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If you have been near the centre of Bristol recently you cannot help but have noticed the new apartment complexes that have been cropping up in the Harbourside. And it is not just apartments: the Harbourside is a vibrant mix of residential, commercial, recreational and cultural space.

So what is it like to live in Bristol Harbourside?

To define it first, strictly speaking it refers to those central waterfront areas a few hundred metres up and down-stream from Millennium Square. Waterfront living does extend further out than this though with Hotwells in one direction and Welshback and Temple Quay in the other. Most of the residential property consists of apartments and most of those are modern.

If you have kids…

Bristol Harbourside is a pleasant place to live if you have children. There is little likelihood of a private garden, but much of the area is pedestrianised and there are open spaces that kids just love. Millennium Square for instance has shallow water features that are totally over-run with ecstatic children during the warmer months.

M-Shed is a great free option for entertaining children (they do welcome donations, though) and is also interesting to adults wanting to find out more about Bristol. From a child’s perspective the vintage bus is probably the star of the show.

Local’s tip – The working steam railway that is part of the M-Shed is great fun and great value offering noisy, smoky rides up and down the docks.


There are also plenty of walking routes around the Harbourside with the chance to see boats, bridges and swans among other things.


The Harbourside is also home to @Bristol – a science museum – and Bristol Aquarium. Both are popular and have well priced annual tickets available. More information can be found here.

In terms of schools, Bristol Cathedral Primary School and Bristol Cathedral Choir School (a secondary school) are state-funded and just opposite Millennium Square, whilst there are a few independent schools nearby too, the closest of which is QEH- just a few hundred yards away.

If you don’t have kids (or they are in bed!)

There is plenty to entertain adults too. You can eat Latin American, French, Chinese and Indian without leaving the boundaries of the Harbourside (and possibly all under one roof at the all-you-can-eat Za Za Bazaar!).

Night owls can party until the early hours with a string of bars as well as a Gala Casino and Oceana night club in the vicinity, while culture vultures have art galleries, the central library and two art-house cinemas in The Watershed and The Arnolfini.

Bristol Harbourside – oozing with heritage


It may now be dominated by shiny glass work and neon lights, but Bristol Harbourside is steeped in heritage: from witnessing Cabot set forth in The Matthew to discover North America to being the home of Brunel’s iconic SS Great Britain. Both can be seen in the Harbourside today (although The Matthew is a replica). It was also the setting for some scenes in Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island, while relics of the industrial era still adorn the water’s edge.

Bristol Harbourside Festivals

All the things we have covered so far are permanent features in the Harbourside but the area’s extensive public open space is also a magnet for festivals.

With the Harbourside festival, various food-themed gatherings and the Bristol Half Marathon (to name but a few) there are often additional events of interest to enliven the area.

Work-life balance

Bristol Harbourside is a convenient location for city centre workers. It has several large offices of its own and is within easy walking distance of the centre, Bristol University, the central hospitals and Clifton.

Looking for somewhere to rent in Bristol Harbourside

As you can see, Bristol Harbourside is a vibrant place to live. If you want help finding an apartment in this exciting area call Gough Quarters today on 0117 329 0039.

Please see our other guides to Bristol for Bishopston, Kingsdown, Westbury on Trym

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