St Mark’s Baptist Church - just one of the community hubs in Easton
The inner city pocket of Bristol has become so popular, there isn’t enough property to go around.
But what exactly has made it so desirable to potential buyers?
A quick visit to the area, with its infectious charm, friendly locals and bustling high streets, and you can see straight away why people find it so appealing.
Think rich cultural heritage and diversity, a large stock of beautiful period homes, street art on every corner and such a strong community vibe some people compare it to living within an urban village in the middle of a city centre.
And with still lower prices than other well-connected and central areas of Bristol, people are desperate for a slice of the action.
In many ways, Easton wholly epitomises the Bristol independence, high levels of creativity and community spirit that the city is so famous for. It’s not hard to see why and how it’s become as popular a property hotspot as it has today.
A big sign that the area has gone from strength to strength is the number of new businesses arriving on the streets. It’s not surprising that Time Out labelled it ‘Bristol’s coolest neighbourhood’.
St Marks Road has long been a popular spot in the neighbourhood and new restaurant additions such as The Garden of Easton have only served to make it even more thriving. You’ll also find newer businesses such as Aesops, a health food centre, wellbeing hub and community cafe, East Bristol Bakery which is thought to have the best cinnamon buns in Bristol, and more recently Arjee Bhajee, a highly acclaimed new Indian from an Easton local.
Community cafes also play a large role in the beating heart of the area, with the popular St Marks Community Cafe now also looking to host wellbeing events on Wednesdays in the new year and Baraka Community Cafe, founded by Jen Donnellan, creating volunteering opportunities for people to gain experience and qualifications.
And when it comes to new businesses having the opportunities and space to follow their dreams and set up shop, there is also an abundance of art space available to budding creatives and start-ups.
Due to this, Easton has become an attractive prospect for young, remote workers, too, or those looking for co-working opportunities and communities. Easton Road Studios offers artist studios, desk space and event space and Mivart Studios has 89 studio and workshop spaces.
There’s a real hub of those within the art, yoga and wellbeing spheres.
It’s because of these new businesses and the general feeling of place, hubbub and community that has drawn many of Easton’s newest residents in.
“Even though I’m Bristol born and bred, I didn’t know much about Easton at all - but it has been so great moving in here and discovering all the unique shops, the amazing Garden of Easton and the delicious baked goods from East Bristol Bakery,” says Matt Lodge.
“There’s just a special feeling you get when walking down St Marks Road - it’s like a small village street in a big city. It’s got the Bristol feeling that you only get from Bristol. There’s a mix of cultures, people, art and good and that just makes it a good place to live.”
And it’s not just new residents that are excited by the community, the new businesses with ethical produce and neighbourly spirit, either.
Miles Sundal is a longstanding Easton resident, so he’s witnessed the changes and progression first hand.
“There is great access to local shops with organic veg and good produce,” he says. “But, by far, the best thing about the area is the community - everyone here is helpful and neighbourly.”
It’s this central and strong community that Miles believes has brought people to the area in their masses, alongside the chance to own a beautiful property for a lower price, too.
“Yeah, I think it has become so popular due to the local community and the quality of the Victorian houses available.”
With such an artistic and creative community filling the streets, many properties that come onto the market are beautifully and uniquely presented. There are rows of Victorian terraced houses that are slightly bigger in Greenbank and a little smaller in Easton.
Increasingly, you are seeing your Instagram interior styled houses and really nicely designed homes alongside properties coming on the market that have been lived in for over 50 years. There’s a real opportunity to find properties that are versatile, can be improved and are priced accordingly or are ready to move into.
Nick Stopard, the director of Boardwalk Estate Agents, also believes it’s the community that is at the beating heart of Easton’s property hotspot popularity. “Easton has always had this real independent feel to it, and it’s a really nice area to work in as well for that reason - it’s got a lot of community spaces, events, and a lot of nice cafes and good places to eat,” he says.
“It all adds to a feel that there is a good sense of community in the area and that’s the feedback we get from buyers specifically coming to us wanting to live in Easton.
“They are excited by the prospect of knowing who their neighbours are, and that there will be a space down the road that they can go to a community event around music, art or yoga.”
Nick also feels that the area’s geography physically helps it to be a popular spot, too.
“Even though it’s in central Bristol, it’s got an insular bubble feeling to it,” he explains.
“Geographically, it’s in a dip down the hill from Greenbank in an urban basin that’s quite hard to drive through so it supports that community feeling.”
Speaking of Greenbank, Nick tells us how it’s one of the most popular areas due to it being like one large cul de sac with little traffic.
“It’s very quiet with kids playing out on the street and people walking down the roads,” he says.
“The cemetery is a real attraction for wandering around and then you can head into Easton to places such as St Marks Road to places like No. 12. It’s only really Gloucester Road, North Street and Church Road that have a similar quality of bakeries and coffee shops.”
With so much going for it and word getting out about its merits and popularity, people are coming from all over the country to set up roots in the area.
“We get people coming from further afield who have heard about Easton from friends and family and are desperate to live there, as well as people who are already in Easton who really don’t want to leave,” says Nick.
“It’s a very Bristol area. I don’t think you get anywhere like it in other cities.”
The pitfall of all of this is, of course, the risk of gentrification and pricing people out of their homes.
Miles continues: “Naturally, I do worry that the sudden surge in the area could mean that locals will be forced out due to expensive rent and the influx of Londoners.”
This is something that Nick is conscious of, too.
“To retain it’s appeal, Easton needs to keep hold of the sense of community and its diversity that it’s always had,” he continues.
“In a way, you don’t want it to become too expensive and lose some of that. But, there is a huge demand and not enough houses on the market.
“Hopefully, it will always be appealing to those more arty, left-leaning kind of people and, through that, will retain the character that makes it what it is.”