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Bristol people! Your advice..

(27 Posts)
notanickname Fri 20-Mar-09 13:32:26

We're considering a move from London -we've always liked Bristol (and Bath) but ruled it out because DH work pretty much London based. But I just wonder if it could be possible?

Commuting: is it realistic to commute to London if it was 3 days a week (maybe with the occasional overnight stay at his parents in outer London).
Has anyone/their DH done this?
Is the commute hideous?
How long does it tend to take door to Paddington? Any wonderful journey time improvements in the pipeline hmm?

Areas of Bristol: (bearing in mind needing access to rail station) where would be a good place to live? Like the idea of Redland, Clifton (which we know a little bit) but where else would be good and preferably a bit cheaper? We'd need a good state secondary in about 3 years so we'd have our eye on good catchment area. I've heard Redland Green is good - but there must be others?? Also somewhere near green space would be nice?

Or areas just outside Bristol: I've heard there are nice villages just outside Bristol but have no idea which ones - are there any that would have good access to rail line (i'm wondering north of Bristol to get to parkway??).
Or slightly different - does anyone have nice things to say about Bath and their state secondaries, properties etc?

Rentals: as the commuting might be too much I thought about renting for a year to test it all out. Just had a quick look on rightmove and findaproperty and Bristol seems to only have student properties!! Where do people look for nice rented family homes - period, 4 beds, gardens?

Sorry this is so long.

FigmentOfYourImagination Fri 20-Mar-09 13:34:42

AFAIK secondary schools in Bristol are pretty poo.

BonsoirAnna Fri 20-Mar-09 13:34:50

Bristol state secondary schools are notoriously awful - make very sure you are OK with the schooling before moving.

BonsoirAnna Fri 20-Mar-09 13:35:26


Ditto hospitals.

OrmIrian Fri 20-Mar-09 13:38:52

Village south-west of Bristol such as Congresbury, Langford, or on the Mendips such as Chewton are very nice. Very pretty countryside. Churchill school in Sandford is fairly good and I think it's catchment is quite big.

Know nothing about hospitals but the eye hospital is OK. Not much help I know grin

notanickname Fri 20-Mar-09 13:44:49

Thank you - any other thoughts?

notanickname Fri 20-Mar-09 14:07:25

ooh just thought, I might also post this is Bristol Local bit - hope that's ok to do?

OrmIrian Fri 20-Mar-09 14:21:19

Good idea.

I don't live in Bristol, about 40 miles south so know little of schools in the city. But it's a nice city - lots going on. We often visit. Bath is lovely but I rarely go there these days. Sorry not to be more helpful. Hope someone else will come along who knows more.

PixelHerder Fri 20-Mar-09 14:30:16

Just a few random thoughts...

Bristol Local would prob be worth doing, but there are a few Bristolians about, maybe try bumping this evening.

Central Bath might not be a bad bet to look for a house - as Bath is smaller it's easier to get to the station, and it cuts about 10-15 mins off the journey time to London as compared with Bristol. You can also get to the countryside very quickly from Bath.

Bath property more expensive than Bristol though, so you'll need plenty of dosh!

Bristol: Getting to Temple Meads is a bit of a nightmare unless you live close enough to walk. Have a look in the residential areas on the south side of Bristol, eg Southville, Totterdown, Brislington. Not as swanky or pretty as Clifton but nearer to the station and cheaper.

Don't know much about the secondary schools in either Bristol or Bath I'm afraid.

ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 20-Mar-09 14:30:49

Not sure I agree about Bristol Hospitals being crap. DS was just at Bristol Children's this past week. The parents in the next cubicle had just come from Great Ormond Street with their DD and were amazed at the facilities at BCH. The nursing ratio was usually about 3:1.

Frenchay, Southmead, BRI are all quite reasonable.

Bristol Schools: Dreadful. Really awful. Unless one goes private, although a few private schools have academy status.

Commuting: I did a week every month, and it's not impossible. Frequent trains from Temple Meads -- think every half hour and it's about an hour and 45 minutes. parking is reasonable if you get there before 08:00.

Areas: Redland, Bishopston, Henleaze, Westbury on Trym. A bit more Bohemian, Southville, Totterdown.

notanickname Fri 20-Mar-09 14:32:10

Thank you!! Have posted same question on mumsnet bristol - so maybe some locals will have more words of wisdom!!

notanickname Fri 20-Mar-09 18:14:50

Is anyone going to say it's possible to get a good state education in Bristol?

Boysboysboys Fri 20-Mar-09 18:21:46

Bristol schools are improving. Redland Green is hideosly over subscribed, but Cathedral School and Colston Girls School are both ow academys. Cotham and St Mary Redcliffe are both good schools. Ashton is improving.
Long Ashton is meant to be nice, and is in the catchment for Backwell secondary which is supposed to be hte best school in the area.

Boysboysboys Fri 20-Mar-09 18:23:44

Oh, and Windmill Hill is lovely.

blossombelle Fri 20-Mar-09 18:27:47

Hi there- its a fab city, loads going on but awful secondary schools unless you are private/catholic. The new Redland school is good but house prices have gone up ++ and its already full from what I last heared.
Redland/cotham/clifton are lovely, but expensive and full of students lets (I spent many happy years there!)
Totterdown etc are really nice now.
Unless you can cycle/walk to Temple Meads, aim for Parkway, although the areas around are not so nice.
Rush hour driving is a nightmare - although langford etc are lovely the tailback each morning and evening isn't! The M32 and most routes in to centre and stoke bishop are also solid, hence why its a green cycling city!
No experience of london commute I'm sorry!

