Known as the gateway to the Southwest, Bristol is an exciting place to live. With good travel links to London, excellent universities and a wealth of independent restaurants, culture and art, Bristol has a lot to offer.
The Top 10 Places To Live In Bristol
Seen as the jewel in the crown of Bristol, Clifton sits on the northern raised cliffs of town and offers wonderful views across the docks and the city centre to the fields and hills beyond. The area is predominantly Georgian and the limestone townhouse architecture rivals that of Bath.
Tree-lined avenues and busy boutique shops, restaurants, bars and cafes give the area a warm welcoming feeling. Clifton Village in particular is a vibrant place to live and socialise in.
Clifton’s places of interest
Clifton has a rich history and many places of interest. Of note would be the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Clifton Lido, the latter of which boasts a beautiful outdoor pool, a fantastic restaurant and a spa.
For budding historians, the Clifton Rocks railway is funicular railway that dates back to the Victorian times and took people down through the rocks of the limestone gorge to the hot springs of Hotwells.
The area of Redland flows down the gentle slopes to the east of Clifton. The architecture here differs greatly to Clifton, with the large detached and semi-detached houses predominantly built from red sandstone. Some great bakeries and delicatessens can be found whilst strolling around the area.
Redland’s places of interest
Chandos Road is famed for its independent food outlets, with a certain Keith Floyd opening his first bistro here. It’s
now an Italian called Snobby’s, though a plaque still sits on the wall to commemorate Mr Floyd.
The areas of Bedminster and Southville are located south of the river and we have combined them as it’s difficult to separate them! North Street runs through the middle of the area, with Southville being positioned to the north of North Street and Bedminster lying to the south of North Street!
The area was built around the coal mining and tobacco industry in Bristol. Often referred to as ‘Lower Clifton’ (due to its gentrification over the past 30 years and it geographical position to Clifton), the area is packed with professionals and young families and hosts Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival ‘UpFest’.
Bedminster/Southville’s places of interest
Many of the buildings are adorned with graffiti, much of which changes each year during the UpFest Festival. If you enjoy the arts, you can also take in a show at The Tobacco Factory – a local landmark which boasts a theatre, a busy bar and restaurant.
Ashton Gate Stadium is also nearby and is the home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears. It is also a popular concert venue, having hosted Elton John, The Rolling Stones, The Spice Girls, Take That and Bryan Adams in the past.
The Harbourside of Bristol is steeped in history, with Bristol City Docks being in use as early as the 13th century. The industrial buildings and warehouses have since been converted or redeveloped into flats and houses, many of which offer wonderful views of the docks, ships and vibrant social spots that The Harbourside area is famed for.
Recently there has been much talk of also regenerating the Cumberland Basin, which is located at the far end of the Harbourside between Southville and Clifton.
Harbourside’s areas of interest
If you are a runner, you can jog the circumference of The Harbourside. Measuring exactly 5km, it is great for anyone at the end of their ‘couch to 5k’ regime as it’s nice and flat!
Wapping Wharf is a really popular area for an evening out, with the area including lots of independent bars, cafes and restaurants all made from shipping containers. If The Matthew is in port, you can take a step on board and see what cramped conditions John Cabot endured on his trip to America, while a visit to the SS Great Britain is also highly recommended.
Bristol City Centre
Bristol City Centre has gone through many changes over the years, but some houses can still be found within the centre in the older areas such as Orchard Street (where the Fox Davidson offices are located). The architecture of the ‘Old City’ dates back to Medieval times, though much of it was destroyed or damaged by bombing in the Second World War.
The area to the east of Bristol bridge has seen much regeneration over the last 15 years, with many of the warehouses being turned into high end flats. Redcliffe is currently undergoing a similar regeneration project.
Bristol City Centre’s places of interest
Redcliffe Caves are a series of man-made tunnels that were used by smugglers and possibly even by Blackbeard, who is of course Bristol’s most famous pirate!
Christmas Steps are beautiful and lined with independent shops and cafes, while St Nicholas Market is a vibrant indoor market with a wonderful food area, which becomes very busy at lunch time for good reason. Just a few minutes walk from there and you will find yourself on King Street, an extremely popular spot with locals and visitors alike, especially on those warm summer evenings while enjoying a few pints and listening to live jazz outside the Old Duke.
