moving to Bristol

(52 Posts)
witt999 Sun 28-Jul-13 20:08:19

Am hoping to relocate to Bristol next year and doing a bit of advance planning.
Can anyone help with areas to live - am keen to be in a reasonably quiet family-friendly area that's still convenient/not too isolated. Not sure where I'll be working so a bit in the dark but priority to live in a good area even if it means longer commute. Def don't want to be in a studenty area. Budget is around £325,000.
Would consider Bath and commuting from there - what is that like? Not sure if the budget can stretch to it though...

TallulahBetty Sun 28-Jul-13 20:53:37

I am familiar with the north of Bristol. Areas to look at are Downend, Mangotsfield, Emersons Green, parts of Kingswood.

TallulahBetty Sun 28-Jul-13 20:54:35

Meant to add that the above are very close to the M5, M4 and the Almondsbury interchange which connects the two.

TallulahBetty Sun 28-Jul-13 20:55:21

And avoid Fishponds if you don't want students.

VBisme Sun 28-Jul-13 20:57:35

Could you stretch as far north as the south Cotswolds, Stroud is lovely.

allaflutter Sun 28-Jul-13 22:28:23

what sort of property are you looking for with this budget? do you want an upmarket area or just convenient and not rough (even if dull)?

witt999 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:48:00

Thanks - will start browsing rightmove.
Am I right in thinking north Bristol generally preferable to South?
Reasonably open-minded about the property and willing to shop around to find the right compromise, so please do include all possibilities. Doesn't need to be upmarket (although it would be nice) just decent and safe (have been living in Manchester for a while and need a change of lifestyle). Two bedrooms and reasonably low maintenance are the main criteria. Although last time I got tempted into a big renovation but not sure I can cope with it this time. Going to come down for a drive round but may not be able to get time off until later in the year so will have to be pretty efficient about it with the shorter days.
Would consider further out and I love the Cotswolds. How big is Stroud? Don't want to feel too isolated after Manch, but this is about a lifestyle change...
Its tricky not knowing where I'll be working but really helpful to get an idea of housing options before starting to apply - I'm a GP so jobs are all over and want to know I can get housing without a mega commute.
What is the traffic like around Bristol? There's a job being advertised in Bedminster at the minute (not that i'm ready to apply yet) but would it be feasible to commute to practices in the South from the north suburbs or even further afield. There's a job in Yate too which I think would be against the traffic. Is it worth considering posts in S Glos and potentially commuting out of Bristol?

witt999 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:50:39

By the way, the areas you mention near M4 and M5 - is that a good thing for travel or a bad thing for traffic noise?

witt999 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:55:19

Is there any chance of getting closer into Bristol on my price range?

harryhausen Mon 29-Jul-13 08:14:38

I know Bedminster and Southville well. The area of Bedminster surrounding North St and Southville is really nice and a lovely area for children. It has a great community feel, mostly very MC, a little bit Eco-hippy but not in a crazy waygrin. Very arty. Schools are very oversubscribed but they are extending one of the schools massively and also building a new one.

You could get a lovely house for your budget. It's a high density area, with street parking that can get difficult but no worse than you would get in Bath.

TallulahBetty Mon 29-Jul-13 08:53:04

I meant that the areas are good for travel. They're not so close that noise and traffic in those areas are a problem smile

formicadinosaur Mon 29-Jul-13 11:35:26

Wotton under edge. Direct trains from cam/Dursly train station. Buses. Top state school. Great primary's. Active community. Fair trade town. Safe. Small cinema. Outdoor pool with inside pool close by in nearby town.

formicadinosaur Mon 29-Jul-13 11:38:06

Stroud has a direct train to Bristol. Naff secondary schools but good grammar.

formicadinosaur Mon 29-Jul-13 11:38:38

Cirencester? Too far?

formicadinosaur Mon 29-Jul-13 11:45:34

If you are a GP you will probably be driving in to Bristol when the roads are quiet anyway.

Cirencester has lovely highly though of schools. All the facilities you need but is quite horsey unlike Stroud which is more alternative but also a bit down at the heels in the town centre. Lovely countryside surrounding the town though.

