In the early 19th century, Bedminster was graced with an abundance of schools, chapels, pubs and institutional buildings, many of which survive in all their Victorian glory. Even street furniture – lamp posts, tramway cable carriers, public lavatory railings, ventilators and manhole covers – were stamped with those hallmarks of the nineteenth century; quality and durability.
The Tobacco Factory, with its cafe, bar and theatre, was the catalyst for North Street’s regeneration over 15 years ago, much as St Catherine’s Place can be for Bedminster today. Nowadays, the Tobacco Factory has grown to be one of the country’s most respected producing theatres, with its cafe/bar buzzing at all hours and its Sunday Market offering everything from art, books and records, to fresh fish, artisan bread and superb Jamaican street food.
Three minutes’ walk from St Catherine’s Place is Windmill Hill City Farm, one of Bristol’s most popular family attractions, complete with nursery, farm, multi award-winning café, community activities and more.
Enjoy the nearby parks, such as South Street, Dame Emily and the large Victoria Park, with its cafe, tennis courts bowling green and exercise route.
A short walk away, the Steam Crane can be found in North Street – an ale house, kitchen and live music venue – host to live music every Friday evening as well as Blues nights twice a month. The Old Bookshop bar and music venue and Friendly Records, where the vinyl renaissance is in full swing are both a little further down the street.
With the emergence of Banksy as a global street-art icon, not to mention other famous local sons like Inkie and Nick Walker, Bristol is now rightly known as a major centre for street art and graffiti – and Bedminster is right at the forefront of this. Upfest is a Europe’s largest annual street art festival, drawing in artists from across the globe as the walls and buildings around Bedminster become a giant series of colourful canvases one summer weekend in July.
The annual Winter Lantern Parade sees a long procession of beautiful, intricate paper lanterns and musicians making its way through the area. Many of Bedminster’s schoolchildren take part and lanterns depict everything from cartoon characters to famous artworks.
Bedminster is a hive of creative activity throughout the year. In May, local comics rush from one venue to the next, delivering 20-minute mini-sets for the hilarious Comedians on the run. Residents of BS3 brighten up the winter with Window Wanderland, with beautifual intricate window scenes that are illuminated after dark, transforming the streets into magical outdoor galleries.
Bedminster Parade, East Street and West Street have a range of shops and businesses including family butchers, bakers, jewellers, antique shops, vintage boutiques, contemporary photography studios, travel agents, banks, charity shops and chemists – to name a few.
Nearby North Street, which links Bedminster with its neighbour Southville, is lined with brilliant independent shops, bars and cafés.
St Catherine’s Place’s neighbour, East Street, and its continuation Bedminster Parade, are well-supplied with a whole variety of food and drink, clothing and leisure stores. These include Viva La Mexicana, Ganesha Indian Cuisine and family/Sunday lounging favourite Café Grounded. North Street is within 15 minutes’ walk with its impressive array of independent eateries and shopping spots. Try the out-of-this world sourdough pizzas at Pizza Workshop; fantastic curry (and cocktails) at the Thali Café; or the locally sourced seasonal British food (with a European twist) at family-run Malago.
St Catherine’s Place is well-supplied with cycle, pedestrian, car, bus and train routes into the centre of Bristol and out into North Somerset.
It is two minutes from the shops and pubs at East Street and five minutes from Asda superstore and the other retailers along Bedminster Parade. A 20-minute walk will take you to the heart of the city centre.
There are several bus routes that connect Bedminster to the City Centre and the rest of Bristol. The new MetroBus North Fringe to Hengrove route will stop right outside St Catherine’s Place, linking with Hengrove to the south and the City Centre, Broadmead, Cabot Circus, the University of the West of England, Aztec West and Cribbs Causeway to the north.
Temple Meads mainline railway station is a 20-minute walk and Bedminster station, which connects to Temple Meads is just a four-minute walk away.