Bristol is a thriving city in the South-West of England with a bustling student scene, epic shopping and lots of history. Famed for its nightlife and live music, it is the perfect destination for a weekend escape or extended trip – with lots of comfortable places to stay.
From the harbourside to up-market Clifton, the city is full of vibrant areas, each offering something a little different. Whether you’re searching for all-night parties, or a civilised brunch with your grandparents, Bristol has a spot for you.
As a born and raised Bristolian, you can trust me when I say it is GERT LUSH!
Now, let me guide you through where to stay in Bristol for a bloody brilliant time.
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Bristol.
Central luxurious apartment | Best Airbnb in Bristol
This Airbnb in Bristol is one of the best bases to explore the city of Bristol from, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. Located near St Nicholas Market, it’s close to the best sights of the city, great culture, and nightlife.
This luxurious apartment has a bright and modern living space. The kitchen, bathroom and bedroom are nice and spacious, so you can live comfortably in the heart of the city.
Kyle Blue – Bristol Harbour Luxury Hostel Boat | Best Hostel in Bristol
This unique and charming BOAT hostel gets our vote for the best budget accommodation in Bristol. It’s moored right in the city centre, and offers private and shared accommodations, and cabins. There’s also a full kitchen and a lounge for guest use.
Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa | Best Hotel in Bristol
The Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is a luxurious hotel in Bristol. It is ideally located for exploring the city, within walking distance of all the best things to see and do.
This excellent four-star hotel has comfortable beds, large bathrooms and plenty of fantastic amenities. You’ll enjoy laundry facilities, free wifi, and an indoor pool.
If you’re visiting Bristol for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than Old City. This charming neighbourhood is bursting with character. It is made up of winding cobblestone streets and is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the city.
Harbourside is a buzzing and busy neighbourhood set south of Bristol City Centre. Once a bustling dock where sailors and merchants made trades and set sail, Harbourside is now a modern and attractive neighbourhood with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.
Located east of the city centre is the Old Market neighbourhood. Boasting an independent and bohemian air, Old Market is a neighbourhood packed with history. It is one of the oldest areas of the city and is home to some of Britain’s most historic buildings.
Stokes Croft is, without a doubt, the coolest neighbourhood in the city. Often referred to as Bristol’s cultural quarter, Stokes Croft has a great mix of local boutiques and artist studios as well as traditional pubs, hip eateries and trendy cafes.
Clifton is an upmarket neighbourhood located west of Bristol City Centre. It is a quiet district characterized by its steep stone steps and Georgian architecture. Here you can enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of Bristol, without being too far away.
Bristol is a vibrant and lively city – it’s the unofficial capital of the West Country, and is famous for its rich and diverse maritime history.
Old City, locally known as The Centre, is a charming area with cobblestone streets, lots of action, and a selection of landmarks – including Colston Hall and the Bristol Hippodrome. If you’re only spending a couple of days in Bristol, it is the perfect base with easy access to public transport, restaurants, nightclubs and shops. Bristol is a very pedestrian-friendly city, with everything within walking distance from Old City.
The Harbourside is one of the most happening areas, whilst remaining super chill – perfect for a Sunday roast. An attractive and modern development, it is packed with restaurants, cafes and bars. If want to be in the heart of the city, this is an ideal spot.
Old Market sits on the outskirts of the centre, and is the ideal are for those on a budget. It is just a moment’s walk from Cabot Circus – the huge shopping mall – and the nightlife of the city. It is also close by to Temple Meads Train Station for easy access to Bristol Airport.
Stokes Croft is the coolest area in Bristol – a hipsters paradise! If you want to explore street art, hip restaurants, thrift shops and trendy cafes, this is the place for you. Public transport runs through regularly, heading to the City Centre and Cabot Circus.
Finally, if you have some cash to splash, and want a more up-market feel, Clifton is one of the more posh areas of the city. It is brimming with family fun! From the awesome Clifton Suspension Bridge to boutique shops and independent cafes, there’s plenty to see and do in this part of Bristol.
Bristol’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
This section covers the best places to stay in Bristol in more detail. We’ve included our top picks for accommodation and things to do in each area, so you can be sure to pick an area that’s right for you.
1. Old City – Where to stay in Bristol for the First Time
If you’re visiting Bristol for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than Old City. This charming area is bursting with character, and home to some of the must-visit spots including Bristol Cathedral and St Nicholas Market.
Enjoy romantic picnics on Queen’s Square, sip cocktails in one of the local pubs and catch a show at the Bristol Hippodrome, Old City – or The Centre – has easy access to public transport and all the other areas in this list.
If you have time, make sure to explore Park Street which has boutique stores, University buildings, bars and restaurants. There are lots of hidden gems along this steep street.
Central luxurious apartment | Best Airbnb in Old City
Centrally located, this Bristol B&B is close to the best sights of the city, as well as great culture and nightlife.
The luxurious apartment is comfortable and modern, with a bright living space and massive windows over the city. The kitchen, bathroom and bedroom are spacious and contain everything you’ll need.
YHA Bristol | Best Hostel in Old City
This four-star hostel is located at the heart of Bristol. It offers a friendly and vibrant atmosphere, within walking distance of shops, restaurants and nightlife.
