According to recent research, 5,220 people moved from London to Bristol last year, whilst 4,190 travelled the other way up the M4 to find a new home. So London is losing 1,030 people to Bristol per year, which is the equivalent of three people per day.
But what is it about our comparatively bijou city that is attracting Londoners away from the Big Smoke?
You get more for your money
Buying in London is increasingly out of reach for many people, especially those looking to snap up their first house, with property prices now 13 times higher than a first-time buyers salary. Whilst house prices in Bristol are higher than the UK average, they are still lower than London, meaning that if you sell a property in the capital you’ll be able to buy a bigger and better one in the south west. According to Zoopla the average house price in London is £633, 994 whilst the average price in Bristol stands at £341, 268, so choosing to sell up and move will effectively double your budget.
If you will be renting when you move to Bristol, you’ll also be in a better position. The average monthly rent in Bristol is £962 a month, whereas in London the average cost is £1,665 per month. Whilst you may take a pay cut if you move because the average salary in Bristol is cheaper than that in London, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much less of it you’re shelling out to a landlord.
Living costs are lower
It’s not just the bricks and mortar that are cheaper: you spend less day-to-day in Bristol than in London. According to website Expatistan, living in London is a whopping 40% more expensive than living in Bristol. Prices for items such as food and clothing are relatively similar, but Bristol residents pay a lot less for other essentials such as entertainment and transport. The average pint of beer in a London pub costs £5.44 in London compared to £4.51 in Bristol, whilst a monthly ticket for public transport is £142 compared to £66.
Expatisan also found that dinner for two at a fancy restaurant is 14% cheaper in Bristol than in London. This is great news for foodies as Bristol has an impressive culinary scene, catering for every taste from Michelin starred fine dining to authentic late night Chinese. The city also has fifteen craft breweries and distilleries for both rum and gin, making it a great place to live if you enjoy a tipple.
It’s easy to get around
One downside of Bristol is that there is a lot of traffic which causes a significant amount of air pollution. However, Bristol City Council has announced plans to create a ‘clean air zone’, which will ban diesel cars from the centre of the city and introduce a wider charging zone for higher emission vehicles except for private cars. However, it’s not really necessary to drive in the centre of the city as Bristol has Park & Ride schemes operating from Portway, Bath Road and Long Ashton.
If you want to avoid using the car altogether, Bristol has good transport links that make it easy to get around. Bristol Temple Meads train station is located to the east of the city centre and has a regular service to areas across the city, including Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Parkway to the north, and Montpelier, Redland, Clifton Down, Sea Mills, Shirehampton and Avonmouth to the west. There is also a comprehensive network of bus routes across the city, including an all night service along eight routes on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bristol has recently been named the UK’s best city for cycling, and has a good and growing network of cycle lanes and routes. Due to its compact size it’s also great for pedestrians, and has many attractive pedestrianized parts including the Harbourside and the shopping areas around Broadmead and Cabot Circus.
Vibrant community and culture
Bristol is world-renowned for its cultural contributions and has produced many famous artists and musicians, including Banksy, Massive Attack, Portishead and Idles. The city is well known for its stunning graffiti and hosts an annual street art festival called Upfest, whilst more traditional art forms are celebrated in the galleries dotted around the city centre, including Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Fans of contemporary art are catered for by the Arnolfini and Spike Island, and theatre, dance and performance can be found at venues all across the city, from the venerable and newly revamped Bristol Old Vic to the tiny but lively Wardrobe Theatre.
Bristol can offer everything London can in terms of pleasant places to live, good transport connections, fantastic culture and exciting food and drink, but on a cheaper and much more manageable scale. If you’re considering becoming one of the many leaving the Big Smoke for the west, you won’t regret making the move.