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Is Bristol the best place to live in the U.K?

(41 Posts)
Southeastdweller Wed 26-Mar-14 20:09:13

According to readers of the Sunday Times it is:


Short Independent version of article here

Another survey by the Independent also cited the city as the most liveable place in the country. I also understand that a very high proportion of graduates from the two uni's stay on indefinitely.

I fell in love with Bristol on a mini-break a few years ago and have been back about six times since (some of you may remember my 'Isn't Bristol lovely?' thread from 2012). I don't think it's fair to compare it to London (or any other British city) but my God it has pretty much everything:

Spacious city centre where you can hear yourself think


Superb variety of shops, independent and chain

Strong foodie scene

Not too touristy

Strong sense of community

Nice contrast of the old and the new

Beautiful Harbourside

Relatively buoyant job market

Generally friendly, diverse and warm people

Street art gives the city a unique dimension

Easy access to the capital and other parts of the west country

Shame it's so expensive but then everywhere that's desirable is.

What does everyone think? Am I romanticising the city? Or was John Betjeman right when he said of Bristol it's 'the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England'?

I'm vaguely thinking of moving there from London, if I can sort out a job, but aware that living somewhere and visiting it are two very different things. Can't wait to go again in June.

Haveboatwillsail Wed 26-Mar-14 20:11:57

Yes! I'm one of those to came to Uni here and never left.

I love it and feel very lucky to live here.

KnittingRocks Wed 26-Mar-14 20:12:24

I grew up in Bristol and absolutely bloody hated it - parochial, narrow-minded, intolerant, population that made me feel absolutely suffocated. Myself and all 3 of my siblings all legged it to London as soon as we left home and mum and dad retired there too!

Having said that I think it's changed enormously in the last 20 years and is now much more cosmopolitan, funky and interesting. I have a few friends still living there and love visiting the place, but I don't miss it!

BingoWingsBeGone Wed 26-Mar-14 20:13:01

I used to work there but would never live there, so it's a 'no' from me.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 26-Mar-14 20:19:20

I grew up there but don't live there now. I haven't been properly for years apart from a fleeting day trip last year with DD to see Cabot Circus (which I found quite underwhelming).

My Dad lives in Bedminster and I'm having trouble reconciling in my head how I remember it and the property hot spot he is tellng me it is now. My Mum is down on the South Coast having followed me down. She's in a CH now and on the waiting list for one back in Bristol. I'll be going back a lot more quite soon and think I'm looking forward to it but not totally sure. Mum was trying to get us to move back but that's definitely not happening.

kelda Wed 26-Mar-14 20:20:58

I grew up there and went to uni there, and gosh it's changed so much in the last 20 years.

East street Bedminster is still a bit of a dump but apart from that, it's a lovely city and we enjoy visiting.

QuietNinjaTardis Wed 26-Mar-14 20:21:19

Dh went to uni here and never left. I moved to be with him. It's pretty fab but I do miss my home town. Settled here now though. It's a cool place to live.

oolaroola Wed 26-Mar-14 20:21:23

No. It's awful. Dirty, congested,m32 separating communities and dangerous in the city centre on a weekend with alcohol related crime.
And not enough green space, expensive and massive queues for leisure facilities in school holidays.
Thanking lucky stars I don't live there anymore.
Oh and schools are terrible with not enough places to go around.
Good Jamaican food tho...

JeanBodel Wed 26-Mar-14 20:21:41

The one problem with Bristol is schools.

