Getting to Know Bristol

Bristol enjoys a growing, vibrant and friendly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) scene. The city has a fantastic selection of gay venues, clubs, gay-friendly accommodations, shopping, theatre and the arts. Bristol is home to the Urban Art Movement, no less exemplified by being the home town of Banksy! Which other city could produce the King of Urban Art?

The LGBTQ population of Bristol is estimated to be at least 7% of the total population, one of the largest urban LGBTQ populations in the UK. This goes some way to explain why Bristol is a recognised and growing centre for gay leather men. There are other ingredients in the mix that illustrates why Bristol’s leather community can grow and prosper.

Bristol regularly sees itself voted as “best city” in which to live in the UK, typically described as colourful, the most “mainland European” in the UK: progressive, outward looking and bohemian – you’ll find a mix of vibrant neighbourhoods with every type of ‘urban tribe’ you can name together with high end retail.

And Bristol likes to do things its own way: the current Mayor of Bristol is an Independent. Mayor George Ferguson, who will nearly always be seen wearing red trousers, has been seen to shake hands with leather men at the annual Bristol Pride Parade.

So, it’s certain, we’re quirky here in Bristol, particularly when it gets dark. However, during the daytime we have our serious business side too. The City is a centre for the law, insurance, shipping, creative arts (particularly animation) and telecoms sectors as well as hosting a growing number of big players in the digital-IT and bio-tech fields.

The city is serious in restoring and reversing damage to our environment: Bristol is European Green Capital 2015. Regularly you’ll see streets reclaimed from traffic on “car-free days”, community farms, car-sharing clubs, buses running on ‘organic human waste’, new wild flower meadows being established and a mass tree planting programme across every area of the City.

Bristol’s economy has rarely experienced a recession in the last 50 years. Largely in part to the large number of start-ups, small businesses and social not-for-profit organisations (LeatherWest is one of them!) which all fuel the city’s engine with a constant, unrelenting hum of enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Oh….and to top it all, not only is there a ‘Bristol Time’ (several minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time), indicated by a red hand on clocks, one of which can be seen at Bristol Temple Meads railway station, we also have our own currency here: the Bristol Pound!

Travelling to Bristol

Bristol Temple Meads is the main railway station for Bristol and is only a 15 minute walk from the Old Market Quarter of Bristol which is the location for many venues that will be to your interest.

Bristol Parkway is Bristol’s second railway station and is in the north of the city. You can catch trains to Bristol Temple Meads from here or take the No. 73 bus into the city centre.

First Great Western is the main railway company that serves the West Country.

Bristol Bus station is located in Malborough Street, near to the central shopping district of Bristol and is about a 25 minute walk to the Old Market Quarter.

National Express run services to Bristol from all major cities in the UK.

MegaBus also serves Bristol and will drop you off outside the famous Colston Hall in the centre of Bristol.

First Bus is one of the bus and coach companies that serves the area.

Bristol International Airport is located about eight miles south west from central Bristol. The A38 runs from the airport to the city and there are regular buses (Bristol International Flyer) from the airport to the centre of Bristol.

Key carriersEasyJetRyanAirFlybeKLM, BMI Regional, Aer Lingus.

Key connections: Bristol is served by daily scheduled services with a number of destinations from England, Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness & Aberdeen), Ireland (Dublin, Belfast, Cork & Knock) and the Channel Islands.

In addition there are a large number of daily connections with key mainland European cities: Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Munich, Milan, Barcelona, Warsaw and many more.

Bristol is easily accessible via the M5 and M4 motorways, a key cross-over junction of the UK’s motorway network where all points North, East, South and West converge, meaning that London and the South East, the South Coast, Exeter & the South West, Birmingham, Nottingham and the Midlands as well as Manchester are within a 2 hour non-stop journey time.

Coming from London, the South East, Cardiff, South Wales and the West take the M4, exit at Junction 19 – signposted Bristol (C) – and follow the M32 into the city centre.

Approaching from Exeter and the South West and Cornwall, on the M5, exit at Junction 18 and follow the A4 “Portway” (signpost Bristol Airport) into the city centre.

Heading to Bristol from the Midlands the North, North Wales and Scotland on the M5, when meeting the M4 interchange, follow signs for Bristol (C) and London, exit at Junction 19 and follow the M32 into the city centre.

The Old Market Quarter of town is near the end of the M32 motorway.

Route Planners: AARACMichelinGoogleFuel Cost calculator.

Bristol Videos

Want to get a feel for Bristol? Take a look at two videos produced by local film maker and artist Jamie Brightmore – two films: “Welcome to Bristol” using time-lapse techniques and in “Altitude”, using drones taking you on a flight over the City.

Welcome to Bristol


Images of Bristol

LeatherWest has created a terrific gallery of images of Bristol’s neighbourhoods, Urban Art Movement as well as landmarks, attractions and some things unique to Bristol that you won’t find anywhere else!

Near-by to Visit

In the LeatherWest region, there’s not just Bristol to see! Our region, which is rated as having the highest quality of life in the whole of the UK, contains places such as Stonehenge, Bath – a UNESCO city- and Cardiff -the capital city of Wales- as well as Gloucester and the Cotwolds, beaches, forests, castles and much more all nearby. To give you an idea of what’s in store, take a look at LeatherWest’s Pinterest board.