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Bristol Docks Loop

Bristol Cranes - Jerrold BennettRoute Details

  • From/To: Bristol Docks
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Type: A mixture of on road and traffic free paths
  • National Cycle Network: Route 41

Route Description

This route provides a unique perspective of the charming and historic Bristol docks, taking riders from the bustling city centre to Cumberland Basin with views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Learn a huge amount about this city in just a few miles on the Bristol Docks Loop. There are many pedestrians on this route so please give way and cycle slowly.

The route uses various shared use popular walking routes, some short on-road sections and National Route 41. This ride can be started in various places but a good set off is the Bristol Cathedral past the spectacular Bristol Central library. After negotiating busy roundabout using crossing the SS Great Britain comes in to view as riders join the dock river side path.

There are various good pubs to stop at for refreshments all along the docks including the floating bar and restaurant, the Grain Barge and the Nova Scotia, where Sustrans was first pioneered over a pint. Take care crossing the busy Cumberland Road on to the Chocolate Path, surfaced with brown square tiles.

The route can be extended here by heading right out to directly beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge on National Route 41. The Chocolate Path also guides cyclists back in to town alongside the original River Avon, which boasts one of the biggest tidal ranges in Europe. It can look completely different just a few hours later.

The route leaves the natural River Avon and winds back to the iconic dockside laden with fascinating history. Steam powered cranes, ancient boats, Bristol harbour and the looming cranes that line the water in front of the M Shed, a museum dedicated to Bristol and its rich history.

The cycle route has been re-routed around the back of the M-Shed, away from the hazardous railway lines, which can lead to a nasty fall. However there are still some railway lines which you'll need to look out for. Cyclists are advised to be careful and possibly dismount around this short section due to the railway lines.

This section passes Whapping Wharf, a new development of cafes, bars and restaurants, some of them located in old cargo containers, which can be a good stop for a coffee or a bite to eat.

Complete the loop by ducking in past the Arnolfini, Bristol’s biggest art gallery, and along the waterside to the fountains. All sorts of refreshment stops are on offer here and there is plenty of cycle parking. It’s then just a short dash up the hill back to the Cathedral. 

Things to see and do

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This area map shows the National Cycle Network and local routes in this area.

This short route takes you on a fun ride around central Bristol, taking in some of its most iconic views.

3 miles