ZolaBuddleia Mon 29-Jul-13 14:05:08

I'm considering the exact same, but with a much smaller budget! grin

Bedminster houses seem to be much cheaper than Southville on Rightmove, do you know why that is, harryhausen?

Wotton-under-Edge sounds exactly what we're looking for! What is housing like there formica? On Rightmove everything looks newish, do older houses come up much?

What's Cirencester's vibe?

Also, I've read a few times on here that Bristol schools are awful, is that true?

Hoping I'm not hijacking, OP, hoping we might have similar questions. blush

carlajean Mon 29-Jul-13 16:12:56

I'd agree with formicadinasaur about Wotton (local to me) but the railway station at Cam Dursley is about 30 minutes drive away, a bit far IMO.
Housing is limited, as the terrain means not many more houses can be built. Parklands is nice, also Coo be and Ellerncroft.

carlajean Mon 29-Jul-13 16:14:14

There are older houses, but sometimes parking is problematical

UC Mon 29-Jul-13 16:21:53


Bedminster houses are cheaper than Southville because Southville is more gentrified. Parts of Bedminster are quite run down. It depends what kind of area you want.

Have you considered anywhere outside? The schools in Bristol do not have very good reputations, and I know quite a few people who have either moved or educated privately. However, there are excellent state schools very near to Bristol in places like Backwell, Portishead, Nailsea - all south of Bristol - and Thornbury - north of Bristol.

TheAwfulDaughter Mon 29-Jul-13 16:31:50

325k will get you a lovely house in Downend. 3 bed, garage, big garden. Good state primary schools, which feed into Downend Secondary with is a good comprehensive, rare for
Bristol as you've indeed heard.

Hanham and the Hanham/Kingswood border are also worth looking at. Good primaries and catchment for Hanham High and John Cabot (v. good school, 96% A*-Cs at GCSE). 325k would get you a lovely high finish house in Kingswood too. Only a 30 minute drive to Bath.

Horfield and Filton have good links to the city centre and you could get a good house on your budget, but your options for co-educational, non fee paying education is pretty diabolical.

harryhausen Mon 29-Jul-13 17:30:35

Zola is right about Southville being more gentrified than Bedminster. Parts of Bedminster have 'blurred' into Southville. Streets around Chessel St - Pearl St, Ruby St, Aubrey Rd etc are very nice (estate agents will call this The Chessels). It's possible you were looking at Bedminster Down, which although is not an utter dive - is not what I would class as very 'mc'. The houses in Southville are bigger Victorian terrace houses with small gardens. Many Bedminster houses are smaller with backyards.

Historically the gentry lived in North Bristol (Clifton, Redland etc) and the 'workers' (shipworkers, minors, tobacco factory workers) lived in the smaller terraces South of the river. There is a small left over snobbery about this. However the now elected Bristol Mayor George Ferguson helped to regenerate the area around the old Tobacco Factory (North St). It benefitted from the property boom of the early 2000's where young professionals from Clifton etc realised they could get a large family home near to the city centre relatively cheaply. North St now has bars, 2 theaters, restaurants, independent shops, bakeries and a Deli etc. It will never have the grandeur of Clifton but its got a nice community.

My Dh moved to Bristol 25 years and has lived all over. He said if money was no object he would choose a large Victorian Villa in Redland. I've only ever lived in the South.

Have a look at Long Ashton. I know plenty of people there. A more village feel but a spit throw from Bristol. Traffic is v congested in the morning though.

Re schools - Bristol has no grammar school system so historically anyone that could would go private. Therefore the state schools declined badly. They used to languish at the very bottom of the tables. However, they are getting much better and the percentage of parents going out of county or private is declining slightly (according to last years local paper!). We've yet to decide on senior school yet, it's very possible I'll go local - possibly Ashton Park or Chew Valley. However, many people I know still send into Bath and N Somerset. It's not unusual.

On the whole I love living in Bristol. It's a great city. Yes, you can drive easily from North to South .....rush hour depending.

