Gloucester Road & Stokes Croft

Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road lies to the north of the city and is one continuous road jam-packed with local, independent shops, cafes and restaurants. 

Both areas are packed with locally run venues, with everything from The Wellington serving Bath Ales brews at one end in Horfield, to the spiritual home of popular pie-purveyors Pieminister in Stokes Croft

Gloucester Road

Gloucester Road is one of the longest streets of independent shops in Europe. This colourful high street meanders up from Stokes Croft through the Redland, St Andrews, Bishopston and Horfield areas, supporting a fantastic array of independent shops, beauty salons, restaurants, cafes and bars. 

If you’re planning a shopping trip, check out clothing at MAKE and Fox + Feather; authentic vintage heaven at RePsycho; Playfull Toyshop for the kids; and Iota, Paper Plane, and Room 212 for unusual handmade gifts and Bristol art - perfect souvenirs from this creative city. Looking for some local produce or tasty treats to pick up on your travels? Head to Grape & Grind and Beercosm for a great selection of local beers, ciders and wines, Joe’s Bakery for bread and sweet treats, Bristanbul for Turkish bakes, or El Colmado for top quality Spanish delights. 

Gastro pubs The Grace, The Flyer and family-friendly Royal Oak all have lovely back gardens, or sit and watch the world go by in one of the many cafes along this bustling high street, from Future Leap near the Arches, to the popular Nectar House or stylish FED 313 further up the road. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to lunch and dinner, whether you want top quality pizza at Pizzarova, huge Lebanese grills at Lona, or fragrant Thai from Jean’s Bistro. The possibilities really are endless though, with wine bars, tapas joints, tandoori restaurants, micro pubs, seafood specialists and more. If you’re sticking to a plantbased diet, try the Sri Lankan dishes at The Coconut Tree, or all-vegan menus at Koocha Mezze Bar, Jack the Falafel or Vegan India

Sticking around for the evening? The Gallimaufry, Blue Lagoon and Golden Lion all host free live music, while Sidney & Eden hosts regular comedy nights. Or you could spend the evening playing boardgames at Chance & Counters

Just off the main drag, St Andrews Park features a children's playground and large open spaces. Nearby Gloucestershire County Cricket Club hosts regular cricket features and international matches, while Bristol Rovers F.C. play at the Memorial Stadium on Filton Avenue. 

You really can spend the whole day and evening out on Gloucester Road, and regular bus services can whizz you back to the city centre any time. There are local train stations that serve this area too, Montpelier and Ashley Down (opening in 2024), both with plenty of bike parking. 

Stokes Croft

Take a stroll around bohemian Stokes Croft, often referred to as Bristol's cultural quarter. Discover unusual shops, great pubs, real clubs, fabulous food and a wealth of artist studios and ever-changing exhibitions. 

The whole area resembles an outdoor gallery, with colourful graffiti that continually transforms its walls and buildings. You might see some great artwork today – but by the time you want to show it to your friends tomorrow it has miraculously vanished or changed into a completely new picture. Keep an eye out for some of Banksy's best-known pieces, including the iconic Mild, Mild, West. 

As for the shopping, browse some funky fashion at Lucy & Yak or That Thing, local artwork at Here Gallery and Love It Bristol, or mugs, plates and cups from Stokes Croft China. Around the corner on colourful Picton Street in the bohemian quarter of Montpelier you’ll find delis, cafes and other quirky businesses to peruse. 

Keep your ears open for music streaming onto the streets. As well as the famous night club Lakota, there's plenty of live music to be found in the many bars and pubs, from the Crofters Rights and The Full Moon to The Canteen, which also has an all-day menu and outdoor terrace.  

St Pauls

With a strong sense of community, St Pauls has always been a beacon for attracting new migrant communities. In the 1950s the West Indians brought reggae, rum and carnival and more recently Eastern European, Spanish and Somali communities have enriched this cultural melting pot. This means that St Pauls has a wealth of independent shops that sell food, drink, fashion and music from around the world. 

The area is best known for St Pauls Carnival, one of Europe's largest celebrations of Caribbean culture, cuisine and costumes. Expect to be dazzled by a street procession then work up a sweat whilst dancing to a pulsating soundtrack of Reggae, Dub and Soca. Indulge in delicious sunshine dishes such as Jerk chicken or curry goat, all washed down with a fruity rum punch. 

If you’re looking to stay in the area, book a room at the stylish Artist Residence Bristol on Portland Square, just a stone’s throw from Stokes Croft and the shopping area of Cabot Circus. The hotel also has a popular bar and cafe which is open to non-residents, The Boot Factory, where you can enjoy cocktails or brunch while taking in the quirky decor. 

Tips from locals

Don't take our word for it on the best things to do around Gloucester Road, get some recommendations from the people who liver here!

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