Spotlight on: Bristol
Well known for being a buzzy, vibrant city, Bristol was recently named as one of the best places to live in South-West England by the Sunday Times annual guide – only just pipped to the number one spot by a town in nearby Wiltshire.
Straddling the River Avon, the city lies between Somerset and Gloucestershire. It is a multicultural university hub with a city centre port that has recently been regenerated into the lively ‘Harbourside’.
Bristol is famous for many things including the Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain and the Bristol Balloon Fiesta as well as its contribution to the arts and sciences. With a rich history of swashbuckling pirates and North American expeditions, it definitely makes for an exciting starting point – but what makes Bristol a good place to live?
History and Culture
Bristol began life as a town called Brigg Stow, which means the meeting place at the bridge in the old Saxon language, and legend has it that America was named after a Bristolian – Richard Amerike! who was responsible for a large part of John Cabot’s funding when he took his voyage to America.
Bristol also has many more recent claims to fame including the actor Cary Grant, who was born in Horfield and Banksy – who was not only born here, but who’s work can be seen at sites throughout the city. Isambard Kingdom Brunel made his home in Bristol and created some of his most memorable masterpieces here, including Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, mentioned earlier.
WG Grace one of the greatest cricketers and sportsmen of all time was born in Downend and Agatha Christie was married on Christmas Eve 1914 at Emmanuel Church in Clifton.
The city played an important role in England’s maritime trade in tobacco, wine, cotton and more, and now encompasses everything from Art and history, to music, sport theatre and a huge variety of cultural attractions too.
Bristol is thought to be one of the most family-friendly cities in the UK, with an abundance of activities and entertainment to keep the whole family happy!
Aerospace Bristol, Bristol Aquarium, We The Curious and Wild Place Project are just a few of the amazing attractions in the city, as well as fantastic sports facilities and plenty of parks and green open spaces. Not to mention the newly developed waterfront area.
Schooling, is of course, top priority for any family relocating and Bristol certainly doesn’t disappoint. There are a total of 137 state schools and 15 independent schools, with the high majority ranked good or outstanding.
Bishops Road Primary, St Bonaventure’s and SS Peter and Paul RC Primary in neighbouring Bishopston and Redland are among the top-rated state primary schools.
Bristol Cathedral Choir School is the highest performing state secondary academy and applications every year are well in excess of their available places. Close second is Redland Green School also ranked as outstanding. Cotham School and St Mary Redcliffe & Temple school are also extremely popular secondary schools in Bristol.
For parents considering independent schools in Bristol, there is also no shortage of choice. Clifton College is probably the most sought-after school in Bristol, a mixed day and boarding school for children aged 0-18 with state of the art facilities.
Clifton College is closely followed in the rankings by Clifton High School and Bristol Grammar, who both offer co-educational learning from pre-school to sixth-form.
For older students, Bristol University is one of the most popular schools in the UK and is within the top 60 universities in the world. The university’s engineering, pharmacy and social policy courses are amongst the best in the UK. It has a focus on research and student experience, designed to give its graduates real life skills and knowledge.
Bristol is very well connected by both road and rail links, and Bristol airport, located to the south-west, is just 20 minutes away by car from the city centre.
Alternatively, the Bristol Airport Flyer runs a service to Bristol airport from the city centre in approximately 35 minutes, with a range of bus stops in and around the city centre.
Bristol Temple Meads is the main railway station in the city centre and has a direct line service to London Paddington in less than 90 minutes. Bath Spa is just a 15-minute hop and is a fabulous place to take in the Georgian architecture and more relaxed pace of life, a complete contrast to the arty boho vibe in Bristol.
The M32 motorway from Bristol links you to both the M4 and M5 providing easy road links to London, the Midlands, and the south-west counties of Devon and Cornwall.
Additionally, Bristol has been named the UK’s first “Cycling City” which acknowledges the city’s growing status as one of Europe’s most bike-friendly destinations.
Bristol has cycle routes on almost all its major roads, and there are plenty of places to lock up your bike, over 300 cycle parking spaces and free-to-use bike pumps around the city, making cycling a great way to get around.
There are beautiful riverside country trails for the weekend and an extensive network of city centre cycle lanes for commuters, so there is something for every cyclist.
The average sold price in Bristol has risen by 3% in the last 12 months to just under £380,000, with the price of a detached home costing around £560,000 (source; Zoopla) However, in light of recent rises in mortgage rates house price predictions for the next few months are mixed as the threat of a recession in the UK increases.
The most sought-after neighbourhoods of Bristol are Clifton, Redland, Bishopston and St Andrews, with properties here commanding a premium. Clifton, Redland and Cotham remain Bristol’s ‘golden triangle’. Bishopston and St Andrew’s are both close to the sought-after Gloucester Road and have a cool, bohemian edge, a firm favourite with young families.
The rental market in Bristol is still extremely buoyant with demand outstripping supply. The average price for a one-bedroom flat in BS1 postcode is around £1600 per month, rising to just under £2700 per month for a 4- bedroom house.
Further out into the suburbs of Bristol, such as Keynsham, prices are a little more affordable at around £1000 per month for a one-bedroom property and £1950 per month for a four-bedroom family home. (Source; home.co.uk)
Juliet is our local area expert, having lived in Bristol for over 20 years she knows the local property market inside out.
If you are planning a move to Bristol and want to discuss the area in more detail or would like support with your home and/or school search, we would love to hear from you.