Welcome to Southville, the vibrant and dynamic area located to the southwest of Bristol city centre, nestled on the picturesque south bank of the River Avon. 

Southville is a bustling neighbourhood, famous for its lively street art and a delightful assortment of trendy bars, charming cafes, delectable restaurants, and independent shops. Over the past decade, the area has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming increasingly popular and gentrified.

Today, Southville boasts a diverse and lively community comprising young professionals, retirees, artists and creative individuals. The neighbourhood is also incredibly family-friendly, with many pubs, including the Tobacco Factory, catering to children.

Southville, Bristol

Southville’s architecture is a fascinating blend of the old and the new. While most of the buildings are relatively modern, many were constructed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with numerous homes rebuilt after World War II. The neighbourhood has also seen significant modernisation, with many new properties built during the early twenty-first-century house price boom.

Come and explore Southville, with its vibrant community, diverse architecture and charming amenities, and discover why it is a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.

Southville’s Location in Bristol

Southville, located adjacent to Bedminster, is a highly desirable neighbourhood that benefits from its close proximity to its neighbour. The Bedminster train station serves as the closest rail link for both suburbs. However, Southville enjoys a distinct advantage with its riverside location, providing access to amenities and activities that Bedminster does not. 

Southville offers breathtaking views of the River Avon and the surrounding landscape, including Bristol’s coloured houses and the city centre’s tallest buildings, such as the Radisson Blu Hotel and Cabot Tower.

It is also really accessible via the A370, which traverses the top of the neighbourhood and connects Bristol city centre with Weston-super-Mare and beyond. Additionally, Southville benefits from several bus routes that run through the area, connecting it to surrounding suburbs and the city centre. Whether you’re a commuter, a resident, or a visitor, Southville’s excellent transportation links make it a convenient and accessible destination.

The History of Southville

Southville boasts a rich and diverse history, with many of its oldest buildings dating back to the end of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, much of this heritage was lost during the Second World War, as the nearby docks became targets for enemy bombers, and Southville suffered considerable damage. However, this tragedy has resulted in a unique architectural landscape, where modern buildings contrast starkly with the remaining older properties, creating a fascinating mix of styles.

One of the area’s most prominent historical landmarks is the Tobacco Factory building, which is the only surviving structure from the former W.D. & H.O. Wills company site. This iconic building played a pivotal role in British tobacco production, as it was the first to mass-produce cigarettes. Today, the building has been repurposed and serves as a hub for the community, housing a family-friendly cafe/bar, theatre, performing arts school, offices and apartments.

In the southeast of Southville, Dame Emily Park occupies the site of the old Dean Lane coal mining pit, which closed over a century ago. This park is a testament to Southville’s rich and varied history, and visitors can enjoy a little bit of British history while strolling through its peaceful surroundings.

Shopping in Southville

Despite being a relatively small area of Bristol, there is still plenty of good shopping to be done in Southville. The heart of the commercial activity can be found on North Street, which features a diverse range of stores, from well-known retailers to charming independent shops that sell all manner of unique items.

If you include the areas that technically fall under neighbouring Bedminster, the shopping district expands even further. East Street and West Street and bustling centres of commerce, where shoppers can browse through independent furniture stores, family-run butchers, and fair-trade and organic food stores. The vibrant local markets, such as the Sunday morning market in the courtyard of the Tobacco Factory, are also a must-visit for those visiting the area.

In fact, when including Bedminster, this shopping district is the second largest in Bristol and is just a short ten-minute walk from the city centre itself. With such as wide range of shopping options, Southville truly offers something for everyone.

Southville Bars and Restaurants

Southville has a thriving food scene, with a range of award-winning eateries and bespoke cafes and restaurants to choose from. Souk Kitchen on North Street offers mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes, while Pizza Workshop serves up classic and unique creations that are hugely popular. For delicious Indian food, head to The Clove Indian Restaurant.

COR is one of the newest additions to the Southville food scene, where you can find small plates inspired by the Mediterranean, combining fine dining with a passion for food in a fun, sharing style.

If you’re in the mood for classic British food, there are many pubs and bars on North Street that serve tasty Sunday roasts. The Old Bookshop, Spotted Cow, and North Street Standard are all great options.

For something a bit more special, you’ve got KASK Wine, an easygoing, contemporary bar, serving artisanal nibbles as well as wine-tasting sessions. Marks Bread and Cafe is a relaxed option, while The Malago offers country-chic alongside elevated brunch, lunch and Sunday roast, including vegan options.

No matter how long you stay in Southville, there will always be a good quality bar or restaurant to enjoy.

Other Southville Attractions and Places of Interest

Southville is home to some fantastic parks, with Greville Smyth Park being a local favourite. While technically located outside of Southville’s boundary, it’s just a stone’s throw away and boasts plenty of space for sports, family outings, and dog walking.

Dame Emily Park, located off Dean Lane, is the other park in Southville that’s worth a visit. Deposit being smaller in size, it has a unique charm that draws visitors in. The park features a children’s playground, designated green space, and an iconic skateboard park adorned with stunning graffiti artwork.

Southville is also home to one of the most highly anticipated events in Bristol, Upfest. Upfest is Europe’s largest street art festival, which showcases exceptional graffiti artists from around the world and attracts thousands of attendees each year. Event organisers are taking a break in 2023, following the rise in infrastructure costs, but hope to be back in 2024 with a stellar line-up of artists.