who is probably very tired by now, to burn off that last bit of energy and run. Don’t forget to watch out for the roads.

Dog-friendly places to eat

I do not imagine that you will be hungry by the time that you get here, but there are independent cafes and bakeries that offer takeaway treats.

Things to see

Great houses, especially those nearer the Downs! Dream away my friends, dream away.

Dog etiquette

On the lead road-walking.

Take care of your dog

As mentioned above, this is a long walk involving lots of hills and running opportunities for your pooch. You should pick the distance and the route (I have offered alternatives above) that is best for you and your dog. This route offers lots of stops and opportunities for you and your pooch to rehydrate. It may be worth taking snacks for your dog to keep them energised. Speak to your dog’s vet if you have any concerns.

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Do you want to do this route? Did you complete the walk? Tell us what you think in the comments!

7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Bristol City Dog Walk

  1. These guides are so great! I don’t live anywhere near there and I doubt I’ll ever go, but I still really enjoy reading them!! That says a lot about you and your writing skills! 😀 Keep it up – I wish I could go!

  2. Very cool route! I would love to visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge and caves one day, that sounds like an amazing day trip. Most caves aren’t dog-friendly due to the wildlife, but I’m a sucker for that type of adventure.

  3. Wow! This is fantastic! What amazing and scenic areas you have to dog walk. I love harbor areas. A dream would be to one day visit the UK, in the meantime I love being an armchair traveler and this guide is superb! Pinning to share!

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