A Complete Guide to Living in Bristol
As a city, Bristol is known for its untiring creative spirit, community values and eco-conscious credentials. With an abundance of green space, welcoming residents and an eclectic cultural pulse, it’s no wonder more than 700,000 of us choose to call this beautiful riverside metropolis home.
Located a few hours west of London, and at a fraction of the size, Bristol is often considered a breath of fresh air when compared to the expansive capital. Home to a plethora of independent businesses, creative spaces and scenic surroundings, it’s safe to say there is something for everyone.
If you’re thinking of upping sticks and starting a new chapter in Bristol, this blog should come in handy.
Best Areas In Bristol
Sat astride the river Avon, Bristol is home to a number of vibrant neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character.
South of the city’s centre, you’ll find Bedminister. An area characterised by its lively streets, colourful street art, and a vast selection of independent shops, cafes, and pubs. With its mix of traditional charm and contemporary culture, this is an area that captures the essence of Bristol’s evolving identity.
North-west of the river sits Clifton, a lavish amalgamation of bars, restaurants, organic greengrocers and an array of Georgian townhouses. Just a stone’s throw away from the world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and Clifton Down, this is a great spot for nature lovers, coffee enthusiasts and students alike.
Lastly, no discussion of Bristol would be complete without paying homage to St Pauls, Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road. North of the city centre, these energetic areas epitomise Bristol’s diverse, creative communities. Whether you’re a fan of great music or world-class cuisine, you’ll certainly spend your fair share of time wandering the streets of this neighbourhood.
Transport In Bristol
Among Bristol’s many shining qualities is the ease with which the city can be navigated. A mere two-hour journey from London, and boasting incredibly easy routes to Devon, Cornwall and Wales, Bristol is a prime location for those hoping to explore all that the South-West has to offer. For jetsetters and globetrotters, Bristol airport is a short drive south of the centre, with easy access via the A1 bus route or car/taxi.
Of course, with so much on your doorstep, there’s little reason to travel further afield. Thanks to a number of bus routes, train stations and local taxis, you’re never more than a short ride from either end of the city. If public transport isn’t really your cup of tea, you’ll find more than enough in terms of scenic walking routes, cycle paths and even electric scooters.
Arts And Music
As far as art and music are concerned, Bristol is somewhat of a cultural haven. Famed for its connection to the infamous street artist Banksy, as well as Aardman animation studio, Damian Hirst and Massive Attack, it’s safe to say that creativity is in the city’s DNA. Those looking to experience this artistic outpouring should certainly make time to visit the multitude of galleries, venues, theatres and clubs scattered across the city.
For fans of live music, the Trinity Centre, 02 Academy, Motion, The Canteen and Thekla are among the many hotspots. Here, you’ll find an array of performances, from dance music and raves to live bands, spoken word and performance art. If theatre and performance is more your thing, the Bristol Old Vic, Hippodrome or Tobacco Factory host a variety of shows all year round.
Fancy grabbing a coffee and taking a leisurely stroll through an art gallery? Take your pick from the Bristol Museum, Spike Island or Arnolfini Arts, home to both contemporary and classical artworks from artists around the world.
Food And Drink
Culinary connoisseurs will certainly feel at home among Bristol’s many restaurants, bars, street vendors and cafes. With eateries as diverse and vibrant and the city’s culture, you’re spoilt for choice.
As far as great food is concerned, you’re never more than a stone’s throw from a hearty meal or artisanal treat. Among the many local eateries are Pasta Ripiena, The Ethicurean and Cafe Cuba, each of which boast local ingredients and welcoming staff. For special occasions and fantastically fine dining, a trip to The Chef’s Table is a must. Situated in the heart of the city, next to the harbour, the Michelin rated restaurant offers diners the chance to watch as their dishes are expertly prepared.
Those looking for something a little less formal will find joy in the hustle and bustle of St Nicholas Market. Open 6 days a week and housed in a gorgeous glass-roofed market building, here you’ll find everything from jerk chicken and ramen to sauerkraut and vegan burgers.
Community And Culture
Last but not least, it is Bristol’s community spirit and culture that sets it apart from other cities. So much so that its energy can barely be contained. The most notable example of this electrifying spirit is St. Paul’s carnival, during which residents from around the city take to the streets for a day of music, dance and food in celebration of the area’s African Caribbean heritage. With sound systems piled high in driveways and shop fronts, it’s no wonder individuals flock from far and wide to join the party.
Equally exciting is the annual Balloon Fiesta which, as the name implies, sees the Bristol skies filled with hot air balloons from around the country. This magnificently colourful event attracts spectators from around the UK and has almost half a million followers over the three day period.
Bristol is a city bursting at the seams with energy and community spirit. Whether you’re a fan of film, food, art, music, theatre or the great outdoors, it won’t take long for you to find your feet and feel at home.
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