101 GuidescityTravel

bristol, england design guide!

by Grace Bonney

today’s city guides are taking us to two very different locations: raleigh, nc and abroad to bristol, england. designer jane gallagher lives and works (and designs jewelry) in bristol and offered to make this wonderful city guide in case anyone is heading over to england this spring and would like to check out some wonderful shops off the beaten path. i hope you’ll enjoy her guide to shopping, eating and culture in bristol england as much as i did. click here for the full guide or click “read more” below. thanks to jane for all her hard work!

[jane created a fantastic google maps guide to go with this piece so click here to check it out]

Bristol City Guide

Bristol is a fantastic cultural city in the South West of England about 11 miles west of Bath. It’s a hilly city which means great views and interesting landscapes, and has an impressive gorge with the River Avon running through it and the infamous Clifton Suspension Bridge straddling it. There is a lot of green space and the renovated old industrial docks offer an extra waterside treat, especially during the summer. Some well known exports are bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead, street artist Banksy, animation company Aardman, as well as being the home of the BBC’s Natural History department.

This guide covers businesses from local makers to takeaways and takes in several different areas of Bristol (marked out on this Google map). These will take you from central touristy parts to more residential areas, but all are well worth checking out to get a full picture of Bristol’s cultural and creative diversity. It was hard to know when to stop adding to this list, but if you feel I have missed something special please add your suggestions in the comments section below. Happy browsing!


Blue section on map including: Corn St, Park St, The Triangle, Colston St, Upper Maudline St, Christmas Steps, The Docks. The main shopping area in the centre of Bristol houses all of the major chain stores and is in the throws of a major redevelopment due for launch in Autumn 2008. The places listed below are all located outside of this development and are amongst some of the older and more interesting parts of the city.

St. Nicholas Market: Corn Street
Established in 1743, this is a fantastic indoor and covered market containing a real mix of businesses from old vinyl and vintage clothes stalls to a local sausage producer. It’s definitely worth a wonder around and there are several international food outlets to stop at for lunch.

Elsie Riley (+44 (0) 117 934 9139) Broad Street
A lovely little boutique selling unique clothes. Also sells accessories and gifts.

The Guild: Park Street
Good quality designed goods under one roof. It’s a massive building split into departments selling, gifts, furniture, lighting, homewares, jewellery, accessories, kitchenware, art, toys and even has a small food hall and cafe.

BS8 (+44 (0) 117 930 4836) Park Street
A clothes shop selling a wide range of non-high street, interesting items.

Magic Roll: The Triangle
This is a great place to stop for a different kind of take away sandwich. Amazing, heat sealed flatbread with a choice of gourmet fillings.

BDelicious Beads: The Triangle
Everything you need for handcrafting your own jewellery.

Arnolfini: Harbourside
An arts centre right on the dockside with a contemporary gallery, art house cinema, café/bar and specialist bookshop.

The Architecture Centre: Harbourside
Also situated on the dockside the front of this centre houses a great little shop containing small gifts, cards and books on architecture and interiors. They also usually have small interesting pieces on show which is normally jewelery whenever I go in.

Watershed: Harbourside
An arts centre with an art house cinema and really lovely café and bar.

Bi Hand (+44 (0) 117 921 0053) St. Georges Road
Hand-made ceramics and glassware, contemporary art, paintings, jewelery, art, craft, design and accessories. (Not open everyday.)

Relics: St. Georges Road
A lovely little shop spread over three floors. Has the feel of a second hand shop but sells new solid wood furniture (and the odd second hand object).

Blaze: Colston Street
A lovely unique little shop / studio space. This is home to a few local artists who make and sell their work on site – from ceramics to jewelery.

Mouse to Minx: Christmas Steps
Small boutique selling homewares, lingerie, clothes and gifts with the flavour of an old English Tearoom.

Shop Christmas Steps
Small vintage clothes and interiors shop.

Snap: Lower Park Row
An interesting local artists’ co-op whose work includes screenprints, textiles and cards.

Heaven on Earth
: Upper Maudlin St
A very quirky place offering bespoke funeral services and a shop selling bizarre and unusual gifts. From homeware to jewellery to kitsch religious objects.

Ripe: Perry Road
Funky gift shop selling all sorts including homewares and interior items


Red section on map including: The Mall, Waterloo St, Regent St, Boyce’s Ave, Worrall Rd
Clifton is the one of the oldest and most affluent areas of Bristol. Its home to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and is a beautiful place to wander around.

