The Ultimate Bristol Suburb Guide: St Andrews
Situated less than two miles north of the city centre, St Andrews is a small and charming suburb that is well connected to the thriving Gloucester Road and the city centre. Most of the buildings were built in the late nineteenth century, plus there has been some newer development after the First World War and a fair bit of rebuilding taking place in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Most of the rebuilding work around St Andrews was due to the bombing damage sustained during the war, with the majority of it contained to Cromwell Road and Belvoir Road.
Elsewhere, the majority of single-residence properties consist of late nineteenth century Victorian villas, with many of the old buildings and tree-lined streets giving St Andrews a quaint and old-timey feel.
Back during its beginnings, the suburb started out as somewhere quite popular to live but became unfashionable during the mid-twentieth century, mostly due to many of the local properties being converted into multiple occupancy residences.
However, that trend reversed during the 1990s with many of the converted flats being re-converted back into family homes. Since then, St Andrews has once again become a fashionable and extremely desirable area to live, something reflected by the rather high property prices.
St Andrews’ Location in Bristol
The specific area that makes up St Andrews is actually debated, though is generally accepted to be bordered by Gloucester Road to the west, the Severn Beach Railway Line to the east, Somerville Road to the north and Cromwell Road to the south.
The dispute regarding specific boundaries comes from the Ordnance Survey map declaring at least part of this area as being within the boundary of neighbouring suburb Montpelier. However, according to the National Gazetteer of 1868, Montpelier is but a hamlet within the Parish of St Andrew's.
Wherever you draw the borderlines of St Andrews, the largest road in the area is the Gloucester Road (A38) which stretches up north past the Memorial Stadium (home to Bristol Rovers Football Club) and on all the way up to the city of Gloucester.
In a southerly direction, the A38 takes you towards Bristol’s city centre, across the River Avon and down past Potters Hill towards Bristol Airport. The B4052 runs up the eastern side of St Andrews and connects to the major junction between Saint Agnes and St Paul’s.
The area is well served by multiple public transport options, including several bus routes that either take you to the city centre or to other parts of Bristol. The nearest railway station is Montpelier station at the southern end of town just beyond Cromwell Road. The station is served by Great Western Railway.
The History of St Andrews
Much of the history of St Andrew's revolves around the mildly disputed boundaries, with the previously mentioned differences highlighted by the modern Ordnance Survey map and the 151-year old National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland.
We know for sure that the origins of the area come from St Andrew’s Church which was originally in St Andrews Road, currently situated in neighbouring Montpelier. The church gave the area its name, though it was demolished in 1969.
The David Thomas Memorial Church stood in St Andrews for over a hundred years before also succumbing to redevelopment in 1987. It was a handsome Gothic fantasy designed by renowned British architect Stuart Colman, and while the majority of the large halls, apse and vaults were demolished and replaced by flats, there remains a thin octagonal spire and west front from the original building.
Cricket fans will be pleased to know that St Andrews lies due south-west of Ashley Down where Gloucestershire Cricket Club play their home games, with the Bristol County Ground just a few minutes walk from the northern end of town.
The club has a lot of history and is renowned as one of England and Wales’ first-class county cricket clubs. They are particularly famous for once having the legendary W. G. Grace as their captain, whose father founded the club back in 1870.
Shopping In St Andrews
Gloucester Road runs up and down the western side of St Andrews and features a ton of good shopping opportunities with a nice mix of known brands and trendy, independent shops. There are many clothes stores including Don Majors, Fox + Feather, Make and Peacocks. There are also a number of interesting second-hand shops such as those operated by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.
For artistic wares, there are music stores such as Drum Bank Music and Prime Cuts, plus lots of interesting items available at the Imaginations Fine Arts shop. There are many other options too, including gift shops, homegoods and toys.
St Andrews Bars and Restaurants
While there are some nice venues located elsewhere within or close to St Andrews, it is again the main thoroughfare of Gloucester Road and Cheltenham Road where you will find the highest concentration of bars and restaurants to enjoy.
Some highlights among many varied options include Atomic Burger where you can chow down on burgers surrounded by an abundance of 80s pop culture memorabilia. Or there’s Suncraft which offers a wide range of vegan and vegetarian dishes. Serving arguably the best pizza in the city, Flour and Ash is on the northern edge of St Andrews (make sure to book as it’s tiny).
The numerous restaurants offer food from all around the world, including Jamaican food at St Mary’s Kitchen and other Caribbean dishes at Turtle Bay, Sri Lankan food at the Coconut Tree and Lebanese culinary delights at Afendi. And that’s not to mention all the other pizza, fish and chips and other traditional British food also available in the area.
If you like cocktails then enjoy the offerings of the cosy Bootlegger or the trendy Filthy Thirteen. There are also numerous traditional pubs, many of which serve food and host bar games as well such as the Bishops Tavern on Cheltenham Road. There are nightclubs too such as the Hush Hush Bar and live music can be enjoyed nearby at the Old England live music venue at Bath Buildings.
Other St Andrews’ Attractions
St Andrews Park is located in the middle of the suburb and is a lovely green area to relax enjoy being outdoors. It is popular with all sorts of people from people walking their dogs to families playing together.