As a proud Bristolian (born and bred!), it’s always left me confused when I meet people who don’t particularly like where they’re from. I’ve always been proud of my hometown and have always been so excited to show friends from other cities my favourite bars, restaurants and hidden corners.
After all, there really is no doubt in my mind that Bristol is one of the greatest cities in the world. Even Rough Guide seems to agree, listing Bristol as number four on their list of Top 10 Best Cities to Visit in 2017.
I’m currently living in Bristol, only a stone’s throw away from the house I grew up in, with three other people – none of whom are originally from the city. In fact, aside from the friends I’ve kept from my school years, very few of the people I’ve met in the past couple of years have actually been from Bristol.
Instead, they’ve come here to study and have ended up staying – or have simply moved here for a career change. Some have come to visit Bristol and have been swept away by the city’s charm, or have moved here to be with a loved one. Either way, it’s pretty cool to see the city you’ve grown up in through the eyes of people from across the world.
I hope to live in a number of cities during my lifetime, but I know Bristol will always have my heart. Here’s why I’m 99.9% sure I’ll keep coming back to Briz, and why I reckon everyone should join us farmers to live here at least once in their lifetime.
Bristolians are a pretty chilled bunch
You might struggle to understand what most of us are saying (to be honest, I’m pretty sad I’ve lost my accent over the years) but the chances are it’s something friendly.
On the whole, Bristolians are a pretty friendly bunch. After all, it’s difficult to take life too seriously when everyone sounds a little bit like a pirate, the houses are multi-coloured, and someone’s likely to cycle past you with a boombox balanced on their shoulder at any minute.
As long as you’re polite and friendly (top tip: make sure you always shout ‘cheers drive!’ when getting off the bus!), you’ll be welcomed everywhere you go.
Everyone is welcome in Bristol
One of the greatest things about Bristol is that everyone is welcome here. There’s a real community spirit that’s prevalent everywhere you go, from the Sunday markets of Southville to the thriving community centres of St Werburgh’s.
The entire city is peppered with community gardens and city farms run by local volunteers – not to mention organisations carrying out soup runs for those without somewhere to live, park runs for people of all ages and abilities hoping to get into fitness, and Big Issue sellers that have become local celebrities.
Independence is always valued
Of course, as a large city, Bristol has its fair share of chain restaurants and high street stores. But, alongside these global giants, tucked away on cobbled side streets and hidden away in unknown corners, are some of Bristol’s finest independent shops.
From one-of-a-kind restaurants serving some of the best food I’ve ever tasted to quirky boutiques selling handmade clothing and kooky gifts, there really is something to suit everyone’s preferences.
For a real taste of Bristol’s independent spirit, check out Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road. Dine on ethically-produced vegan food in Cafe Kino, enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Prince of Wales, and grab yourself one of the best drunken pizzas you’ll ever eat at Luna Express.
It’s a haven for creatives
There’s no denying that Bristol truly is a hub of creativity. From the music venues frequented by people of all ages and tastes to the number of dance studios and drama theatres that line the city’s streets, Bristol is home to some of the UK’s most talented people and most awe-inspiring productions.
There’s one form of art that’s particularly popular in Bristol – graffiti. Stroll along the city’s streets and you’ll spot original Banksy pieces (including ‘The Girl with a Pierced Eardrum’ and ‘The Mild Mild West’) alongside huge murals and paintings created by budding artists during Bristol Upfest.
Bristolians like to do their bit for the planet
Did you know that in 2017, Bristol was found to be the most eco-friendly city in the UK? This isn’t surprising either, considering we have:
- an abundance of food recycling initiatives working to reduce food waste
- volunteer-led groups like City To Sea dedicated to clearing up litter from the Harbour
- plenty of cycle lanes for those on two wheels
- hundreds of vegan restaurants to dine at
…and much, MUCH more. If you’re a bit of an environmentalist, Bristol is definitely the city for you!