Concorde, Banksy and hot air balloons - the best things to ever come out of Bristol, according to locals

  • Concorde, Banksy and hot air balloons are the best things ever to come out of Bristol, according to locals
  • Santander UK research highlights importance of international trade to South West companies – 40% currently trade internationally and 82% of these say it is critical to business
  • South West companies reveal what it takes to make it overseas, including top tips for international success
  • Bristol-based Dycem shares its experience of trading internationally


Concorde, Banksy and hot air balloons have topped the list of the best things ever to come out of Bristol, according to local residents. 

In new research by Santander UK1, residents local to Bristol have named the top ten things to come out of the city as: 
1.    Concorde
2.    Banksy 
3.    Hot air balloons 
4.    Chocolate bars 
5.    Cary Grant 
6.    Russell Howard 
7.    Stephen Merchant 
8.    Ribena
9.    Massive Attack 
10.   David Prowse (who played Darth Vader) 

Many of these things have put Bristol on the global map, being well known, well used and much-loved in countries spanning the globe. Just as people from Bristol are proud of their city’s greatest exports, Brits throughout the UK are pleased with what the nation has given the world. Santander UK’s research2 has found that 82% of Brits think some of the best things in the world have originated in Britain.

As well as being a source of pride, British exports play a significant role in the day-to-day success of UK companies. Santander UK’s research3 shows that many businesses in Bristol and the wider South West see international trade as vital. In the South West, 40% of companies surveyed currently trade internationally, and 82% of these said it was critical to their business. The most-cited countries they trade in are the USA (55%), Germany (52%) and France (50%). But international success doesn’t happen by chance.

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK said: “A lot of research, hard work, perseverance, and adaptation go into transforming home-grown British goods and services into exports that resonate with consumers abroad and take off internationally. It also pays to have the right contacts in place - be they in-country retailers or distributors - to make sure UK-produced products and services have visibility overseas and get into the hands of buyers quickly and efficiently.”

The most common adaptations and measures South West businesses have undertaken to ensure their success overseas are:

  • Increased their social media presence (38%).
  • Changed the pricing structure (38%).
  • Hired local staff (36%). 
  • Introduced new products or services (36%).

It isn’t all plain sailing, as local businesses have worked hard to overcome the common challenges of shipping and transport costs (45%), understanding the different rules and regulations (40%), and language barriers (40%). Of the South West companies that don’t currently trade overseas, the reasons behind this are the beliefs that: their business is too small (42%); there won’t be demand overseas 26%; and their product or service is unsuitable for an overseas market (24%). Despite this, 29% of these businesses aspire to take their products and services overseas in future. However, only 2% have a plan in place to make this happen. They say less red tape (25%), education to understand the rules and regulations (23%), tax breaks (19%) and market intelligence on their sector in various countries (19%) would encourage them to take their business international.

A significant proportion of South West companies are positive about trading abroad, with 57% agreeing ‘the future is bright for British business operating internationally’. Contributing to this optimism are their beliefs that: there is now freedom from EU regulation (61%); the world is becoming easier to trade in and increasingly opening up business opportunities (43%); and the pandemic has opened up more opportunities (33%).

Santander UK’s research has also revealed South West business owners’ and decision makers’ top tips for international trade success:

  • Make sure there is a market for your product or service before you start (38%).
  • Ensure your UK business is doing well first (31%).
  • Have a Plan B (31%).
  • Get professional assistance to navigate the local market regulations and bureaucracy (25%).

World-leading manufacturer of contamination control flooring and non-slip products for assisted living, Dycem, is a Bristol-based company that has been exporting for more than 30 years, continually expanding its international reach. While the Santander UK client’s headquarters and production facility are in Bristol, it has sales offices and distribution hubs in the US, Philippines and Europe.

Dycem’s Chief Financial Officer, Monica Briand, said: “Dycem’s first steps into overseas trade started out with us exporting from the UK into new global markets and building key distribution partnerships overseas. Our approach has evolved over the years to now combine exporting from Bristol with having direct sales teams and distribution partners in key international markets. Recently, we’ve grown by investing in our employees and facilities in the US and Europe – having a dedicated sales team solely focused on our products with a deep understanding of their local market and language has been key. My advice to UK companies considering taking their business international is to try not to do too much from the outset. Firstly, identify your key overseas market and focus on it, reach out to logistics providers, financial advisers and your bank to get their help, and speak to businesses that are already exporting. Once you’ve taken the first step successfully, you can replicate and extend to other geographies.”

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK added: “It’s clear from the research that international trade can play a crucial role in helping South West businesses to emerge from the pandemic and get back to growth and with the right support and partners, these internationally trading businesses can thrive.” 
“Later this year, we will be launching a new online platform where we will share our years of experience and knowledge in one place to help South West businesses with tailored support to find their way when expanding overseas. We’re here to help these businesses with support that goes beyond banking as they navigate the challenges.”

Santander’s international team has dedicated market specialists that have access to extensive local networks and knowledge around the world, and a long track record of helping businesses implement their international growth strategies. This support ranges from working with them to identify new markets, helping them with shipping and logistics options, and organising virtual trade missions to introducing businesses to trusted local partners, potential new customers and vital networks in key destinations. For more information on the international support available, visit:


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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

For more information about the international support Santander UK provides British businesses please visit:

For Santander UK’s top tips for UK businesses looking to expand internationally, please visit:

For more information about Dycem, please visit:


Notes to Editors
1) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 100 people whose closest city is Bristol on 14-21 January 2022.
2) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 UK adults, nationally representative, on 14-20 January 2022.
3) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 1,000 UK business owners and decision makers on 14-25 January 2022.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2021, the bank had around 19,200 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in the Europe, North America and South America regions, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of 2021, Banco Santander had €1.15 trillion in total funds, 153 million customers, of which 25.4 million are loyal and 47.4 million are digital, 9,900 branches and 197,000 employees.