“Bristol really feels like home to me”

“What do you enjoy so much about Bristol?” is a question my wife Adele and I get a lot.

As Bristolians adopted from New Zealand and France, it’s hard to articulate what makes this city so special. I could talk about the eclectic music scene, the iconic history, the indie venues.

But for us, it’s more than that.

independent journalism
needed now more than ever

Keep our city’s journalism independent. Become a supporter member today.

In my time living in the heart of Bristol, playing professional rugby, I have seen first-hand the tremendous pride people take in their communities here.

It is a place built on passionate people and an entrepreneurial spirit. Where everyone comes together, regardless of football allegiance, to support the Bears.

Don’t take my word for it either; you can hear the roars of 20,000 people at Ashton Gate on match day from as far away as Clifton Village.

It is the people that make a place. We have been so lucky to meet amazing friends from all kinds of backgrounds through rugby and our coffee business, Burra.

Unwavering support, charity and a willingness to step in when the going gets tough is something so unique to Bristol.

It is a city that prides itself on being fiercely independent. Quality food and drink is a staple of the Bristol lifestyle and our team at Burra are constantly inspired by the ethical and sustainable innovations that cafes, restaurants, bakeries and bars continue to offer, raising the bar for all of us.

With the development of the Sporting Quarter to come at BS3, it is very exciting how the entertainment and hospitality landscape will evolve in the coming years.

Being able to take a walk around a thriving harbor and then, in less than ten minutes, enjoying the peaceful surroundings of Leigh Woods, Ashton Court, the Downs and Blaise Castle is a blessing for a born and bred Kiwi.

The outdoors, and surfing, are important to me, so it also helps to have Cornwall (and The Wave, thanks Nick!) on our doorstep.

Look, not everything is simple. Real estate can be stunning, and often my ten-minute drive to the High Performance Center in Abbots Leigh can feel like a 45-minute battle against traffic jams.

But it’s a small price to pay to be somewhere that truly makes you feel at home.

Bristol Bears XV first player and Burra part-owner Jake Heenan recently signed a contract extension at Ashton Gate.

Main photo: JMP

Read more columns from Jake Heenan:

Listen to the latest Bristol24/7 Behind the Headlines podcast:


Leave a Reply