Best spots for a caffeine hit: Unleash your inner child at The Playground, where board games and indoor swings are just part and parcel of the cafe experience. As coffee specialists, the artsy cafe has four rotating espressos, but also turns its hand to filter coffees, aeropresses and a wide selection of loose leaf teas.
Most Instagrammable places to visit: Virtually every building, wall and street in Montpelier is an Instagram sensation waiting to happen, meaning you don’t have to look far to guarantee those likes rolling in. Picton Street is an unassuming road made up of colourful houses, street art and boutique shops; and continue up along York Road for more of the same, including the Insta-famous yellow house adorned with William Morris-style florals. Sticking with the vibrant colour scheme is the Rainbow Wall in Montpelier Park, where each brick is painted a different colour for a walkway with a difference.
Mouth-watering must-eats/drinks: When it comes to must-eats, you can pretty much take your pick. Cafe Kino is a non-profit vegan cafe/bar which doubles up as a community meeting place. The menu is 100% animal-free, and features everything from burgers to salads, cakes and local beers. Vegan bites are also the order of the day at Monty’s, which has grown a local reputation for its scrumptious brunch options.
Like any self-respecting hip neighbourhood, Montpelier has flown under the radar for years while Bristol’s other suburbs have had their time in the sun. That is, until now. Situated to the north of Bristol’s city centre, Montpelier proved it was worthy of attention all the way back in the 18th century when a thread maker, Thomas Rennison, established “pleasure baths” for inner-city folks to relax in. Since the venue was outside the city’s boundaries (and therefore completely untouchable by local magistrates), it built up a reputation for the area as a bohemian, hedonistic spot that was also home to tea gardens, a tavern and the odd raucous party.
Fast forward a few centuries, and Montpelier has still retained that multicultural, urban vibe. But it’s its close-knit feel, characterised by community meeting places, cosy cafes and independent shops, that has made it a neighbourhood beloved by locals and visitors from further afield.
Pastel-coloured terraced houses make virtually every street in the neighbourhood perfect Instagram fodder. And you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s also got its fair share of colourful street art too; local artist Alex Lucas has adorned many houses, gates and walls with her quirky and lovable illustrations, each even more colourful than the last. One of her most iconic pieces is the house adorned with bright red paint, black and white bird imagery, and a huge ‘Welcome to Montpelier’ sign. The front window of the bottom floor of the house is also Lucas’ very own pop-up store, where she’s often found selling her illustrations to passers-by.
Picton Street is the centre of Montpelier’s hip and happening events, with restaurants selling a range of organic and vegetarian cuisine all year round. There’s The Bristolian, with its creative mix of vegan and vegetarian slap-up breakfasts, plus the ever-popular Thali restaurant, which started life as a street food truck at Glastonbury, before opening several restaurants across Bristol. Organic lovers will also fall head-over-heels with Oowee Diner, with its juicy burgers and sides all sourced locally.
"Tucked away between the more known areas of Stokes Croft, St Pauls and Gloucester Rd, Montpelier is a fascinating pocket of Georgian and early Victorian architecture but is much better known for its cool hang outs, top foodie spots and friendly pubs with live music and DJs. A distinct bohemian vibe and a strong community spirit, it is definitely one of the best brunch spots in the city and good selection of food for veggies and vegans."
Kathryn Davis, Head of Tourism at Destination Bristol