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Moving to Bristol: The Ultimate Guide

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
25th January 2017

We have created a comprehensive guide to moving to Bristol if you are thinking of moving there by yourself or with your family. The city has a lot to offer, but is it for you?

Bristol has a rich history as one of Britain’s largest ports and is a hub for architectural, historical and cultural activities.

Once just a centre for heavy industry, over the last few decades it has reinvented itself as a powerhouse for culture and creativity.

Bristol’s economy contains major financial institutions, large aeronautics production, Portishead ports, and both production and service industries. However, it is not just about corporate culture, Bristol has a diverse creative and cultural industry, with live music venues, theatres and festivals on throughout the year.

This article will cover the following points

Moving to Bristol: Facts and Figures Will Moving to Bristol Improve your Quality of Life? Getting a Job in Bristol Moving Around Bristol What Is There to Do if you Move to Bristol? Cost of Living in Bristol Where Should You Live in Bristol? Schools and Education in the Bristol Area

Moving to Bristol: Facts and Figures

  • Average house price: £213,368
  • Average flat price (rent): £182,113
  • Average price of meal: £5 (cheap), £40 (expensive)
  • Average price of pint: £3

Will Moving to Bristol Improve your Quality of Life?

If you plan on moving to Bristol, you’ll want to enjoy your time there and feel part of the community, so knowing about the quality of life is useful. A Quality of Life Survey in 2014 highlighted that people living in Bristol are taking the steps to continuously improve their lives, health and communities. The survey showed that people are smoking less, cycling instead of commuting and becoming more aware of social issues such as domestic abuse.

Bristol was voted the Best Place to Live in Britain in the Sunday Times Telegraph 2014, and the European Green Capital in 2015.

That being said, Bristol still has yet to improve on concerns about climate change, and satisfaction with the bus service.

Getting a Job in Bristol

You may be moving to Bristol for a job, or looking for one once you move there. As with everywhere else, the recession caused significant setbacks to Bristol’s economy, but overall it is still quite strong.

Unemployment in Bristol is at 4.9%, with the largest problem being the city’s lack of low skilled labour. Despite this, the city is still experiencing strong economic growth.

Bristol’s job sector is incredibly diverse, but some key areas are more popular than others, in terms of job availability and economic output.


Bristol’s defence industry is one of the largest job sectors, and has created almost 9000 jobs as well as billions for the UK’s GDP. It has several key military research centres, ministry of defence production and service centres defence.


The aeronautics industry is closely tied to the defence industries – Boeing and Rolls Royce are in the list of companies involved in the industry very few UK cities can compete with.


Portishead is the purpose built port situated on the outskirts Bristol, is one of the largest import/export locations in the UK – the Bristol Port Company has a revenue exceeding £75 million per year.

Finance and Service Industry

The finance sector is significant in Bristol – some of the nation’s most established and profitable companies include Hargreaves Lansdown and Ge Capital Solutions.

There are also a large number of hedge funds, law firms and media companies which give Bristol a competitive service industry market.

Health Service

Bristol’s health service and pharmaceutical industries are huge strengths for the city. It has two major hospitals and a lot of smaller medical institutions, employing over 10,000 people across different departments.

Moving Around Bristol

Transportation in Bristol is fantastic – regular buses run throughout the day, and monthly tickets cost £55. Bristol also has a growing cycling community with designated cycle paths throughout the city, so it’s very easy to get around.

What Is There to Do if you Move to Bristol?

There is a huge range of options for going out and eating out in Bristol. Going out is relatively cheap, with beer costing £3 a pint, with even cheaper options in central locations.

For meals, Bristol has a diverse food options, with meals from £5 in St Nicholas’ market to more high-end experiences from £40 a head.

There are several hotspots for a night out in Bristol, with numerous bars and restaurants available. Local art and culture are popular in areas like Old Market and St Pauls.

Along with several festivals on throughout the year, these are just some activities for you to get to know Bristol:

  • Bristol zoo – perfect for a day out with the kids
  • Bristol city museum and art gallery – a great way to learn about archaeology, geology and art.
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge. This spectacular bridge is a symbol for Bristol, and has been for 150 years, attracting visitors from around the world. It opened to the public on 8 December 1864, and is looked after 24 hours a day, every day throughout the year.
  • Watershed arthouse cinema and bar – if you’re a cinephile, this multi-arts venue is the place for you! It showcases arthouse cinema and has a café/bar for your to enjoy, too.
  • At-Bristol – An engaging science centre with a planetarium to teach you everything you want to know about the environment, astronomy and the planets.

