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Bristol vs Bath: Where would you choose to live - Redland or Bath?

(25 Posts)
makingamove Wed 23-Sep-09 10:11:28

If you could choose which would you go for and why?
We're driving ourselves mad with indecision. We're looking at Redland Green catchment area in Redland (or if there was something affordable (!) Clifton-ish for Cotham school). I know catchment areas are crazy in Bristol!

Or we also like Bath, thinking of Ralph Allen (but don't quite understand Bath catchment areas!). Looking at Newbridge (could we do Ralph Allen from there?), Bear Flat, Bathwick etc.

We've driven round both and we know both a little bit, but it's so hard to choose. Of course we want it all: nice community family feel, near green space, preferably period house, garden (think we may have to compromise on that one), good schools...

Can anyone with local advise?

makingamove Wed 23-Sep-09 16:03:38

Any Bath or Bristol people out there?

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Wed 23-Sep-09 16:19:13

Bristol everytime! Born in Bath but live in central Bristol. Bath is beautiful but sometimes you just want to escape the tourists, although the Theatre Royal is amazing. Bristol is great. Lots of funky things going on, from the balloon fiesta to the puppet festival. It's all a little bit more 'alternative' and exciting. Bristol is the home of Sustrans, the Soil Association and Sawdays which should tell you about all the well-meaning ageing hippies that live there but it does generate quite an enterprising innovative atmosphere.


exexpat Wed 23-Sep-09 16:48:00

I live in Bristol (Redland/Cotham area, very near Cotham school) but visit Bath frequently. I would say Bristol is far better for older kids - Bath has a great central park, some fun museums, and the children's shows at the Egg are brilliant, but Bristol, being bigger, has much more going on, particularly for older kids (my DCs are 11 and 6, by the way). Bath does seem full of retired people and tourists a lot of the time (sorry - I fully expect anyone who lives there to correct me on this...).

Though having said that, I grew up on the outskirts of Bristol, which was not so great - not much public transport, so I hated always being dependent on parents for lifts. But if you are planning to live within the Redland Green/Cotham catchment areas, that should mean being within walking distance of much of central Bristol, or being on one of the better, more frequent bus routes, so teens and pre-teens can be fairly independent (my 11-yr-old DS goes a lot of places by himself now).

Catchment areas are tricky, and keep moving - don't believe the council website on the Redland Green catchment area: it is so oversubscribed that I think you actually have to live within about 500m to stand a good chance of a place. House prices tend to reflect that...

The Cotham catchment is much broader, and has some parts that are much cheaper than Clifton, eg down the hill from the school, towards Gloucester Road, which is lively and much more down-to-earth than Clifton. Also worth looking down the hill from Clifton in Cliftonwood - lower prices, very strong community spirit, and everyone I know there who applied to Cotham got a place this year. It's also handy for the Cathedral school, a private-turned-state academy which runs admissions on a kind of lottery basis.

My area can tick most of your boxes - community feel (if you avoid the roads with too many students), near green space, and plenty of period houses, though you may have to scale down your expectations on garden size....

makingamove Wed 23-Sep-09 19:07:43

thank you so much for such detailed replies - exactly the sort of thing I want to hear! After initially being interested in Bristol we became a bit more into the idea of Bath. And now we're totally torn.
I know people slate bristol schools but in Bath it seems there is only one good co-ed non religious school anyway!!
I have worried about the old people/tourists aspect of Bath. Our friends also tell us it will be "too rugby" for us - whatever that might mean!
Exexpat - do you feel near enough green space where you live?

Any other thoughts?

sarah293 Wed 23-Sep-09 19:09:09

Message withdrawn

makingamove Wed 23-Sep-09 19:16:58

Riven, which are the main student areas? Which bits would you recommend avoiding?
I don't mind students, but wouldn't really want all night parties next door! (not that I minded having parties next to families when I was one - ooh the hypocrisy).

sarah293 Wed 23-Sep-09 19:23:20

Message withdrawn

makingamove Wed 23-Sep-09 19:37:48

Good idea about asking the uni!

navyeyelasH Wed 23-Sep-09 20:59:51

Redland Rd and off roads are main student area (I have been student in Bristol for 5 years and lived here for 9 years now. originally from Wales).

If I were you I'd go for Bristol - Bath is nice but only to visit. Traffic is a PITA.

Agree with everything exexpat said.

Could also consider Westbury that should be Redland Green catchment area, but depends on how that changes over the years and when your DC will be going etc.

Also you you have DS/DD as there is a girls academy - but it's very language orientated (cotham is science i think?)

exexpat Wed 23-Sep-09 21:28:54

Chandos Road and the area round it is known as student central, I think, but I would say almost every road in Clifton/Redland/Cotham is likely to have at least one student house on it - mine does, so we get a couple of loud parties a year and some bad parking, but it is lovely and quiet in the summer and at Christmas...

What you really want to avoid are the roads where the majority of houses are studenty, as then every Friday and Saturday could be a nightmare. It's not hard to spot which ones are the student houses, usually - neglected front gardens, overflowing bins, and no/scruffy curtains giving views of student bedroom on ground floor where most people would have a living room...

Yes, I'd say we are pretty well off for green spaces round here - one reasonable sized park with play area 5 mins away (fine for a quick play or short walk with the dog), a much larger one 10/15 mins away, then you have the Downs within walking distance (huge!) and a short drive away there's Ashton Court (about 500 acres?), Leigh Woods etc.

