Big Bristol move coming - HELP!

(20 Posts)
Idontlikechange Mon 13-Apr-15 14:58:15

So it looks like in September - yes in 5 months - we are upping roots and moving Bristol way. We had thought it would be Sep 2016, so dd sorted for school reception here (West London area), my job here, all childcare sorted etc etc.

Basically, I have some panic questions to get my head around all of this:

Which areas are comparable to W London - I think we need to be North, nearer Parkway station area.

In my late 30's with a baby, will I be the oldest Mum at the school gates?! (Here, I was middle of my NCT group, with ladies over 40 having their first).

I have LOADS more q's, but they are the initial first thoughts that flashed into my head. Everyone I have told says Bristol is lovely, but I have never been there so the thought of upping family, getting house etc is terrifying at the mo...
Thanks shock

Cliffstomper Mon 13-Apr-15 21:48:19

I'm also about to move to Bristol, but with a teenager. I lived in W London for 20 years and was in my 40s when I had him, wasn't the oldest in my circle of friends, and didn't feel at all the odd one out at all. I then moved to Berkshire where I still have almost no acquaintances with similar aged children, in fact the local Mums, including those in my road, have gone out of their way to avoid me, I assume because being older made me too different to fit in to existing social sets. Most of my friends are either people I know from London or don't have kids. Not at all what I'd expected as I'm quite sociable and previously made friends easily.

Two of my London friends (my age with similar age kids) moved to Bristol when their children were young. They seem to have settled in OK and have good social lives, but initially I think they found the move was difficult as starting again is just plain hard - and it's just different outside of London. I am lucky as I already have friends and relatives in Bristol, and stay there quite often, and I have got to know the area I'm moving to, which is Clifton, the area most like W London imo.

Can understand your concern, but it seems to be a great city and I'm optimistic. Happy to chat if you like XX

pinkfluffypompomhat Tue 14-Apr-15 21:48:34

I would recommend you visit and look at some of the older threads that describe different areas of Bristol. Clifton is nothing like West London IMO! (I lived in London for 30+ years until only recently) It's very mono cultural, a bit studenty, very pleasant though. People always say the Gloucester Road area is most like London, personally I think it's better as it has lots of indie shopsand restaurants, fewer chains than your typical London street.

Mid to late 30s 1st time mums seems typical to me looking around a toddler groups. You'll be fine.

atos35 Tue 14-Apr-15 21:54:28

I live in the north now but lived in Bristol for two years 5 years ago. I lived near Frenchay and the average age of Mums is like it is everywhere - there is no average! You will not be the only Mum with a baby in her late thirties so don't worry. Bristol is a great city - very friendly and cosmopolitan with loads going on. You will love it there. There are lots of nice areas to live - Clifton and Westbury are quite upmarket but Frenchay is nice, there are also nice areas around the ring road. Keynsham is also a lovely town on the outskirts. Travelling in rush hour will be tedious no matter where you live unfortunately.

Idontlikechange Wed 15-Apr-15 10:33:38

Thanks all...
I know we need to visit - but there just seem to be so many places in and around Bristol its hard to know where to start!
DH is going to be working in the hospital in the north, so we don't need to go into the city to commute. He has now suggested looking at the towns / villages north of Bristol, or the northern areas of Bristol. Are they all pretty nice, or are there areas to avoid?
I really just want to be able to get around without having to drive all the time (spoilt at the mo you see - can walk to every activity the dc's do, gym, shops, parks, schools, train station, buses, etc etc)

Am aware I sound like I am just moaning, but its just a big, unexpected move. I know Bristol will be lovely...

atos35 Wed 15-Apr-15 10:48:37

Westbury on Trym sounds like it will suit you - it's close to the hospital (not the BRI the other one North of the city - I think you mean Soutmead hospital?) and is very nice with lots of families. Thornbury is a town north of Bristol which is also meant to be very nice but will be a bit of a trek for your DH to work. To be honest getting to Soutmead in rush hour is just as bad as getting to the BRI (I worked at the BRI occasionally having to travel to Soutmead) so I would just bear that in mind. Good luck. You will like Bristol I promise!