Bishopston is situated on the aptly named ‘Gloucester Road’. This is essentially the A38 which runs into Bristol from Gloucester and offers good access to both the University of the West of England and Bristol University, making it extremely popular with students. The area is also favoured by families due to the great schools nearby.
Boasting a healthy mix of families, young professionals and students, Bishopton is a vibrant area with much of the housing dating from the Victorian era.
Bishopston’s places of interest
Gloucestershire Cricket Stadium is just the other side of Gloucester Road and is a great day out for cricket fans, while others may enjoy strolling down Gloucester Road to take in the wide variety of independent outlets in the area.
Leigh Woods/Abbots Leigh
Cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge (which spans the Avon Gorge) and you’ll be in Leigh Woods. This affluent area is home to some of Bristol’s most sought-after properties. Surrounded by National Trust woodland on one side and the Ashton Court Estate on the other, you may notice the large detached houses hidden away among the trees!
A short walk through the woodland will bring you out in Abbots Leigh, an area which is very popular with locals and visitors, many of whom enjoy the countryside walks, dog-walking opportunities and mountain biking trails.
Leigh Woods/Abbots Leigh’s places of interest
Each house in the area is unique and breathtaking, so you can easily walk around and simply absorb the architecture. Leigh Woods also has arguably the best views in Bristol, so sit on a bench with a coffee and take in the sights.
The woods themselves host a small herd of North Devon cattle, so you may well come face to face with this friendly lot during your walk! The nearby Ashton Court Estate boasts 2 golf courses – a pitch and putt course and a disc golf course.
Westbury-on-Trym is actually older than Bristol, with occupation of the area dating back to the 8th Century. It lies in the north-west of Bristol and has easy access to Bristol’s largest shopping centre ‘The Mall’ at Cribbs Causeway. The heart of Westbury has a very ‘village’ feel to it and is a conservation area due to its charming look and historic significance.
Most of the housing in the streets around the centre of the village date from 1920’s & 1930’s which provides good-sized practical homes for families. The locality merges into Coombe Dingle which boasts some beautiful detached houses.
Westbury-on-Trym/Coombe Dingle’s places of interest
Nearby Blaise Castle is a popular and historic Grade II listed parkland. Extending to 650 acres, Blaise Castle not only has a 19th century mansion house and a castle built as a folly, but also offers many walks for the family, playgrounds for the children, picnic areas and a cricket ground.
Situated in the north of Bristol, Henleaze is a very popular area with families and is home to some wonderful Edwardian architecture. While it boasts many large detached and semi-detached houses, arguably the most famous of them all is the ‘Old Lodge’. Built in 1810, it is a round, thatched cottage that takes pride of place on Henleaze High Street.
In addition to the prestigious housing, Henleaze also offers good links into the centre of Bristol, which raises its stock even further. If that wasn’t enough, it is also home to some of Bristol’s finest coffee shops and bakeries!
Henleaze’s places of interest
Tucked away in the north of the suburb is Henleaze lake. This beautiful old quarry lake is now a members-only swimming lake which has a long waiting list for new members – though the wait is worthwhile! Some of the Fox Davidson staff have been lucky enough to swim at the lake and it really is a treat, especially on a hot summer’s day!
Situated to the South East of Bristol, Brislington has been coming up in the world for some time and continues to do so. The area has become very popular with young families and professionals due to the great local schools and strong transport links to the city centre.
Most of the housing in Brislington is Victorian-era, the majority of which are terraced, though you may spot some semi-detached and detached houses. The area really took off when the Paintworks venue opened in 2006. This is known as Bristol’s creative quarter and hosts bars, studios, offices and flats.
Brislington’s places of interest
Arnos Court Park is a beautiful Victorian hillside park which is great for a morning or evening walk and is especially popular with dog walkers.
If you enjoy great pizza, pop along to Bocabar at Paintworks to sample something from their highly-regarded menu. Alternatively, if you fancy tea & cake or drinks by the river, Beese’s Riverside bar is a best kept local’s secret. You can even get a boat into town from there!