Why people should live & work in Bristol


Back in 2017, the Sunday Times voted Bristol as the best place to live in the UK, described as a city that is  “cool, classy and supremely creative.”

In recent years, Bristol has truly built a reputation of being just that, and has become a magnet for both students,  emerging talent and top professionals looking to relocate to a place that offers so much in terms of opportunity and lifestyle. In this blog, we delve into some of the many reasons we believe Bristol, a small city that packs the punch of a big city,  to be the go-to destination for people to live and work.

A hub of art, culture and entertainment

If you’re looking for a city to keep you entertained, then Bristol is the one for you. This popular destination crams in all the culture you could wish for, covering everything from art and history, to sport, music, food, festivals and theatre. 

If it’s music you’re into, Bristol is particularly heralded for its grassroots venues such as The Louisiana and The Exchange where artists such as Amy Winehouse and Muse once played. For the foodies, the city is home to a fantastic selection of independent venues, from quirky street eats to luxurious fine dining restaurants good enough to write home about. 

Art lovers can enjoy Bristol’s array of highly-renowned and cutting-edge art galleries which regularly showcase both classic, well-known and emerging artists’ work. With Bristol being home to the infamous street artist, Banksy, the city streets have also become a blank canvas for emerging street artists to paint the town in a stunning array of colours. There are plenty of street art tours and festivals such as Upfest, Europe’s largest street art festival, to discover more.

In a recent interview with us exploring why Bristol has become the go-to UK destination to live and work, David Henderson, Co-Founder of Bristol Tech Festival and Former Head of Transformation at Hargreaves Lansdown tells us: 

Bristol’s got a certain vibe and a certain feel to it. It’s got great culture – you’ve got all the music, food, arts – there are just loads going on.”

You speak to people from London sometimes and ask them what they’re doing in the evening, and they say “ah well by the time I get back to the house it’ll be 9 o’clock.” Whereas, I’m jumping on my bike because I’m going to go out to the Mendips or Leigh Woods! There’s just so much going on. In the Summer, you’ve got all the festivals – every weekend there’s a festival. You’ve got Upfest, the balloon festival, Harbour Festival – just loads going on,” explains David.

Seriously – whatever your interest, there really is something for everyone in this booming city. 

One of Britain’s most beautiful cities

With every twist and turn of the city, you’ll be sure to stumble upon stunning scenery and brilliant buildings. Bristol is a real melting pot of architecture that goes back through the ages. Some of the most well-known sights include Wills Memorial Building, the Bristol Cathedral, the Victoria Rooms, and the impressively tall Cabot Tower. And then, of course, is Bristol’s most recognisable structure – the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The iconic landmark, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1864, is a popular UK spot for snapping Insta-worthy shots.

Away from the historical buildings and structures, the city has wonderful waterfront views. The Bristol Harbour was historically a dock at the heart of a global trading network. Now, the area is home to a bustling community of independent bars, restaurants, museums and shops.

A rich cultural heritage to explore

If you’re looking for a city bursting with history, then Bristol is certainly for you. And there are plenty of opportunities to explore its storied past. Step on board the SS Great Britain and learn all about Bristol’s history as one of the world’s major maritime trading cities. Once the longest passenger ship in the world and the first iron steam vessel to cross the Atlantic, and now a magical floating museum that takes visitors back in time.

Bristol’s darker history made global headlines last year as widespread Black Lives Matter protests shifted attention to the public memory of the city’s shameful past as a key slave trading port. Eventually came the toppling of a statue of Edward Colston situated in the city centre, an individual who was a prominent local merchant and philanthropist who also played a big role in the slave trade. Today, the statue is displayed in an exhibition at the M Shed, lying down, alongside a timeline that tells the story of Britain and the Atlantic slave trade.

A stone’s throw away from beaches and countryside

Another reason Bristol has become such a target destination for outsiders looking to relocate is the attractiveness of having a lovely balance of exciting fast-moving city living combined with the soothing serenity of nature on the doorstep. You never feel too far from nature – Bristol is filled with luscious parks and green spaces for everyone to enjoy.

Bristol is also cushioned between the stunning rolling hills of Somerset countryside and less than an hour’s drive from the seaside. For the avid cyclist, you’ll be truly spoilt for choice when it comes to the city’s cycling routes. Whatever your ability or endurance level, there are plenty of choices available from the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, a more tranquil trail perfect for stopping off at a pub or five along the way, to the tougher terrains of Ashton-Pill.

“I think Bristol is just the right size. There’s always stuff going on, there’s always good career opportunities here, but you’ve got all the stuff around it as well. So, you’ve got the countryside, you can get to the beach, you can get to Devon, you can get to Wales, all these things going on. So, I think Bristol is a fantastic place to live because of that. It’s not too big like London where it can take you two hours to get across the city,” explains David.


A leading green city

Over the years, Bristol has racked up some brilliant green credentials leading to widespread recognition, from receiving the accolade of being the UK’s only European Green Capital, to being named the vegan capital of the world.

Adding to these impressive achievements, Bristol is the UK’s first Cycling City, a Fairtrade City, and also home to the Soil Association and Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity behind the development of the National Cycle Network. 

As such, Bristol has become home to many incredible businesses who are playing a vital role in helping to tackle climate change, including building the farms of the future with, LettUs Grow to developing sustainable supply chains with Bath startup, Greener.

A driver of innovation

Bristol is renowned for its creative and innovative spirit within science and technology, and this pioneering spirit is still growing as fast as the speed of the Supersonic Concordes designed and built in the city. 

Just like this aviation greatness, brilliant ideas are brought to life in Bristol, and tech innovation is no exception. Today, Bristol has become a booming tech hub and the go-to destination for both fledging start-ups and huge conglomerates to prosper, with a strong collaborative network to support its strong entrepreneurial spirit. 

For people looking to get into the growing tech scene in the city, David says

“I’d recommend anyone to connect with TechSpark or spending some time in the Engine Shed. You’ve got BrisTech, and the Bristol Technology Festival (nice plug there!), you’ve got the Bristol Innovators Group, and another one i’d recommend is  I’ll be back South West, which is run by Richard Norton and Carrie Harrison, the team at Tiny Giant – that’s a must go to. 

There’s a lot going on, you just have to put yourself out there. Bristol is really good at welcoming you to these groups and it’s quite easy and quick to build up a good network once you’ve been to a few of these.”

This strong supportive network and the amount of opportunity available has led to Bristol and the South West region to become an extremely attractive place for top tech talent and recent graduates. 

“I’ve always found that there’s a good talent base in Bristol, not just for those entry-level jobs, but also for other roles in the company. More and more people are choosing to move out of places like London and come to Bristol,” says David.

If you’re looking for a new challenge, and like the idea of relocating to a thriving and friendly city,  let us at HdE TALENT give you a helping hand. We have heaps of exciting opportunities for you to explore. Check out our job board today or, if you fancy a chat, get in touch via www.growwithhde.com/talent