Heels99 Thu 16-Apr-15 14:00:51

When does your child start school as availability of places for 2015 start may be a factor to consider

lovinglapland Thu 16-Apr-15 15:25:20

If you want to be able to walk to good facilities I would also suggest starting with Westbury on Trym and Henleaze. You could also look at areas surrounding the Gloucester Road such as Bishopston, St Andrews and stretching up into Redland. All pretty expensive areas to buy property in and schools usually in very high demand. But if you like city living rather than suburbia I would start there. If you need a reception place for this September you will struggle to get something good in these areas, however there are lots of private schools if that is an option - even if only temporary. One that is quite regularly 'used' in this wayI believe is Torwood House School. If that area is cost prohibitive you may want to look north of Bristol to somewhere like Winterbourne or Thornbury. No city on the doorstep, but easy access to good amenities and good schooling.

Bumpologist Thu 23-Apr-15 21:17:47

We moved to bristol from South London (Brixton/dulwich area) 8 months ago, and I've found people pretty friendly. We're just off Gloucester Road, nr st Andrews park, which feels quite London-ish in that it's a pretty mixed population, you can walk into stokes croft for a more urban, trendy feel, or st werburghs for greenery and a hippy vibe, or Redland/ cotham for nice cafés and posher houses.
Certainly in this area there are plenty of mums in their late 30s-early 40s. Good luck!

Idontlikechange Wed 29-Apr-15 12:34:55

Hi - yes another problem is schools..DD starts reception this September, and we cannot apply until we have an address there.
Am in 2 minds for city vs village. I think we will rent for a bit to get a feel. BUT this obviously has an affect on schooling. Don't want to get DD started in school, then decide where we want to buy and have to move her so early on.
The timing of this move is a nightmare!!

But everyone we have spoken to has said how lovely Bristol is!!

aimum Wed 29-Apr-15 20:56:03

If your Dh is going to be working at Southmead then he needs to consider the parking, or lack of. There is currently no parking on site for employees. A lot of people are now walking in or cycling so it's an advantage to be close enough. Henleaze and westbury on Trym areas are close enough.

Idontlikechange Sat 02-May-15 14:53:24

Thanks aimum - very useful. Actually, think DH will LURVE that - he currently drives to commute but is a keen triathlete, so a cycle commute would be heaven for him. But that obviously centres us about ten miles from the hosp max.
Have been starting a little property porn when he is away working, and Westbury does look nice :-)

All this advice is amazing, thanks all xxx

SimplyTired Mon 04-May-15 21:56:53


I live in Frenchay and work in Filton. You can easily cycle from Frenchay all along the ringroad to Southmead hospital or catch the bus or drive there in about 20 mins. Good choice of primary schools in the area including French village school, Elm Park Primary Winterbourne & St Michael's Winterbourne which use the Greenfield Club for before/after school care and holiday clubs. Frenchay is also very close to the M4/M5 if you need to travel to Heathrow or anywhere else

SimplyTired Mon 04-May-15 21:58:55

Also Parkway train station is only 5 mins drive from Frenchay. Lots of lovely green spaces in Frenchay. Only thing lacking is local shops which you need to drive to

vm1234 Tue 12-May-15 13:06:35

I moved to Bristol from London 8 months ago and I love it, we are renting in Redland but are hoping to buy (along with everyone else!) around St Andrews/Bishopston as Redland houses are off the chart expensive. I've found people very friendly and there is a lot going on. Like any move its pretty daunting but we are all in the same boat! with regards to your age, i'm 36 and have a toddler and a one year old and I don't feel old or young! there is a real mix of ages so don't worry about that at all. I think you should rent first then you can get a good feel for the area. The best primary schools (apparently) are Bishop Road, Westbury Park, Henleaze, St Peter and Pauls and St John's but to be honest they are all pretty good; its the secondary choice which is limited but one step at at time! Gloucester Road is full of quirky independent shops which makes it energetic and have a real buzz, Whiteladies is smarter but a lot of shops have closed which is a real shame and I tend to head to the Gloucester Road. There is a great park there too in St Andrew's. I find (unlike London) that people will just chat away. Good luck and get excited! its the best move we ever did.

