Exploring Totterdown: Bristol’s chilled out neighbourhood

A conversation I have with everyone I meet in Bristol…

Me: “I live in Totterdown”

Them: “Oh? I’ve heard of it but never been there”

Yep, just like London there’s north-of-the-river snobbery in Bristol.

What the residents of Clifton, Redland and Horfield don’t know is that south Bristol is lush.  If they ever crossed the Avon, they might find out. But until then, us south Bristol residents can have all the fun.

Here are my favourite places to eat, drink and hang out in Totterdown (a.k.a that hill with the colorful houses).  


There’s a branch of the hugely popular Thali cafe (William St) near the bottom of Wells Rd. While further up the hill Acapella (Wells Rd) has some inventive pizza toppings.

Narrowly missing out on the best pizza award, Bocabar (Paintworks on Bath Rd) is worth a trip for its huge slices of cake. However, it loses points for its overpriced beer and being too child-friendly.

The Totterdown Canteen (Wells Rd) looks almost art deco ish after a paint job earlier in 2015. The menu however, remain basic but cheap. Think fry ups, jacket potatoes and sandwiches with change from a fiver.

And, finally, keep it quiet but the Duchess of Totterdown is an old fashioned tea room that is perfect of a cheap cream tea or light lunch.

Totterdown cafe looking sleek
Totterdown Canteen looking sleek



Southside on Wells Rd (formerly The Office) has an excellent selection of spirits and does deals on cocktails – perfect to start the evening or for a nightcap on the way home.

Subjected to a light modernisation in 2014, the Shakespeare (Henry St) now has a pizza oven and decking. Don’t worry though, it’s still good for dingy drinks, reggae bands and meeting drinkers with dogs.

The Oxford has escaped gentrification but doesn’t suffer for it. Head here for reasonably priced drinks, sport in the afternoons and bands on the weekends. 

The Star and Dove (St Luke’s Rd) probably isn’t in Totterdown but it gets a mention for its exciting food which is based on recipes from old cookbooks, comedy and pie nights and bring your own vinyl evenings.  

Hanging out

Arnos Vale Cemetery is gorgeous at any time of the year. Set in 4.5 acres of hilly woodland, there are plenty of winding paths to explore.

Victoria Park is also lovely for a stroll or, if you prefer something more active, join the Bristol Bootcamp Company which runs fun fitness classes in the mornings and evenings.

You can see this spire from almost everywhere is Bristol. I use it to navigate home
You can see this spire from almost everywhere is Bristol. I use it to navigate home

Where are your favourite places in south Bristol?  


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