Bristol isn’t a huge city, but there are still very notable districts. Some are classy, some are hipster, and some are family-focused. You’ll really want to get it right when you’re planning where to stay in Bristol.
Thankfully, I’m here to help! I’m going to tell you all of the best places to stay in Bristol, including which area to stay in Bristol if you have kids, are a couple, or are on a weekend with mates.
We’ll also talk about the different neighbourhoods and why exactly you’d want to pick accommodation there.
For starters, take a look at this list. If you know what kind of vibe you’re going for, it might help you make an instant decision.
Best place to stay in Bristol for different travellers
Where to stay in Bristol for Backpackers: Stokes Croft
Best Place to Stay in Bristol for a Local Vibe: Bedminster/ Ashton
Best Place to Stay in Bristol for Tourist Attractions: Harbourside/ Old City
Where to Stay in Bristol for Shopping: Bristol Centre
Where to Stay in Bristol on a Budget: Filton
The Best Place to Stay in Bristol for Families: Clifton
Let’s look at a more detailed explanation into each area.
This was my favourite area of the city when I was a student. Note that my student days involved many a party-til-5am night (not like now, when I’m in bed with my cocoa by 10pm) – which means that Stokes Croft is a bit of a party place. But a nice kind of party place – I also had many a chilled out night in the pubs and bars around Stokes.
If you are a backpacker or are travelling to experience Bristol’s partay scene, Stokes Croft is a great place to stay so you can party just a few steps from your bed. If you want a quieter break or are with kids, it’s probably not the best place to stay in Bristol, but it definitely is worth visiting in the daytime, to enjoy the street art and independent cafes and stores.
Pros of staying in Stokes Croft – accommodation is affordable, it’s a busy, fun area, it’s close to the centre
Cons of staying in Stokes Croft – it’s loud at night and at times, not suitable for kids due to the amount of nightlife.
Things to do near Stokes Croft
- Grab a drink in the many bars – including Attic Bar, The Crofters Rights, Number 51 – and the list goes on…
- Check out all of the street art adorning the area
- Take part in a virtual Black history walk in St Paul’s
- Head up Gloucester Road and shop in Europe’s longest line of independent shops
- Head to Rave on Avon which is held every May, or St Paul’s Carnival in July
Where to Stay in Stokes Croft
Hampton by Hilton City Centre is located by the Stokes Croft exit of the famous Bear Pit roundabout. It’s a great place to enjoy the atmosphere of Stokes Croft, and to also have easy access to Bristol’s City Centre.
A bestseller in Bristol, it features spacious rooms with flat-screen TVs, USB chargers and tea and coffee making facilities, and has a bar on site. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot.
Clifton is the classy sibling who always wears Prada in the Bristol family. Nonetheless, Clifton’s really pleasant to stroll around in. Georgian buildings line the streets – most are now restaurants and shops but if you look up, the old buildings still remain intact. Of course, our friend the Suspension Bridge is there which is a great photo backdrop; and there is a scenic grassy area that gives way to the Clifton Downs.
Clifton is one of the best areas to stay in Bristol with kids because it has a very low crime rate and is quieter than the city centre, has a lot of open parks (the downs are a short walk away) and plenty of attractions in walking distance. The Suspension Bridge is a must see for people of all ages, and Clifton Village is only about a 20 minute walk to the harbourside.
For those who want to stay somewhere that’s in close proximity to many local cafes, has gorgeous architecture and spectacular views of the city, Clifton could also be your best bet.
Pros of staying in Clifton – it is quiet, it has beautiful architecture and plenty of local eateries and pubs. It feels like it is its own little town while being very close to Bristol centre.
Cons of staying in Clifton – it’s quiet (which could be a pro or a con depending on what you want!), it’s expensive, it’s not right in the heart of all the action like some other suburbs are.
