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Moving to… Bristol

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A vibrant and cultural powerhouse with deep maritime history, Bristol is a city like no other. Whether you’re an art fanatic who enjoys days spent wandering museums or would rather take a seat with a double espresso at its variety of boutique cafes, Bristol has something for everyone. 

We understand that moving to a city is about far more than just its buzzing nightlife or which shops line the high street though. Here, we’ll help you uncover what it’s really like moving to Bristol, what you can expect from property prices and even some vital information like broadband speeds and crime rates too.

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Bristol’s checkered history and its exciting future

Featured in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 1051 as a trading port with Ireland, Bristol has been a city that has a rich maritime history. From its origins as a small port, Bristol’s crucial role in the sea trade saw it grow in size to meet the needs of the businesses passing through its streets. The city even had a unique reputation for the build of particularly sturdy ships. 

The maritime history of Bristol has not always been a bright one though. Between the years of 1697 – 1807, the city played a significant role in the Transatlantic slave trade where 2,108 ships set sail for Africa and then on to the United States. It is estimated that around one fifth of the UK’s slave ships set sail from the port of Bristol.

In World War Two, the city was severely bombed and in need of renovation. As post-war regeneration took place, much of the architecture was designed with practicality at its core with many buildings becoming synonymous with the brutalist architecture of the 1950s and 1960s.

Over the last decade, Bristol has undergone a further regeneration programme which has seen the city move into a more modern and cosmopolitan aesthetic. This has been a contributing factor in its recent surge in popularity. Bristol enjoys an exciting future with a uniquely independent feel making it one of the top destinations for those moving away from cities like London, in search of more space and a distinctive atmosphere.

Where is Bristol?

Bristol is the largest city in the South West of England. Located approximately 120 miles from London, it resides on the border of Gloucestershire to the North and Somerset to the South. From here, you can easily travel to Bath which sits around 13 miles to the East, or across the Clifton Suspension bridge to reach Cardiff only 44 miles away.

Buying a home in Bristol

Bristol is a desirable location and this is reflected in the local property prices. In 2020, the average price for a home in Bristol was just over £360,000. The most commonly available properties on sale in Bristol are terraced homes, which are sold for an average value of £340,000.

If you’re in the market for a semi-detached house, you can expect to find properties for an average of £370,000 while flats sell for an average of £270,000.

Property prices in Bristol are on an upward trajectory, with a 10% increase compared to 2019 and a 16% increase compared to 2018.

As can be expected from a city the size of Bristol, the area you move to has an impact on the average value of the local properties. Houses sold in the city centre, Clifton and Redland are some of the most expensive in the area. If you’re looking for a more affordable place to call home, you may wish to look towards Easton which itself has an up-and-coming feel to it.

Renting in Bristol

On average, renting a two-bed house in Bristol costs £305 more every month than the national average. The city is one of the most expensive locations for tenants in the South West of England though remains considerably cheaper (around 91%) than London.

If you’re thinking of renting in Bristol, here’s how much you can expect to pay on average:

  • Room – £480 per month
  • Studio flat – £525 per month
  • One bedroom property – £685 per month
  • Two bedroom property – £825 per month
  • Three bedroom property – £1,000 per month
  • Four bedrooms or more – £1,500 per month

As mentioned above, the location you choose to live in Bristol will have an effect on the price you’re paying.

Cost of living in Bristol

It’s all well and good knowing the average property prices in a city like Bristol, but what’s the cost of living like?

The cost of living in Bristol isn’t particularly low, however it’s certainly a cheaper option than London. Here, you expect to pay around £2.95 for your favourite cappuccino at a local coffee shop, or £4.50 for a pint of beer in a pub. A mid-ranged meal for two will set you back around £55 while a loaf of bread is just over £1.

If you’re using public transport in Bristol, you can get a monthly pass for £70, while a one day bus pass is £4.

In regards to utilities, you can expect your electricity, heating and water bills to come to around £157 per month for an 85m2 property.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

What is it like living in Bristol?

Bristol is a city which caters to all types of residents, which means you’re likely to find something for every taste. Whether you’re into live music, art or shopping, here’s what you can expect.

Nightlife

Being a university city, Bristol has a thriving nightlife which caters to the tastes of students and locals alike. From its large nightclubs visited by some of the world’s most successful DJs, to intimate speakeasies, a buzzing live music scene to hilarious comedy shows, Bristol has it all.

Head towards King Street if you’re in the mood for a microbrewery, or why not relax with cocktails at Harbourside for a picturesque view to go with your drinks? If you fancy a hipster type vibe, Stokes Croft has you covered, while The Old City is perfect for those in more of a jazzy mood.

Events

Bristol has a fizzling events schedule each year which is sure to peak the interest of its many residents. One such event is the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta which sees hot air balloon fanatics from around the world converging on the Ashton Court Estate to take to the skies of Bristol and its surrounding areas. There’s also fireworks in the evenings and plenty of music to keep you entertained during this four day event.

As the home of Banksy, Bristol is renowned for its street art. To celebrate, the city is home to Upfest, Europe’s largest urban paint festival. Head here to see some of the world’s best graffiti artists at work. You can also get involved in creative workshops and child friendly activities.

This isn’t all though, Bristol plays host to a wide range of food festivals, beer & cider festivals, chocolate festivals, film festivals and, of course, some exhilarating music festivals too.

Eateries

You’ll be spoilt for choice when looking for a bar or restaurant to visit in Bristol, irrelevant of what part of the city you call home. Generally, you’ll always be within walking distance of a great choice of places to grab lunch, a quick pint or somewhere to spend your evening.

In regards to restaurants, you’ll discover that there’s something to everyone’s tastes, from relaxed options to fine dining. 

Transport links

Getting around Bristol is easy with its fast and reliable bus service which runs regularly to all key areas of the city. In regards to trains, the city is served by two major stations, Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads. Both stations are serviced by Great Western Railways among others, which offer regular services to London, Cardiff, Plymouth and Taunton.

What’s not to like about Bristol?

Bristol can be a wonderful place to live, however every city has its downsides. First off, if you’re not a fan of living in a university city and having to put up with the accompanying student nightlife, Bristol may not be for you. Also, Bristol can feel quite crowded in places, this is especially prevalent in the city’s narrow lanes and market roads.

Who lives in Bristol?

Around 465,900 people live in Bristol, making it the largest city in the South West of England. Bristol is a city for families, with more children under the age of 16 living in the city than those of pensionable age. Though, the majority of the city’s population is aged between 20 – 34. There are around 58,000 people registered at Bristol’s two universities, meaning that the city is home to a large student population. 

Typical broadband speed 

The average download speed of broadband in Bristol is around 20MBps, with an average upload speed of 2MBps. This is below the UK’s average download and upload speeds.

Crime rate 

Bristol has crime rates proportional with much of the UK, with the majority of crime being petty theft of scams. Bristol’s crime rates are comparable to areas like Reading, Cardiff or Newcastle with an average of 100 crimes committed over a 12 month period per 1,000 residents.

Thinking of moving to Bristol?

If you’re considering moving to Bristol, you can find all of the information you need with the Move iQ property report. From local schools to property values, simply enter a postcode and have all of the data you need about an area at your fingertips.

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Last Updated: October 29th, 2021

Phil Spencer

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