Enjoy comfortable beds and modern features, including vibrating pillow alarms, a common room and laundry facilities. There’s also a fantastic kitchen and lounge area.
The Bristol Hotel | Best Hotel in Old City
Thanks to its central location, this is one of our favourite hotels in Bristol. Ideally located, this four-star hotel is a few minutes walk from Bristol’s shops, restaurants and hotspots.
It offers cosy rooms with contemporary amenities and private baths with great features. You’ll also enjoy an outdoor terrace and lounge bar.
Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa | Another Hotel in Old City
The Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is another beautiful place to stay. This excellent four-star hotel has comfortable beds, large bathrooms and plenty of fantastic amenities. Guests can enjoy laundry facilities, free wifi, and an indoor pool.
Things to See and Do in Old City:
- Have a classy meal on the water at Glassboat Brasserie.
- Join a walking tour to see the famous Bristol Banksy’s.
- Grab a pint at Small Bar.
- See incredible works of contemporary art at Arnolfini.
- Sink your teeth into a tasty burger at Three Brothers Burgers.
- Step back in time as you climb the Christmas Steps in the quirky Arts Quarter.
- Take a relaxing break, and enjoy a picnic in Queen Square.
- Visit St Nicholas Market, a historic market hall bursting with eclectic shops and stalls.
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2. Harbourside – Where to Stay in Bristol for Nightlife
Harbourside is a buzzing and busy area with lots to see. Once a bustling dock where sailors and merchants made trades and set sail, it is now a modern and trendy place with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. Filled with all the local faves for pre-drinks and a night of dancing, it is an awesome place to begin a Bristol night out.
Harbourside is also a hostel haven – competing for the most affordable place to stay in Bristol.
Affordable designer studio | Best Airbnb in Harbourside
Staying in Bristol doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, and this Airbnb is quite affordable given its location. Close to the Harbour, Queen Square and Watershed, you’ll have all of the best sights in walking distance.
Guests can enjoy the modern kitchen, clean bathroom and great wifi for a good nightly price. Washer and Dryer are downstairs, while parking is located opposite the building.
Kyle Blue – Bristol Harbour Luxury Hostel Boat | Best Hostel in Harbourside
This unique and charming hostel on a boat gets our vote for the best budget accommodation in Bristol. This boat hostel is moored right at the centre of the city and offers comfortable private and shared accommodations and cabins.
There’s a full kitchen provided, so you can save some money by not eating out all the time!
Ibis Bristol Centre | Best Hotel in Harbourside
The Ibis Bristol Centre is a great hotel on the Harbourside. It is walking distance from restaurants, bars and clubs – making it the perfect spot for a weekend in Bristol.
Harbourside View | Best Apartment in Harbourside
This apartment at Harbourside View is complete with a kitchen, free wifi, laundry facilities and a balcony. It’s ideal for three guests, and a continental breakfast is included in the price. The accommodation is family-friendly and lies within walking distance to Bristol’s main attractions, shops and restaurants.
Harbourside View is one of our favourites in Bristol but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Harbourside:
- Hop aboard the Brunel’s SS Great Britain.
- See your favourite sea creatures at the Bristol Aquarium, which focuses on conservation and education.
- Learn about the city at M Shed – a great (and free!) way to learn more about the history of Bristol.
- Dig into a delicious meal at Steak of the Art.
- Dine on tasty pizza at The Stable.
- Grab a pint at Watershed Café Bar.
- Sample a variety of ciders at the Bristol Cider Shop.
3. Old Market – Best Area to Stay for Exploring
Old Market is a tiny area of Bristol that is ideal for those who want to see EVERYTHING the city has to offer. Just walking distance from Cabot Circus Shopping Centre, Temple Meads Train Station, and a through-route for most of Bristol’s buses, it is easy to get around from Old Market.
The street boasts some LGBTQI+ bars, a live music venue, and affordable accommodations. Although there isn’t much to do in Old Market itself, it is a great base for exploring Bristol – and a great spot to rest before heading to Bristol Airport.
Modern and Cosy Flat | Best Airbnb in Old Market
Right off Old Market, this cosy flat is the perfect base for a Bristol escape. The 1 bedroom, modern home has everything you need for a relaxed stay with plush furnishings and homey amenities. It is just walking distance from Cabot Circus, Castle Park and Temple Meads.
Future Inn Bristol | Best Hotel in Old Market
Future Inn Bristol sits directly opposite Cabot Circus with easy access to the shops, restaurants and cafes. For a one-night getaway or weekend escape, it is the ideal place to stay in Bristol. Just a 10-minute walk to Temple Meads Station, and on many bus routes, it is easy to get around from here.
Rock N Bowl Hostel | Best Hostel in Old Market
Bristol is known across the UK for its nightlife, and there’s no better way than to experience it than staying in Rock N Bowl Hostel. Situated literally above a club, this hostel is a short walk away from top attractions like the Banksy district and The Galleries shopping centre. It’s very lively and social, making it our pick for the best party hostel in Bristol.
