The edgier, more buzzy sister to nearby Bath – Bristol has a sprawling feel of a series of interconnecting villages – offering a range of housing stock, pursuits and differing feels to cater for media types, young families or London commuter couples. Although a major South West city, Bristol never feels very far from nature – with an ‘outdoorsy’ feel and a gateway to Devon and Somerset.
Bristol is such a vibrant hub of culture, diversity and activity. Never a dull moment, there is always plenty to entertain!
Joseph Fry, a Bristol resident, first worked out how to make liquid chocolate into bar form, leading to a huge international industry boom. Before that point, all chocolate was taken as a drink.
From the converted wharf buildings on the river basin, to Clifton’s Georgian glamour and pastel terraces of Totterdown – Bristol really does have every type of property you could wish for.
Whether it’s the ‘big names’ at the modern Cabot Circus development in town, including a Harvey Nichols outpost; the independent boutiques of Clifton or the foodie destinations of Whiteladies’ road, Bristol’s range of quarters all have something different to offer when it comes to retail therapy.
We love the Kensington Arms, tucked away on the corner of a residential road in Redlands for proper gastro pub grub, a well-stocked bar of artisan spirits and local ales and a relaxed, welcoming vibe. St. Nicholas Market is the number-one destination for no-frills, independent, world cuisine. If you ARE looking for frills, Michelin-starred Wilks, again in Redland, is run by husband and wife team James and Christine. James travelled the globe working at leading Michelin-starred restaurants, before setting his pans down in this residential corner of Bristol – expect fresh, locally sourced, seasonal dishes that take a modern twist on British classics. Bravas on Cotham Hill also deserves a mention for superlative, authentic tapas, while Flour & Ash on Cheltenham Rd offers the best pizza in town. Primrose Café in Clifton is a brunch-spot institution, 25 years’ strong, the roof terrace is a great sun-trap come summer.
Boutique hotel on the Clifton Downs, No. 38 Clifton is an undiscovered gem; we love the ‘private townhouse feel’ elegant historic rooms that are palatial in size and opposite the open green spaces of the Downs, you feel you have escaped the city entirely. Hotel du Vin also has an outpost near to Colston Hall if you are after a base in the thick of things. The Bristol Hotel, right on the waterfront, may lack personality but for location it can’t be beaten and the bar has a good buzz on summer evenings.
From gigs at Colston Hall to nationally acclaimed theatre at the Bristol Hippodrome, exhibitions at Bristol Museum and M Shed – as well as family attraction destinations including @ Bristol, Bristol Zoo and HMS Great Britain – the cultural calendar in Bristol is packed all year round. The summer International Balloon Fiesta is not to be missed as the skyline of the city becomes busier than the M25 in rush-hour. As the home of Banksy, Bristol is proud of its graffiti heritage and there are plenty of street art tours that take in the city’s finest murals. For a slower pace, tucked between Clifton’s residential streets, the Bristol Lido is not only a glorious outdoor pool and spa but an award-winning restaurant and tapas bar too – it has a real ‘holiday’ feel in summer months.
Temple Meads Station will get you into London Paddington in 90 odd minutes, while the M4 corridor means the South West and central England are within easy reach. Good schools include Badminton and Clifton College, while Bristol University is world-class. Bristol has 8 hospitals to its name, plus all the other large city amenities you’d expect.