The girls' academy Navyeyelash mentioned is Colston's Girls - again, ex-private, now academy, admissions on a kind of entrance-exam lottery basis. I know a couple of people whose daughters go there and they are very happy with it. It's on Cheltenham Road (bottom end of Gloucester Road), so also within walking distance of where I am, and a lot of Redland/Cotham area.

navyeyelasH Wed 23-Sep-09 21:40:33

exexpat, very true forgot about chandos deli side of things, Hamptom Road is full of students so would avoid that one!

Another tell tale sign of a student house is lots of traffic cones/traffic signs/other random stuff in their front garden and the recycling black box being full of alcohol.

Ohhh how I miss those student days sad

IWantCleanCarpets Wed 23-Sep-09 21:43:31

I'm a Bath girl myself (remembers 3 years as student in mid 80"s...yes I'm old!)....

exexpat Wed 23-Sep-09 23:38:01

...can't believe no one is standing up for Bath yet....

sarah293 Thu 24-Sep-09 08:25:17

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KERALA1 Thu 24-Sep-09 11:43:32

We chose Bath when we moved from London for these reasons (don't want to offend any Bristolites lived there myself for 3 years in early 20s)

- yes there are lots of tourists. Thats because it is beautiful. It really is. Nowhere else is shopping such a pleasure as you walk past Georgian architecture and um Roman Baths. Lots of delis and quirky shopsas well as the brands

- schools are pretty good if you avoid one particular area. Although some of the state schools are single sex (to me a bonus others may have different views)

- Victoria park and the Botanical Gardens stunning places to hang out if you have tiny children

- much smaller than Briz. You can see green hills and fields from most places in central Bath so you dont feel hemmed in and in a totally urban environment. This was a big one for me after leaving London.

- we have found people ridiculously friendly though prob are in Bristol too!

- stunning Somerset countryside very very close. Drove 10 mins last Sunday and we were in a rural idyll. When children are abit older we will be able to do country walks from the house, as well as being able to walk into town and to the lovely parks.

Good luck with the choice - I found the decision process the worst bit.

makingamove Thu 24-Sep-09 21:32:23

thank you all again! can't believe there's only been one vote for Bath. Kerala, all the things you mentioned are what appeals about Bath.
Riven, I'm interested in what you say about S Glos area / schools. I've tried to suss that a bit but feel I don't know that bit of Bristol at all. Could you give me an example of where you could live and what school you could get? We really like period properties so I don't know if that rules that area out??

exexpat Thu 24-Sep-09 22:23:34

...maybe if you want more input from Bath (and even more Bristol) people, you should post a link to this thread on the local talk boards? Might stir up some reaction...

traceybath Thu 24-Sep-09 22:30:26

I've lived in both and would choose Bath over Bristol everytime.

Bath is lovely and to be honest the tourists aren't that bad.

Its a nice size and friendly. I nearly always see someone i know in town and i like that.

Its got good shopping, nice restaurants and cultural events.

Not sure about state schools catchment areas though but think the majority of the schools are pretty good.

Bathwick is lovely and very villagey feel.

Bath also feels 'safer' to me when out at night but that may just be me.

And of course Bristol is very close.

makingamove Fri 25-Sep-09 00:06:37

ThankS! Another question about Bristol - is it the sort of place families move out of as their kids approach secondary age?
Good point about putting this on local!

ThingOne Fri 25-Sep-09 00:22:17

I live in Bath. I chose it over Bristol (which I like). It is small and friendly. The quality of life is very good here. It is calm, relaxed and pleasant. There are several villagey areas. Crime is low. I agree with tracey, whom I don't know, that's it's nice to always see someone you know when you go shopping or go out at night. The shopping, cafes, restaurants and cultural events are far more than you'd expect for such a small town. Lots of people move here from elsewhere, and I've found it friendly and open-minded. As it's small it doesn't take long to get anywhere, even Bristol wink.

Ralph Allen is a very good school. There's an all boys secondary called Beechen Cliff which is also very good. I have small boys so I don't know anything about the girls' schools. I don't know the catchment areas, I'm afraid, apart from to know my boys could go to either.

Cowwomanmoo Fri 25-Sep-09 00:51:42

Bath is a film set/theme park and has a bit of a murky underbelly if scratched. As far as I know from mates who live there, its can be quite nice but expensive.
Bristol is spoilt and cynical, and a little concisely cool, but has almost too much going on.
Schools: Going through nightmare that is the secondary schools admission season in Bristol. People are camping in the grounds of Redland high school to be in catchment.
A lot of the secondary school hear give me willys.
Baths apparently got some good ones.
Went to ex private school cathedral tonight for open night and the parents were biting and scratching each other.
Apart form all that, I do like Bristol. I live near queen sq and on the way to DD school you can find a man in a gorilla costume listening to a granny playing a piano. It’s the beautiful randomness that makes it hard to leave.

Cowwomanmoo Fri 25-Sep-09 01:08:07

Oh yea, watch out for first buses. They rely should do physiological testing on the drivers before giving them a job.
Also watch out for the blond 17 girly year old c*t of a student that try’s to pay to go up Park st with a ten pound note every September. Iv lived hear too long…

makingamove Fri 25-Sep-09 10:25:26

cowwoman - I'm doubting both now!! grin

Cowwomanmoo Fri 25-Sep-09 13:30:22

Personally Id, pick Bradford on Avon. Mates moved there from London and they have Bath just down the road and the loveliness of BOA.
They moved for there for their kids and they so loving it. The kids can go to there mates unescorted, it seems like a nice community. Time off for good behavior I say.

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