Nice bits of Bristol?

(41 Posts)
extracrunchy Fri 21-Jun-13 08:57:46

DH and I are hoping to buy a house in the next year or so. We've been in London long term and did want to stay here, but now expecting DC2 and can't afford a bigger place.
We have some family in the Bristol area and like the city - just wondering if anyone can point us in the direction of nice, family friendly areas with good access to the centre, green spaces, stuff to do for little ones and reasonable schools...
Any thoughts?

LittleMilla Fri 21-Jun-13 09:16:45

We moved from Wandsworth last year to Bishopston - bought our first house here. We LOVE it - great independent high st (Gloucester Rd), St Andrews park - the best play park in bristol IMHO and a handful of very good (outstanding rated) primary schools. Quite a bohemian vibe, but there are lots of young families and also lots of people that have done the same thing re: leaving London.

School places are tight and so you need to make sure you're v.close, but it's getting better year on year as they aim to increase space.

Look at Redland (big houses, parking shite), Bishopston and St Andrews. Southville is also supposed to be v.nice, but I was put off by the parking which is worse than Redland.

Sort of depends how much you've got to spend too...

extracrunchy Fri 21-Jun-13 09:26:35

That's really helpful - thank you! How have you found moving out of London? Is it a big change? My husband is worried about that aspect!

workingtitle Fri 21-Jun-13 11:49:36

The key issue is schools (if going state). Bishopston is fantastic, that would be my first choice. Some people really prefer Clifton ('the village') to all other areas, so check that out too, although it is pricey.

Bristol has a laid back eclectic vibe, but still feels like a big city. So much going on, whatever you're in to. Access to London is good (one train, or just hop on the M4), which helps I think.

We've moved from Bristol to Bath now and although I love Bath, it is definitely far more parochial and less diverse/edgy than Bristol.

morethanmama Fri 21-Jun-13 12:49:04

Bs9 very family orientated.

extracrunchy Fri 21-Jun-13 16:38:55

Am I right that Montpelier isn't great? Are there any bits you'd specifically avoid?

workingtitle Fri 21-Jun-13 16:52:39

Montpelier is a bit rough around the edges, and IMO houses there feel a bit hemmed in. Totterdown is kind of like Montpelier (I think!) and 'on the up', but further out. I personally wouldn't choose to live in Fishponds, Southmead, Filton or anywhere in East Bristol (Easton, Barton Hill and East/N East of those). If you want more suburban, Westbury on Trym is popular.

harryhausen Fri 21-Jun-13 17:00:04

Echo Southville, Redland, Bishopston. I know all those areas (Southville's my local haunt). However even I've now moved to the border of N.somerset for a garden and less parking problems. Still only 5 mins drive to urbansville though so a nice compromise.

Avoid St Paul's, St George, Knowle West (although bits of Knowle are lovely), Hartcliffe, Southmeads.

If I had endless cash it would be a big Victorian Villa in Clifton village <<dreams>>

exexpat Fri 21-Jun-13 17:12:22

I moved back to Bristol (having grown up here) after living in lots of big cities (Tokyo, London, Sydney) and although it obviously feels small in comparison, there is an awful lot going on, so it doesn't feel quiet or parochial.

The choice of area really depends mainly on your budget for housing. Bishopston/St Andrews is a very good, family-friendly but still central area. Houses in St Andrews are mostly late Victorian, gardens quite small, the Bishopston side has Victorian plus some 30s and 50s houses. I think you could get a really nice family-sized house in this area for around £400k, give or take £100k depending on precise location and size. Lovely park, good shops, lots going on, schools very oversubscribed - but unfortunately that is true of nearly all the family-friendly areas in Bristol.

Redland and Cotham are similar to St Andrews but with bigger houses, a lot of which are now flats or shared houses (lots of students as it is close to the university), hence the parking problems mentioned, but that is improving as residents' parking zones are rolled out. Couple of good primaries, two good secondary schools (but that's probably looking a bit too far ahead for you). Big Victorian semis (5 bedrooms or more) round here tend to be about £600k but you can get smaller ones or ones needing work for less.

If you want somewhere a bit quieter but still with lots of amenities, the Westbury Park/Henleaze area might suit: a couple of good primary schools, high street with lots of independent shops plus Waitrose and a little cinema, close to the Downs. Housing a mixture of Victorian, 30s-50s and some more modern. Gardens a bit bigger on the whole than St Andrews.

Montpelier is very urban, lively, cheaper, rather less family-oriented. Totterdown and Southville are rapidly gentrifying, increasingly popular with families; housing is mostly smaller Victorian terraces.

