We don’t need anyone to tell us that Bristol is one of the best places to live. But it’s still nice to hear lovely things said about our city and know that others think it’s just as brilliant as we do. So of course, we’re over the moon to learn that Bristol is on The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live 2023 list.
“It’s urban and rural, posh and gritty, homely and highbrow, even ugly and beautiful,” says The Sunday Times. “From some angles it looks like Watford’s undistinguished cousin, from others it’s a multicoloured steampunk Venice.”
While not exactly the most glowing review we’ve ever heard of Bristol, it does attempt to encapsulate the diversity and excitement of living in our community-heavy city. Bedminster and Southville are particularly highlighted for their proximity to Wapping Wharf, pedestrian and cycle routes, and “groovy shops, bars and restaurants”.
Zero Green, Bristol’s first zero-waste shop, vintage shop Rhubarb Jumble, natural-wine bar Kask, and dog-friendly bakery and café Bristol Loaf are all noted for making North Street a thriving high street. While Windmill Hill City Farm also gets a mention.
On the other side of the city, “the sensible suburbs” of Henleaze and Westbury Park are also singled out. The Downs on their doorstep, Henleaze’s members-only swimming lake and the independent Scott Cinemas are all mentioned, but more focus is placed on this family-friendly area’s primary school network.
The Sunday Times does have some negatives to mention about Bristol though: “a cut-throat housing market, terrible traffic and grumbles over a new clean-air zone and the e-scooter scheme designed to help it.” Which we cannot entirely disagree with, but what place doesn’t have its issues? We love living here and that’s all that matters. And The Sunday Times’ Best Place to Live 2023 barely scrapes the surface as to why Bristol is such an amazing place to live.
From St Nick’s Market to the International Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Old Market to Harbourside (which was also recently named among the coolest places to live), there is so much here that makes Bristol simplt fantastic.
Where else in the South West was mentioned?
The best place to live in the South West, according to The Sunday Times, is Cirencester in Gloucestershire, where you can “ditch the swanky Range Rover and live your authentic Cotswold life in this busy, dog-friendly community.” While other places included Marlborough, Chew Valley, Broad Chalke, Poundbury, Bishopsteignton and Penzance.
How were the Best Places to Live 2023 chosen?
The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live 2023 was decided through a mix of data and subjective research. Judges visited every location to take in the atmosphere and chat with locals. The most important factors it seemed were thriving high streets, beautiful open spaces and a strong community that “comes together for markets, festivals, sports and hobbies”.
Meanwhile, the data side looked into the latest inspection reports for local schools. Transport (road, rail and tram connections) was also considered, especially highlighting places where you can live car-free and with effort made for scooters, e-bike schemes and clean air zones. House prices and wi-fi speeds were also taken into account.
To see the full list of location that made The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live 2023 head here.