Bristol area guide: where to live and things to do
Bristol is a vibrant city steeped in rich maritime history. Straddling the River Avon, its port has been transformed into a cultural hub that attracts visitors from across the globe. Are you interested in living in Bristol? The following guide offers a look into some of the best places to live in Bristol, along with loads of recommendations of where to go and what to do – whether you’re moving here permanently or just visiting for a day. If you are a Bristol resident be sure to visit our Bristol self storage centre in Redfield!
Why live in Bristol?
Bristol is the biggest city in the west of England. It is home to two universities — teaching over 54,000 students — and has over 400 parks and gardens. The city has great transport links to the rest of the UK and even has its own airport.
Bristol features various residential areas, each with their own unique identity and attractions. Whether you’re a new family looking for somewhere to bring up the kids, a budding young artist looking for some inspiration, or you’re approaching retirement and are looking for a little luxury relaxation, Bristol has it all.
Where to live in Bristol
Family-friendly: St George
An attractive choice for families, St George has five schools, catering to children of all age groups. This has created a family-friendly vibe and a tight-knit community of parents and children.
The central hub of the district is St George Park, a vast expanse of greenery perfect for walks and family picnics. It also includes a children’s play area, tennis court and skate park, and hosts the summertime music festival ‘Redfest’.
Average house price: £240,000
Distance from the city centre: 2.5 miles
Clifton is one of the most popular areas of Bristol, known for being an affluent neighbourhood with a picturesque setting. The architecture is simply breathtaking; rows of grand Georgian terraces flank the suburb’s winding streets. It is home to many successful artists and architects and continues to inspire new up-and-comers.
Clifton is packed with attractions and activities. As well as the vast selection of restaurants and bars on offer, Clifton is home to Bristol Zoo, the Municipal Museum and the Clifton fine and contemporary art galleries.
Average house price: £489,000
Distance from the city centre: 2.0 miles
Young & Vibrant: Bedminster
Bedminster has undergone a major transformation into a young, vibrant hub on the south side of the city. The district has seen the development of new landmark buildings, such as the Airpoint and the Robinson, as well as various new housing options, including townhouses, apartments and terraced properties that have been converted into multi-person occupancies.
Young professionals are flocking to the area and enjoying the two lively high streets bursting with pubs, bars and restaurants. The local BV studios offer various events and activities to budding artists throughout the year.
Average house price: £295,000
Distance from the city centre: 1.3 miles
What’s Bristol like to live in?
Bristol is a forward-thinking city. It’s won numerous awards over the last 20 years which recognise a commitment to green policies and sustainable practices. Bristol is also the first UK city to ban diesel cars (as of 2021) during the core hours of every day.
In the 21st Century, Bristol has become a popular place for tourists, students and those seeking a city life without having to be in London. Of course, there are lots of contrasting areas to Bristol, but the average house price last year (according to Rightmove in 2020) was £321,883.
What’s Bristol famous for?
Owing to the location, Bristol has long been famous as a port city associated with trade. Connected to London by train in the 19th Century, trade was important throughout history for Bristol, both with other cities and with Europe. It’s since become famous for environmental credentials, culture and, more recently, it was featured in the news when protesters toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and dropped it in the harbour.
Where to shop in Bristol
A city which thrived on trade, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of great places to shop in Bristol. There are a number of markets, including St Nicholas Market, Bristol Harbourside Market, Whiteladies Road Market, Tobacco Factory Market, Temple Quay Market and Finzels Reach Market.
Famous people who live in Bristol
Bristol plays home to a number of famous names and faces, including:
- John Cleese (Actor & Comedian)
- Naomie Harris (Actor)
- Noel Edmonds (TV Presenter)
- Stephanie Cole OBE (Actor)
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Actor)
- Nick Park (Director)
- Carol Vorderman (TV Presenter)
Where to eat in Bristol
Finding places to eat is usually easy if you amble around for long enough, but if you’re looking for the best places to eat in Bristol, you’ll usually have to do a little digging. Here are our top tips for different dining experiences.
Bristol, being a forward-thinking city, has plenty of veggie and vegan options, too. Whether it’s chain restaurants like Pieminister or the likes of California-inspired Quay Street Diner, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Smaller eateries pop up all the time so it’s worth keeping your eye on social media for the latest places to try.
What to do/see in Bristol
If you like your culture, you’ll find plenty to do in Bristol. There’s the official Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the edgier M Shed gallery and Aerospace Bristol which takes you through Bristol’s part in the aerospace industry. Cinemas include Watershed at the harbourside and The Cube cinema if you want to support smaller businesses, while Showcase Cinema De Lux is not too far from the Bristol Shopping Quarter.
Prefer to be outdoors? Why not take the Banksy Walking Tour, visit the animals at the Wild Place Project or take a walk around the Ashton Court Estate? The latter of which features a miniature railway and a cafe.
What can you do in Bristol for free?
If you’re strapped for cash and still want a fun day out, there is plenty to do for free in Bristol. Save your pennies and take a trip to these places with family or friends:
- Bristol Cathedral
- Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
- The Architecture Centre
- Arnolfini Arts Centre
- Queens Square
- Banksy Walking Tour
- Bristol Central Library
Where to go out in Bristol
There are few places better than Bristol for a night out. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion with family or are simply on a night out with mates, there is something for everyone.
The Milk Thistle is a cocktail bar right in the centre of Bristol, with a comforting, slightly botanical setting. A trek up St Michael’s Hill is worth it for G&T lovers, with Psychopomp offering cocktails based on the alcoholic beverage of choice right now.
Just looking for a pint and some decent grub? There are great pubs dotted across Bristol, including The Cottage Inn down on the Baltic Wharf, providing local ales and classic roasts. If you’re after the most historic pub in Bristol, you won’t go far wrong with The Hatchet, which goes all the way back to 1606.
For those carrying on into the wee small hours, the South West of Bristol is usually the place to be. Alternatively, get all aboard the Thekla for a party on a docked boat, or check out the world-renowned Motion nightclub on Avon Street just up from the River Avon.
What events are there in Bristol?
It wouldn’t be such a vibrant place to live and work if there weren’t any events to look forward to. Bristol features plenty, including:
- Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – Annual
- Bristol Sounds – Annual
- Bristol Walk Fest – Annual
- Slapstick Comedy Festival – Annual
- Bristol Film Festival – Annual
- Bristol’s Pride Festival – Annual
- St Paul’s Carnival – Annual
Another notable feature of Bristol is Vanguard’s storage facility. Located in Redfield, just over a mile from the centre, Vanguard self-storage offers clean, modern storage units available on flexible contracts. Featuring 24-hour CCTV surveillance and an advanced security system, Vanguard leads the industry for safe and trusted self-storage in Bristol.