ThingOne Fri 20-Mar-09 18:43:15

We live in Bath and my DH goes to London regularly. It's 1h15 at the fastest, I think. Lots of people go regularly, and to and from Bristol. My DH is a homeworker, though, and his company pay so cost of travel is not really an issue for us. There used to be a good value weekly ticket but First Great Western are robbing bastards so I'm not sure what it costs now.

There are many excellent/very good state primary schools in Bath. I think the secondaries are OK but my DSs are small still so no personal experience.

I know a lot of people commute to London from Bristol Parkway which opens up different areas to live in. I seem to remember that line is slightly faster than the Temple Meads one but I may be going a bit gaga in my old age.

Trains from BTM to Paddington are on the hour and the half hour for most of the day. They call at Bath 12-15 minutes later.

TheArmadillo Fri 20-Mar-09 18:52:25

I would advise looking at the areas around Bristol cos a) they can be cheaper and b) the schools can be better but still you are lacking in choice for secondary. There is a lot of private schools and a couple that used to be private have turned into state schools (Cathedral school and Colston girls).

There is also Parkway station which is pretty big over in Filton/Frenchay/Bradley Stoke kinda way. If you want that kind of area I'd look at South Glos - there's a ringroad linking to near parkway so not to bad to get there and you're avoiding the city traffic (which is BBBBBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDD).

When it comes to areas like Southville/Totterdown/Windmill Hill there are several issues with them (I moved out of that area a couple of months ago having lived round that area for a few years).

a) one of the biggest reasons we wanted to get out of there was the traffic. You didn't get a break from almost constant traffic jams since Cabot circus opened. To get anywhere you were passing through major traffic jam areas.

b) Most of the housing in these areas is victorian and quite a lot terraced. There is no parking. At all. The council are also trying to force through a residents parking scheme that is going to be pretty pricey. People park there to be close to town as well.

c) they are lovely areas in places but there are also pretty shite areas mixed in. And also since the boho vibe thing has really taken route there is a noticeable divide. And tbh i found a lot of it (the newcomming bohos) was ruining the previous 'family feel' of the area.

But on the other hand it has lots of amenities. Some really nice places. The houses in parts are known for being multicoloured and thats pretty. lots of artists and local art in area to get feel. Some great (cheap) resturants/cafes. Theatres, community centres. Some parts of it are close enough to walk to town or temple meads (much quicker than driving). The public transport system in Bristol is not only bad but also expensive. You would also prob get into St Mary Redcliffe (secondary) - v good school (I went there) but it is a church school (C of E)

I love this city and wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Clifton/Redland is either pricey or studenty and has a very overcrowded feel. If you're very well off you could try Stoke Bishop/Sneyd Park area but it will cost you.

I'd look at futher out personally. It's nicer, cheaper and you still have transport links. Maybe Downend or even into Yate, Thornbury, Oldland Common type places. Thornbury has Castle School (secondary). Lovely (biggish in a south glos sense )market town. The only thing is that far out you need to be able to drive and the closest railway station I believe is Parkway (which is poss 15 mins drive) as most of south glos is cut off from the rail network.

naturalblonde Fri 20-Mar-09 18:55:52

Portishead is nice, about 20 mins to Bristol with excellent secondary school - Gordano School, and really good primaries too. House prices falling and rumours of railway station reopening to provide rail link to Temple Meads.

TheArmadillo Fri 20-Mar-09 18:57:02

As regards to hospitals plans are to downgrade and possibly close Frenchay - it's going to be the centre or southmead for any a&e or minor injuries (and it's doubtable whether southmead will have the emergency stuff in 10 years).

ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 20-Mar-09 18:58:17

What about Abbots Leigh?

TheArmadillo Fri 20-Mar-09 19:00:38

I see someone mentioned Cotham - that's supposed to be nice and it has good secondary.

Would second also Gordano having good rep.

Also Wick is supposed to be really nice, but not sure about secondary (think St Bernard Lovell is the school over there but not sure what it's like).

South glos primaries tend to be better on the whole than Bristol - though many Bristol kids are sent over the border to them (though that depends on spaces).

St George is up and coming more nowadays - though again you have the traffic/parking probs.

Peachy Fri 20-Mar-09 19:09:33

Used to commute once a week from Taunton which was the same line as Parkway (and if I missed it I could haul arse to TM for the next one and still get there- yay LOL).

Hmm, well it was doable, very doable. I wouldn't have chosen it though, not every day. It was lovely once a week but busy line, trains quite often cancelled, etc. Expensive also.

DH works in Bristol, but we don't live there as it is amrkedly cheaper to live where e are (just across the bridge) in a lovely village and commute, because of the way house prices work. If we did live there he says he'd want to live in Bradley Stoke (where my sis lived for years bt hated it- partly missing family though), Clifton (PMSL), Severn Beach. But we're not city people (Somerset bred) which affects it I guess.

Desiderata Fri 20-Mar-09 19:14:11

Long Ashton isn't in the catchment for Backwell anymore, unfortunately.

Some lucky kids can get in .. I went there, but North Somerset has huge school placement problems at the moment.

saggyhairyarse Fri 20-Mar-09 22:46:41

Just posted on your other thread. It is interesting to see what people think of the area.

wobbegong Fri 20-Mar-09 22:56:15

I did the commute London/ Bristol, two or three days a week. It nearly killed me. Sorry. So expensive, so long, so soul destroying. If you add on the time on either end (tube to zone 2, taxi to the office through Bristol's shitty traffic), I was spending 5 or 6 hours a day commuting. And that didn't count the days when the train was delayed. (Which was frequent). And it cost me sooo much money to buy tickets, and sometimes I wouldn't even get a seat.

I changed job and took a big drop in prospects just to get out of the commute.

Bristol is very nice though!

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