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We’re going to love living in Bristol....aren’t we?!?

(112 Posts)
TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 11:05:38

This is going to be long but I will try to keep this as brief as possible (as I do have the tendency to waffle)...

I’ve exhausted every single Mumsnet thread on moving from London to Bristol and everything in between since 2006 to present day and whilst the majority are very positive about the city (except the oversubscribed schools, which is also a worry and the traffic), I do wonder if I’m going to love it as much as I really want to.

Our current flat (SSTC) is in a family friendly area that I’ve really enjoyed living in for the past decade. DC1 is also in a lovely primary school just a short walk away. However, where we are also has the disadvantages that comes with living in a huge city; no garden, some brazen drug dealing and anti social activity near enough on your doorstep.

The move itself isn’t driven by the lack of space as such, we’ve renovated our place to its full potential and it looks great but do we really want to still be living in this flat in 10 years? Maybe not.

We are now looking in St Andrews, Bishopston and Ashley Down. We’ve been to Bristol three times for the weekend in the past couple of months, viewing houses, walking around, getting a general vibe of the place and it does feel very friendly.
I feel, moving from a city to a smaller city would be less of a shock than moving to a London commuter town. We also have family near-ish by although not in Bristol itself. This I feel, will make a positive difference.

So whilst I do believe that there’s plenty of life outside London, I do get pangs of anxiety in amongst the excitement of looking through Rightmove, as I know, once we move, there’s no way on earth, we can afford to move back to our old neighbourhood!

Renting in Bristol isn’t an option as we’ll be losing DC1 school place in London either way (I wish schools held ‘left’ spaces for 6 months, how great would that be?)
We are a multicultural family, so a place with a sense of diversity is also important us.

So! For those who have moved to Bristol, the hype is justified isn’t it? Are you happy, have you made friends easily, any regrets?

Any feedback would be hugely appreciated. Thank you all in advance!


AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 21-May-18 11:20:05

I made the move in the other direction for career reasons and tbh Bristol is a much more liveable city - sensibly sized with everything you need there.

I would live there again if it wasn't for all the home owning Londoners (I rent) moving from London to Bristol, pushing up house prices and pricing me out of my hometown!

ReggaetonLente Mon 21-May-18 11:23:00

We’re thinking of doing the same thing in the next few years. Watching with interest!

AlisonCHaynes Mon 21-May-18 11:35:47

Bristol is brilliant, loads to do, theatres, art centres, museums, lots of free events, great transport links and, best of all an Ikea!

However town over run with hen and stag parties at the weekend.

TheSassyAssassin Mon 21-May-18 11:53:01

It's a great place but would def live outside it if you can...some gorgeous places around it. But you won't regret it. I haven't smile

TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 12:05:51

Thanks for your thoughts so far. Please do keep them coming!

Sassy, it’s really interesting that you recommend living outside of the city. Can I ask why? Are there any areas you would recommend that may be worth investigating?
We did have our minds set on North Bristol but mostly because of secondary schools (5 years away)
Also would I be wrong to assume it would be less diverse further out?

Somersetter Mon 21-May-18 12:11:26

If you're moving from London I think St Andrews / Bishopsgate would be a great area for you. Really buzzing, lovely houses, great park, more diverse & bohemian than some other parts of North Bristol. And within easy reach of the city centre.

How old are your children? Worth buying close to Redland Green School if you can afford to.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 21-May-18 12:11:41

You don't have to go far outside Bristol to discover that the only non white people in the village are running the Chinese takeaway - I'm not exaggerating. Now I live in London I find going to such places a bit odd in a way, and I'm saying that as a white person.

Do be aware that many of the good schools in north Bristol seem to have a real catchment area of about 30 yards outside their front door - Redland Green being notorious for this, and house prices nearby reflect this.

Somersetter Mon 21-May-18 12:12:01

*Bishopston that should say.

VanessaShanessaJenkins Mon 21-May-18 12:13:41

Like any city, bristol has parts many people wouldn't want to live and more desirable areas.
Parking and traffic can be a bit of a nightmare but you know that already and as you say it is a diverse city.
There is definitely plenty to do. Theatres, museums, big parks and green spaces and loads and loads of free stuff always going on. Just about every shop you'd ever need too.
I don't actually live there so can't comment on friendliness as a resident I'm afraid. (Commuted there for school and uni and go there a lot for entertainment)

TheSassyAssassin Mon 21-May-18 12:24:18

I have primary aged DC too. For me Bristol is fab place for child-friendly places etc, loads to do and really vibrant city. But city centre-wise traffic is a nightmare (as is the pollution) and it's pretty densely populated (same as anywhere of course) with relatively large student population in some areas. So living outside works best for us. Easy to get into but am in village which means DC gets opp for village life and green fields etc but easy still to get into the city now, and when older. We are south. Some v good secondary schools this side too. Diversity wise - as is usual, more diverse the closer to the centre but IMHO it's a pretty tolerant place for the most part so I think you can go where you like the look of predominantly, without too much worry.

Commuting in Bristol is a pain though so bear that in mind with regards to ease of getting in and out job-wise/ferrying DC round etc. But you've made a good choice. Been here 8yrs now and genuinely really like it as a place to live and v happy DC growing up here!

TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 12:50:29

Somersetter, thank you! My children are 5 and 2 so although still very young, if the past 5 years are anything to go by, the next 5 years will whizz by!

A lot can change in five years of course, but I do hear good things about Redland Green.

TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 12:58:46

Avocado, Vanessa, thank you both!
The catchments are incredibly tight! It is a definitely a concern.
We will somehow need to figure out an in year school transfer for DC1 which is making the idea of a move so difficult. I’ve been told that children at this age are resilient but the guilt of this is definitely keeping me up at night. I’ll have to keep focusing on the positives for the family as a whole.

Sassy, I would love to know where you have settled, if you’re happy to share this?

TheSassyAssassin Mon 21-May-18 13:13:18

Will PM you smile

SoyDora Mon 21-May-18 13:15:36

We absolutely loved living in Bristol. We lived in Clinton but Bishopston/Redland etc are lovely.
We had to move away for various reasons a couple of years ago but are planning to go back one day!

MexicanBob Mon 21-May-18 13:16:51

You'd better like walking up hills. Bristol has some savage ones.

TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 13:46:15

Great to hear that Bristol is getting so much praise, this is really very reassuring!

During each visit we’ve walked to some of the schools we like the look of (granted, this is mainly by the feel of their website and parent reviews so I’m aware that we will need to visit all to get a true sense of the place)

This will all hugely depend on spaces/availability but does anyone have any first hand experience on Fairlawn, Bishops Road, Sefton Park, Brunel or Ashley Down school?

They all look lovely and inviting. We especially liked what the outdoor area of Sefton Park offered (albeit this was all seen through the fence so my view was obstructed!)

Bishopston Mum was really helpful for parent reviews, I’ll have a read through them again in the meantime...

TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 13:50:20

Bob, the hills! After this weekend, my body hates me. Navigating our way around during the heat didn’t help either. We did envy the children splashing around and cooling off in the park pool! smile

carrie74 Mon 21-May-18 14:01:32

Wait til you all decide cycling is the way to get around grin

We moved out of London nearly 13 years ago, not regretted it at all (although the change in our old house price has been a bit nauseating!). We rented for 6 months in Clifton to get to know the city, but ultimately moved out as we wanted village life. It's not as diverse as the city, but I'd like to think not in any way unwelcoming.

I think Bristol is a lovely, vibrant city, very green thinking, and easily commutable to loads of lovely places (including London!).

I think the area I live is amazing, but its definitely not for everyone, and I think you'd need to be prepared for a village life (both DH and I grew up in villages, so have experience!). We're close to Bristol, Bath and Wells, so lots of options for cities too.

hausenberger Mon 21-May-18 14:21:18

Looooads of people are moving out of London to Bristol! In fact we're selling at the moment (within Bristol) and all our viewers were from London.

MonkeysandParrots Mon 21-May-18 15:09:27

I live in Bristol close to the areas you’ve listed. It’s v family friendly and, BS6 (St Andrews, Montpelier, Redland, Cotham, St Paul’s etc.) is one of the most ethnically diverse in the country.

Personally, I love living in the city - it’s pretty leafy where I am so even though 5 mins walk to a major road into the centre, it’s still quiet and peaceful.

Last weekend I was at the foodie festival on the downs, yesterday at a nearby shopping street annual party - both had loads of families enjoying a day out as well as couple, singles, groups, students, pensioners and everything in between. This will continue all through the summer with tons of festivals etc., going on.

Come, you won’t regret it, it’s a fab place.

Collectorofcookbooks Mon 21-May-18 15:11:41

We moved from Yorkshire to Gloucestershire for DHs job 3 years ago - he's based in Bristol. We went for a small village as opposed to moving into town, mainly because of primary schools and because we wanted the rural side of things. Our twins are now in an absolutely fantastic school, we've got a lovely circle of friends and we're settled and happy.

It took a while for me to settle - but getting a job massively helped with that - and now I wouldn't be anywhere else! It's a lovely area of the country and so accessible to other places. The city has loads going on - although we don't go in that much unless for work - but there's masses to do if you want to. Our village isn't terribly multicultural but is very welcoming, there's masses going on and pretty much anyone who wants to join in is welcomed.

PM me if you want to know anything about the villages we looked at.

exexpat Mon 21-May-18 15:21:42

I've lived in lots of large cities (London, Tokyo, Sydney etc) but grew up on the outskirts of Bristol, and moved back here (close to the area you are talking about) when my children were nursery/primary aged - it has definitely been a great place to bring them up and Bristol is certainly big enough to be culturally vibrant, never short of things to do etc.

It is also great being able to get out to countryside very quickly when we want (we have a dog so can go walking in woodlands several times a week), but I would never want to live in one of the villages - I like having everything on my doorstep, within walking distance, and not having to spend all my time chauffeuring the children around now they are teenagers.

Waves to Monkeysandparrots - I must have been at the same street party as you yesterday, I think Cotham Hill was the only one going on this weekend.

lucydogz Mon 21-May-18 15:50:10

We moved to Bristol 3 years ago and love to-do much going on. The only minus is the dreadful traffic and grafitti. Put perhaps that's in all cities.

TheGentleWoman Mon 21-May-18 16:17:37

I can’t tell you how helpful this has all been thank you so much! Please do keep them coming!

I can imagine the villages around Bristol being utterly beautiful however I think deep deep down like Monkey and Ex; we like having everything relatively close but still able to dip out when we wanted to.

I loved the fact that that there was so much going on Gloucester Rd but a few streets in, you were walking in lovely peaceful streets.
We’re currently in Zone 2 so it’ll probably be less of a shock to the system.

We’re also hoping not to need a car straight away so being fairly central will help with this (I haven’t driven in years!) Goodness knows how I’m going to tackle parking on a hill!

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