With a rich maritime history, vibrant arts and a fantastic nightlife and music scene, Bristol is without a doubt one of the coolest cities in England.
The city is made up of a number of different areas, all with their own unique charm. However with so many to choose from, deciding where to stay in Bristol is a bit difficult.
This article breaks down Bristol’s best neighbourhoods by what they offer to different travel styles and budgets. Whether you’re into history, the arts, or anything in between, there’s a place for you.
So, let’s jump right in!
- Where to Stay in Bristol
- Bristol Neighborhood Guide
- Bristol’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- 1. Old City – Where to stay in Bristol for the First Time
- 2. Harbourside – Where to Stay in Bristol on a Budget
- 3. Old Market – Best Area to Stay in for Nightlife
- 4. Stokes Croft – Coolest Place to Stay in Bristol
- 5. Clifton – Best Neighbourhood in Bristol for Families
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Bristol
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Bristol
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Bristol.
Best Airbnb in Bristol: Central luxurious apartment
This Airbnb in Bristol is one of the best bases from which to explore the city, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. Located in central Old Town, 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.
Best Hostel in Bristol: Kyle Blue – Bristol Harbour Luxury Hostel Boat
This unique and charming hostel gets our vote for the best budget accommodations in Bristol. It’s moored right at the centre of the city and offers private and shared accommodations and cabins. There’s also a full kitchen and a lounge for guest use.
Best Hotel in Bristol: Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
The Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is our pick for the best hotel in Bristol. It is ideally located for exploring the city, and is within walking distance of the best things to see in the area.
This excellent four-star hotel has comfortable beds, large bathrooms and plenty of fantastic amenities. You’ll enjoy laundry facilities, free wifi, an indoor pool and luggage storage.
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 of England, and is famous for its rich and diverse maritime history.
Set close to the city centre, Old City is a charming neighbourhood with winding cobblestone streets and a good selection of landmark attractions. It’s central and close to everything, making it the best place to stay for those visiting for the first time. It’s also the best place to base yourself if you’re only spending a couple of days in Bristol.
Set south from here is Harbourside. An attractive and modern development, this neighbourhood is packed with shops, restaurants and cafes. If you’re traveling on a budget, Harbourside is a good option.
Head east of the city centre and you’ll arrive in the Old Market neighbourhood. Offering a bohemian and independent air, Old Market is a historic district that is now home to the liveliest clubs and bars in Bristol.
Stokes Croft is the coolest neighbourhood in Bristol. If you love exploring street art, hip restaurants and trendy cafes, then SC is the place for you. It’s close enough to the other neighbourhoods that you’ll be able to get around the rest of the city easily.
Clifton is one of the more posh areas of the city, but is brimming with family fun and adventure. From the awesome Clifton Suspension Bridge to the Bristol Zoo, there’s plenty to see and do in this part of Bristol.
Still not sure where to stay in Bristol? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
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 neighbourhood is bursting with character and is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the city. From Bristol Cathedral to St. Nicholas Market, you’ll encounter history at every turn.
Old City is also a great place if you love to shop. This downtown district is packed with a variety of hip boutiques and independent shops selling clothes, accessories and more that will fit every style and every budget.
Best Airbnb in Old City: Central luxurious apartment
Located in central Old Town, 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.
Best Hostel in Old City: YHA Bristol
This four-star hostel is located at the heart of Bristol. It offers a friendly and vibrant atmosphere and is within walking distance of top attractions.
You’ll enjoy comfortable beds with modern features, including vibrating pillow alarms, a common room and laundry facilities. There’s also a fantastic kitchen and lounge area.
Best Hotel in Old City: The Bristol Hotel
Thanks to its central location, this is one of our favourite hotels in Bristol. Ideally located in Old City, this four-star hotel is a few minutes walk from Bristol’s top attractions.
It offers cosy rooms with contemporary amenities and private baths with great features. You’ll also enjoy an outdoor terrace and lounge bar.
Best Hotel in Old City: Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
The Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is our top pick for where to stay in Old City. This excellent four-star hotel has comfortable beds, large bathrooms and plenty of fantastic amenities. Guests can enjoy laundry facilities, free wifi, an indoor pool and luggage storage.
Things to See and Do in Old City:
- Dine on delicious local cuisine at the Glassboat Brasserie.
- Eat incredible and flavourful barbecue at Grillstock Smokeshack.
- Grab a pint at Small Bar.
- Marvel at the stunning Bristol Cathedral.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at Ahh Toots – a bakery that transforms cakes into works of art.
- 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 watch the world go by in Queen Square.
- Visit St Nicholas Market, a historic market hall bursting with eclectic shops and stalls.
2. Harbourside – Where to Stay in Bristol on a Budget
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 area with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. This thriving neighbourhood is packed with arts and culture, food, sports and more.
Harbourside is home to a handful of hostels, including the very unique Kyle Blue, a luxury hostel boat that sits moored at the heart of the city. By staying in Harbourside you can enjoy a central location and incredible views – without breaking the bank.
Best Airbnb in Harbourside: Affordable designer studio
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.
Best Hostel in Harbourside: Kyle Blue – Bristol Harbour Luxury Hostel Boat
This unique and charming hostel 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!
Best Hotel in Harbourside: Ibis Bristol Centre
The Ibis Bristol Centre is our favourite hotel in Harbourside. It is situated in central Bristol, just moments from the Harbour, great restaurants and some of the city’s best nightlife options. It has 182 comfortable rooms with modern amenities and features. There’s also an on-site restaurant and a charming lounge bar.
Best Apartment in Harbourside: Harbourside View
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.
Things to See and Do in Harbourside:
- Hop aboard the Brunel’s SS Great Britain.
- Experience a world of science, art and ideas at We The Curious.
- See your favourite sea creatures at the Bristol Aquarium, which focuses on conservation and education.
- Explore the art and food scene on Spike Island.
- 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.
- Enjoy a meal with beautiful views at The Grain Barge.
- Grab a pint at Watershed Café Bar.
- Sample a variety of ciders at the Bristol Cider Shop.
3. Old Market – Best Area to Stay in for Nightlife
Located east of the city centre is the Old Market neighbourhood. Boasting an independent and bohemian air, Old Market is packed with history. It’s one of the oldest areas of the city and is home to a myriad of architectural styles and designs – a must-see for any architecture aficionado.
Old Market is also the best place to stay if you’re looking for a little fun after dark. Home to a safe and diverse nightlife scene, Old Market is where you can enjoy everything from cabaret and live museum to traditional pubs and eclectic foods. Whatever you fancy, you’re sure to find it in Old Market.
Best Airbnb in Old Market: Quirky Studio with Mezzanine
This bright apartment for two is located right at the heart of Bristol and within walking distance of shops, bars and restaurants. Guests can enjoy a full kitchen, laundry facilities and internet connection, so you’ll have everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Best Hostel in Old Market: Rock N Bowl Hostel
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.
Best Hotel in Old Market: Future Inn Bristol
Future Inn Bristol is the best hotel in Old Market. It offers excellent rooms with large beds and free internet. You’ll also enjoy access to meeting rooms, laundry facilities and a safe. This wonderful three-star hotel is centrally located near shops and nightlife options, as well as restaurants and cafes.
Best Apartment in Old Market: Contemporary 2 Bedroom Apartment
This two bedroom apartment in Old Market has two double bedrooms and is suitable for four guests. It’s within walking distance of a number of attractions including Cabot Circus, Castle Park and restaurants. Temple Meads station is also closeby, providing easy access to further afield.
Things to See and Do in Old Market:
- Enjoy a lively night out at Stag and Hounds.
- Listen to live music at the Trinity Centre.
- Grab a few drinks at the Gin Palace.
- Visit the Old Market Tavern for tasty food, good drinks and a fantastic atmosphere.
- Sample the cheapest cider in town at Long Bar.
- Dance the night away at The Elmer’s Arms.
- Groove to great funk and soul music at Brisco.
- Choose from a wide variety of ales and gin at the Old Market Assembly.
- Party all night long at The Exchange, a thriving and bustling nightclub.
4. Stokes Croft – Coolest Place to Stay in Bristol
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.
This colourful and vibrant neighbourhood is a must for artists and creatives. You’ll even have the chance to see a couple of Banksy’s most famous pieces as you make your way throughout the area.
Best Airbnb in Stokes Croft: City Centre Haven
This Airbnb is bang in the middle of Stokes Croft, surrounded by great cafes, bars, and Banksy artworks. Most of the apartment consists of re- and upcycled materials, and it’s 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.
Best Hostel in Stokes Croft: The Full Moon Backpackers
This hostel is within walking distance of Stokes Croft, as well as all the best bars, clubs and restaurants in the city. It’s also home to one of the coolest live music venues Bristol has to offer.
The Full Moon has comfortable rooms and great facilities, including free Wifi, self-catering and a really cool book exchange.
Best Hotel in Stokes Croft: Hampton by Hilton
This amazing hotel comes complete with a modern gym, spacious rooms and a stylish lounge bar. It’s within walking distance of Old City, Stokes Croft and lively Old Market.
You’ll find restaurants, shops and cafes right on your doorstep. The hotel is close to Square and within walking distance of the SS Great Britain and brewery tours.
Best Apartment in Stokes Croft: Kenham Place
This apartment is family-friendly, modern and central. The apartment 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 many shops, restaurants, and unique attractions.
Things to See and Do in Stokes Croft:
- See some of the most iconic works by the renowned street artist, Banksy.
- Eat, drink, and play at The Canteen.
- Dine on tasty pizza at No. 51 Stokes Croft.
- Sample delicious dishes at The Pipe and Slippers.
- Dance the night away at Lakota.
- Party all night long at Blue Mountain.
- Choose from a wide range of ales, craft beer and more at The Crofter’s Rights.
- Sip a cappuccino and people-watch at Bearpit Social.
- Listen to great live bands and world-renowned DJs at The Full Moon Attic Bar.
- Savour delicious tapas at Poco Bristol.
5. Clifton – Best Neighbourhood in Bristol for Families
Clifton is an upmarket and quiet neighbourhood 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 our recommendation for where to stay in Bristol if you’re travelling with a family. Clifton is home to a number of top attractions including the Bristol Zoo, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the University of Bristol Botanic Gardens.
Best Airbnb in Clifton: Charming family apartment
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.
Best Apartment in Clifton: Beaufort House
This accommodation in Clifton is popular among 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.
Best Hotel in Clifton: Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin
The Avon Gorge is a historic three-star hotel located a short drive from the Bristol Harbour. Guests can enjoy an outdoor terrace, a stylish lounge bar, a sauna and on-site café. Pets are allowed and room service is available – so you can enjoy a relaxing stay.
Best Hotel in Clifton: The Rodney Hotel Bristol
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.
- Get up close to more than 400 species of animals from around the world at the Bristol Zoo Gardens.
- 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, a massive public open space.
- 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.
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.
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, plenty 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 Kyle Blue. Moored right at the heart of the city, this charming and unique hostel has comfortable rooms and great amenities.
For something more upmarket, the Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is another great option thanks to its central location, large bedrooms, and excellent on-site amenities.
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
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