Bristol is a vibrant city with a rich maritime history. It has a thriving economy, high employment and a great arts and culture scene. Also, it proudly boasts having one of England’s oldest pubs, the Llandoger Trow, which opened its doors in 1664 and is one of the last timber built buildings in Bristol.
If you are considering moving to Bristol, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in the UK’s second city.
Quick Bristol Facts:
- Population: 630,000 (2017 estimate). The metro area has a population of 1.02 million.
- Official Language: English (de facto) with over 20 other languages being spoken in schools, including Polish, Somali Urdu, French, Spanish and many others.
- GDP Per Capita: $65,106 USD
- Chocolate: We have Bristolian Joseph Fry to thank for the chocolate bar.
- Currency: Pound Sterling or Great Britain Pound (£, GBP). As of early 2017, $1 USD = £0.80, €1 EUR = £0.85, $1 CAD = £0.61, $1 AUD = £0.62
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Bristol
- London – £67+
- Australia (Sydney) – £2,640+
- Ireland (Dublin) – £250+
- USA (New York City) – £1,050+
- Canada (Vancouver) – £1,770+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – £3,100+
- Hong Kong – £590+
- Dubai – £1,980+
- Singapore – £950+
2. Bristol Housing Costs
Compared with other major cities in the world, house and flat and flat prices in Bristol are relatively reasonable, but they are rising rapidly. Prices obviously vary from area to area but the figures below will give you an indication of what’s available at what price.
Monthly Rental Prices in Bristol
- 1 bedroom flat (apartment) in City Centre: £750+
- 1 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: £500+
- 3 bedroom flat in City Centre: £1,400+
- 3 bedroom flat outside the City Centre: £950+
Bristol Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: £3,833+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: £2,766+
Bristol Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in Bristol compare with other cities around the globe.
London is 91.16% more expensive
New York is 178.04% more expensive
Los Angeles is 85.67% more expensive
Toronto is 9.97% more expensive
Sydney is 42.69% more expensive
Paris is 17.36% more expensive
Dubai is 103.337% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share a flat or house. Bristol is a city with a variety of house types and apartments that offer house shares. With a house share you will have your own room, or, for a cheaper option, you can share a room. The bathroom/s will be shared with other people in the house. There are many flats available for shared rental as well. Have a look on Bristol’s Gumtree page or Spare Room, Room Buddies or Flat Mate Rooms and find someone you can get on with to share the costs with you.
- Different areas – different prices. Bristol was voted the wealthiest and happiest city in Britain by MoneySuperMarket. Like all cities, Bristol has its expensive and cheaper areas. The Georgian terraces of Clifton attract many people. Most of the houses are now upmarket apartments but there are still a few houses available. Leigh Woods is an expensive area by the botanical gardens and has some wonderful properties. Redlands and Cotham have a variety of properties, including Victorian houses which have not been converted into flats. Montpelier and Kingsdown are closer to the city and cheaper but many people moving from big cities prefer these areas to the suburbs.
3. Bristol Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Bristolians love their food and this is reflected in the many nationalities which are represented in their restaurants. They are lucky to be in the west of England, where fresh produce is always available.
However, do note that with the recent decline in sterling, a lot of imported food has increased in price, which has obviously pushed up restaurant prices.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: £10.00 – £15.00
- Takeout Coffee: £2.00 – £00
- Bottle of Coke: £0.80 – £2.00
- 1L of milk: £0.50 – £1.00
- Loaf of Bread: £0.53 – £1.30
- 12 Eggs: £1.10 – £2.50
- 1kg Chicken: £5.00 – £8.00
- 1kg Beef: £8.40 – £10.78
- 1kg Apples: £1.00 – £2.80
- 1kg White Rice: £0.45 – £1.79
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- New York restaurants are 27.84% more expensive and groceries are 77.11% more expensive than Bristol.
- Toronto restaurants are 16.24% cheaper and groceries are 10.02% more expensive than Bristol.
- Sydney restaurants are 6.42% cheaper and groceries are 38.09% more expensive than Bristol.
- Paris restaurants are 3.64% more expensive and groceries are 32.98% more expensive than Bristol.
- Dubai restaurants are 17.09% cheaper and groceries are 1.65% more expensive than Bristol.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Shop local: Bristol also has a good selection of fresh food markets, including farmer’s markets in the surrounding villages.
- Find Cheap Eats: Get a Wriggle On, Tripadvisor, Bristol Post and The Guardian all have their own guides to cheap eats in Bristol, which include everything from traditional West Country fare to tapas and curries.
4. Bristol Alcohol Costs
Bristol is a university city and therefore obviously has a good selection of bars, pubs and clubs. The following is a list of basic prices of beer and wine from the supermarket and restaurants.
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: £3.20 – £4.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant.pub (0.33L): £3.30 – £4.00
- Pint (0.6L) domestic beer at a supermarket: £1.50 – £2.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: £0.80 – £3.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: £6.00 – £14.00
How to drink for less in Bristol
- Keep an eye on the local papers, bulletin boards and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays.
- The Caribbean Restaurant, Turtle Bay, has a 2-for-1 happy hour from 4 until 7 each day where you can sample cocktails containing their wide variety of rums. Las Ignuanas also has a daily cocktail happy hour. Browns is for high end cocktails and champagne and also offers cocktails for only £5.95 after 4.00 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday. Try Best of Bristol, View, Beer in the Evening and Bristol Post for the latest tips and savers.
- Scour the areas around Bristol University and other tertiary institutions to find the best alcohol deals.
