Hello there - advice on relocating to Bristol

(52 Posts)
GentleToothFairy Sat 22-Jan-11 11:42:01


I am looking to move to the Bristol area with my husband and two little ones (aged 18 months and 4 years)and could do with some advice please!

My husband would have to commute to BS1 for his job. I have family in Droitwich so would like to live maybe north of the city so that I am closer to them. Ideally I would like to live somewhere that has access to childrens facilites; library, tumble tots, playgroups, dance classes etc and also has something for the grown ups; gym, restaurants, a few shops. Schools are also on the list as my son is due to start primary in September.

I have thought about Thornbury or Chipping Sodbury or Portishead or Keynsham (actually I have RightMoved every house within 30 miles of Bristol so am open to suggestion!) and would realy welcome folks opinions on these places to live esp with regard to the potential commute for my husband.


Dumbledoresgirl Sat 29-Jan-11 11:20:34

Good secondary schools that should say... The Castle School had an outstanding ofsted report recently, and always performs well academically.

MmeGuillotine Sat 29-Jan-11 11:49:27

Exexpat, that's bigger than I thought! Thanks! I think we're going to be looking around Westbury Park sort of area when we move although I've heard that getting into a primary school around there may be an issue so perhaps we should just head to Totterdown?

I don't mind moving further out but I don't drive or have much sense of direction (dyspraxia) so it would have to be within walking distance of schools and things.

Argh, I'm turning into one of those annoying people who have a 'yes, but' for all good suggestions. Sorry!

This is so helpful though - sorry for thread hijack but I guess all information is useful if you are new to the area? ;)

ThePosieParker Sat 29-Jan-11 13:01:50

I wouldn't worry about schools if you're entering mid term, many people are academics and medics and so move frequently around WEstbury.

MmeGuillotine Sat 29-Jan-11 13:23:45

Oh that's good to know. He'll be in Y1 when we move so I didn't know if this was a good or bad thing.


newpup Sat 29-Jan-11 13:59:30

Hello. I live in a village just outside North Bristol. I love the fact I live in a village with the countryside on our doorstep, the motorway close by and the city 20 mins away.

We used the lovely village primary and DD1 is now at a private senior school in Bristol.

I would not want to live in the city but love having the restaurants, great shopping, museums ctc nearby.

There are some really lovely villages surrounding Bristol if that is your thing. Good Luck.

GentleToothFairy Sun 30-Jan-11 20:08:46


ThePosieParker - yes will need childcare for my littlest as I will need to work so would appreciate the name of the nursery you mentioned. Apparently the Uni nursery is good too so will have a few to check out

I don't fancy having to move again after this next move. I am the relocation queen and need to feel a bit more settled so guess I will have to consider secondary schools also.

Dumblesdoregirl - do you find Thornbury a little bit quiet? Why dont you rate it?

GentleToothFairy Sun 30-Jan-11 20:12:42

MmeGuillotine - ha ha ha hijack away all info helps! One question - what is BGS?????

MmeGuillotine Sun 30-Jan-11 20:46:15

Oops sorry, Bristol Grammar School.

exexpat Sun 30-Jan-11 20:53:35

I think Posie was probably talking about (since she said if you're not looking for childcare) The Clifton Children's House which is an absolutely brilliant small Montessori nursery - but unfortunately is no good if you need childcare to go to work, as it only does morning sessions for the 3-4 year olds, and afternoon sessions for 2-3 year olds - you can't do whole days. The children love it, but it's not very convenient for parents.

There are lots of full-day nurseries for working parents around Bristol, though - I expect you'll find plenty of recommendations if you ask here too.

GentleToothFairy Mon 31-Jan-11 09:04:21

Sorry I misread! The Clifton Children's House is probably out for me then.

exexpat Mon 31-Jan-11 10:31:29

For people wondering about school catchment areas, the city council school admission guides have maps for 'areas of first priority' for the secondary schools - they are not technically catchment areas, as living inside them doesn't guarantee you a place, but you get priority over people outside them. They also give the furthest distance anyone was admitted from the previous year

Link to the 2011 secondary admissions guide here. Unfortunately the resolution on the maps is pretty poor (better in the print version) but it gives a rough idea that, for example, the Cotham priority area spreads much further to the west and south of the school, and not very far to the north and east (so MmeG, Westbury park would be Redland Green not Cotham), and that Redland Green has a pretty small area - the furthest admission was from 769m away, but Cotham's furthest was 1,756m.

Bristol primaries don't have catchments/priority areas, but the primary admissions guide does give the furthest distance anyone was admitted from in the previous year - so you need to get a ruler and a map out to work out where you have a chance of getting a place.

Hope this helps.

ThePosieParker Mon 31-Jan-11 10:33:33

Yes, Clifton Children's House is not for the convenience of the working parent!! There are some fabulous nurseries and Nannies...

Dumbledoresgirl Mon 31-Jan-11 10:54:09

Thornbury is quiet, yes, though that is actually what we like about it. It depends on what you want, but judging by your posts, I think you would find T too quiet. Dh and I have always sought out the quieter places to live, for, although I lived for many years in London, and enjoyed that hustle and bustle, I grew up in a small cathedral city and prior to Thornbury, we lived in a village with a thriving community life and that suited us much more. We thought T would be better than a village as it would still be small enough to be quiet, but would have more going for our children as they grw older. In fact, Thornbury is twice the size of the village we lived in, but has less than half the community life.

