Moving to Bristol: Area Guide

With its rich history, extensive culture and a plethora of things to do and see, the bustling city of Bristol has often been compared to London. Attracting artists of all kinds, students and young families, Bristol offers an eclectic and youthful atmosphere, which many call home. Famed for its music scene, Bristol’s urban vibe is unrivalled, and it’s easy to see why so many people flock here. If you’re looking for somewhere seriously cool to settle, Bristol is probably the place for you.

Where is Bristol?

Bristol is the biggest city in the South West of England; in fact, it’s so large that it has been given a county all to itself, namely City and County of Bristol. It can be found tucked in between Somerset and Gloucestershire, sitting on the River Avon. The postcode for its city centre is BS1.

A brief history of Bristol

Bristol has a fascinating history, and there are loads of places throughout the city that you can visit to explore its past. The SS Great Britain, Bristol Cathedral and the Clifton Observatory all allow you to understand what made Bristol the city we know it as today.

The first mention of Bristol dates back to the Stone Age, and there is also some evidence that the Romans occupied it. During the Norman era, Bristol became established and rose to prominence and in 1373 it became a county in its own right.

Bristol has a very prominent maritime history, especially thanks to its connections to Wales, Iceland, France, Spain and Portugal. Throughout the Middle Ages, the city traded a variety of commodities, including wool, wine, fish and grain. In 1542, when cross-Atlantic trade began to increase, Bristol became a city in its own right. Unfortunately, with all its maritime history, Bristol’s rise and success are also heavily linked to the slave trade.

During the 20th century, the city was propelled to the forefront of the aircraft manufacturing industry and, thanks to this, the city became a hub for technology.

bristol skyline with clifton suspension bridge in the background

An in-depth look at Bristol

Who lives there?

Bristol is a city for everyone; students attending the university in Bristol account for much of the city centre’s population. With countless bars, clubs and restaurants, it’s easy to see why. Young professionals and artists also flock to the area for that big city vibe and urban music scene. Families are also plentiful, as it is rated as one of the safest cities to live in the UK. Therefore, Bristol is not only for the young and wild, but also the perfect place for a family to settle down – with excellent schools and plenty to do in the surrounding area.

Types of property in Bristol

Similarly to London, Bristol has all types of properties to choose from. Flats, terraced houses, semi-detached and detached places are all available in the city. However, looking at Bristol city centre itself, apartments are among the most frequent. For a one-bedroom flat, you should expect to pay £1,006pcm.

Transport links

Bristol is extremely well connected. It has train links to get you pretty much anywhere in the UK. It takes about one and a half hours to get to central London, but beautiful cities like Bath are basically on your doorstep as well, taking just 15 minutes on the train! There is also a great network of buses that can transport you quickly to many local destinations.

homes in bristol during golden hour

Restaurants and shops

As you may have guessed, Bristol is home to some fantastic restaurants. No matter what mood you’re in, there is sure to be something that satisfies your cravings.

Poco

If you’ve watched David Attenborough’s latest documentary and have decided to implement some necessary lifestyle changes, the place to try is Poco. With sustainability at their heart, you won’t feel guilty about eating out here, and the flavours will certainly have you coming back for more.

The diverse menu includes tonnes of veggie and gluten-free options, alongside the classic tapas-style dishes you’d expect. Take your pick from English split pea hummus, North African spiced braised wild boar shoulder & maftou or the ‘Pulse Fiction’ burger – made from beetroot and haricot beans. They have a great selection of drinks, including their unique ‘orange wine’, to accompany each and every meal.

Rosemarino

If you’re searching for classic Italian food, with fresh, local ingredients, it has to be Rosemarino. Choose from delicious pasta smothered in ragu, crispy paninis or a delicious homemade pizza with a different topping every day. The dessert menu here is also extensive and includes classics like tiramisu.

Sky Kong Kong

Each dish served at Sky Kong Kong looks like a work of art, from slow-cooked short beef ribs to a plate of steamed sea bream, tofu and Asian greens. If you’re looking for great, authentic Korean food, served with a touch of elegance, this is the dinner or unch location for you.

Souk Kitchen

For a Middle-Eastern treat, there’s nowhere better than Souk Kitchen. Expect mezze plates stacked high with olives, taramasalata, hummus and potatoes. The chargrilled Aleppo chilli chicken is a fiery best-seller. Cool down with a yummy dessert of Tulumba – a Turkish doughnut with orange blossom syrup and yoghurt cream.

clifton suspension bridge in bristol on a summer's day

Shopping

As you may or may not know, Bristol is somewhat the epicentre of vintage shopping in the UK, and while of course there are countless other great shopping destinations, in this guide we’re going to pay homage to the vintage greats. So, buckle up!

Loot Vintage is definitely the place to start. It highlights reworked, hand-picked items from Miami, Paris and New York, so you really can’t get any better than Loot. Specialising in 90s sportswear and streetwear, with the odd one-off vintage find, this store is bound to have something for you and all your mates.

For the original vintage shopping experience, RePsycho has it all. The owners of this store were selling vintage before vintage was even a thing, so they have a wealth of experience in repurposing and reworking clothes. To round it all off and if you really want to feel like a Bristolian, make your way to BS8. Here you’ll find a wealth of designer vintage items at pretty affordable prices. It’s also very well-organised so that you won’t be digging around for hours.

Socialising in Bristol

Bristol has a vibrant nightlife, so you’ll never be short of bars and clubs to keep yourself entertained. Basement 45 is the place to go for dance/techno music and loads of different DJs. Drinks are relatively cheap, and the vaulted design of this club gives it an urban feel. Motion is a world-renowned club, with incredible events throughout the year.

If you’re looking for a more wholesome activity to do on the weekend, head to the Harbourside Market. Fill up on delicious street food and meander the streets of the city, all while browsing pop up stalls selling everything you can imagine!

Moving to Bristol

Bristol is a city full of fun, culture and food and, if you’re looking for the perfect mix between the three, there is no better city to live in! Arty and urban, Bristol is great for students and young professionals looking to experience big city life.  

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