Updated: Top tech and digital co-working office spaces in Bristol
“A slide in the boardroom, how ridiculous” we enviously mutter to ourselves with each new report of a kooky Google office opening. Alas, for those of us without endless pools of cash and global omnipotence it seems the bouncy castle in the canteen is just a pipe dream. This, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of bustling, well connected, and, dare we say it, affordable workspaces for Bristol’s tech savvy startups to choose from. Here are a few of our top picks.
Not so much cheap and cheerful as creative and connected, 77StokesCroft is a lively work and studio space situated within the city’s trendiest quarter. The key focus here is on collaboration between residents many of whom have been chosen for their innovative approach, including games developers, data analysts, and software specialists. Ideal for those with big ideas but limited funds, our only wish is that there were more places like 77StokesCroft throughout the country.
Rates: For all enquiries as to rent and costs click here.
Amenities: tea/coffee facilities, lounge space, some on street parking with numerous car parks in the surrounding area.
It’s big, it’s new(ish), and it’s most definitely clever. Catering specifically to science and tech businesses, the Bristol & Bath Science Park is a thoroughly modern set of buildings slap bang in the middle of an area renowned for its leading research, development and innovation within these fields. So much so that it can lay claim to having the highest concentration of PhD graduates in the UK (take that Oxbridge). From hot desks to laboratories, the park has everything new businesses and entrepreneurs could ask for all nestled within leafy, eco-friendly surroundings.
Rates: virtual offices/hot-desks £85 pcm, office spaces available from £325 pcm.
Amenities: cafe/restaurant, on-site parking provided.
- Find out more: Interview: Tom Beasley, Head of the Bristol & Bath Science Park
- You may like: 6 amazing cutting-edge tech projects happening in the South West right now
5th Floor, 1 Temple Way, Bristol, BS2 0BY
Opened in September 2015, this funky and relaxed co-working space in the centre of Bristol on Temple Way is run by desk-rental service Neardesk. This means it’s a space that is really easy to pop in and out of as you can hire it by the minute just by swiping your Neardesk card. These cards can be used in other co-working spaces in the area too.
With a Tardis you can work in (which is bigger on the inside), Lego-themed meeting areas and breakout spaces in a simulated garden, this is a space designed to inspire the creative mind. Regardless of what your work involves or whether you require work space for a couple of hours for a meeting, or want to find some permanent offices, DeskLodge and its top-of-the-range coffee machine is ready and waiting for you.
Rates: hot desks and guests £3/hour or £20/day (whichever is cheaper). Permanent offices from £240 to £320/month.
Amenities: kitchen, free coffee, meeting areas, event space
- See our full profile: DeskLodge – Bristol-based co-working offices with a difference
Who needs an office when you can have an incubator? No, we’re not talking biology, but referring to the business incubation centre that is SETsquared’s Engine Shed – an award winning facility geared towards supporting high-tech startups.
Comprising 17 offices, shared desk spaces, meeting rooms, and a business lounge, this Grade 1 listed building is a hive of connectivity in terms of it’s business and travel links, being situated next to the city’s Temple Meads Station. He may not have included it in his original design, but we’re sure Brunel would have approved.
Rates: meeting room hire varies between £40-60 per hour or £200-350 per day dependent on the space.
Amenities: no free parking, but numerous car parks in the surrounding area.
- You may like: Need To Know: Top tech incubators in the South West
Disused and falling apart, Hamilton House could have so easily met the same fate as many other post-war office blocks. Thankfully, local action group Coexist stepped in to set up what is now a thriving centre for creative companies and social enterprises.
With over 200 licensees, the offices are now home to an eclectic mix of architects, designers, film producers, and record labels amongst numerous others working in a variety of industries. Studios and offices are available for rent along with a hot-desking and co-working scheme, plus there are a number of services and amenities including a ‘community kitchen,’ therapy centre, the Bristol Bike Project and an in-house community lunch networking event every Thursday.
Rates: hot-desking has a flat rate of £10 per day, a co-working office space is £150 pcm.
Amenities: cafe/restaurant, Bristol Bike Project, on site car park offers one-hour free stay or £5 all day (spaces limited).
- You may like: Need to know: Top female tech groups in the South West
108c Stokes Croft, Bristol, City of Bristol BS1 3RU
Looking for somewhere a little more, shall we say, laid back? We’ve got just the ticket. Targeted towards digital designers and developers, Mild Bunch is a co-working studio situated in the heart of the art quarter that is Stokes Croft.
The atmosphere may be informal, but the ethos is all about sharing and learning from each other, making it the perfect space for a creative new business looking to develop a more off-the-wall approach.
For more info on rates, contact the team at Mild Bunch by clicking here.
Those in search of industrial chic need look no further. Housed in a former paint and varnish factory, Paintworks describes itself as ‘Bristol’s creative quarter,’ and with offices, artist studios, a bar, diner, and exhibition hall, they have built a strong case.