Rock N Bowl Hostel is one of our favourites in Bristol but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Contemporary 2 Bedroom Apartment | Best Apartment in Old Market
This apartment in Old Market has two double bedrooms, suitable for four guests. It’s within walking distance of Cabot Circus, Castle Park and restaurants. Temple Meads station is also closeby, providing easy access to further afield.
Contemporary 2 Bedroom Apartment is one of our favourites in Bristol but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Old Market:
- Catch live music at the Trinity Centre.
- Party all night long at The Exchange, a thriving and bustling nightclub.
- Take a leisurely stroll through Castle Park.
- Grab a few drinks at one of the local gay clubs.
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4. Stokes Croft – Coolest Place to Stay in Bristol
Stokes Croft is the up-and-coming hipster area of Bristol. Often referred to as Bristol’s cultural quarter, Stokes Croft has a great mix of local boutiques and artist studios, as well as traditional pubs, hip eateries and trendy cafes.
This colourful and vibrant neighborhood is a must for artists and creatives. It is close enough to the centre to enjoy all the highlights, without getting caught up in the crowds. There are so many buses running through on the reg, you won’t miss out!
City Centre Haven | Best Airbnb in Stokes Croft
This is just outside of the Centre, in bustling Stokes Croft. The apartment consists of re- and upcycled materials, and its quirkiness is a great reflection of the area as a whole. It’s suitable for two guests, who can make use of the full kitchen, free Wifi, and laundry facilities.
The Full Moon Backpackers | Best Hostel in Stokes Croft
This hostel is within walking distance of Stokes Croft, as well as all the best bars, clubs and restaurants in the city. The Full Moon has comfortable rooms and great facilities, including free Wifi and a really cool book exchange.
Deluxe Double Room with Shower | Best Private Roome in Stokes Croft
A budget accommodation, with more privacy than a hostel, this double room is within a shared home just outside of Stokes Croft. The studio-style space has a private kitchenette and bathroom, as well as plush beds and homey facilities.
Kenham Place | Best Apartment in Stokes Croft
This apartment is family-friendly, modern and central. It comes with everything you need for a great stay in Bristol including a full kitchen, a flat-screen TV and Wifi. Guests staying here will be within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and city attractions.
Things to See and Do in Stokes Croft:
- Eat, drink, and play at The Canteen.
- Dine on tasty pizza at No. 51 Stokes Croft.
- Sample delicious dishes at The Pipe and Slippers.
- Choose from a wide range of ales, craft beer and more at The Crofter’s Rights.
- Listen to great live bands and world-renowned DJs at The Full Moon Attic Bar.
- Savour delicious tapas at Poco Bristol.
5. Clifton – Best Neighborhood in Bristol for Families
Clifton is an upmarket and quiet area, characterized by its steep stone steps and Georgian architecture. Here, you can enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of Bristol without being too far away from the centre.
One of the most picturesque quarters in the city, Clifton is home to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol University and lots of small independent businesses. If you are looking for a place to stay in Bristol with family, this is an ideal spot!
Stylish 2BR Home | Best Airbnb in Clifton
This Airbnb is super popular among families. Located in the heart of Clifton, the apartment is perfect for exploring the city but also enjoying a day inside.
With one double bed and a big pull-out sofa, up to 4 people can be accommodated. The host is known for being very helpful, and babysitting is also available on request.
Beaufort House | Best Apartment in Clifton
This accommodation in Clifton is a popular place for families visiting Bristol. The apartment is situated in an old Georgian style house, and includes all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay. Attractions including the Bristol Museum are less than a mile away, and Clifton station is within easy reach.
Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin | Best Hotel in Clifton
The Avon Gorge is a historic three-star hotel located a short drive from the Bristol Harbour in beautiful Clifton. There is an outdoor terrace, a stylish lounge bar, a sauna and an on-site café. Pets are allowed and room service is available for a relaxing stay.
The Rodney Hotel Bristol | Best Hotel in Clifton
This delightful hotel is conveniently located for exploring Clifton. It’s close to cafes, bars, and top attractions like the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Clifton Cathedral. It has 31 charming rooms with free wifi and essential amenities. There are also laundry facilities and a coffee bar on-site.
Things to See and Do in Clifton
- Cross the 412-meter long, 101-meter high Clifton Suspension Bridge.
- Browse the small boutiques, antique shops, cafes and eateries in Clifton Village.
- Go for a swim at The Bristol Lido pool.
- Pack a picnic and spend a day relaxing in Clifton Downs.
- Stop and smell the roses at the University of Bristol Botanic Gardens.
- Catch a fantastic live performance at the Victoria Rooms.
- Explore the Clifton Observatory and Caves, and enjoy stunning views of the city.
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Bristol
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Bristol and where to stay.
What To Pack For Bristol
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.
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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Bristol
You can’t visit the UK without a trip to Bristol. It has a lively arts scene, great music, lots of bars and clubs, and a myriad of delicious food. Whatever you’re craving you’ll find it in Bristol.
If you’re still not sure where to stay in Bristol, we recommend the Harbourside. Kyle Blue is a perfect budget accommodation with a twist – its a boat!
For something more upmarket,Beaufort House in Clifton will be your city home away from home.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!