It’s Saturday afternoon, and I’m sat in a buzzing cafe/bakery hybrid sitch on Whiteladies Road in Clifton: my new neighbourhood since I moved to Bristol back at the end of September. This place never ceases to amaze me – I honestly feel so at home here. I’m so thankful for the weird twist of fate that meant I got to visit this city when Sam moved here for university – it would never have occurred to me to visit Bristol otherwise. And it’s not just me that thinks this. I’ve not met a single Bristolian that doesn’t adore their home. And to me that’s crazy – because people are forever moaning about UK cities. In short, I’m in love with Bristol – and today, I thought I’d keep the post short and sweet with every reason why you gotta visit Bristol. Slash move to the city – immediately, because it’s the best place ever (sans Paris, which is still my no. 1).
1) It has such a VIBE
Other than Paris, I’ve never met such a city with an instant, definable, cool ass vibe. Bristol is creative. It’s quirky. It’s conscious. It’s unapologetically unafraid to be what it is. It’s where the cool kids are and where you desperately want to be.
2) Bristolians ACTUALLY care
Case in point: Greta Thunberg choosing BRISTOL to make her groundbreaking speech just days ago, INSTEAD OF LONDON. Bristolians are incredibly conscious about important causes: it’s the best place to be for veggie and vegan food, there are countless protests what feels like every week in College Green and there are some hugely inspiring charities and initiatives based right here in the city. It’s inspiring to be around.
3) There’s a relaxed way of life – you don’t always feel like you’re in a city
Meandering through Bristol city centre on a lazy Sunday, you don’t feel like you’re in a concrete jungle. Harbourside walks, exploring the many parks and green spaces… You’re never stressed out by the city experience here.
4) It’s perfectly positioned in the UK – which excites me too much, coming from landlocked Warwickshire
You can get to Devon and Cornwall in around TWO hours. The seaside towns of Clevedon, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare are around half an hour away. You can get to exciting cities like Bath in just 15 minutes on the train. That’s if you ever fancy actually leaving Bristol (which doesn’t often happen because it’s that lovable)…
5) It’s not just the city centre that’s insane – every single borough has its own distinct vibe, too
Clifton’s bougie and powsh. Bedminster is arty, with graffiti lining street walls. Gloucester Road is rough and ready, with insane independent eateries and vintage shops lining one of the longest streets in Bristol. I could go on. But unlike other cities, where the defining aspect is just the heart of the city, Bristol’s got it goin’ on wherever you venture.
He/she is here! Banksy is a Bristolian. Trailing throughout the city are an array of Bansky pieces – and spotting the pieces are one of my favourite things to do.
7) Rando adulting point, but I’ve found the GP surgeries down here to be the *best* I’ve ever experienced
I can’t fault the GP experience I’ve had in Bristol. They’ve finally acted on a long-term issue I’ve been experiencing and getting nowhere with back in Warwickshire and I’ve been referred for further tests. This feels a massive relief – and I was worried Bristol’s services would be worse due to the high volume of patients in a city.
8) Rent is pricey, but you’re never caught moaning about it – because it’s just too worth it
It would be wrong not to mention that Bristol’s housing is ridiculously expensive. It is. But we all choose to spend our money on things we enjoy – just as some people are saving up to go travelling, I’ve been saving to afford to do this whole renting thang. And it’s too worth it to live in such a beautiful city.
9) Food food food – Bristol food is the best
There are SO many independent Bristolian eateries – one of the first things I noticed about Bristol was purely the fact that there are restaurants at every turn. No exaggeration there – you’re spoilt for choice in Bristol. And it’s a great place to be veggie and vegan because every eatery is super environmentally conscious.
10) There are so many wonderful independent shops
One of my favourites is a little art shop called ‘Sky’ in Clifton Village. It does incredible prints of Bristol and beyond and quirky lil designs by local artists. We purchased a painting a few months back, and the prints were literally numbered because they were limited edition. Everything is super local and local talents are celebrated hugely in Bristol, which I adore.
11) There’s so much free stuff to do – which is great, if you’re on a budget
Whether that’s going on a Bansky trail walk, wandering through the harbourside, sightseeing at the Suspension Bridge or checking out so many of the incredible free museums, Bristol is a haven for those on a budget. You can spend a fun weekend literally not even spending a penny. It’s wonderful!
12) Every landmark is architecturally insane
The Suspension Bridge is literally so architecturally confusing I’m awestruck. There’s a quirky vibe to the city, with a higgledy piggledy nature to the skyline. There are pastel coloured houses, Parisian-esque architecture, ornate gothic churches and the Cathedral looks like a mini Notre Dame! It’s so fun!
13) The city runs some sick events
Just this weekend, Bristol is running its first ever Light Festival! We spent Friday evening exploring key landmarks in the city which were lit up, such as the incredible bridge in Castle Park which was illuminated in a pink mist over the water. We then watched a planetarium art show which was captivating and so immersive. There’s a blues and jazz festival coming up, a St. Patrick’s Day parade and countless other fun events across the city! And there are some insane festivals to go to in summer – Glasto is just a bus ride away, too.
14) Being by the water is so peaceful
There’s something so calming about strolling around the harbourside. And the SOUND of seagulls literally makes my heart sing.
15) If you want to move here, you can find some beeeautiful (yet pricey) flats
We live in genuinely the most adorable period flat and I couldn’t be happier with the property we got lucky to live in. When looking on Rightmove, there were countless other incredible apartments with beautiful features. It’s worth the eye-watering price, believe me.
16) It’s a wonderfully diverse city
Bristol celebrates and welcomes every culture – it’s truly a wonderfully diverse place. I adore Bristol’s welcoming nature – and it makes me proud to live here.
17) No one who moves here ever wants to leave
I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about Bristol. People who came here to university are reluctant to leave, and thousands flock from across the country to move here. It’s a true gem, ’tis.
18) You can get the city life with the quiet, country vibe
We live a stone’s throw from one of the biggest green spaces in Bristol. There are some havens to travel to in Somerset that are beautifully rural, and Bristol never feels like a stressful city. It’s the best of both worlds.
19) The music scene is incredible
Although there are no arenas or stadiums in Bristol, there are some wonderful independent venues where national and international acts come to play for a more intimate experience. The student music scene is buzzing, as the city is home to the outstanding music university, BIMM. It’s a cool place to get involved with music, and there’s always another latest up-and-coming band to watch out for.
20) It feels like home
I usually take time to get used to a new environment. I didn’t even really feel settled in Birmingham until the third year of my degree. Yet the second I moved to Bristol, it felt like home. And if that’s not testament to how great the city is, I don’t know what is.