A mix of restored 19th century brick warehouses, the development offers live and work spaces for creative companies and individuals (there are desks available for hire) with a key focus on building community within the site. After all, who needs garden cities when you can have tech villages?
Rates: desk space between £180-200 pcm. Room and office rents vary, for details of currently available spaces click here.
Amenities: bar, cafe/restaurant, events space, pay-as-you-go car hire, parking inclusive for certain spaces, otherwise some free parking available.
York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol, BS2 8QH
If you’re a creative or social entrepreneur (or both!), this is the hub for you. Its bright and relaxed office spaces are varied and so perfect for artists, designers, freelancers, startups and entrepreneurs alike, with plenty of opportunities for collaboration and networking too.
If you’re also a cake fan (come on, who isn’t?), you’re in luck. With the hub’s cake Wednesdays, you can meet other like-minded members whilst scoffing on the sweet stuff.
Giving them a go is easy as well, with a free 1-day trial pass plus a business coaching session for new members followed by 6-months at a discounted rate.
Rates: coworking passes available for 30hrs/month for £75 right up to unlimited passes for £140. Private studios start from £150/month. Full rate information available here.
Amenities: fibre optic internet, communal kitchen with free tea and coffee, meeting rooms, event space, shower facilities, indoor bike storage and lockers
With its large open spaces, white walls, and polished concrete floors, you’d be forgiven for confusing Spike Island with a modern art gallery, which it kind of is. But don’t let the minimal, ultra-sheen design intimidate you, as this ‘international hub’ not only caters to contemporary art and design – as well as an exhibition space it houses artist studios and a print workshop – but also offices for creative businesses. In keeping with its hipster ethos there’s even a cafe serving specialist coffee and seasonal food alongside crafts beer. No doubt, for those moments when you need a little help to get the creative juices flowing.
Rates: Spike Design shared office space full membership costs £175 pcm (inclusive of business rates and utilities), hot desking is £20 per day. Separate office space varies, for enquiries click here.
Amenities: cafe/restaurant, gallery space, print workshop, film production studio, some on street parking available with a pay and display car park close by.
- See our full profile: Workspace profile: Spike Island, creative community
31 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HP
Traversing the boundaries between tech and creative, Studio31 is home to a number of exciting industries, including designers, film makers, musicians and the team from one of the UK’s leading music magazines – so any growing tech or creative individual, startup or established business should feel at home here with a varied community buzzing full of ideas.
Based in one of the more sophisticated and beautiful areas of Bristol, close to boutique shops and the infamous Clifton Suspension Bridge, it’s an area that’s sure to impress visiting clients whilst still being just a stone’s throw from Bristol Temple Meads and the centre of town.
Rates: Hotdesking fees stand at £2.50/ hour, £15/ day, £49/ week or £175/ month. And although their office spaces are currently full, they have plans to expand this in early 2018 so things could change over the coming months.
Amenities: all inclusive rent, discounts on local bars, restaurants and cafes, 50% on Square Club membership, secure bike storage, 24/7 access
11-17 Backfields Lane, Bristol, BS2 8QW
New kid on the block is Pollen Place (previously Work Differently), a colourful and creative office space in a cobbled side alley of the hip Stokes Croft area of Bristol.
Beyond the standard desk and kettle, Work Differently lives up to its name by being the only coworking space in the UK to offer residents e-commerce, storage, professional photography and distribution facilities alongside deskspace, networking and talks.
Even if you’re a freelancer or simply looking for a cool space to work, it’s worth noting the space’s mega fast broadband (500mbps fibre), bike shed, bean-to-cup coffee machine, fresh fruit and Friday beers every week.
Rates: full-time desks are £195/month, flexible ‘memberships’ also available from £15/day to £160/month; check out a comprehensive list of rates here.
Amenities: free coffee, fresh fruit and Friday beers, bike shed, discounted use of distribution and storage hub
As previously mentioned, our list is by no means a comprehensive one, and there are many other exciting workspaces throughout Bristol and the South West to check out. Think of our guide as an introduction to alternative work spaces and, who knows, you too could one day be sliding down to your desk in a burst of inspiration.
Have we missed a place? Tell us about it!
Want to keep up to date with the latest tech news? You can sign up to our regular TechSPARK newsletter. If you like a bit of social media, you can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn, add us on Instagram, pin us on Pinterest. Any other streams we’ve forgotten? Oh, we Google Plus as well.
Alternatively, we exist in real life too! Why not come along to one of our friendly events? Join our Bath meetup group and/or our Bristol meetup group where you can often meet the people behind the projects, and TechSPARK’s roving reporters looking for tech things to shout about!
[Image credits: Paintworks: rbrwr via photopin cc. Spike Island: Watt_Dabney via photopin cc. Hamilton House Beatnic via photopin cc. Bristol Science & Business Park (BSBP) Joe Dunckley via photopin cc. Chloë Eardley in Mild Bunch HQ – by John Tan via Flickr under CC license 2.0. Redbrick House: Joe Clarke.]