Bristol

Bristol

This student-friendly city has a reputation for world-class nightlife and a vibrant dining scene, but green spaces and great schools make it a hit with families too. So what’s it really like to live in Bristol?

“Bristol may have left most of its maritime past behind (and transported the wharves into cultural and dining hotspots), but the lively hubbub and vivacious atmosphere of this historic trading centre continue into the present day”

Moving to Bristol

Close to the cities of Bath and Gloucester, the city of Bristol is a major urban centre in South West England with a population of around 450,000 people. Once home to a prosperous port where boats departed for major explorations of the New World, Bristol may have left most of its maritime past behind (and transported the wharves into cultural and dining hotspots), but the lively hubbub and vivacious atmosphere of this historic trading centre continue into the present day.

Home to an exciting arts scene led by theatres such as the Bristol Old Vic as well as local artist Banksy, a thriving aerospace industry and a respected musical reputation beloved by the city’s 50,000 students, you’ll never be far from the action here. Despite all of this, the city is also very family-friendly, with vast green spaces, sought-after schools and excellent transport connections. A finalist for European Capital of Culture in 2008, Bristol is popular with tourists, but not to the extent of nearby Bath which often finds itself nearly overrun. It’s not hard to see why Londoners priced out of the capital often find them flocking to this creative enclave in droves.

House prices in Bristol

As of 2017, the average property price in Bristol is around £290,000, higher than the national average but significantly lower than close neighbour Bath. Popular areas to live include the picturesque Clifton, the exclusive and leafy Leigh Woods, and the creative suburb of Montpelier, while young professionals are often drawn to the busier Redcliffe and Harbourside areas.

“The city is also very family-friendly, with vast green spaces, sought-after schools and excellent transport connections”

Travel

A very well-connected city, Bristol has two train stations – Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway – with regular services to London taking just over an hour and a half, and direct trains to locations such as Cardiff and Birmingham. Drivers benefit from being in close proximity to the M4 and M5 motorways for travel away from the city, although within the centre congestion is notoriously bad and the council are encouraging residents to use local bus routes or cycle instead. Cycling has become increasingly popular in Bristol over the last few years, with plenty of new routes being added and the city being dubbed England’s first ‘cycling city’ in 2008.

Meanwhile, for residents looking to get away, Bristol Airport offers flights to a surprisingly diverse selection of destinations, which include Italy, Egypt and Iceland.

Lifestyle

Bristol residents often claim that the dining scene here is even better than that of the capital, and many are inclined to agree due to the vast array of options on offer – which ranges from Michelin-starred spots such as Casamia and Wilks Restaurant, to authentic Indian cheap eats at Thali Cafe. What’s more, the city has also been awarded a Purple Flag for its vibrant nightlife scene, which includes pubs, cocktail bars, and quirky pop-up spots, as well as internationally-renowned night clubs Motion and Lakota.

As far as retail is concerned, Bristol is arguably the best city for shopping in the South West, offering something for everyone – from the brands of Cabot Circus to the vintage boutiques of Stokes Croft. The city centre even has an area known as the ‘Bristol Shopping Quarter’ which covers Broadmead, the Galleries and the Cabot Circus shopping centre, totalling 500 shops ranging from Topshop to Harvey Nichols, and plenty of high-street favourite restaurants too.

Groceries

As well as numerous branches of major supermarket chains including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Tesco, Bristol also offers a selection of impressive international grocery stores, such as Wai Yee Hong Chinese Supermarket and Kin Yip Hon Oriental Food. For local produce and street food St Nicolas Market is a popular choice, while the city is also blessed with a great selection of independent food stores such as Hart’s Bakery and Divino Deli.

Health & Sport

Bristol is packed with gyms and fitness facilities, ranging from branches of Fitness4Less, PureGym and The Gym to numerous council-run services. There are also plenty of smaller studios for boxing, yoga and more.

Culture

With over 4000 listed buildings and a thriving cultural scene, you’ll never be short of things to do in Bristol – there’s a myriad of brilliant theatres, including the Bristol Old Vic Theatre (an offshoot of London’s Old Vic Theatre), Redgrave Theatre and the Bristol Hippodrome, multiple music venues such as the Bristol Academy and Victoria Rooms, and the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery for fans of art and history. Bristol is also historically known for its vibrant music scene, so from punk bands to drum and bass DJs, you’ll always find something that suits.

“With over 4000 listed buildings and a thriving cultural scene, you’ll never be short of things to do in Bristol”

Schools and Education

Bristol boasts an array of excellent schools for children of all ages, with Fair Furlong Primary School, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School, and Waycroft Academy among the best primary schools in Bristol with 100% of pupils achieving expected levels of Maths and English. For older students, Bristol Grammar School and Redland High School for Girls among the leading independent schools, while Redland Green and St Bede’s Catholic College score highly in the state sector. The city is also home to two universities, University of the West of England (UWE) and University of Bristol, the latter of which regularly ranks among the top 10 universities in the UK.

Safety

With a an average crime rate of 117 crimes per 1000 people as of 2017, crime in Bristol is considered to be relatively high at nearly double the national average. Knowle and Hartcliffe see particularly high levels of crime, as does the city centre.

Green Space

As one of the greenest cities in the UK, a staggering 29% of Bristol is made up of green space – more than Manchester, London and Leeds. Top spots across the city include The Downs, which cover an impressive 411 acres, the Ashton Court Estate, a former deer park home to a horse riding centre and annual festivals, and the centrally-located Castle Park, where students and city workers can often be found enjoying an outdoor lunch.

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