I think really you need to come and spend a few days having a wander round and getting the feel of places.

allaflutter Fri 21-Jun-13 19:25:55

ir depends where in London you live, since you say you do like it there. Then it'd be easier to suggest comparable areas. Clifton (including the actual village, but a little away from village is still nice yet a little cheaper) is really like a nice London area, Kensington/Chiswick/even chelsea, only in smaller scale and it's near a huge Ashton Court green estate, just over Clifton Bridge. Clifton village can be extremely charming on a nice day, it's also buzzy (mainly on weekends) - it used to be a small spa town separate from Bristol. It's also near Uni and Park st where you find all the nice London food places and shops, and a great (!) big museum. It has both natural history and art sections, and lots of decorative arts.

Redland is quite expensive and quiet, and is between St.Andrew's and Clifton, it is purely residential but convenient for both of those.

Gloucester rd (St.Andrews, Bishopston) is more like Camden/edgier bits of Clapham, not as 'clean' but chilled and boho. But it's safer, less crowded, and closer to the green spaces than Camden/Clapham!

Southville not so great imo, but may be improving.

Westbury Park is quite upmarket and suburban but not far (car, bus 10min) from the amenities of Whiteladies rd (which is a border between redland and clifton), further from any trains though. I wouldn't honestly got to Westbury on Trym after london, it's too small and no atmoshere (though of course very green).

allaflutter Fri 21-Jun-13 19:27:10

Montpelier - not with small kids, though it does border St.Andrews.

MortifiedAdams Fri 21-Jun-13 19:27:40

Fishponds?

exexpat Fri 21-Jun-13 19:48:46

I don't know Fishponds that well, but I often go to Snuff Mills/Oldbury Court park, and sometimes think that if I had moved back to Bristol with no particular need to be in north Bristol (where my elderly parents are), I might consider Fishponds: good high street for shops & cafes, Oldbury Court brilliant for small children and dogs, easy access to the city centre & motorway, much more house for your money than north Bristol, including some huge Victorian semis. I noticed Fishponds has one of the Lounge cafe/bars, which seems to be the sign of an up-and-coming/middle-class family-friendly area in Bristol these days (other ones are in Southville/Bedminster, Cotham, Totterdown, Westbury, Gloucester Rd etc).

But I have no idea what the schools are like in Fishponds.

extracrunchy Fri 21-Jun-13 19:49:56

At the moment we're in Twickenham, which is nice but a bit out on a limb. We lived in Fulham at one point, also nice and also posh! Don't actually need posh, but reasonably leafy and not too isolated (shops wise would rather have an Iceland and a Boots than a local organic butchers!)

exexpat Fri 21-Jun-13 20:01:05

OK, so maybe not Clifton, then - definitely organic butcher territory, and a million miles from Iceland... St Andrews is also increasingly organic cupcakes and Cath Kidston bunting, but the further up Gloucester Rd you go, towards Horfield, the less posh it gets, so if you pick your location carefully you could get the best of both worlds.

Really, it all depends on your budget - do you have a rough idea of what you might be able to spend, how many bedrooms you want, are you bothered about gardens etc?

Misty9 Fri 21-Jun-13 20:16:56

I grew up in Bristol, and it was so different then (10-15yrs ago) compared to now - much more gentrified now! Apart from the places already mentioned as no-go areas, any part of Bristol isn't bad. It does depend on what schooling you need and, more importantly, what your budget it.

Horfield hasn't been mentioned much and is very family friendly. My brother and his family live there (young son) and love it. Great parks, town very close by, good schools and more reasonable house prices (by Bristol standards anyway!). For example, my brother is buying in horfield a 3 bed semi with decent garden and off road parking for just over £300k.

IMO house prices in Bristol are madness - we grew up in a four bed double bay fronted Victorian house in bishopston, which my parents sold for £97k in 1998 shock. God knows what it's worth now!

RikeBider Fri 21-Jun-13 20:20:38

Why on earth would you avoid St. George? It's a very family friendly area with a lovely park confused

Misty9 Fri 21-Jun-13 20:31:07

Just re-read list of no-go areas - actually I would say the only ones to avoid are hartcliffe, knowle west and possible St. Paul's (though even that is beginning to gentrify!). Personally I wouldn't live in Bradley stoke - but I know a lot of families do I went to school around there and they're not happy memories

Agree st George is fine. Also, bedminster is very up and coming/trendy.

allaflutter Fri 21-Jun-13 20:33:06

OP, Westbury Park and Henleaze are leafy, quiet, and not too far out, no Iceland in any of the nicer aeras mentioned, but two Sainsbury's on Whiteladies (reachable from westbury park), waitrose there, tescos and coops as usual. Same as Redland. I think Horfield is a bit too much of a change from London (esp for your DH, as he's worried), it lacks character imo, and you could sort of be anywhere even though it's not bad in any way. You really need to visit and see what 'speaks' to you. Are you going to use trains at all?

allaflutter Fri 21-Jun-13 20:34:52

Misty , what is the difference between Bedminster and Southville - don't they merge? Does S have a different rail station to it?

