Bristol is, like most English cities, a city of contrasts. On one side, you have posh Clifton, filled with mansions and little boutiques with baby’s clothing that costs more per wear than the Primark top that lives in the depths of your closet . On the other side, literally, you have Stokes Croft, a neighborhood lined with cheap cafes and stores that waver between looking nice and on par with your aforementioned Primark top’s quality.
Stokes Croft exists on the outskirts of my Bristol geography. I’ve been here a handful of times since I went to a club in the area as a Fresher. It speaks to some people. Some of my friends have been flocking here since they discovered the area that same night. Stokes Croft acts like a magnet, drawing people in or repelling them away.
I guess you could say I’m repelled. Sure, I enjoy venturing over into the area every now and then, but I prefer beautiful architecture to edgy street art. Stokes Croft is, however, filled with independent bakeries and cafes. Despite its reputation as being a bit of a problem child, almost everyone will be able to find something to enjoy in the neighborhood.
The houses are more rundown, but most inside are no different than their counterparts in nearby Kingsdown. At least, the student ones don’t vary much in quality. There are still plenty of chain shops, with Sainsbury, Tesco and Carphone Warehouse sharing space next to Cafe Kino and At The Well. You may see someone walking down the street in platform Doc Martens or dressed up as a Pirate. You’re equally likely to see a typical university student wandering the streets. This being Bristol, they’re likely to be more Made In Chelsea than Skins.
Stokes Croft couldn’t exist in a large city. Its attitude is resolutely that of the problem child neighborhood in a small city. Don’t tell it I said so, but i’s more of an image than a reality. Though that doesn’t mean you’ll want to walk around at night.
Do you prefer walking around run-down “urban” areas or posher more groomed ones?