Things to do near Clifton
- Walk across the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and learn about its history at the visitor’s centre
- Have a on the downs
- Dine at some of the many restaurants in Clifton or on Whiteladies Road
- Visit Ashton Court and take a walk around the estate
- See the imposing Wills Building at the Clifton Triangle
- Climb up Brandon Hill for an epic view of the centre, and check out Cabot Tower
Where to stay in Clifton
Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin has a beautiful lookout over the Suspension Bridge from its restaurant and some rooms. Bedrooms are decorated with period features but have modern and comfortable amenities. Click here for rates and to reserve your spot.
Number 38 Bristol is a boutique hotel with beautifully styled rooms, offering impressive rooms of Clifton Downs and Bristol City Centre. Full English breakfasts are available on site. Click here for rates and to reserve your spot.
Harbourside/ Old City
Neighbouring Hotwells, Spike Island and the Old City, the Harbourside area of Bristol is one of the city’s busiest.
Home to plenty of bars and restaurants, the gorgeous water and many docked boats, and eventually backing onto some very sought-after (and I imagine, extremely pricey) apartments, the Harbourside is one stylish area.
Whether you opt to eat in a swanky restaurant or enjoy lunch in a shipping container near M Shed, this area of Bristol is a fantastic place to stay.
It’s a good location for kids, although it is slightly rowdier than Clifton.
But it’s close to all of Bristol’s best museums and many of the most popular attractions in the city, and the beautiful waterfront is one of the best Bristol walks.
It’s also a decent location for nightlife, with lots of pubs and bars in the vicinity.
The Harbourside is also very close to Bristol’s Old City. This area still has its medieval layout; a fact I find fascinating. Plus, it’s bursting with pubs which all have their own unique story to tell.
Pros of staying in the Harbourside – it is in the heart of all the action, close to museums, attractions, and bars, and in easy reach of Temple Meads Train Station and all other areas of Bristol.
Cons of staying in the Harbourside: it’s not super quiet, or super loud – so if you are looking for an extreme, it’s probably not the best place to stay.
Things to do near the Harbourside
- Visit M Shed to hear the full story of Bristol
- Take a virtual slavery tour to fully learn about Bristol’s grim past
- Go on the SS Great Britain to learn about Bristol’s nautical history
- Try out Bristolian cider at the Apple (a cider boat) or the Stable (Bristol’s biggest cider bar with 60+ draught ciders)
- Check out the hip bars and cafes of Whapping Wharf
- Get some iconic Bristolian photos of the coloured houses from Spike Island
Where to Stay at Bristol Harbourside
The Radission Blu Hotel is in prime location right by the Harbourside, with sweeping views of the whole city. The rooms are modern and comfortable, with flat-screen TVs, minibars and drinks making facilities. Click here for rates and to book.
For something a bit more fancy, the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel is located in a Victorian-style building and offers beautifully decorated rooms with modern amenities, as well as a grand reception and bar. As the Marriott is a 5* chain, sanitisation measures are, of course, exemplary. Click here for rates and to reserve your room.
The centre of Bristol is home to its most popular shopping complex, Cabot Circus, as well as multiple other attractions.
Castle Park is one of Bristol’s most popular green spaces and is right in the centre, and The Lanes is a popular bowling alley. Staying in Bristol Centre also means being very close to all of the Harbourside’s attractions.
Pros of staying in Bristol centre – Very close to everything, good for shopping
Cons of staying in Bristol centre – it can be a bit noisy, difficult to drive into
Things to do near Bristol Centre
- Go bowling at Lanes alley and bar
- Hang out at Castle Park
- Try out the cider and pizza at Left Handed Giant
- Go shopping at Cabot Circus
Where to stay in Bristol Centre
Holiday Inn Express is a great location and has excellent sanitisation procedures, in keeping with the trusty Holiday Inn brand. It’s just opposite Temple Meads Station, so is a fantastic option for train travellers to the city. Click here for rates and to reserve.
Hilton Garden Inn Bristol City Centre is a 4* property, also a stone’s throw from Temple Meads station. The rooms are clean and furnished well, and there is a restaurant and bar on-site. Click here for rates and to reserve your spot.
Located just east of the centre is Old Market. As the name suggests, this is one of the oldest areas of Bristol and, like the Old City, has lots of historic buildings. None of these are really designated as tourist attractions, but they are still interesting to look at!
