Moving to Clifton: Area Guide

Clifton is best known as one of Bristol’s most attractive suburbs. It’s a very upmarket neighbourhood, but it’s free from the sense of exclusivity that places like Kensington or Chelsea can sometimes project.

Visit Clifton for its chic boutiques, picturesque Georgian terraces and delightful restaurants, and stay for the welcoming vibe and family-friendly community.

Thinking of moving to Clifton? Then read on for everything you need to know.

a city view of bristol at sunset

Where is Clifton?

Whether you’re looking for a spot of shopping on Whiteladies Road or a funky outlet in Clifton Village, Clifton is just a short drive west of Bristol’s city centre, taking you to its tree-lined roads and cosy crescents.

A brief history of Clifton

Clifton’s history dates back all the way to 350BC, with remains of an Iron Age camp found in the area. In 1086, it was aptly named in the Domesday Book as Clistone, or a ‘hillside settlement.’

Thanks to the warm spring of the River Avon, Clifton was later established as a favourite spot for upper class society.

The Society of Merchant Venturers bought the manor of Clifton, which included land containing the warm spring, and took great pleasure in welcoming high society to the area every summer.

An in-depth look at Clifton

Who lives there?

The University of Bristol’s main campus is in Clifton, so many of its students live in the area during term time to be close to their classes.

The ever-changing presence of young students keeps the area fresh and interesting, as businesses evolve to keep up with the latest trends.

Families also love Clifton for the great local schools, and young professionals appreciate the area for its laid-back vibe, providing a refreshing contrast to their jobs in Bristol’s busy city centre.

Types of property in Clifton  

Much of Clifton is dominated by Georgian and Regency architecture, with shops and businesses scattered throughout the primarily residential area.

The current average value of a house in Clifton is about £570,298.

For renters, a studio or one-bedroom flat will cost you around £1,000 per month, and two-bedrooms go for around £1,250.

It’s quite difficult to find three-bedroom flats in Clifton, but the rare few go up to about £2,000 per month.

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then make sure to check out the Royal York Crescent, an impressive stretch of terraced housing overlooking the docks and extending to Clifton Village. It’s one of the most expensive streets in the city and was also once the longest terrace in Europe.

terraced houses in bristol

Clifton transport

Clifton has a range of transport options in and around the city, by bus or rail.

Parking is notoriously tricky in Clifton, so if you’re coming in and out of the city centre then try hopping on bus routes 8 or 9 or use the Park and Ride service.

Once in Clifton, many attractions are just a short walk away, so it’s a great place to live if you’re a keen walker or cyclist.

Clifton Down Railway Station links you to locations around the country. It’s just a 16-minute train journey to Bristol Temple Meads for connections to London, the West and Bristol Airport for internal and international flights.

Restaurants and shops

Clifton has a fantastic range of high-end, independent restaurants, cafés and boutiques.

No. 4 Clifton Village

As a result of sourcing meat and produce from local farms, No. 4 Clifton Village’s menu changes on a weekly basis, giving you endless opportunities to keep coming back to savour their award-winning dishes.


If you’re a fan of everything Japanese, prepare to be wowed by the traditional washoku dishes at Noa. You’ll also enjoy their gojira cocktail bar, manga lounge and the ichiban party room.

Clifton Arcade

The Clifton Arcade is a Victorian stretch of indoor market stalls offering everything from cheap and cheerful haberdashery to extravagant antique collectibles. It’s worth a visit just to see the building, but you won’t be able to resist popping your head into one of the funky shops.

bristol harbourside and clifton houses

Socialising in Clifton

With its colourful houses, rooftop bars and trendy coffee shops, a day out in Clifton will be sure to fuel your Instagram feed with effortlessly cool photos.

  • See all of Bristol in Clifton Observatory
  • Park yourself on the comfiest chairs in all of Clifton in the Everyman Cinema
  • Take in the views from the cliffs of the Avon Gorge while walking across the iconic Suspension Bridge
  • Go for a swim and book a massage at Bristol Lido, a beautifully restored Victorian swimming pool
  • Tour what was once the world’s longest passenger ship in Brunel’s SS Great Britain museum
  • Visit one of Bristol’s most impressive buildings, The Victoria Rooms at the University of Bristol
  • Feed the lions and become a zookeeper for the day at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Moving to Clifton

This area guide provides only a first glance at all that Clifton has to offer. There’s a plethora of other activities, shops and restaurants for you to explore.

If you find yourself drawn to buzzing, busy streets full of excited students, as well as young professionals and people looking to have a good time, then Clifton might be the right place for your next move.

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