Other things I don't like about it:

- the shops are pretty poor: loads of charity shops and poundland equivalents, very few decent high street shops

- there is very little going on culturally, though of course you have Bristol on your doorstep

- there isn't much "soul" to the place. The castle and parish church area is nice, the rest is sprawling 60s, 70s and 80s housing estates, some of which are particularly shabby

- although there are a huge number of "incomers", often people from Bristol with children who move to take advantage of the good schooling, there is also a substantial "native" population and, for some strange reason, the two groups don't seem to mix. I haven't noticed out and out hostility but it took me a few years to realise that all my friends were people who had moved to Thornbury, and when I mentioned this to them, the agreed that the "native" population kept to themselves. I find that a bit weird and insular.

- the surrounding countryside is not the nicest! There was an article in the Sunday papers once about areas of the country in which the housing market was bucking the downward trend. The Cotswolds to the north was one area, and Somerset to the south was another, and stuck right in the middle - a no man's land - was South Gloucestershire. That said it all for me. But I suppose that means the housing is cheaper here than in neighbouring areas...

Further housing estates are planned btw, plus of course, the current big issue here is the potential nuclear power station that will probably be built down the road...

Of course there are good points too: it has hardly any crime, the schools are good, transport links could hardly be better, it has its own Tesco, leisure centre, some nice restaurants, golf course, etc. Bristol is very close, as are the Cotswolds, Wales, etc. I am content to live here while my children are of school age. If I have my way though, I will retire somewhere else. smile

crazymum53 Mon 31-Jan-11 11:19:52

I would suggest you have another look at Keynsham. This has good primary schools (at least one has nursery/children's centre attached) and secondary schools (Wellsway has a slightly better reputation than Broadlands) and you are within good commuting distance of Bath as well as Bristol. Property prices are also slightly less than in Bristol itself. There are also good parks and a leisure centre.

The commute down the A4 Bath road is relatively short but can be congested at times. However there is a Park and Ride service and regular bus service as well.

MmeGuillotine there are many similarities between Totterdown and the Glos Road area with several independent shops and cafes - it's just a bit smaller and lower house prices. Also there is less demand on school places as well.

MmeGuillotine Mon 31-Jan-11 14:31:28

That's good to know. We lived in Totterdown before we moved away and love Gloucester Road. We'd like to be in North Bristol but can afford a much bigger house if we live in Totterdown and if the schools down that way are less subscribed then maybe that's a better plan for us.

My eldest isn't six for a few months so plenty of time to worry about secondary schools.

GentleToothFairy Mon 31-Jan-11 14:55:04

Thanks Dumbledoresgirl you have given me lots to think about. I suppose I am looking for more of an active community be that in a village, on the outskirts of the city or more towards the city centre. Where I grew up the whole atmosphere of the place was eventually drown out by too many new builds with little thought to town planning so am trying to avoid living in an area such as that. Similarly over time all the independent shops were replaced with charity shops,building societies and pound shops.

I am drawn to the Gloucester Rd as it sounds a little like a place I lived in Sheffield (Ecclesall Rd if anyone knows it?). Looking at the houses, however, I just don't think our money would stretch to a house with the same space that I have currently. So I need to ask whether I am willing to compromise on space for the sake of location.

I did consider Keynsham crazymum53, and liked it but dismissed it as I wanted to be north of the M4 for easy access to my parents but maybe I need to have another look. Or even reconsider south Bristol but near the M5?

Anyway thanks folks I really do appreciate all of your comments

deepheat Mon 31-Jan-11 15:08:42

Glos Rd and Ecclesall Rd are indeed pretty similar. Not sure where you were looking around Glos Rd, but if you were to look into Horfield rather than Bishopston/St Andrews then you'll find you get more space for your money, though larger houses are slightly harder to come by. Lots of 2-up 2-downs. Ashley Down also gives good access to Glos Rd at prices similar to Horfield and a few larger houses.

Lived in Bedminster/Southville for 3-years and have to say that I didn't enjoy it personally. North St was fine during the days, but found it horrible at night and when the football was on. We did live at the slightly grottier end of North Street though and this was about 7 years ago so may well haev changed quite a lot. In addition, I grew up in North Bristol so was always more likely to settle that side of the river.

ThePosieParker Mon 31-Jan-11 16:04:55

GTF....I would imagine that most houses in the 'nice' areas in Bristol will offer you less for you money, Bristol is very expensive. New houses are pretty good rates right now.

GentleToothFairy Mon 31-Jan-11 19:29:26

Yup think you have a point about new houses - I really need to come down and visit all the places that have been recommended, to get a 'feel' for them. Having a wobble now!

crazymum53 Mon 31-Jan-11 20:11:02

To get to the M4 from Keynsham there is a good (dual carriageway) link road via Longwell Green and Siston Common.

ArtyShots Tue 01-Feb-11 00:27:17

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crazymum53 Tue 01-Feb-11 09:35:50

For more information on Keynsham you could try asking on the MN local (Bath) site. It does also have gym, library, playgroups etc. so could be a good bet. There was a recent tread about moving there which you may find helpful.

GentleToothFairy Tue 01-Feb-11 20:03:41

Thanks crazymum53 will do!

CleyroHomes Tue 18-Dec-12 11:21:54

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HarpoBoy Thu 27-Aug-15 21:33:55

Portishead? Really?

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