FlightofFancy Fri 21-Jun-13 20:46:33

As the others have said, really depends on budget. Henleaze is lovely, but quite an old folks bit in places ( my nearly 70yr old parents live there - outing myself massively) but very good school. I'd rather not live in Sadley Broke ( Bradley stoke) as it's a bit soul less.
Would probably choose Redland type area if moved back, very good secondary school there.

LittleMilla Fri 21-Jun-13 21:46:34

Hi OP, we've found the transition pretty easy tbh. Annoyingly my dh was still in London a lot for our first 12 months but now he's here ft it's bliss. Really is. We couldn't be happier with our little house and life.

We both studied here and lived (separately) in Clifton/Redland. So when we moved back we rented in Redland for 6 months. Neither of us knew bishopston but Gloucester rd and our house in particular charmed us. Certainly more 'lefty' than we are, but it's got soul. Good, 'proper' fruit & veg shop (no farrow & ball ponciness) and also some good butchers etc. there's also a sainsburys local, morrisons and also co op mixed in. So you get the indie shops, mixed in with convenience. Plenty of very good coffee shops and restaurants too.

Seriously, I struggle to fault it. All London mates that come to stay leave green with envy.

Maybe that'll change once I need to sort out ds's school place grin. But the plan at the mo is to stay central until ds is ten, then we'll look at moving to n Somerset as someone mentioned up thread.

harryhausen Fri 21-Jun-13 22:15:30

IMO Southville & Bedminster are virtually the same. Some use trendy North St as a divider but the locals really don't.

Southville isn't up and coming. I'd say its up and come! For a nice house in Southville you're looking at nearer 350 - 380k. I sold my house just off North St in 2007 for 134k. If only I'd held out! Schools are heavily over subscribed. Huge community feel with streets regularly shut for 'playing out' days. Street parties, arts trails, Upfest.....

extracrunchy Sat 22-Jun-13 15:15:07

LittleMilla - sounds pretty much perfect!

Don't get me wrong everyone - Iceland isn't essential and I don't hate indie butchers! I just meant I'd rather have straightforward and useful than boutiquey grin

Budget. Hoping for a 3 bed with a garden for around £300k upper end. Is that totally unreasonable?!

Would like reasonable train links to London if possible...

workingtitle Sat 22-Jun-13 18:38:00

With that budget I think I'd look at totterdown, southville/beminster. Good for temple meads.

LittleMilla Sat 22-Jun-13 18:40:16

Extra - we paid 380k for our three bed a year ago and are bishopston/st Andrews border. If you move closer towards horfield then it's certainly possible to get a three bed for 300k. Ours was a habitable victorian doer-upper ad we've spent the last year decorating and doing everything in phases. Good stock of project houses but the developers are certainly cottoning on. So whilst there's a lot compared to where you are now, I get the impression that it won't last.

I'd strongly suggest a weekend trip. Have a stroll all along Gloucester rd on a sat to get a decent idea of the vibe (keep an open mind - it is very different to twickenham!). Check out horfield leisure centre too - pretty modern with some good facilities and I'm there a couple of times a week now with my two year old for gymnastics and swimming.

RikeBider Sat 22-Jun-13 18:46:10

Southville is a bit tricky for schools. I would definitely look at Totterdown, Knowle round Wells Road and Windmill Hill. Very family friendly, Victoria Park and Redcatch parks are lovely, there's Windmill Hill City farm and it's pretty down to earth (and there is an Iceland and indie butchers and greengrocers in Broadwalk shopping centre!).

It's also good for schools and not ridiculously oversubscribed - eg. you only have to live 700 meters from a good school to get in rather than 250m as in many bits of North Bristol.

Lovely Victorian terraces from about £200k in Totterdown/Windmill Hill to £300k in Knowle - the Knowle houses tend to be much bigger though.

Plus, walking distance to Temple Meads and close to town.

