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With a population of over 430,000, Bristol is the eighth largest city in the UK and the largest city in the south of England outside London.
High levels of investment have established Bristol as a commercial and financial centre with particular strengths in finance, insurance, media and information technology. Lloyds TSB, Sun Life Assurance and Natwest Life all have headquarters in the city, while hi-tech businesses (including Orange and Hewlett Packard) have invested heavily in the region.
Manufacturing still plays a part with Rolls Royce and British Aerospace all having a presence.
Business in the local area
For a city of Bristols size it has a surprisingly high concentration of the Big 4/Top 20 firms. It is home to all of the Big 4, as well as Grant Thornton, BDO, Baker Tilly, Smith & Williamson, Mazars and Saffery Champres. As well as a large concentration
of international businesses there is a thriving local business sector.
The other major feature of Bristol is that many of the larger firms also use their Bristol offices as a hub to tap into the South Wales market.
Bristol is a lively and cosmopolitan city which has been described as a modern city within a historic setting. The city and its surrounding area offer a wide range of activities to cater for many tastes. For those who enjoy culture there is an array of galleries, museums and theatres offering various events, from the more traditional to the modern. For those who prefer more active pursuits there is speed car racing at Castle Combe Circuit or rock climbing at the nearby Avon Gorge.
In terms of evening entertainment Bristol’s restaurants offer cuisine to suit every taste and budget and the city hosts a wide range of bars and music venues. As well as the bustling city centre itself, popular areas include the Waterfront and Clifton which have their own thriving social scene.
For many, the ease of living within walking distance of the city centre is one of the main attractions of relocating to Bristol and is something which is hard to rival in other cities.
Clifton and Redland
Clifton is one of the best known areas of the city and includes Clifton Wood (Hotwells lies nearby), Clifton Village and Whiteladies Road. Most of the buildings in Clifton are Georgian and Regency town houses and there is a good selection of restaurants, bars and other facilities.
Redland is predominantly Victorian town houses and Georgian buildings and is in walking distance of Whiteladies Road. Whilst Bristol University students tend to populate these areas, they remain some of the most expensive parts of Bristol, with town houses in the area being in excess of £1 million. It takes approximately 20-40 minutes to walk into the city centre from this area.
Like many other cities in the UK, Bristol has seen regeneration of its waterfront areas including The Point, Baltic Wharf and Custom House. Particularly popular with young professionals, the residential properties feature new-builds and conversions. Prices again feature at the top-end of the Bristol market.
Depending on location on the waterfront this is an easy walk to the city centre and Temple Meads.
Other areas and surrounding countryside
Areas outside of Bristol centre include: Westbury Park and Henleaze, which is popular with families, Sneyd Park, fetauring larger properties, the suburban area of Stoke Bishop, Cotham (located near Clifton) and the “up and coming” St Andrews and Bishopston. This area has become particularly popular with young professionals and families.
The north/south Bristol divide has meant that for many, south Bristol has not previously featured on the map. Areas such as Southville, Windmill Hill and Victoria Park have begun to be increase in popularity as property prices increase in north Bristol.
For many, the attraction of working in Bristol is the access to beautiful areas of countryside and historic cities such as Bath and Cheltenham. It is also possible to live in south Wales, with Chepstow and Cardiff both being popular options. Other locations include Wiltshire, south Gloucestershire and north Somerset.
Commuting into Bristol via car can be a challenge and it is worth looking closely at journey times when investigating locations outside Bristol.
The city benefits from comprehensive transport links, with the M4 and M5 motorways making it easily accessible. London is 120 miles east and Birmingham 90 miles north.
The main train station, Bristol Temple Meads, provides links to the major centres, with trains to London (Paddington and Waterloo) running every 30 minutes. Bristol Parkway is outside the city centre but also has trains running to Cardiff and London, amongst other destinations.
Bristol International Airport is 8 miles south of the city centre and is the fastest growing regional airport in the UK, serving all major destinations. The opening of a new terminal and £43 million investment has further increased its capacity.
The city has a network of bus routes serving Bristol and the commutable areas, and it is also possible to take a ferry into the city centre which for some is an attractive means of commuting. In additional Bristol was named England’s first cycling city in 2008 and has a variety of urban cycle routes.
Bristol has seen a recent increase in prices, with an annual change of +7.3%. The average cost of a detached house in December 2010 was £355,582 with the average flat costing just over £190,000.
For more information visit bristol-estateagents.co.uk
Bristol offers a good range of schools both within the state and private sector. Independent schools include Bristol Grammar School, Clifton College, Redland High School for Girls and Colston’s School.
For more information visit ofsted.gov.uk/reports
The majority of hotels are 3*/4* and it is advisable to book in advance. Centrally located hotels include: