Moving to Bristol

An overview of Bristol

Bristol has an air of cool about it. Its unique nightlife, great range of eateries, selection of independent shops, and close proximity to the countryside means there is truly something for everyone here. 

With roughly 459,000 people calling Bristol home, you can find friends from all corners of the world. Plus, thanks to the University of Bristol, the city is also home to over 54,000 students.

And, of course, we couldn’t discuss Bristol without mentioning Wallace and Gromit. The nation’s most loveable plasticine pals were born in the city (the Aardman studios are based there), and share their hometown with famed graffiti artist Banksy.

Bristol Clifton Suspension Bridge

Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, sitting amongst the greenery and basking in the dusk

The cost of moving to Bristol

The cost of moving to Bristol will vary from person to person. Mainly, the cost will depend on two key factors: where you’re moving from, and how much stuff you’re bringing with you.

If you are looking to move the contents of a three-bedroom house (roughly 875 cubic metres of stuff) from London to Bristol, for example, you should expect to pay roughly £1,248. This fee includes:

  • Loading/unloading 
  • Packing services/materials 
  • Dismantling/reassembling of furniture
  • The fee for distance travelled

The drive from London to Bristol is around 117 miles, and most removal companies charge £1 per mile. (Source: comparemymove, 2020).

The amount of money you’ll end up paying for the move will also depend on the removal company you hire, your moving date, and whether you opt for any supplemental services, such as packing and assembly.

Midday sunlight poking through autumn leaves at Bristol Cathedral

Cost of living in Bristol

Like many other cities across the globe, the cost of living in Bristol will fluctuate massively depending on the area you choose to be your new home. As a broad overview, we’ve listed the prices you’re likely to pay for food and entertainment in Bristol.

ItemPrice
A pint of beer£4.40
Milk93p
12 eggs£2.00
1kg of local cheese£5.41
A loaf of bread£1.14
A bottle of red wine£8
Three-course dinner out for two£50
2 tickets to the cinema£20

Prices from Numbeo 

Electricity bills

The cost of bills in Bristol will boil down to your habits at home, how many people you’re living with, and your chosen energy provider/tariff.

According to NimbleFins, the average cost of electricity in Bristol is 18.7p/kWh, which is pretty much bang on the UK average of 18.75p/kWh. When it comes to standing (fixed) electricity prices, however, Bristol residents pay roughly £83.91 per year – slightly higher than the UK average of £81.08.

Council tax

As for council tax? That will depend on how much your house is worth – with prices ranging from £1,374.01 to £4,122.04 per year.

Check out the table below to compare the different tax bands in Bristol:

Council tax
band
Property value
range
Council tax
charge
AUp to and including £40,000£1,374.01
B£40,001 - £52,000£1,603.04
C£52,001 - £68,000£1,832.02
D£68,001 - £88,000£2,061.03
E£88,001 - £120,000£2,519.04
F£120,001 - £160,000£2,977.05
G£160,001 - £320,000£3,435.04
HOver £320,000£4,122.04

On Bristol’s government website, it states that these bands are based on a property’s value on 1 April 1991.

Property prices in Bristol

Currently, the average price of a property in Bristol is £329,490. In terms of property types, flats cost an average of £249,041, whereas a terraced house will only cost you slightly more at £287,494.

For comparison, buying a house in London will cost you £666,624, whereas a home in Manchester will only put you back roughly £200,069.

Rent prices in Bristol are also a nice middle ground between Manchester and London. Check out the average cost of rent in Bristol for different property types:

  • Room: £459
  • Studio: £665
  • One-bedroom property: £825
  • Two-bedroom property: £1,000
  • Three-bedroom property: £1,200
  • Four+ bedrooms: £1,960

Public transport in Bristol

  • Buses – It’s really easy to get around Bristol by bus, with plenty of fast and convenient services available from all key locations. There are also a number of night bus services within Bristol to help any night owls get home safely, with tickets providing unlimited travel from 7pm to 4.29am
  • Metrobus – Metrobus is a new modern bus service for greater Bristol – an area that sits between regular bus services and the rail network. This service uses environmentally-friendly vehicles, offers free wifi, and has a ‘buy before you board service’, with ticket machines at every stop

Working in Bristol

According to Payscale, the average annual salary in Bristol is £31,000, which is just above the UK average of £30,240.

Whilst there’s a huge choice of industries to pick from in this thriving city, there are a few that dominate the job market – with the aerospace industry and the sea trade making up the largest segment of the economy. Bristol’s financial sector is also the third-largest in the UK, employing roughly 59,000 people.

If numbers aren’t exactly your thing, perhaps you can settle in with Bristol’s creative crowd. Now accounting for 12% of business in Bristol, creative and cultural industries have grown massively in recent years. Some of the key sectors that are continuing to rise in the city include advertising, PR, design, digital, and television.

