Bristol City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2008

UKflag200Bristol is a large city–the largest in the south west of England in fact–which is located between Somerset and Gloucestershire. Its official name is “the City and County of Bristol”, and it has a population of more than 500,000 people.

The city has a rich and colorful history, having served as one of the most important ports of trade in the country in the 19th century. Among Bristol’s most famous residents were legendary actor Cary Grant, John Cabot, who while onboard the “Matthew” was one of the explorers that discovered the North American continent in 1497, and the well-loved TV cartoon characters Wallace & Gromit.

The city has been fed with and prospered by its links to the sea. The commercial Port of Bristol has been its main lifeblood but over the decades the industries in the city have expanded and the city has grown into a center of heritage and culture.

Living in Bristol was described in a post at the Britain Expat Forum last April 28, 2009:

Well, I really do like Bristol. And the people here are quite friendly.

Residential Places in Bristol

Bristol is shaping up to be one of the most in demand areas in the United Kingdom in terms of residential real estate potential. This was confirmed by no less than the CB Richard Ellis Hamptons International property agents and the Bristol Evening Post, who attributed the desirability of the city to potential real estate buyers to a large number of factors, among them the substantial growth in population, the increased employment opportunities, the relatively affordable prices of residential properties, and the robust economy. All of these developments are expected to continue throughout the rest of 2008, making property investment in the city a very feasible option.

Of course, all of these factors also mean that property prices in Bristol are expected to rise somewhat compared to the past several months, but on the other hand any property that you invest in now will almost certainly appreciate in value considerably when you decide to sell down the line.

To give you an idea of the state of the real estate market in Bristol nowadays, property that was priced at £325 per square foot in the Crest Harbourside development during 2007 now command prices of £475 and even higher.

Hospitals and Universities of Bristol

There are a great many options for health care services in Bristol, with numerous hospitals, clinics and smaller specialized health care facilities all over the city. Some of the more established hospitals are Bristol Eye Hospital, University Of Bristol Dental Hospital, Bristol Royal Hospital For Children, Bristol Royal Infirmary, and the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

Bristol is home to two of the most respected universities in the country, namely: the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.

The University of Bristol is one of the six “Red Brick” universities in the country, which is a group of civic universities founded in Britain in the Victorian era and were granted university status before the start of World War II. The university has consistently garnered a spot in the ten top universities of the United Kingdom according to several published reports. It is also the single largest employer in the city, with a current annual turnover of more than £260 million.

The University of Bristol may have been established earlier, but the University of the West of England is the larger university of the two, with over 30,000 students and more than 3,000 academic personnel at last count. In terms of educational standards, the University of the West of England is on equal footing with the University of Bristol, having placed in the list of top five universities in the country according to teaching league tables. It was formerly known as Bristol Polytechnic.

Some of the other colleges in the city that are worthy of mention are the City of Bristol College, Trinity College, Bristol, Filton College, Bristol Baptist College, and Wesley College, Bristol. Other independent schools in the city include Colston’s School, Clifton College, Clifton High School, Badminton School, Bristol Cathedral School, Bristol Grammar School, Redland High School and Red Maid’s School.

Commercial Places in Bristol

Shopping is one thing that the residents of Bristol take very seriously, and this is readily apparent in the many modern department stores as well as smaller specialty in the area. Known for its broad range of arts, crafts, antiques and jewelry, Bristol also has a wide selection of more upscale boutique stores that carry the best of the more famous international designer brands. From the posh and trendy to the quaint and charming, this city has something for you no matter what your budget is.

As far as your choices for food places go, Bristol has a lot to offer whether you are looking for something exotic or you are in the mood for fare that is more on the familiar side. Of particular note are the many English and Irish establishments all over the city that serve traditional dishes and the superb Thai food restaurants. Many of the downtown streets are literally teeming with places to eat, so if you ever find yourself in King Street, Whiteladies Road, Park Street, Gloucester Road, Regent Street, Alma Vale Road, and Corn Street, you will never be lacking for options.

Service Establishments of Bristol

Water supply services in Bristol are provided by Bristol Water, which currently supplies more than 1 million customers all over the city with 300 million litres of drinking water. Working under the regulation of the Water Industry Act of 1991, the company has more than 6,000 kilometers of local water mains, and draws half of its water supply from the Chew Valley Lake, Blagdon Lake and Cheddar Reservoir in Mendip Hills. The company was formerly known as the Bristol Waterworks Company, and was established on July 16, 1846 by virtue of an Act of Parliament.

Some of the companies that provide electrical supply services in Bristol are EDF Energy, SWEB Energy, which was formerly known as South Western Electricity Board, Western Power Distribution, and National Power.

Embassies in Bristol

There are several foreign consular offices located in Bristol, among them: the Chilean Consulate at Jacobs Court Queens Parade, Hotwells, the Cypriot Consulate in Bradley Stoke, the Danish Consulate on Gardano Road at the Royal Portbury Docks, the Finnish Consulate at Priory Farm in Portbury, the French Consulate, the German Consulate at Lewins Mead, the Italian Consular Agency at North View Westbury Park, the Polish Consulate at Clifton, and the Swedish Consulate on Gordano Rd at Royal Portbury Dock.

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