With so much entertainment on offer, Bristol is a great city to live in as a student. But if you are not quite sure where to start your journey, here is a student city guide providing some insider information on how to best enjoy Bristol as well as its hidden gems.
How can I get around?
When exploring Bristol, it is almost certain that you will travel all around the city. The great thing about Bristol is that the University and most entertainment is in close proximity and, therefore, within good walking distance. However, for those days when you just don’t fancy walking, here are some of the easiest ways to travel.
Hop on a Bus
The majority of buses you will see around the city are First Buses. The bus routes cover areas all the way up from Stokes Croft to down Temple Meads Train Station. The best way to save money is to get your ticket before you get on the bus. First Bus also have great deals for students, and if you think you will be an avid traveller, you can purchase one of their Freedom Travel passes which for £100 you can hop on an unlimited number of buses for a month. To check out various tickets and see up-to-date bus routes, visit First Group online or download the First Bus app.
Grab a Train
With Bristol being a hub for various rail networks in the South West, getting the train is also a great public transport option. Taking a train from Bristol Temple Meads also gives you the option to visit other areas of the UK such as Bath, which only takes a mere 10 minutes. Be sure to purchase a railcard before coming to university as you will gain massive discounts – for instance, you can grab a train from Clifton Downs to Bristol Temple Meads for as low as 90p!
Order a Taxi
It is no secret that after a night out when the buses and trains are no longer running, we like to get a taxi home. A cheaper option which everyone knows of is of course, Uber –most fares around Bristol cost around £7.
However, if you are a fresher, there is an even better taxi service on offer. Anyone travelling to a first-year accommodation at the University of Bristol or the University of West England will get a 10% discount. All you need to do is download the V-cars app and order a taxi.
Where is a good place to live?
With Bristol being such a diverse city, no area is the same. So, be sure to move around the city during your time at university to experience completely different living environments and delve into the different things Bristol has to offer.
Clifton Village is a great place to live if you want to experience Bristol’s Georgian history and spend some time in a calmer scene. The village features beautiful architecture and is home to many independent shops, cafes and restaurants.
Redland has become renowned for being a student area. This means that during your time at university you will most probably find yourself at a house party here. If you like the sound of being at the hub of student housing, Redland is the place for you.
Want to live right amongst the hustle and bustle? If so, you should move to the city centre where all of Bristol’s entertainment – whether that be clubs or cafes – will be at your fingertips. Just get ready to have some sleepless but memorable nights!
Where should I study?
As a student, there is no doubt that you will be spending a lot of time in the library. So, to spice up your study sessions, why not try out these different libraries.
Bristol Central Library
Address: College Green, Bristol BS1 5TL
Bristol Central Library is a beautiful library situated right by College Green. Its location means that it’s a great way to pop out and lie on the grass to enjoy the sun whilst on your break. They also offer free wifi and have computers available for public use. What’s more, there is a small café on the ground floor offering homemade cakes – great for your break on a rainy day.
Wills Memorial Library
Address: Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1QE
If you get motivated by studying in a picturesque library, make sure to go to University of Bristol’s Wills Memorial Library. You will definitely feel like you have been transported to Hogwarts.
Arts and Social Sciences Library
Address: 5 Tyndall Ave, Bristol BS8 1TJ
Are you that student who studies long into the night? If that is the case, head over to the University of Bristol’s Arts and Social Sciences Library, as they are open 24/7. They even have a room full of bean bags if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere to study.
Address: Whiteladies Rd, Clifton, Avon, Bristol BS8 2PY
For those students who live further up from the city centre and want to go to a library closer to home, why not try out Redland Library.
Where can I shop?
To the students who love a bit of retail therapy, are on the lookout for something specific or are just interested in consuming sustainably, here are some great unconventional shops to check out.
Chaplains Fancy Dress
Address: 9 St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UT
There will be at least one point in your student life where you get invited to or buy a ticket to a fancy-dress event. If you find that you have left making or buying your costume to the last minute, there is no need to worry as Chaplins is super close to the city centre and offers a great selection of costumes.
Vintage Clothes Shopping
Address: Park Street Bristol, BS1 5NF
If you love to thrift, then Bristol is the city to be in. With the city having a reputation of being the home to vintage fashion, there are certainly many options to choose from. Head down to Park Street, where there are numerous vintage and charity shops to choose from, providing all types of looks from street to chic.