The Clifton Arcade: Boyces Avenue
A must see on your walk around Clifton. It’s home to several great places including the Soma Gallery and Hollyer’s Vintage Collectables. It’s also just a beautiful little Victorian building.

Arch House Deli (+44 (0) 117 974 1166) Boyces Avenue
Great little specialist food shop.

The Albian: Boyces Avenue
Serving British food and real ales. This pub is listed in pub guides.

Sense (+44 (0) 117 974 5347) Boyces Avenue
Contemporary and sometimes outlandish designed home interiors.

Bracey Interiors (+44 (0) 117 973 4664) Waterloo Street
Interior designers with a few home accessories worth checking out in their shop.

Focus On The Past: Waterloo St
Fantastic antique shop selling furniture just ripe for DIY.

Pod: The Mall
Contemporary gift shop.

Lime (+44 (0) 117 317 9713) Regent Street
Slightly more pricey but lovely clothing.

Le Petit Chou (+44 (0) 117 923 7772) Regent Street
Gorgeous homewares with a vintage French country farmhouse style.

Creativity: Worrall Road
A large range of craft supplies (always my first stop).


Green section on map including: Stokes Croft, Cheltenham Rd, Gloucester Road, Picton St
This is a more residential area of town with a bohemian flavour and home to a lot of creatives.

Pie Minister: Stokes Croft
As they put it; “pies lovingly produced by hand, using only the finest ingredients”. You gotta try one.

Here Gallery: Stokes Croft
An intriguing little shop and gallery selling underground art, crafts, posters, comics, music, gifts, ‘zines and other stuff.

Sofa Riot: Stokes Croft
Bespoke handmade sofas.

Bell’s Diner: York Road
A well established, yet hidden away restaurant serving top quality food in a residential area.

One Stop Thali: York Road
Great local eatery serving ‘Asian street food’ in a cozy and friendly environment. They also serve food at all the good festivals like Glastonbury.

Herberts Bakery: Wellington Avenue
A bakery worth popping in to for your morning croissants! They also supply all the best restaurants & cafés in town.

Pink Lemons (+44 (0) 117 942 0420) Gloucester Road
Clothes boutique also selling shoes, bags and accessories.

RePsycho (+44 (0) 117 983 0007) Gloucester Road
Old vintage retro clothing and household interiors.

Simply Thai (+44 (0) 117 924 4117) Gloucester Road
It’s not much to look at but serves great Thai food. It’s primarily a takeaway but has a few tables where you can eat in and’‘bring your own’ alcohol.

Iota Interior Accessories: Gloucester Road
Quirky, contemporary gifts and home accessories.

The Flower Shop (+44 (0) 117 942 0050) Gloucester Road
Treat yourself to a bunch of something more interesting than your usual supermarket offerings.


Orange section on map including: St.Lukes Road. This is a residential area further out of the centre but holds a couple of worth while stops.

Fig 1: St. Lukes Road
Gifts and homewares from ethical sources and local artists.

The Star & Dove: St. Lukes Road
Not just a neighborhood pub but a great ‘gastropub’. Listed in pub guides.

Suggested For You


  • Jane, I think it’s wonderful you’ve cataloged this information for people. I have such a soft spot for Bristol, having lived there briefly, and was often baffled to see that people skipped over it, choosing instead to go to Bath. Bristol is full of great music, boutiques, bars, cafes, and galleries. I will certainly bring your list with me next time I visit. Say hello to the Watershed and the Arnolfini for me!

  • Just got back from a fabulous weekend visiting San Diego – amazing design and architecture – we need a design guide! Just a thought . . .

  • Thank you SOOOO much for that Jane … I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while for myself (since we moved to Bristol last September!) …

    Can I add:

    Room 212 http://www.room212.co.uk/ which is a little gallery on Gloucester Road which has weekly changing exhibitions.

    There’s another lovely shop on Gloucester Road not far from room 212, on the same side of the street that sells designer-maker stuff – but I just can’t remember the name of now!

    The Tobacco Factory in Southville is just such a wonderful venue/eaterie with ever changing art work on the walls, its own Sunday Market, and a Stitch’n’bitch club first Monday of the month! http://www.tobaccofactory.com/

    And while we’re on Stich’n’citch; theres one every other Sunday at Cafe Kino, opposite Here Gallery. They also run all sorts of events and exhibitions and serve lovely vegetarian food. http://www.cafe-kino.com/

    Paintworks on the Bath Road has a lot of studios and live/work spaces for artists, and seems to have weekly art/craft events and fairs. http://www.paintworksbristol.co.uk/

    Also, in summer, there are lots of arts trails where people open up their homes and display their handy work. I know of the three in the south side of town, but I think there are some northern ones too.

