So long, farewell, Bristol...

Photo © Rosie Pentreath
By now, most of you know that I'll soon be flying to Sydney, Australia, to spend a year living, working, travelling and photographing things on the other side of the world.

With such a move comes a strong inclination to look back. What a fantastic two-and-a-half years I have had living in the vibrant and artful city of Bristol, setting off on my path in magazine and online journalism, and discovering new places and new music. Before that I relished living and learning at the beautiful campus of Royal Holloway, University of London where my mind was opened up to new ways of thinking about music and new ways of thinking about friendship.

After nostalgia and excitement comes the flood of questions and the invasion of a bit of self-doubt: "am I doing the right thing?"; "will I find another job I enjoy as much as my last while making ends meet?"; "how will I know if I've done all I can to prepare to move to the other side of the world before it's too late?".

I am lucky, though, to have a close group of friends and a loving family that has been endlessly supportive of my move, more often than not saying things like: "you're doing absolutely the right thing and you'll love it!", before reeling off anecdotes of an aunt, older sister or distant cousin who did just the same thing and never looked back.

While we're on the topic, then – and probably more for me than for you – I'd like to take a moment to revisit some of the best things about living in Bristol for the past two-and-a-half years.


Finding inspiration in unexpected places

Bristol is famous for its street art, liberal thinking and welcoming population. I have found inspiration in the most unexpected places, from photographs taken on walks (the wonderful colours in the picture below are from the entrance to The Canteen, one of my favourite places in Bristol) to conversations conducted in the smoking areas of busy bars. At the age of 23, I have only lived in four places, but none of them has felt as welcoming to return home to as Bristol.

Photo © Rosie Pentreath

Starting a career in journalism

The reason I moved to Bristol in the first place was to take the job of Office Assistant at BBC Music Magazine. The opportunity presented itself during a work experience placement there and was the right one for me to get my foot onto the bottom rung of the journalism ladder. From there, I was promoted to Editorial Assistant, before throwing my hat in for the Digital Editor & Staff Writer role at the end of 2013. The stories, training and contacts I have been exposed to throughout the journey have proved invaluable. This is the brilliant cover the team made for me as a leaving present...

Discovering the joys of summer

I'm not exaggerating when I say a festival takes place every weekend in Bristol during the summer. Whether it's a day at the International Balloon Fiesta, two at the free Harbour Festival or an effort to 'Make Sundays Special', you're never far from the next outdoor event. Highlights for me also included the chaos of St Paul's CarnivalLove Saves the Day at Castle Park and two days of dub, reggae and drum 'n' bass at Tokyo Dub.

Photo © Rosie Pentreath

Drinking cider

Being the largest city in the South West, Bristol is the home of proper cider. The drink of choice for many Bristolians, it is found in dedicated shops (Bristol Cider Shop), restaurants (The Stable) and every establishment serving alcohol. When I visit London nowadays I find myself taken aback if there isn't a good Thatcher's on tap before remembering it just isn't the 'done thing' outside our little South West city.

Seeing lots of lovely boats

As well as the SS Great Britain and The Matthew (below), Bristol Harbour is bustling with ferries, fishing boats and sailing students. During Harbour Festival you can enjoy a tour of the harbour with champaign in a narrow boat.

Photo © Rosie Pentreath

Dancing shoes? Try walking boots...

The great thing about Bristol is that you can walk from one side of the city to another in about half-an-hour. A night out in Clifton in the west, say, can go on for as long as you like even when you live on Gloucester Road in the east, because you don't have to rely on a tube, bus or taxi ride home – you can almost always walk. It would be a challenge to count on one hand the number of late nights out that transitioned seamlessly into early-morning walks...

Having a room with a view

While some friends of mine were fighting over tiny corners of crowded rooms in house shares in London, I was able to enjoy relatively reasonable rental prices in Bristol. My first flat was a damp little studio in Clifton, but a studio all the same, and one with access to a garden. My second was a gorgeous two-bedroom flat share with my best friend overlooking the whole city. And my third was another studio, this time with the same glorious views and no damp. I will always appreciate the freedom and happiness these spaces afforded me.

Photo © Rosie Pentreath

Finding the best friends anyone could ask for

Moving to a brand new city is always daunting and I went to Bristol believing I knew nobody. Very soon, though, friends began emerging out of the woodwork. First a former housemate from university, then my sister's former housemate, an old college friend... very soon a close group of supportive friends had grown around me. I will never forget the incredible memories we have all shared.

Enjoying all the green space

From Clifton Down and Ashton Court (below) to Queen Square and St Andrew's Park, Bristol has no shortage of lovely green spaces. My friends and I wiled away many a summer's day eating hefty picnics, drinking cider and lighting up disposable barbecues in the city's open areas.

Photo © Rosie Pentreath

It never rains

I'm being ironic. Bristol's location in the South West next to mountainous Wales and the Severn Estuary means it rains a lot, as you can see in the picture above.

Visiting a cat pub

That's right – I said CAT PUB. The Bag O' Nails in Hotwells was home to about 12 kittens and several grownup cats last time I visited. These critters spend their afternoons sprawled across the bar ready and waiting for a stroke. Yes, the cat smell is almost off-putting, but two pints down and you won't notice.

Photo © Rosie Pentreath


Tomorrow I will pack my belongings into assorted boxes and leave the city I have proudly called home for two-and-a-half years. Something tells me I will be back here before I know it...

If you like this, why not try:

Hello 2015
This is the city in which I live
Arrival in Spring
Cape Cornwall

Rosie Pentreath


  1. Hi Rosie, I read your Cape Cornwall blog, and well remember your Dad, and perhaps Uncle? decorating Wheal Call for my parents. Your thoughts of the Cape are bang on,and I am just about to move in there for 3 months ! Kind regards, Caleb Streat

    1. Hi Caleb,

      I remember Wheal Call so fondly! It was actually my mum working alongside my dad and they used to take us along to play in the garden as they worked. Such a beautiful place to live! I hope the move goes well.



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