noelle78 Wed 27-May-15 22:30:16

Hello to you all, I have just read your posts, as my family and myself are relocating to the UK -Bristol. Does anyone have 3 children? How easy was it to find a property to rent? We have not been able to rent a property, not quite understanding why hmm anyway, areas and schools are a big issue, and although DH and I will be working at Southmead we would like to live somewhere calm and childfriendly. Does anyone have any thoughts of why we can't find a landlord that will allow children? Are there any other thoughts about areas to live? Thank you smile

Ponyboycurtis Wed 27-May-15 22:47:54

Hello, a 'proper' bristolian here, born and raised in Southmead & in my 38yrs I have lived in Lock leave (house share with friends), moving to Stapleton and now currently in Emersons Green. If you want to live within walking/cycling distance then PP who have mentioned WOT (Westbury on Trym) & Henleaze are spot on, a little bit further afield but not too far would be Stoke Bishop, Redland and Bishopston. All worth a look. Good luck

Ponyboycurtis Wed 27-May-15 22:50:04

Lockleaze not lock leave :/

Elisecas1 Sat 18-Jul-15 22:13:43

Ok, I lived in West London for 20 years. Variously Putney, Clapham, Fulham, Streatham, West Kensington. So here's my Londoner's view.

In terms of distance from the centre - and bearing in mind everything is on a MUCH smaller scale and distance - think:

Zone 1 - Clifton, Redland, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Montpelier
Zone 1/Zone 2 borders - Totterdown, Bedminster, Bishopston, St Andrews, Henleaze, Redcliffe, Southville, Westbury-on-Trym
Zone 3 - Brislington, Fishponds, Downend, Long Ashton
Zone 4 - Filton, Kingswood, Emersons Green, Patchway,
Overland - Clevedon, Weston Super Mare, Keynsham, Dundry, Portishead, Almondsbury

And in terms of areas, bearing in mind there are good and rubbish bits of every area, I see them as follows in terms of the vibe/feel (and I'm biased, but to a London view, so...!) if you like:

Fulham/Putney (minus the river): Clifton, Redland, Cotham, Westbury-On-Trym
Richmond: Long Ashton, Clevedon, Weston, Dundry, Almondsbury
Clapham: Bishopston, St Andrews, Redcliffe, Fishponds/Downend
Streatham: Montpelier, Totterdown, Bedminster, Henleze, Southville, Kingswood, Emersons Green, Portishead
Tooting: Stokes Croft, Brislington
Milton Keynes (vibe not location!): Filton, Patchway

Personally, I chose to live at the point where Downend/Fishponds/Staple Hill merge; its like living in a Clapham suburb: the houses and the cafes and the shops feel very familiar here, and Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court are right here. But also I'm still in London a lot and the M32/M5 is 10mins away as is Bristol Parkway station, which is 15 mins faster than Bristol Temple Meads to London. (I started in Montpelier, but I feel more at home here.)

And yes, everyone here seems to buy houses and have babies before they are 30, but don't worry, there are loads of ex-londoners here, it's the number one destination for people moving out - and with great reason.

Elisecas1 Sat 18-Jul-15 22:16:42

p.s If your husband likes to cycle to work, it's worth looking at the Bristol to Bath cycle path (a disused railway line converted for cycles and walks) and picking a place to live along it. It's lovely along it and it would make it a happy move for DH?

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