If you can afford independent, you're laughing. Otherwise you're screwed.

dramaqueen Wed 26-Mar-14 20:23:23

I grew up there and hated it too. I don't go back any more - traffic is a nightmare and schools are the worst in the Uk.

tobiasfunke Wed 26-Mar-14 20:31:04

I lived there for 3 years a decade ago. It def had it's good points, particularly the pubs and restaurants, and I met lots of lovely people who I'm still friends with but my main gripes were

It rained a lot
Native Bristolians did not like outsiders much
Traffic was a nightmare and it was very smoggy in the summer
Lots of hills when walking about
John Lewis moved out of town so the city centre was a bit shit really
The bus service was dire

I had come from Edinburgh and Bristol seemed quite parochial in comparison but having visited friends there for the last few years I think that maybe a thing of the past

lechers Wed 26-Mar-14 20:31:21

Jean, the description of Bristol schools being good made me chortle too.

All the mums I know from Bristol are terribly angst ridden about the schools there, it's almost like an obsession. But then, there are some awful state schools there.

ihategeorgeosborne Wed 26-Mar-14 20:32:35

Dh and I lived in Bristol for years after we left university and absolutely loved it. However, I wouldn't live there with children as schools aren't great on the whole and the cost of living in a nice part with decent schools is astronomical. I like visiting though and we do often, as we are not far away.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 26-Mar-14 20:33:55

Dad's trying to tell me that North Street has a fair few cafes and a whole load of trendy looking Mum's with prams plus lots of young professionals priced out of other places.

I haven't really looked round since about 1997 so sounds like I'll see a lot of changes. Went to University on Cardiff and if forced to live in a city, think I'd chose there.

PatTheHammer Wed 26-Mar-14 20:39:45

I live about half an hour outside of Bristol in rural glawstershire, and that's close enough for me tbh. It's a cool, exciting place to go out in, go shopping in, take the kids to for days out but I would never live there. The traffic is horrendous and I think that the poor driving always comes top in surveys. There are some poor state schools as has already been said, although some better ones in fringe areas.

Lovely countryside around it and the harbour side is really nice. As a city it's not bad but I'm just not a city person. I could see how it would be appealing if you lived in a bigger, busier city like London though.

NinetyNinePercentTroll Wed 26-Mar-14 20:45:35

State schools are meant to be rotten there. Sorry if I'm covering old ground. not RTFT

Wolfiefan Wed 26-Mar-14 20:49:44

Ha! We could be neighbours Pat!
Lots to do in Bristol but I'm glad to come home afterwards.

Pinkfizzy Wed 26-Mar-14 20:52:59

Love Bristol! We have family there & it's the only place I've ever thought that we could relocate to from London, for all the reasons mentioned up thread. (Except schools - have been a nightmare for niece and nephews.)

curiousgeorgie Wed 26-Mar-14 20:54:19

I've been to Bristol once... And my at got broken into and the window of the car next to mine were smashed.

It wouldn't be my first choice wink

curiousgeorgie Wed 26-Mar-14 20:54:41

Car! Not At, obviously!

KnittingRocks Wed 26-Mar-14 20:55:27

tobias, interesting to see it wasn't just our family that found Bristolians very unfriendly towards anyone who wasn't born there!

Forgot about the schools - Bristol has a ludicrous number of private schools which means the state schools suffer badly and are pretty bloody awful in the main. It's definitely pay or pray in Bristol!

Swoosg Wed 26-Mar-14 20:56:08

Good for weekends, hated living there. Massive drug and crime problems, dangerous city centre on Sat nights, and quite a divided city racially. Was glad to leave!

Mintyy Wed 26-Mar-14 20:58:32

Is Bristol better than London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Sheffield, York, Durham, and all the other fantastic towns and cities of the UK? I really seriously doubt it.

mrscog Wed 26-Mar-14 20:58:41

I went to Uni there about 10 years ago. To be honest it was just about ok. The public transport was awful, and it felt hugely socially divided (I know all cities do, but the gulf felt huge). I might be biased as I think I picked the wrong course at the wrong place, and the new developments in the city centre are nice but it's not somewhere I rush back too. Also the city centre is way too spread out for my liking.

Kitsmummy Wed 26-Mar-14 20:59:03

It's cool and trendy but is terrible for traffic, crime and schooling so no, I would never want to live there again

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