    In Southville and Bedminster:

    Windmill Hill:


    If I think of anything else I’ll come and post more comments!

  • So glad to see ‘here gallery’ mentioned here- I was one of the co-founders during Ladyfest Bristol in 2003 and it’s great that our little volunteer co-op is still going strong (just opened a second branch in Falmouth).

    I’d also recommend Cafe Kino on Nine Tree Hill- just over from ‘here gallery’ it’s a vegan cafe that sells amazing chocolate cake: http://www.cafe-kino.com

    And don’t forget to check out The Cube Microplex- fantastic volunteer run cinema (and most importantly) that sells great Polish beer and puts on live music: http://www.cubecinema.com

    Also the whole of Stokes Croft has been declared ‘The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft’ which means street art, sculpture and boxes of fudge: http://www.prsc.org.uk/

    Don’t forget Spike Island too:


  • I’ve only been to bristol once, but I was really impressed with all the gorgeous independent shops, and I loved The Guild. Thanks for this guide.

  • Thank you for all the great links. I’m going to Bristol next weekend to visit family so I’m going to take this list with me and try to get round at least some of them!

  • Nice work Jane, you’ve covered all my favourites – I agree that one could go on for ever.

    If anyone’s interested in street-art in Bristol, take a look at my recent post about the Stokes Croft area as well as some other posts around Bristol – as its my home town too.

  • Startthebus – cool new club/cafe/bar on baldwin street (not far from Mr Wolfs- live music & noodles) they have sunday dinners and monthly jumble sales- we made £40 on sunday selling stuff destined for the charity shop. They have a myspace page.

    Also Joy on Queens rd- pretty clothes to cheer you up on dull dissertation days.

    New Cath Kidston shop on Park street- all her fabric by the metre.

    And all the best charity shops on Cotham hill and Gloucester rd- we found our sofa in Clifton save the children for £25.

    Thanks for the guide,
    I”ll try and think of some more..

  • please help my sister said there is the best cookware shop in Bristol but where??? She is away and I am going to Bristol this weekend and would love to go to it……

  • Thanks for this inspiring guide – I’m planning to visit Bristol soon and this is going to be really useful…
    I haven’t been back since the late 70s when I lived near the Downs and attended school in Clifton for a couple of years…

  • We have just discovered this fab website and would like to Thank Jane for mentioning our little boutique ; we go live with the online boutique August 2008 so please take a peek! www. elsieriley.com

  • if you want to find out more about what’s happening in creative Bristol, visit http://www.bristolcreatives.co.uk. we are a network of artists, makers and performers working and living in Bristol and there’s load of useful information about forthcoming exhibitions, events, arts trails and open studios in the city.

  • Hey i visited Birstol last week, thanks for the guide, it helped me find the wonderful Here shop, i wanted to buy everything! And also liked cafe kino, would recommend.

  • We took your recommendation and visited ‘le petit chou’ in clifton village, what a darling shop! Would never have known it was there without reading this site, we love all things French and the lady in there was so lovely. Will visit some more of your hot tips soon – fab!! What a great site!

  • This is a really useful site. Can I add the Wilder Gallery, 131-133 Wilder Street, St Paul’s BS2 8QU – We have an eclectic range of contemporary art and also some exquisite bespoke lighting and furniture. Please check out the current show ‘Tripping the Light Fandango’ with special focus on the acclaimed designer Alex Randall (Jericho Hands).

  • Great article!
    Another part of Bristol that certainly can’t be ignored is the abundance of top quality street art to be found on its streets. Areas like Stokes Croft have literally become out door galleries, with work by Banksy’s contemporaries every where you look. To get an up-to-date look at the street art in Bristol then check out: http:/www.bristol-street-art.co.uk

  • I loved stumbling across this today! I’m from Bristol and it’s lovely that someone actually put this together rather than ignoring it in favour of Bath.

    Things there I’d never heard of, so thank you for that as well!

  • I am from Bristol but living in China and this made me feel sooooo homesick. Bristol is the best and I can’t wait to return when we retire.

  • So exciting to see you you’ve featured Bristol on here, my home town :)

    You know Bristol was voted as the happiest city to live in…check it out: http://www.suityourselfmagazine.co.uk/bristol-voted-best-city-to-live-in/

    You might also be interested in checking this out, new music/culture magazine launched by 2 young talented Bristol based entrepeneurs..gives you an insight into how much is going on here music/arts wise – http://fearoffiction.com/

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