Let us know how you get on x

tallulah Mon 29-Jul-13 18:36:58

Traffic in Bristol is diabolical, depending on where you are going and what day/time. What should be a 10 minute journey you need to allow 30 - 45 minutes. Do take that into account. "Rush hour" lasts from 3.30 to about 7pm on the ring road.

kinelle Mon 29-Jul-13 20:17:38

Thornbury is lovely. A market town to the north of Bristol. The 4th best town to live in the UK according to The Sunday Times! Easy to get to Bristol and all it's amenities, but on the edge of lovely countryside; also nice and close to M5 and M4. ( but not close enough to hear them!). Very good schools, low crime, v naice all round.

Misty9 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:49:02

That's a healthy budget in my opinion. I'm Bristol born and bred - but left over 10yrs ago. My family however still live there, and my brother with his young family are buying a house in horfield, off the Gloucester road. £310k for a three bed semi with potential to extend etc. They his wife are VERY fussy about where they live, so it must be a family friendly area and I think it's in catchment for Ashley down junior school (where we went).

Gloucester road from muller road junction downwards is lovely with a bohemian feel to it and getting more pricey as you head into town via St. Andrews and bishopston. I grew up in the latter, and loved it. St. Andrews park is fantastic.

We live at the other end of the country (widthways) and threads like this make me sad I don't live in Bristol sad

Misty9 Mon 29-Jul-13 20:55:27

Just had a quick look and this is in a decent location, as an example.

formicadinosaur Mon 29-Jul-13 21:14:55

Isn't cam Dursley station about 15 mins away? Wotton under edge has lots of old homes built around an old town centre. plus some newer estates. It's a great town and the secondary school is fab with top results. My Bristol friends are very jealous. Look up Katherine lady Berkeley ofsted. Very family orientated town and a great sense of community and lots of nice countryside to hand. The drive into Bristol is fine out of rush hour.
Thornbury isn't my cup of tea for some reason.

Cirencester is quite flat itself but in the middle of the lovely Cotswolds. Great schools/leisure facilities, lots of agriculture, quite conservative. A safe small town but maybe a bit bland? I'm sure someone will tell me otherwise.

Bristol secondary schools are generally quite ropey. Many people leave the city because of the education.

cleoowen Mon 29-Jul-13 21:28:39

We ve just moved,to henleaze and it's lovely with very good primary and secondary schools and close to lots of amenities. It's near Gloucester,road, which is quite studenty and is more family friendly and quieter. Your budget won't stretch as far as a result and you would,probably get a two bed semi or three bed terraced for that budget.

WetAugust Mon 29-Jul-13 21:56:25

South Glos - halfway between Bath and Bristol. Can use the park and ride to get into central Bristol. More house for your money and semi-rural.

Indigo8 Mon 29-Jul-13 22:24:53

I'd second north Bristol too - Henleaze is nice. Westbury-on-Trym is also nice, affordable on your budget and a bit cheaper than Henleaze. Primary schools are good but issues with state secondary schools there though (a few private ones nearby) . Also easy access to central Bristol and also to Cribbs Causeway/M5 for shops. Some parts of Bedminster are ok but not others, was quite a "chavvy" area back in the 80s/90s when I was growing up.

Indigo8 Mon 29-Jul-13 22:33:26

And Bath is nice (excellent schools - secondary ones are even better than the primary ones) and the commute isn't too bad if you're working in South Bristol - I.e it's close but very busy at rush hour. (Though commuting through Bristol can also be a nightmare). Weston, Newbridge or Oldfield Park are on the Bristol side and are nice areas at about your budget-ish. Also the "bad" areas in Bath are nowhere near as bad as the "bad" areas in Bristol.

harryhausen Mon 29-Jul-13 23:32:45

Yes, agreed North Bristol is nice. I have friends in Horfield and Bishopston. Gloucester Rd is lovely. I didn't think your budget would stretch that far, but I'm obviously wrong about that.

witt999 Tue 30-Jul-13 21:41:59

Thanks so much for all the input, can't believe how much I've learned so quickly!
One thing I didn't ask is if its a nice place to be?
I'm itching to get further South to be near old friends. Can't really afford Oxford and there aren't many jobs going there so Bristol is a bit of a pin in the map - access to countryside + South England + employment opportunities + not as big as Manchester + reasonably cultured (could be wrong there?!)
Does it make sense? Thoughts or ideas welcome...
ZolaBuddleia - are you moving from Manch?

