The Ultimate Bristol Suburb Guide: Henleaze
Henleaze is a residential suburb in the north of Bristol. There is a concentration of entirely Edwardian streets towards the south of the area and this attractive Bristol suburb is also home to a number of listed buildings of ‘exceptional interest’.
The oldest of the listed buildings is a beautiful thatched cottage that dates back to 1810, known as the Old Lodge. It is prominently positioned on Henleaze Road and has become a famous Bristol landmark with a lot of people believing it to have been built by John Nash, the most prominent of British architects during the Regency and Georgian eras.
Though never officially confirmed to be a Nash building, the Old Lodge is very similar in style to the group of thatched cottages that Nash definitely did design and build around the same time at the nearby Blaise Hamlet (just a few miles from Henleaze).
As well as curious older places such as the Old Lodge and the other listed buildings, there are modern amenities in Henleaze too, making the area an ideal destination for any visitors seeking somewhere to stay in Bristol.
Henleaze Location in Bristol
While Henleaze is mostly residential, it benefits from being located close to other suburbs and wards of Bristol. The nearest neighbouring areas are Westbury-on-Trym, Redland, Horfield and Bishopston.
Westbury-on-Trym is a lovely little village with the river Trym flowing through it and is definitely worth a visit, while Redland is home to many students of the Bristol universities as well as a managed woodland area that hosts an annual May Day fair.
Horfield is home to the Memorial Stadium where Bristol Rovers Football Club play their home matches, and Bishopston has excellent road connections and is perhaps best known for locations that appeared in The Young Ones.
The main roads that feed Henleaze are the A4018 that will take you from the northernmost parts of Bristol down into the city centre. There is also the nearby Gloucester Road, also known as the A38, which leads all the way up to Gloucester and all the way down to the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty, before connecting with the M5.
The History of Henleaze
The majority of the area was developed during the 1920s, although Henleaze was originally a rural part of the nearby parish of Westbury-on-Trym. It didn’t start becoming an entirely separate entity until 1896 when rural land in Henleaze was sold for development and the new town began to grow from there.
The name of Henleaze is believed to derive from a former local resident called Robert Henley, who either bought or built a property there in the mid-seventeenth century. His home was known as Henley's House, and later the land around it became known as Henleaze Park, which eventually became the basis for the Bristol ward’s modern name.
Another interesting piece of history belongs to St. Ursula’s School on Brecon Road, which was originally built at the end of the nineteenth century at the behest of the Roman Catholic group the Sisters of Mercy. The main building includes a large clock tower which managed to survive the bombings of the Second World War and remains a Grade II-listed building to this day. The cellars beneath the school actually served as air raid shelters during the war, likely saving hundreds of lives.
Shopping in Henleaze
There are some useful shopping options in Henleaze which make it a good place to stay when visiting Bristol. Local amenities include several newsagents and supermarkets to buy groceries and other bits and bobs, plus there are bakeries to buy fresh bread and other snacks too.
The area is also home to several charity-shops which offer plenty of rummaging opportunities for the so inclined. There is a library and a cinema too, plus the closeness of Henleaze to all the sights and sounds of the city centre is also among its attractive attributes.
Henleaze Bars and Restaurants
The best thing about Henleaze is that the nearby areas all around it boast a number of excellent restaurants, cafés and pubs that serve a wide variety of good food, as well as plenty of bars that focus on what bars do best.
The White Horse on the High Street in Westbury is a good example as it is close to Henleaze Road and features a menu that is a lot quirkier than most standard gastro pubs in the UK, with a lot more high-end dishes with adventurous combinations of flavours.
For quality food that is made with fine ingredients from around the world, Chandos Deli is a popular eatery situated on Henleaze Road. This friendly deli serves a range of speciality food, including delicious farmhouse cheeses, award-winning sandwiches, paninis, salads and more, washed down with quality drinks, including champagne, beer and fine wines.
The Kondi Brasserie, also on Henleaze Road, serves a comprehensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, with dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients. This popular brasserie boasts a retro decor, friendly ambience and has a great selection of cakes.
For a lively, traditional pub with a quality menu, real ales and regular events, head to The Eastfield Inn on Henleaze Road. This vibrant pub puts on weekly offers, including an Ale Club on Mondays.
Other Henleaze Attractions and Places of Interest
A lovely place worth a special mention here is Henleaze Lake, which was purposefully formed over a hundred years ago at the site of a former quarry by allowing it to flood with spring water.
It then became a popular place for swimming, especially so after the First World War when the place fell under the care of the Henleaze Swimming Club. Since then, the development of the surrounding area has caused the lake to become completely hemmed in by houses and it is now almost completely enclosed in a wooded setting populated with wild flowers and all sorts of birdlife making it a particularly idyllic place to enjoy a swim.
Another old quarry in Henleaze was filled in and turned into a park, imaginatively named Old Quarry Park. Originally a simple green space for locals to enjoy, a National Lottery grant recently funded a renovation of the park so that it now has children’s play equipment and seating.