Bristol Neighbourhood Guide: Knowle & Knowle West

Bristol Neighbourhood Guide: Knowle & Knowle West

Posted on: 26 Sep 2023

We’re back with our guide to Bristol’s diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods – with some cherrypicked spots to showcase just how much is going on in each corner of the city.


This week, we’re taking a deep dive into Knowle and Knowle West, a tight knit neighbourhood filled with buzzing community hubs, multiple sports clubs, open green spaces and important stories from South Bristol history.


Read on for our guide to all the nightlife, food, lifestyle, cultural and historical highlights of St. Philip’s Marsh…




Knowle West is a neighbourhood sadly (and controversially, given the sense of community and social benefits these spaces can offer) lacking in pubs. However, Upper Knowle - as it's referred to locally - has its fair share of top boozers!


A massive mid century pub located on the Wells Road, The George is a traditional spot that boasts a spacious interior featuring a skittle alley, pool and darts as well as live sports. If that's not enough, locals can also enjoy live music every Saturday night, a quiz every Sunday, poker evenings and a large function room.

Our other nightlife inclusion is yet another large pub, this time situated just off the steep slope of Talbot Hill. The Knowle is an eponymously named single room pub wraped around the bar with a tiled floor and wooden furniture. A watering hole with one of the best views in Bristol, the enclosed beer garden is reached via a flight of steps at the rear of the pub.



Returning to the Wells Road, Assilah is our first culinary highlight. Now, unfortunately between drafting this piece and publishing it, the team behind the restaurant have announced its closure after almost 22 years of serving the people of Knowle. There is now just a week left to sample Assilah's wonderful North African dishes and shisha terrace! - SINCE CLOSED DOWN

Further up Wells Road, just outside Broadwalk Shopping Centre is Nook from Fox & West. This independent shop, deli and cafe serves the freshest Bristol produce and handmade gifts from the best creatives that the city has to offer. - SINCE CLOSED DOWN

Situated within Redcatch Park (more on that later), Roots is the beating heart of the community garden. The community can gather here for a comforting cup of coffee and a slice of wonderful homemade cakes and goodies. Rain or shine, you'll find a smile and a hot cup of something wonderful as well as a range of other homemade products.

Every community needs a top chippy and Knowle West is no different. Friendchips (named after The Friendship a once loved, now closed pub) opened its doors back in 2012 and has been providing the local area with fried goods ever since - this is the place to get all your chip shop favourites from cod to scampi, Clarks Pies to veggie burgers.

Culture & Lifestyle:


Kicking off our 'Culture & Lifestyle' section is one of Bristol's hottest current topics, Broadwalk Shopping Centre. Once one of South Bristol's top shopping destinations, Broadwalk is still a vital community destination (home to Knowle Library, a bingo hall and more) despite now housing only a handful of businesses. It appears that the impressive site will soon be demolished and replaced with flats, a decision that has led to a great deal of controversy and conjecture.

Redcatch Park, located just behind Broadwalk, is a large neighbourhood park with a wide range of facilities not often found in Bristol Parks. In addition to a children's play area and public toilets, Redcatch features two bookable full-size football pitches; a marked route for walking, jogging or running; a multi-use hard court games area; and four tennis courts that are completely free for casual use.

Another wonderful aspect of Redcatch Park is the Redcatch Community Garden. Home to the previously mentioned Roots Cafe, The Garden was set up on a disused bowling green by a passionate group of volunteers back in 2017 and quickly became a thriving space. Now a a Community Benefit Society with charitable status, it is a democratic organisation that engages with and responds to the needs of the community by bringing local people together to learn, socialise, and share skills and experiences.

Another important community hub for Knowle is The Park Centre. Home to more than fifteen businesses, charities and social enterprises, there is always something going on at The Park. It a space that truly serves the local community, ensuring that everything on offer is affordable and accessible to all ages and abilities with a café, gym, football pitches and a sports hall on site - all of which are fully accessible. The Park is also a member of the Knowle West Alliance, a community working together to build a sustainable future for the area.



Knowle West Media Centre is another local organisation committed to supporting people to make positive changes in their lives and communities. An arts centre and charity based on the Knowle West estate since 1996, KWMC utilises technology and the arts to come up with creative solutions to problems and explore new ways of doing things, achieving positive social change through skills training, creative programmes and employment opportunities.

Knowle is also home to various sports clubs (some of which are based at The Park) with Knowle Cricket Club and Knowle Tennis Club both based next door to one another! Knowle Cricket Club (pictured below) was founded all the way back in 1852 and is still recognised as one of the top clubs in the West of England. Knowle Tennis Club is also an old establishment, having been founded in 1893 - today it boasts four hardcourts with floodlights as well as a cosy club house.

The Northern Slopes are a wild and beautiful (and often overlooked) green space of South Bristol made up of four areas of green space between Knowle, Bedminster and Knowle West. This inner city nature reserve offers the local community the chance to exercise, explore, forage, sightsee (the site boasts stunning views!) or just chill out. There are also activities including The Green Gym each Thursday, My Wild Child every Wednesday and much more - view a full list here.



Knowle West is probably more recognisable than Knowle, perhaps due to it's somewhat unfair media notoriety. Built in the 1930s as a council housing estate at the forefront of the 'Garden City' movement, the community of Knowle West was dealt a massive blow in 1990 when the closure of the Imperial Tobacco led to widespread unemployment in the area - something that continues to this day. As seen in this guide, it is a tight knit and community minded area with local volunteers and workers striving to provide spaces and opportunities for those living in the neighbourhood.


Several famous names have come from Knowle, perhaps the most famous being Tricky. The trip-hop pioneer and born and bred 'Wester' cut his teeth as part of iconic group Massive Attack, however, his penchant for the eerie and experimental production style led to him having an esteemed solo career of his own, earning particular critical acclaim for his seminal debut album, Maxinquaye, in 1995 and working with the likes of Beyonce and Bjork. Tricky has always referenced his South Bristol roots, whether that be in his recent autobiography, Hell Is Round The Corner, or his 2008 record, Knowle West Boy.



Another more recent son of Knowle West making it big is Ellis Genge. An England Rugby international who has previously captained his national side, Genge is a local boy currently playing at his hometown club Bristol Bears (the side he began his carrer at) following an impressive stint at Leicester Tigers. Known as 'Baby Rhino' the prop runs a youth coaching company under the same name. Speaking about his youth living in Knowle while on England duty, Genge has said: "For people who don't know the area too well, it's a lot of red brick houses, it's a big council estate. It's like a little bit south but it's in the heart of Bristol. It's just like a real hearty place" - read the full piece here.



So, there it is, 365Bristol’s guide to Knowle and Knowle West. Please note that we have had to be loose in terms of neighbourhood borders so as to fit everything that’s amazing about Bristol into these guides. It’s also impossible to sum up everything that’s great about our city in such a short article, but please get in contact with us here and let us know your favourite neighbourhood highlights.

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Article by:

Stanley Gray

Stan is a born and bred Bristolian, recently graduated from studying English Literature in Sheffield. His passions are music and literature and he spends the majority of his time in venues all over the city, immersing himself in Bristol’s alternative music scene. A lifelong Bristol City fan, Stan’s Saturdays are spent watching his team both home and away.