WetAugust Tue 30-Jul-13 21:45:36

Weatherwise I'd rather be in Bristol than in Dundee or on the eastern side. It's quite mild in Bristol cos it's close to the sea.

Socially - lots of stuff going on. Balloon festival, Harbour festival, Festival of ideas etc

The natives are friendly wink

witt999 Tue 30-Jul-13 21:49:18

Sounds like secondary school quite a major issue and presumably affects people staying long term. Have to admit it puts me off a bit - is that silly?

South Glos sounds good - what sort of places does that include? Sorry to be a bit ignorant. Couldn't cope w anything too isolated but semi-rural w good access might work.

WetAugust Tue 30-Jul-13 22:01:23

South Glos secondaries are generally considered better a lot better than Bristol.

South Glos is the area north and east of Bristol but it also extends down to dip between Bath and Bristol. People that live in the dip can also send their kids to secondaries in bath and NE Somerset - some of which are outstanding.

ZolaBuddleia Tue 30-Jul-13 22:14:34

No, not moving from Manchester. We're considering a large area from Stroud in the north to Frome in the south and Exeter in the west. Like you though, I think Bristol will offer most in the way of employment, so focussing there a bit more.

Our DD is 3, so secondaries aren't an issue yet, but don't want to move again.

VBisme Tue 30-Jul-13 22:34:17

I'm from the friendly north and have never felt more welcome than I did when we moved to the South Cotswolds.
Stroud and the surrounding area is lovely, and we found the prices similar to the north (which I never expected).

Misty9 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:35:59

I went to secondary school in south glos - and unless it's improved a lot in 15yrs - I'd avoid Patchway high school smile

I'd say Bristol is lovely. Def lots of culture stuff going on, and a nice place to bring up a family. Didn't know about the secondary school issue, although when us kids were that age I know my (teacher) mum wasn't too impressed at the offerings. Cotham used to be good - is it not now? Was a grammar school back then too...

For what you want OP, I'd say Bristol is a good bet.

allaflutter Wed 31-Jul-13 00:23:53

Op, Bristol is definitely a nice place, no question! Weather is mild, locals quite friendly if a bit reserved, very beautiful houses in nice areas but also dramatic countryside/harbour views (green hills!). Harbour is really nice and fun - lots of museums for kids (interactive and very modern), old city museum very good too, festivals, also many festivals (books, music) in nearby Bath. Shopping is good too (centre, Cribbs). To me the one minus is that it's a bit too far from London and trains are shockingly expensive.It's much more chilled/relaxed than Manch!

I'd go for Redland or Westbury Park if you are really happy with 2/3 beds (maisonette with garden maybe - or does it have to be a house?). The flats in Redland/Westbury park are GRAND and you will get a 3 bed for this. Then you are near the Downs - lots of space for kids/dogs. walking, and Clifton not far for the upmarket bit. Or if you like more down to eartgh - theb around Gloucester rd (Bishopston or St.Andrew's) where you get get a house for that (2-3 beds but reasonable size). I wouldnb;t go further out North (i.e. Horfield) as it's dull and suburban (sorry!), esp after Manchester.

Some people commute from South Glos to N.bristol (no, south is too far in rush hour!), if you could take a really small-town feel.
Keymsham maybe worth considering (between Bath anmd Bristol) if you want a bigger place.

allaflutter Wed 31-Jul-13 00:26:26


ZolaBuddleia Wed 31-Jul-13 07:39:43

Is Bristol commutable from Stroud? I keep hearing lovely things about it.

gnoomi Wed 31-Jul-13 07:51:11

Another vote for North Bristol. And in terms of secondary schools if that is worrying you: a new school has been running in Redland (Redland Green) for a few years now. A free School (which has just had a first ofsted) opened about 2 years ago - obviously no exam results yet but it's very popular. A lot less people are going private now (and two private Schools, Colston Girls and the Cathedral School have become state schools. Primary Schools are largely extremely good, so don't let schools put you off!

