Is Bristol one of England’s last bohemias? In 2018, around 80 people a week moved to Bristol from London, making the 100-mile pilgrimage to a more relaxed pace of life. Sitting on the cusp of the countryside, the once shabby south-west city has reinvented itself in recent years, with exciting new hotels and a surge of fantastic restaurants that shout about food sovereignty.
Historically, Bristol’s port was the second largest in England after London, known for exporting wool and leather, its streets walked by pirates and slave traders. Nowadays, Bristol is compact compared to London and Manchester, but packs in culture with festival after festival, a thriving vegan/vegetarian community and plenty of quick-fix outdoorsy options.
The locals worship the city (many never leave after school) and any dog-walking Bristolian will be itching to tell you about a cherished café, secret climbing spot or their mate’s next gig. It’s the home of Massive Attack and more recent favourites Idles, and music runs through Bristol’s blood – you’ll rarely meet a Bristolian who isn’t associated with a local band. In this city of lost music genres, ska, reggae and drum & bass still thrive.
Built on anti-establishment attitudes and alternative lifestyles, Bristol has a potent personality that you don’t find in the diluted capital or visitor-skewed Edinburgh. Go in the summer to see the Avon harbour at its best, hit the pavements in walking boots, and don’t brush your hair.