St Nicholas Market
Address: The Corn Exchange, Corn St, Bristol BS1 1JQ
Built in 1743, St Nicholas Market is the oldest market in Bristol. Consisting of 60 stalls, the market offers everything from trinkets and music records to cooked meals and farmers’ produce. With it even being chosen as one of the ten best markets in the UK, it has to be added on your to do list.
Reg the Veg
Address: 6 Boyce’s Ave, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4AA
Reg the Veg is a family run local grocer providing only the best fresh fruit and vegetables. One reason to love them is because they do a great deal where you can order a large box of fruit or veg for only £20 and with free delivery! Why not check them out on https://www.regtheveg.co.uk/ – it’s an amazing way to support a local business.
Where is the best place for a night out?
There is no doubt that a large part of student life is going out. So, to make the most of it, here are some of the best bars and clubs.
London Cocktail Club
Address: 37 Triangle W, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1ER
If you find that you are looking to go somewhere which is a good in-between of a bar and club, then head over to the London Cocktail Club. The bar has a groovy interior decked with ornaments such as a crocodile statue on the wall and blasts the latest tunes so you can bust out some moves whilst sipping on a cocktail. As students, we know you love a deal, so make sure to go when they are doing their 2 for £12 deal during happy hour every day until 8 pm.
Address: 43 St Nicholas St, Bristol BS1 1TP
Brozen Bar is a great quirky bar to visit if you fancy something different. All of their cocktails are mixed with liquid nitrogen, so you can eat them in the form of gelato or sorbet. A one of a kind cocktail bar where you get to feel that your night out has been elevated – what more would you want?
Address: The Grove, East Mud Dock, Bristol BS1 4RB
Thekla is THE most Bristol night out you can experience. Situated right on the Harbourside, Thekla is a club inside a floating boat! And there is no need to worry about seasickness, so you can feel free to enjoy their weekly events of pop confessional and drum n bass.
Address: 1-2 Frog Ln, Bristol BS1 5NF
OMG is Bristol’s most popular gay and lesbian club. You will not be left wanting more entertainment as you will be treated with the moves from drag queens. If you have already blown most of your student loan on nights out, then make sure to go on their Wednesday student night for free entry and cheap drinks.
What entertainment is there?
If you fancy doing an activity that doesn’t always involve alcohol, these are some great options to do with your new friends.
Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf
Address: Cabot Circus, Glass Walk, Bristol BS1 3BQ
Whether you are a group of friends or trying to find some fun date night ideas, crazy golf is an exciting activity to get stuck into. Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf offers a jungle-themed golfing experience with two 18 hole courses. If your adrenaline is still rushing after the game, then you can also have a go on their arcades and table tennis.
University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Address: Stoke Park Rd, Stoke Bishop, Bristol BS9 1JG
We are well aware that as a student, you cannot always afford to spend money on a good day out. What is great about Bristol is that there are certainly many free options to choose from. An unexpected activity is to visit the Botanical Gardens. Owned by the University of Bristol, the garden houses many succulents and tropical plants such as the Giant Amazon Waterlily. If you love to admire nature, be sure to head over.
M Shed Museum
Address: Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN
Another completely free activity for those history-loving students is the museum M Shed. Originally a 1950s transit shed, M Shed exhibits over 200 years of Bristol’s history. If you are also interested in recent political events, you may be excited to know that they are showcasing the Colston Statute.
Where is the best place to eat?
Are you a foodie looking for some hidden gems? Here you go!
Address: Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RW
What on the outside looks like a normal set of cargos, go inside, and you will discover something which is far from normal. Wapping Wharf is a vibrant area where there are bundles of restaurants to choose from. So you can eat your heart out at places including Woky Ko (a personal favourite), Pizzarova and The Athenian whilst soaking up the view of the harbour.
Address: Litfield Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3LT
The Clifton Observatory is a really romantic spot to enjoy some food and drink on a date night. You can have some amazing platters, including a cheeseboard whilst taking in the view of the Suspension Bridge from front row seats – surely you cannot ask for anymore?!
Mrs Potts Chocolate House
Address: 50 Park St, Bristol BS1 5JN
Recently moved and revamped, Mrs Potts Chocolate House is a must for dessert lovers. They specialise in all things chocolate, and a personal favourite on their menu is their fudge brownie milkshakes, where they really use a brownie – pure heaven!
This student city guide only touches the surface of what Bristol has to offer. Nonetheless, it’s a great selection to start your student life in the city. Enjoy!