Living in Bristol

Brief History

Bristol is the United Kingdom's eighth most populous city and the most populous city in Southern England after London.

The history of the city dates back to the beginning of the 11th century when a settlement known as Brycgstow (Old English "the place at the bridge") was built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon.

By the 14th century, the city was a major trading centre with countries such as Spain, Portugal and Iceland. Bristol was also a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World. On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European since the Vikings to land on mainland North America. Just a few year later in 1499, William Weston, a merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America.

Bristol continued to grow in importance and by the mid-18th century, had become England's second biggest city. As the West Country's largest docks, many ships used the port to unload their cargoes of sugar cane, tobacco, rum and cocoa, and other good. While the trading was exuberant, the dark history of the era's prevalent slave trade is often overlooked. As profits boomed, many merchants decided to move away from the hustle and bustle of the port and proceeded to build large mansions in Clifton Village as well as creating vast country estates in the surrounding area. Tyntesfield Estate, now owned by the National Trust, is a perfect example.

The port began to decline in the 19th century. And The Port of Bristol has since moved from the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock. However, the arrival of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1829 helped to revive Bristol's fortunes. Not only did he help to attract investment, his grand designs shaped the city we see today. His legacy includes the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the SS Great Britain and Temple Meads Old Railway Station.

In the 20th century, the city became a hotbed of the aerospace industry, after the Bristol Aeroplane Company was created at Filton in 1910. The 1960s saw the Concorde built and tested in the city. Rolls Royce and BAE have also been prominent aerospace manufacturers in the area for many years.

Today, living in Bristol is invigorating, with a vibrant business community which encompasses Banking and Finance, Media, Tech, and Law. The city provides a number of highly regarded educational institutes as well as exemplary shopping, sporting and arts opportunities.

With many different areas to choose from, each with their own unique feel, Bristol property includes an excellent mixture of styles and types in all price ranges. For example, Bristol city centre is home to a range of historic townhouses and mansions, many of which were build using the profits earned from importing goods hundreds of years ago. The world famous Clifton, just over a mile from the city centre, still retains a small village feel with multiple green spaces, an exciting range of shops and cafes, as well as interesting architecture. The many other villages which surround the city centre, include Bedminster, Filton, Emersons Green, and Westbury-on-Trym, to name a few, may have all merged into today's Bristol, yet still, retain a unique small village feel. James Samson Property would be delighted to help you decided where to live in Bristol.

Bristol in Facts

  • Area: 40 sq miles
  • Population: 449,300
  • Postcode: BS
  • Area codes: 0117, 01275
  • Airport: Bristol
  • Train stations: Temple Meads, and Parkway
  • Local Council: Bristol
  • Average property price: £259,442

All facts use 2016 data

Discover Bristol


Shopping in Bristol is inspiring. The city centre is home to a number of large chain shops including Harvey Nichols and the Cabot Circus shopping centre.

Park Street and the Triangle features some of the city's trendiest clothes shops. While, Clifton Village is well known for its independent boutiques.

The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, a short drive, offers over 130 shops.


The M4 and M5 motorways wrap around the city and provide access to a number of destinations, including Birmingham, London, and Devon.

Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway provide excellent rail links across the UK, with an average journey time to London of 1h 40m.

Bristol Airport offers both commercial flights to National and International destination as well as a private business terminal.

Bristol Property
Live in Bristol


Bristol has the country's second-highest concentration of independent school places, after London.

Local, independent schools of note include Clifton College, Clifton High School, and Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School.

The city is also home to two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE).

Lifestyle and Culture

Bristol's many live music venues include the Colston Hall, which provides a varied program throughout the year.

Bristol Old Vic is based in England's oldest continuously operating theatre. The Hippodrome hosts national touring productions.

The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery houses a varied collection. The Watershed Media Centre and Arnolfini gallery, exhibit contemporary art.

Bristol Lifestyle and Culture
Sports Bristol


There is a huge range of sporting opportunities nearby including polo at Beaufort Polo Club and Cirencester Park Polo Club.

National and international rugby at both Bristol and Bath as well as county cricket at Gloucestershire.

There is horse racing Bath and Chepstow as well as fishing and water sports on the River Avon.

Property in Bristol

There is a diverse range of properties, from historic, listed townhouse in areas such as Clifton, to recently built mansions and historic equine estates in such locations as Leigh Woods and Sneyd Park.

Bristol city centre is well known for its harbour, which is now populated by many modern high rises buildings with serviced apartments and luxury penthouses.

Discover Bristol Property