There’s also lots of nightlife in Old Market, making it one of the best places to stay in Bristol if you’re looking for an evening out. Plus, accommodation is slightly cheaper than in the centre, making it a great budget location near central Bristol!
Pros of staying in Old Market – close to the centre, loads of nightlife, affordable
Cons of staying in Old Market – noisy at times, no tourist attractions in the direct vicinity
Things to do in Old Market
- Go to the bars in the area
- Check out the unique, LGBT+ friendly shops
- Marvel at the historic buildings and try to learn some of their secrets
Where to stay in Old Market
Future Inn is a good, low-price, place to stay in Old Market. The rooms are spacious, modern, and clean, with comfy beds and flat screen TVs in all.
There is a bar on-site, and it is very close to Bristol’s Cabot Circus shopping centre.
Bedminster/ Totterdown/ Southville
Bedminster has grown in popularity in recent years. It’s a largely residential area – it’s where Tony and Effy lived in Skins – and has recently seen a surge of activity as it has become a popular area for young professionals to live in.
This makes it a great place to stay in Bristol for neighbourhood vibes, and it’s also in close proximity to Bristol’s main station (Temple Meads). There are lots of parks here, but equally there are some fun bars and it’s in close proximity to Motion, Bristol’s rave-y superclub.
Southville is next to Bedminster, and is the home of lots of artwork and the annual UpFest. Totterdown, on the other side, is in proximity to the city centre and has coloured houses and lots of lovely cafes, and a few fun random events – a local fish and chip shop was the setting for an Eats Everything boiler room set, for example.
Pros of staying in Bedminster – it’s a quiet residential area with a few fun things to do and is close to nightlife
Cons of staying in Bedminster – it’s a bit far from the action
Things to do in Bedminster/ Southville/ Totterdown
- Check out a show at the Tobacco Factory – and visit the Sunday Markets
- Catch a football show at Ashton Gate Stadium
- Check out the view of Bristol City from Victoria Park in Totterdown
- Eat Lebanese Cuisine at Souk Kitchen
- Check out the street art in Southville
Where to stay in the area
Paintworks Apartments are artsy flats that accommodate 2-4 people.
They have gorgeous decor and are fully furnished and self-contained, located in close proximity to Temple Meads Station and the city centre the other side.
Filton isn’t the most exciting of Bristol neighbourhoods, but it does have cheaper accommodation and it’s in a good location for both getting onto the M32 and to Bristol Parkway station. It’s a studenty area, being the location of UWE’s main campus, but apart from the SU there aren’t really any places to go out here.
Pros of staying in Filton – it’s a lot cheaper than other options in Bristol
Cons of staying in Filton – there’s not that much to do there and it’s not walking distance to the centre (there are plenty of buses)
Things to do in Filton
- Learn about planes at the Aerospace Museum
- Go shopping, go to the cinema, and take a whirl at bowling at Cribbs Causeway
Where to stay in Filton
For local life, check out The Elms Guesthouse. This is located in a residential building – but the service and cleanliness are of hotel standards and a source of pride to the owners.
Rooms are furnished well with all the necessary amenities, breakfast is available and there is a large garden for leisure.
Village Hotel Bristol Filton has funky, well-kitted-out rooms with excellent amenities. My parents actually used to stay here when they visited me at university!
Each room has a flat-screen TV and an Amazon Alexa, the beds are comfy, and rooms are cleaned to a high standard.
There is a Starbucks on-site, as well as a restaurant.
Certain parts of the city, like Ashton and Southville, are close enough to Bristol Airport to not really need to stay somewhere specific the night before a flight, but if you want to spend some time in Somerset countryside or have a really early flight and hate waking up before you need to, there are some options.
Redhill House is nestled in the Mendip Hills and very close to Bristol’s Airport. Each room has a four-poster bed and bathroom with standalone tub, and on site is a spa, gym and bed and breakfast. Click here for more information.
I hope this list of where to stay in Bristol has helped you when planning your trip to the city!