RikeBider Sat 22-Jun-13 18:47:31

That area of South Bristol is also a bit more family orientated imo, Redland, Horfield, St Andrews are very studenty (and lots of rah students, even worse!).

cleoowen Sat 22-Jun-13 18:49:06

Henleaze is lovely we are moving there soon. Would have loved to have loved in st Andrews,Redlands or cotham but too pricey for us so guess depends on your budget. Bishopston is nice but very crowded with narrow streets IMO.

I would also avoid Easton and would not recommend fishponds. we are moving from there. Is it slowly up and coming but too slow for me, still dirty,busy,lots on unsavoury characters hanging around. Police there regularly and bouncers outside pubs kind of place. It is family orientated to an extent but also quite student like and lots of very young mums hanging around all day, plus schools not good. But on the plus side, several good parks and every shop you could want.

RikeBider Sat 22-Jun-13 18:59:55

The biggest issue for families in Bristol is school places so I would focus on some schools you have a chance of getting a place at (or an area that has a few realistic school options) and work backwards. The council has a page for primary allocation details on their website which shows all the furthest distances a place was offered for oversubscribed schools.

RikeBider Sat 22-Jun-13 19:27:27

I would choose something like this in Windmill Hill www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-27307653.html - choice of two good schools, Victoria Park and St Mary Redcliffe
or this in Knowle
www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-42189455.html - another two good school, Knowle Park and Hillcrest

extracrunchy Sat 22-Jun-13 19:32:27

Rike thanks for being so generous with your time smile

RikeBider Sat 22-Jun-13 19:38:50

Looking at property porn at RightMove is always a pleasure, never a chore grin

extracrunchy Sat 22-Jun-13 21:00:00

I'm looking at the moment. Can't believe how much more you can get for your money...
DH is now stressing about jobs - he's doing well with his company in London and doesn't mind commuting shortish term, but doesn't think he'd find anything comparable outside London. He's in publishing. Any thoughts?! I have no idea.
I mean I know the job market in London is always going to be favourable, but anyone know what the publishing industry's looking like in Bristol/Bath?!

cleoowen Sat 22-Jun-13 21:39:55

I thought St Mary Ratcliffe was in special measures , the school that is. IMO I would avoid bedminster, it's like fishponds, not nice high street. southville is very up and coming and quite alternative but impossible parking.

RikeBider Sat 22-Jun-13 21:54:40

St Mary Redcliffe was in special measures a few years ago but it is rated Good now.

I live in Horfield and am entertained by the descriptions here. For £300k you would get three beds and a garden, plus if you plan it right be in the catchment for Ashley Down which is the second most over-subscribed school in Bristol.

Horfield is on the Gloucester Road and just up from Bishopston and St Andrews. It depends, as others have said, what you want in terms of services and the sort of people you want to live around. I find Bishopston, Redland, Clifton etc. a bit too middle class professional for my tastes. It's a bit friendlier and more flexible around here.

There is still some publishing in Bristol and Bath (Future are based there), but it's much reduced from five, ten years ago and salaries are much lower. Commuting to London IMO is not a realistic option.

EwanHoozami Sun 23-Jun-13 09:53:16

Ex-Laahhnderner here grin

I wouldn't discount the less trendy East Bristol and the S Glos borders. St George, despite the comment above is absolutely fine with a beautiful park and great amenities and Hanham has incredible value for money family houses and good schools with no massive bunfights to get in. Much easier access to Bath, too.

After experimenting with Clifton / Montpellier / Southville etc I decided that Bristol is small enough that you can live in a less fashionable area for the comfort, schools and space but have easy access to all the best bits of the city.

Your budget gets you a lot of space out here and you could still be in either Bristol or Bath in 30 mins

For creative industry jobs in Bristol - keep an eye on Bristol Media

PatTheHammer Sun 23-Jun-13 10:06:16

Does anyone know Thornbury well? At the moment we live in Gloucestershire about a 25 min drive from Bristol but Dh is beginning to look at jobs in Bristol and we could consider a move to Thornbury as its a bit closer and would make his commute easier.
I think there is some great advice on here, I have some friends who live in Bristol and they would pretty much say the same thing.

cleoowen Sun 23-Jun-13 19:26:29

Thornbury is smart with smart shops and pubs etc. it's quite a small place though with just one strip of road which is the high street but easy access to other areas. school s are good too I,think.

kinelle Sun 23-Jun-13 20:30:13

Thornbury is lovely. Very community spirited. Good schools. Close to m4 and m5. No train station tho, and the bus service isn't great. The high street has a nice selection of shops, and it's not far to The Mall at Cribbs, or Bristol itself if ou want a proper shop!

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