5. Bristol Transportation Fares
Bristol is situated in the heart of the country and is at the centre of the UK’s road and rail network. Getting around the city by bus, train and even ferry is simple – Travel West.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single 3 stops – £1.00
- One day ticket for bus – £4.00
- Monthly season ticket for bus, tram and train – £66
- Yearly season ticket for bus – £480
How to save money on public transport
- Use First Bus mTicket – one week anywhere – £17
- Severn Express 10 Journey ticket – £27
- Buy a bike. Bristol is known as the bike friendly city of Europe
- Walk as much as you can and you’ll save money and get fit
6. Cost of Internet in Bristol
Internet in the UK is one of the few things that is cheaper than the US, Canada or Australia. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
- Sky: £18.99 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- TalkTalk: £20 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- BT: £24.49 a month (Standard Broadband up to 17mb)
- Virgin Media: £32.25 a month (Fibre up to 50mb)
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
Bristol’s climate is mild with its hottest month being July, with average highs of 18°C. February is the coldest month with average temperatures hovering around 5°C. The wettest month is November with an average of 100mm rainfall.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: £30 – £80
- Summer Dress: £20 – £35
- Running Shoes (Trainers): £50 – £100
- Business Shoes: £55 – £100
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): £55
- Deodorant: £1.27
- Shampoo: £3.25
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): £1.59
- Gym membership: £20 – £45 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: £8 – £10.50
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Bristol
Driving in Bristol is fine, but parking is very expensive and hard to find. Many people use the Park and Ride facilities to save time and money.
If you’re moving to Bristol from within the UK, you’ll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new Bristol one.
If you want to exchange your foreign driver’s license you have to follow the process here. Note that you will need to prove you took your driving test in a manual transmission car. If you can’t prove it, you’ll only be able to exchange your license for an automatic.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Bristol:
- Volkswagen Golf: £18,000
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): £1.11
- Registration fee (if any): £55 one time
- Other fees (if any): No more than £54.85 for an MOT fee, after cars are 3 years old.
Ways to save money on driving in Bristol
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Zipcar, lLiftshare or BlaBlaCar.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber.
9. Taxes in Bristol
No matter where you live in England and Wales, you will pay the same rate of sales and income tax. To learn more about the different taxes – income, self-employment, business, capital gains etc, have a look at our moving to the United Kingdom guide.
Sales Tax, or VAT (Value Added Tax) is 20% in the UK and is added to most goods and services throughout the country. Unlike some countries, it is always included in the marked price.
Whether you own or rent your home, you will be subject to council tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about council tax in Bristol at Bristol Council Tax.
Finally, if you decide to buy a flat or house in Bristol you’ll have to pay stamp duty. While there’s no tax on the first £125,000 of your home value, the marginal rate increases to 12% on a value of over £1.5 million.
10. Flight Costs from Bristol
If you do make the move to Bristol, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- New York: £244
- Los Angeles: £181
- Toronto: £284
- Vancouver: £341
- Dubai: £141
- Sydney: £496
- Melbourne: £454
- Cape Town: £411
- Hong Kong: £345
Other Bristol Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Bristol but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Moving to Bristol Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city can be rather daunting. Here are a few tips about settling into Bristol.
- Meetups: Meetup.com can put you in touch with people who enjoy the same activities you do; whether that’s wine tasting or football, you’ll find some like souls on Meetup.
- Attend local events: Bristol always has something going on. To see what’s out there go to Timeout, Visit Bristol, What’s On Bristol and Skiddle.
12. Moving to Bristol with a Family
Bristol has a lot to offer families. The city itself is full of history, arts and culture and fun activities. Travel a little way outside the city and you will find countryside and the seaside. Here’s some extra food for thought.
- New parents (or parents to be): Check out the local NCT courses and NCT events.
- Live in a family friendly area: Clifton is considered the ultimate area for families. Horfield is not as expensive and is a mixture of families and students.
- Find things to do with the kids: There’s plenty to do with the kids in Bristol. Have a look at the following website for inspiration: Day Out With The Kids, the Guardian, Visit Bristol, Trip Buzz and TripAdvisor.
13. Moving to Bristol for Work
Most moves to Bristol are for work. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move. The main areas of employment in Bristol are in defence and aeronautics, import and export, the finance and service industries, and health.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary: Although salaries are not as high as other major cities, the cost of living is lower, so it should all balance out. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Bristol, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start:Monster, Total Jobs, Gumtree, Reed.co.uk and Indeed. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Bristol from Australia
Bristol isn’t a natural choice of city for Australians, but there are a few living in and enjoying this vibrant city. You can always nip up to London for the weekend on the high speed train and join the 56,000 Australians living in London.
- Size comparison: The population numbers of Bristol equate with the Gold Coast in Australia. The whole metro region is a little smaller than Adelaide.
- Join expat groups:Both Internations and Exapt.com offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in Bristol.
15. Moving to Bristol from Canada
While you won’t find a huge number of Canadians living in Bristol, there are a few. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size:The city of Bristol is slightly smaller than Quebec and the whole metro is nearest in size to Edmonton.
- Expat groups: If you want to meet fellow Canadians who are living in Bristol, have a look at Internations and Expats Blog.
16. Moving to Bristol from the United States
Bristol doesn’t seem to attract many Americans, as they generally prefer to go to London. However, there still some who make the move. If you’re considering it, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size: Bristol’s population size puts it somewhere between the size of Memphis and Boston. The whole metro has the same population as San Jose, California.
- Expat groups: A good way to meet other Americans in Bristol is to look at Expat Blog and Internations.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Bristol, you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
Guides to moving and living in other UK cities