As for companies? Bristol’s major employers include the University of Bristol, the University of Bath, Hargreaves Lansdown, Airbus, the UK Ministry of Defence, and Tesco.

The best neighbourhoods in Bristol

Clifton

It’s hard not to fall in love with Clifton’s gorgeous Georgian terraces, picturesque gardens, vibrant array of pubs, and boutique bars. This cosy area is also home to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton Cathedral, Bristol Zoo, and Clifton Down. However, like most sought-after neighbourhoods, it comes at a price – with even a small two-bed house costing on average £400,000.

Harbourside

Bristol’s harbourside has gone through a massive transformation in the past few years – indeed, parts of this city hotspot were completely derelict not too long ago. Not only is this neighbourhood coloured with character, but it’s also a walkable distance from the city centre – making it a top attraction for young professionals who want to be close to both work and nightlife venues.

Montpelier

This laid-back residential neighbourhood has become quite popular with younger people, thanks to its close proximity to the city centre. Its charming listed Georgian and Victorian houses, leafy Montpelier Park, hip cafes, and atmospheric local pubs are enough to entice anyone.

A handful of Bristol’s colourful harbourside houses reflecting on the water

Things to do in Bristol

Enjoy Bristol’s nightlife

For many, the nightlife in Bristol is unmatched. Its huge clubs – which host world-class DJs almost every weekend – and underground live gigs certainly give Bristol a new zest for life once the sun goes down. And if you’re not into the club scene, there’s still plenty for you to get up to – there’s lively bars, cosy comedy clubs, karaoke bars, and a long list of restaurants to try. This is a city that knows how to have fun.

The LGBTQ+ nightlife scene is also thriving here, with hubs in Old Market Quarter Gay Village and West End Gay Village. Check out the top nightlife destinations through DesignMyNight.

Marvel at the Clifton suspension bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is an iconic Bristol landmark, and has been crossed by many since 1864. The bridge spans 214 metres over the Avon Gorge, linking Bristol to the beautiful Leigh Woods. Whether you’re walking across the bridge, meandering on the surrounding grass, or sitting in a local pub, make sure to soak up the views.

Potter down Park Street

On Park Street, you’ll come across a number of cool and quirky stores, plenty of places for coffee, food and drinks, and also a lovely green park half-way up. Whilst you’re there, you can even snap a picture of the infamous Banksy piece, Well Hung Lover, located at the bottom of the street.

Catch some rays in the parks

With over 400 gardens and parks in Bristol, you’ll never be far away from a peaceful space to get away from it all. Some of the best green spaces in the city include:

  • The Downs – Stretching across 442 acres – from the top of Whiteladies Road, all the way to the Suspension Bridge – this huge green space acts as the lungs of Bristol, and provides Bristolians with a slither of nature within the city
  • Westonbirt, The National Arboretum – This 600-acre forest is home to roughly 15,000 trees, comprising roughly 3,000 different species. During the Autumn, this family of trees is known internationally for its spectacular colourful display
    University of Bristol Botanic Garden – This unique garden houses 4,500 plant species within its five-acre site. Plus, the space holds a variety of events during the year, including jazz performances, science picnics, and art and sculpture exhibitions. You can also attend courses on vegetable growing, gardening for wildlife, and tree identification.

Take in the views at Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower, set in the gorgeous parkland of Brandon Hill, is 105ft tall. Built in 1897, the tower commemorates John Cabot’s famous voyage from Bristol to North America over 400 years ago. Visitors can climb the spiral staircase inside Cabot Tower and enjoy the panoramic views of Bristol and its Harbourside from the top.

Soak up some culture at an exhibition

Whether you’re after paintings, photography, artefacts, or even Wallace and Gromit sculptures, there’s an exhibition for everyone. Some of the most well-known art galleries and museums in Bristol include M Shed, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The Royal West of England Academy, Spike Island, and Arnolfini.

Hunt for some glorious graffiti

The walls of Bristol are practically smothered in glorious street art – but there are some areas where you’re more likely to find treasures than others. Bristol’s buzzing ethnic quarter, Stokes Croft, showcases constantly changing displays from the best local graffiti artists. The murals on the walls of The Masonic pub in Bedminster are regularly changing to display work by the latest graffiti guest. And who could forget the annual street art festival, UpFest, which takes over the streets of Bristol to celebrate graffiti in all its glory?

Watch some theatre

Bristol boasts a handful of amazing theatre venues. The Bristol Hippodrome hosts blockbuster shows and West End musicals throughout the year. The Bristol Old Vic, Tobacco Factory Theatres, and The Redgrave Theatre also offer excellent performances year-round, from epic Shakespeare festivals to first shows from cutting-edge young playwrights.