Cost of Living in Bristol

If you move to Bristol you can expect lower costs compared to London, but more expensive than a lot of other cities, so if you’re moving to the area you’ll want to make sure you can afford it.

There is a shortage of housing supply in Bristol, with a huge need for housing developments.

For an average terraced house, you would pay £213,368, while the average flat sells for £182,113.

Property prices vary depending on the area, but on the whole, Bristol’s prices are above the national average.

Many people choose to rent due to the rising prices – A penthouse along the river or Victorian terrace on Whiteladies Road will cost nearly £1 million, a small central flat will go for £140,000. A terraced house on the outskirts will cost £200,000.

However, new housing developments are planned further outside the city which should become available in the next few years, offering a range of house prices – so you may want to wait to buy.

Where Should You Live in Bristol?

Bristol is a vibrant and pleasant place to live, with a variety of activities to take part in as well as a lot of interesting architecture to appreciate.

Depending on your reasons for moving to Bristol or if you are moving with a family or not, certain neighbourhoods will appeal to you more than others.

If you’re moving to Bristol with your family, Redland is a family friendly area located near Clifton. It’s affluent and a place you would probably make your long-term home, to raise your children.

Horfield is an area with a mixture of families and students - students often stay there when they finish university, so it’s a perfect place for young professionals.

For more upmarket areas, Redland fits the bill with traditional family homes. Clifton is famously a very attractive place to live, with open, green spaces for the kids to run around and play, and incredible Georgian architecture as well as independent stores and cafes.

You might be younger and looking to move to Bristol by yourself – Stokes Croft is an area known for its many bars and restaurants, so you’ll never be lacking a social life! For more cultural options, Bedminster and Gloucester Road provide local art and culture.

Brislington and Fishponds are the more affordable prices in Bristol, and Southville and Totterdown are family-friendly areas that have seen a rise in property prices.

Renting in Bristol is higher than the national average in some areas, but in many it is relatively cheap. 1 bedroom flats on the outskirts of Bristol are £450 per month, while a house would be £600 per month.

Areas you may want to consider include Whitchurch, Redland and Henleaze. Some areas that have bad reputations, however, include Fishponds, Stockwood, Hartcliffe and Withywood and Redlands.

If you are looking to rent, for a flat in the centre of Bristol, you would pay £500 per month, however some areas such as Whiteladies and Clifton are priced at £750 a month.

A house in the centre is usually over £750 in the nicer areas.

In general, the nicer areas to live in are Whiteladies, Clifton and then Hotwells. If you’re moving with a family, these areas are great.

Areas you may want to avoid are St Pauls due to crime rates, however Gloucester road is considered most artistic and the best night life in the city.

See a full list of areas to live in our article - The 10 Best Areas of Bristol To Live

Schools and Education in the Bristol Area

Bristol’s education is system is very highly rated, and consists of 50 primary schools, 30 secondary schools, 5 colleges and 3 universities.

The best primary schools consistently top the SAT league tables, and are among the best in the country. However, if you’re looking for a primary school for your children, remember to do your research as some of the lowest ranked schools are also found in Bristol.

Secondary schools are also highly regarded, with the best in the city including:

  • Badminton School
  • Bristol Grammar School
  • Clifton College
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital
  • Redland High School for Girls

You might be moving to Bristol for university, and starting your student life. Bristol University is one of the top 5 in the country, and the University of the West of England is considered one of the best new universities, worldwide. Bristol is also famous for being student friendly and a fantastic place to study.

Overall, Bristol is a thriving city with plenty of cafes, restaurants, beautiful views and cultural activities to keep you occupied. If you are moving with your family, there is plenty of space to raise your children as well as several museums, planetariums and attractions to visit on a day out.

Schools and universities in Bristol are also highly regarded, so your children will get a good education. If you’re moving for university, student life is also considered fantastic in Bristol.

Although house prices are slightly above the national average and vary depending on where you want to live, doing some research beforehand will help you find the right place for you.

If you decide to make the move to Bristol,’s partners offer free quotes on removal services, and can end up saving you up to 70% on your removal costs.

Last updated on Monday 13th November 2017