EIGHT GREAT REASONS TO LIVE IN BRISTOL

Last updated: 26 September 2022

With its independent spirit, thriving art scene and iconic landmarks, Bristol is unquestionably one of the best places to live in the UK!

Recognised worldwide for marching to its own beat, Bristol is the UK’s only European Green Capital, it's been voted the best place to live outside of London if you are under 26, it’s consistently listed in The Times Best Places to Live in the UK, was the UK’s first cycling city and one of the best cities in the world for a beautiful bike ride.

If you’re not already asking yourself ‘why aren’t I living in Bristol?’ then read on for our top eight reasons to fall in love with our city.

View across Bristol Harbourside

1. ITS OUTSTANDING LOCATION

Bristol might be a modern, metropolitan city, but you’re never very far from city, country or sea.

Bristolians are spoilt for choice with green spaces in and around the city. Whether you enjoy walking, picnicking or nature-watching, you’ll find your perfect place to unwind on The Downs, at Ashton Court or around Blaise Castle.

If you prefer to get around on two wheels, why not test yourself on the challenging Ashton-Pill or River Severn cycle loops, pootle along the Harbourside and Festival Way, or tackle the famous Bristol and Bath Railway Path - a 13 mile traffic-free cycle path to the historic Georgian city of Bath!

When it comes to the seaside, some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK are within two hours of Bristol. But you don’t even need to leave the city to make the most of life on the water! The floating harbour is the beating heart of the city - enjoy a leisurely harbour cruise with friends, explore the historic SS Great Britain, or paddle under your own steam by renting a canoe or kayak.

2. ITS ECONOMY AND EDUCATION

Bristol’s modern economy is built on the creative, media, technology, aerospace and engineering industries. With the UK’s strongest digital ecosystem outside of London, it’s also an incubator for amazing new start-ups.

It’s also a city of education, with students from all walks of life and from over 130 different countries, encouraging a diverse and creative community.

The University of Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK, ranked #62 in the World in the QS World University Rankings 2022. The University of West England also ranked 21st place in the UK 2021 Guardian University league table.

Yellow skies over Bristol
Fine food and craft ales in neon lights at Bristol restaurant

3. ITS FANTASTIC FOOD SCENE

There’s a whole lot of great food on offer in Bristol.

From vibrant street eats to the fine dining scene, incredible chefs across the city offer a myriad of cuisines to tempt every palate, with a proud emphasis on independent eateries and locally-sourced produce.

Bristol also has a great reputation for vegetarian restaurants and has been named UK Vegan Capital for three successive years.

4. ITS SHOPPING SCENE

Bristol is the shopping capital of the South West and a shopaholic's dream! You’ll find plenty of high street staples within the city’s Shopping Quarter around Broadmead and Cabot Circus, lining Park Street, or out-of-town at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway.

If you’d like some history whilst you shop, then head over to the Old City, Old Market or the magical Christmas Steps. You’ll find posh boutiques in Clifton Village, while Stokes Croft and the Gloucester Road together form Europe’s longest street of independent retailers and the perfect place to pick up some vintage fashion!

Installation of hot air balloons at Cabot Circus shopping centre, Bristol
Banksy artwork in Bristol

5. Its world-class arts and culture

Bristol offers something for everyone, whether you’re into music or museums, Brunel or Banksy.

Laugh out loud at the Bristol Improv Theatre, visit the Bristol Old Vic - the oldest continuously running theatre in the UK - or catch a show every night of the week at the Tobacco Factory, the Redgrave, the Wardrobe, or the Bristol Hippodrome.

View leading exhibitions from around the World at Royal West of England Academy, visit the international centre for contemporary arts at the Arnolfini or immerse yourself in Bristol’s art scene on a walking tour that takes in the best murals and street art that the city has to offer.

Listen to jazz at The Old Duke, folk and rock at The Canteen or something classical at St George’s. Or for an eclectic night out, keep your balance at the roller disco at the converted Trinity Centre church or rave the night away on the Thekla, a floating boat in Bristol’s harbour.

6. ITS ICONIC LANDMARKS

Take a stroll through the city centre and discover Bristol’s abundance of brilliant buildings, from the mediaeval Cathedral to the neo-gothic Wills Memorial Building. Climb Brandon Hill and take in the view from the top of the 105ft Cabot Tower or step out along the docks that were once at the heart of a global trading network. And explore what life was like on the high seas aboard either the SS Great Britain or The Matthew.

But nowhere says Bristol more than our city’s most recognisable landmark - the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1864, the bridge is a Grade I listed building and the 7th most popular spot for photos in the UK!

Bow of the SS Great Britain on a clear day
The HH Wills Physics Building at Bristol University
Tower of the Bristol Suspension Bridge in cloudy skies

7. ITS LINE-UP OF FABULOUS FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

Bristol has a festival for pretty much everything!

For music lovers, there’s The Downs Bristol, Valley Fest, and Loves Saves the Day or the UK’s largest festival - the world-famous Glastonbury - is just down the road in Somerset.

Other annual events include St Paul's Carnival, the Bristol Harbour Festival, Upfest - Europe’s largest graffiti and street art festival - and the iconic Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, which sees over 100 hot air balloons take off from Ashton Court Estate each year!

Group of hot air balloons during the Bristol Balloon Fiesta

8. IT'S A CITY THAT CARES

Bristolians have a well-earned reputation for being friendly and welcoming.

Research also confirms Bristol’s kindness credentials. A survey by the charity 52 Lives found that Bristol is the kindest city in the UK, with the highest average number of good deeds per person per year, making the city a natural home for everyone in our community.

People sat on a hillside enjoying the sunshine

There’s all of this and so much more to discover and explore when living in Bristol. Whether it’s the food, culture or proximity to the countryside, if you are moving to Bristol alone, as a student, or moving to Bristol with a family, there is something for everyone.

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