Basic Guide to Living in Bristol


If you are considering living in Bristol and you think you need information, you will find basic information about the city in this article. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t written it before… even though I had an article, it was very superficial and only had vague information.

1. General information about the city

Bristol is the eighth in England and the eleventh in the UK when cities are ranked by population. For half a century it was the second most populated city after London, a position it lost due to the rapid growth of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham at the end of the 1780s. There are 34 other cities in the world called “Bristol”, mostly in the United States, but also in Peru, Canada, Jamaica and Costa Rica, all commemorating the original one.

Bristol, along with Liverpool, became a centre of the slave trade. At the height of the slave trade between 1700 and 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships left the port of Bristol, taking with them more than half a million slaves from Africa to America. It was very lucrative and the main source of prosperity in the city for more than a century, allowing people like Edward Colston to amass great fortunes.

The competition with Liverpool, the interruption of the maritime trade with France and the abolition of slavery all contributed to the disruption of the peace between the city and new shopping centers of the northern and midlands areas. However, the population of Bristol increased fivefold during the nineteenth century, supported by new industries and growing commerce.

The city center of Bristol suffered major damage during various World War II bombings. The original center, near the bridge and the castle, is now a park containing two bombed churches and some small fragments of the castle.

In the twentieth century, the activities of the Bristol industry expanded, including aircraft production in Filton, 10 kilometers north of the city centre, where the “Bristol Aeroplane Company” was installed. The company became famous by building the Bristol Fighter in World War I and the Bristol Beaufighter in World War II. In the 1950s the company became the leading manufacturer in the civil aviation sector. In the 60s, the company built some of the components of the Concorde supersonic aircraft. Today, Bristol is still a major centre of the aviation industry. It also has an important presence in the media and technological industry sectors.

Population: 617.000 inhabitants (urban area)
Postal code: BS1 to BS20
City Council
Other articles to discover the city:

2. Public transportation

Bristol Bus Map

The city has a good network of buses and although it doesn’t have a metro, some neighborhoods are connected by the railway network and it’s quite easy to get from one end of the city to another if you live near a station. It has an airport with international flights, in addition to being in a central hub from where you can get to other major cities in a short period oftime. For example: 45 min to Cardiff, 1.5h to Birmingham, 2h to Bournemouth, 2.5h to London or 3h to Manchester.

Other related articles:

3. Tourism

Bristol walking map

Bristol is famous for its independent and alternative spirit, especially its urban art (graffiti) and its relationship with that discipline’s most famous artist: Banksy. But there’s more to it than just a lot of graffiti: it is a historic city that had the first transatlantic passenger ship in the world: Brunel’s SS Great Britain (1845), dozens of museums and art galleries, the Suspension Bridge, which has over 150 years of history and is a city symbol, a zoo, an aquarium, theaters and, just like in the big cities, a great nightlife so you can go out every day of the week.

We can’t overemphasize how active the city is: it’s always full of events and festivals. It is always a good time to visit.

Official website for

4. Accommodation

Map of Bristol

Now let’s talk about housing. In recent years, Bristol has become a very popular city, also thanks to it being the city with the lowest unemployment rate in UK, so prices have risen and depending on the season, it is difficult to find available rooms. The average price of a room in a shared house (with expenses) is around £400/month, but you can get some for £300 if you search in advance and take your time.

What is the best area? Look at these two articles we have published:

Here you have my advice on how to look for accommodation in the city. If you need a temporary hostel, you can read the information in this link. To look for a room we recommend the website But we have more interesting websites where you can find accommodation in the UK. If you live in a rental, know your rights in the UK.

5. Work

It isn’t difficult to find a temporary job in Bristol, since the unemployment rate is 3,7% when the UK average is around 6%. Depending on what you look for, there are always vacancies (especially in the services industry, at bars, hotels, etc.), so with a minimal level of English and some effort, you can get a job in a relatively short time. As there’s an industrial estate with Airbus nearby (in Filton), engineering is a prosperous sector with many opportunities. There are also plenty of jobs for nurses, pharmacists, doctors and programmers.

If you go to the city’s JobCentre, this is the list of sites that they will give you.

There are two alternative ways to search for jobs more locally:

However, the best way to do it is to walk around the city handing out CVs on your way.

6. Leisure

If you enjoy doing things, you won’t be bored. I already mentioned in the tourism section that there are many things to see, but the city isn’t short on festivals and events either. Pubs with live music are a tradition and there can be college parties any day of the week.

7. Studying in Bristol

Whether you are considering an Erasmus or doing a full degree, the city is still a good choice. The University of Bristol is ranked eighth in Great Britain according to the international Shanghai ranking. With more than 50,000 university students living in the city, sometimes it is difficult to find accommodation.

Other studies:

For the Bristolians… if you want to correct something, or add info or advice, leave a comment or send me an email. 🙂

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