ManicMinor Wed 31-Jul-13 07:54:54

South Glos not bad for secondary schools - decent secondaries in Thornbury, Winterbourne, Bradley Stoke, and you can live on the outskirts of north Bristol and go to these. Almondsbury is a nice village with great primary, good access to Bristol and motorways and catchment for Marlwood secondary.

formicadinosaur Wed 31-Jul-13 10:27:23

Direct train from Bristol to Stroud. There's a grammar, poor comp and also a great comp near by in chalford. It's a bumpy popular alternative area but the town centre itself is mixed.

allaflutter Wed 31-Jul-13 10:53:00

I wouldn't advise commuting from Stroud - direct trsin but slow and not very ferquent, but also take into account journey from the main station to work place in bristol - it can take ages as buses take round about routes. There is a connectin local train to clifton/redland etc but again it's another wait. Overall can take 1.5hrs! Driving is better but not in middle of rush hour - maybe 1hr. I think if you live in Stroud, best to work in Cirencester or even Cheltenham, not bristol.

agree with gnoomi - several school choices in redland/border with clifton. Op, you have to visit - you may be charmed. Visit clifton village too by the famous bridge!

witt999 Wed 31-Jul-13 14:09:51

Thank you everyone! Especially for reassuring me about Bristol, was beginning to feel a bit negative. Relocation is seriously hard!!!
Def time for a trip down.
I think North Bristol, not too suburban is prob the way forward else it could all be a bit of a culture shock. Will be renting initially so can keep exploring tho keen to buy a place before too long. Want to make sure I don't saddle myself with a job that involves a big commute - so will keep my eye out for stg North Bristol. Cld work well if a job came up in S Glos so cld commute against the traffic and potentially move that way in the future if it felt right.

Misty9 Wed 31-Jul-13 14:31:58

I would say it depends where in horfield you live as to whether it feels a bit too suburban. Stay close to Gloucester road and you'd be fine.

Also, I'd be very surprised if your budget bought you a house in bishopston or St. Andrews. Prices are a bit crazy in Bristol. It's mad because my parents sold our bishopston four bed Victorian semi for £97k in 1999 shock which would now probably be worth over £400k!

Good luck!

formicadinosaur Wed 31-Jul-13 20:52:04

Bristol north is suburban really. There are loads of cities apart from Bristol in the south west. Cardiff, Cheltenham, bath, Gloucester etc ..

witt999 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:35:31

Misty 9, missed your rightmove link earlier in the week - thank you so much, really nice to get an idea of what your money can get.
Am going to arrange a visit and see if I am charmed (which was very well put allaflutter). The desire to get out of Manchester is pretty strong but don't want to go frying pan to fire. It will be job driven in the end so going to keep my eyes peeled on the job ads and might widen the net to Cheltenham. Must confess Bath would be a dream but its a closed job scene, dead man's shoes and all that...

allaflutter Wed 31-Jul-13 21:55:46

OP did say she wanted 'not too urban' after having enough of living in Manchester. Clifton/Redland is nothing like suburban as further north Horfield or Filton etc. (apart from right nextto Gl.Rd.), hthere is lively cafe culture and lots of shops - a lot like parts of london, and also Westbury park as it's veyr easy access to centre/Uni area.
I like Bath but it's small and not varied like Bristol, more snobby element too, but it's worth a look to see what you prefer.

allaflutter Wed 31-Jul-13 21:56:51


CheltenhamIncomer Thu 01-Aug-13 09:25:38

We just moved to Cheltenham from London (name changed because it's pretty identifying).

We didn't want too suburban either, but the thing we like about Cheltenham is that it is small enough that you really can use the whole/most of the town. The town centre is walking distance for a lot of people and there is lots going on - the festivals, the theatre, etc. Not great if you're into gigs and things, but most other things.

Our reasons for not moving to Bristol (which we considered as I'm from the south west) were the secondary schools and the fact that we wanted more property for our money than central areas of Bristol would have allowed us. Also, public transport in Bristol when I was growing up was shitter than shit. It might have totally changed, but that put me off.

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