27 January 2022/ Industrial guides

Find your next industrial property to rent in Bristol

Discover your next industrial property in Bristol

Although this south-west city is better known for its respected university, thriving start-up scene and strong office market, Bristol’s industrial property sector is looking bright too. This historic port city was identified as an important centre for transport back in the Roman era and, between the Middle Ages and the 18th century, was considered the second busiest trading centre behind only London.

In more recent years, Bristol has grown into a rounded centre of commerce and the spotlight has moved a little. Now, the city is known as a centre of aerospace, automotive and engineering excellence, with companies including Rolls Royce, Boeing, Airbus and BAE systems based or operating premises here. Bristol and the surrounding areas are also rich in natural resources, with several key quarries still found in the South West.

With its fantastic transport links, plethora of thriving, well-established sectors and excellent amenities and entertainment options, Bristol is an attractive and in-demand place to live and work.

Here’s what you need to know about occupying industrial space in Bristol.

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Industrial spaces in and around Bristol

Bristol has a number of industrially focused areas. Avonmouth, which is located to the north of the city, is one of the UK’s most important ports. Even though it’s not quite the water-based trading hub it was at the height of the industrial revolution, there is still plenty of action happening on land. Its proximity to both the M49 and M5 give businesses based in and around Avonmouth a strategic geographic advantage, as it’s easy to transport goods around the country from here.

North Bristol is home to a high number of industrial businesses, and you’ll find sprawling business parks and industrial centres in key areas such as Filton, Patchway and Emersons Green. There are also industrial estates dotted all over the city, which are ideal for smaller business owners who are seeking a base near their home.

Getting around Bristol

Bristol is well connected by road

Bristol has an excellent network of roads that cross the city and is connected to the rest of the country by the M32, which runs from the city centre out to the M5 at Almondsbury. Once you’ve hopped on this motorway, you can travel east all the way to Birmingham, via Gloucester, Cheltenham and Worcester. The M4 is also connected to north Bristol, which runs through Swansea, Cardiff and Newport to the west and places including Swindon, Reading and London to the east.

Bristol has an excellent rail network

Bristol Temple Meads, the city’s biggest and busiest rail station, welcomes more than 11 million passengers in a typical year. Most services across the city are operated by Great Western Railway, though some that are operated by Cross Country stop here too.

It takes just over an hour and a half to reach London via train, and under two hours to reach Birmingham, meaning you can easily travel for work or meetings in other cities. You can also head to destinations that are further afield from Bristol, including Manchester and Scotland.

There are lots of useful bus routes in Bristol

The main operator in the city is First Buses, which runs services all across Bristol and its outskirts. There are speedy cross-city MetroBus services that stop less frequently than other routes, allowing you to cross the city in less time. Additionally, there are a number of services that connect Bristol with nearby towns and cities such as Bath. And if you’re looking to travel further afield, a high number of long-haul services, operated by National Express and Megabus, call in the city.

Bristol has an international airport

This bustling airport is around half an hour outside of the city centre, with direct bus services running from Bristol Temple Meads and the city centre. From here, you can jet off for business and pleasure to a wide range of short-haul destinations and a select range of long haul, including New York, Egypt, Dubai, Cancun and more.

Business amenities in Bristol

Bristol has lots of business-focused hotels

Whether you’re looking to impress a client by putting them up in a five-star hotel or need an affordable, conveniently located spot to stay, Bristol has a wide range of hotels. If you’ve got a bigger budget, places like the Bristol Marriott Royal, The Bristol Hotel or Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa are popular options. Alternatively, you’ll find well-known budget brands, such as Holiday Inn, Premier Inn and ibis, within easy reach too.

Not based in the city centre? There are handy places to stay near Bristol’s industrial centres too, such as Bristol Cribbs Causeway Premier Inn and Travelodge Bristol Emersons Green.

Bristol has lots of retail space to use

In addition to its excellent industrial spaces, Bristol has an abundance of prime retail space. In the city centre, you’ll find modern shopping space Cabot Circus, which is home to more than 120 high-street and high-end stores and delicious dining spots. There are also leisure facilities such as an expansive Cinema de Luxe, escape rooms and mini golf. You’ll find plenty of shops in nearby Broadmead too.

Venture into upmarket Clifton and you’ll find plenty of shops along Park Street and within Clifton Village. In the other direction, independent store paradise Gloucester Road awaits, as does mega-mall central Cribbs Causeway. You’ll also find plenty of smaller retail parks dotted all across the city, where you can grab the essentials with ease.

There are plenty of leisure spots in Bristol

Bristol isn’t just a commercial hotspot; there are loads of things to keep you busy once the working day is done in this lively city. There are bars, restaurants and nightlife spots galore in the city centre, from laidback pubs to places where you can truly let your hair down. Gloucester Road is also an excellent place to explore if you fancy a more intimate evening with a distinctly unique vibe.

If you love sports, Ashton Gate stadium is home to Championship team Bristol City FC and rugby union club Bristol Bears. Prefer to get active rather than spectate? There are loads of fitness facilities across Bristol, from chains like PureGym and The Gym to independent gyms such as TRIB3.

Notable industrial tenants in Bristol

Find industrial space in Bristol

There has been plenty of action in Bristol’s industrial property market over the last year. In March 2021, BentallGreenOak purchased a 60-acre development site in Avonmouth, which is set to be developed into a prime industrial scheme. And in January 2022, just weeks ago, Orchard Street Investment Management snapped up an attractively located city centre industrial estate for a whopping £30 million. Overall, in 2020, take-up of industrial space across the city totalled 2.33 million sq ft – a massive increase on the 1.5 million sq ft let in 2019 – with tenants including:

  • EDF
  • Wincanton
  • Whistl
  • Amazon
  • DHL

Key industrial agents in Bristol

  • Alder King LLP
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Avison Young
  • Hartnell Taylor Cook LLP
  • JLL

The future of industrial space in Bristol

Demand is continuing to outpace supply across Bristol, showing that its industrial space market has never been hotter. Colliers reported that there had been a 149% increase in industrial property when comparing the second quarters of 2020 and 2021. And as the world continues to tentatively emerge from the pandemic, more and more expanding companies are likely to be looking for a new home for their operations.

However, one factor that could limit the industrial property sector’s future growth is a lack of quality building stock outside of key areas like Avonmouth. This issue is making owner-occupiers reluctant to sell, reducing development potential and the number of properties on the market. Another factor putting pressure on the sector is rising property values.

On a more positive note, Carter Jonas reported that a number of significant land deals, which were completed across 2020 and 2021, bode well for the future supply of industrial space in Bristol. If you’re interested in reading more illuminating industry insights, check out Realla’s guides to renting an industrial unit.