A Student’s Guide to Bristol

A Student’s Guide to Bristol

So, you’re thinking about studying in Bristol? Great shout – this city in the corner of south-west England is one of the most fascinating places to live in the UK, with bags of local heritage, a bustling nightlife and ample green spaces to explore. Bristol provides the perfect balance between offering a big city atmosphere with a quirky, bohemian way of life. There’s always something happening here for you to get involved in once you’ve finished your studies for the day.

Bristol is a two-university city, with its redbrick University of Bristol established in 1925. The University of the West of England was a relative newcomer on the scene, achieving university status in 1992. With well over 50,000 students living in the city for at least nine months of the year, Bristol is a hugely friendly, cosmopolitan place to live and study for your future career.

Main attractions in Bristol

  • Voted the UK’s Best Large Indoor Market in 2016, Bristol’s St Nicholas Market offers the best choice of independent retailers in the city. The building itself is spectacular to look at, with its Georgian-style appearance adding to his grandeur. Most days St Nicholas is a busy and vibrant place to be, with heaps of unique food stalls and traders to discover. It’s also a great-value place for students looking to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables or even clothing. You can easily wile away a few hours at St Nicks, wandering around the maze of narrow walkways and chatting to the friendly market traders.


  • Bristol is synonymous with the works of the world-famous street artist, Banksy, who still remains anonymous to this very day. Many of his graffiti artwork can be found across the city, with some of his best work located in Stokes Croft, the heartbeat of Bristol’s arts and culture scene. Don’t forget to check out The Bear Pit roundabout too, which is another homage to Banksy, with its cluster of food trucks and skate parks nearby.
  • Previously a busy working dock area, Bristol’s Harbourside is now awash with entertainment facilities, making it one of the best places in the city to socialise and unwind. With a huge regeneration project completed here, the Harbourside now features waterside restaurants and bars, retail outlets and the quintessential Sunday market. As you can imagine, it’s the perfect place to spend a summer’s day, but it’s not quite as hectic during the darker winter months.


Restaurants in Bristol

  • If you’re looking for an opportunity to go out with your housemates and enjoy a social snack together, check out Bristol’s best tapas restaurants, Bravas, specialising in humble and honest Spanish fare that’s perfect to share with pals. They commit to using fresh, seasonal ingredients with great flair and personality. With an ever-changing menu you can guarantee an interesting meal whenever you visit!
  • Situated in the heart of Stokes Croft, The Canteen is a welcome pit-stop for Bristol’s students seeking hearty, wholesome home-cooked dishes. It’s a really fun place to spend an evening, with an excellent choice of live music and a vast beer garden to enjoy after your meal. An interesting benefit of ordering meals here is that you get a free bowl of soup and bread with all main dishes.
  • If you fancy yourself as a fanatical foodie, we’re pretty sure that Thali Café will soon become a household favourite for you. Following humble beginnings at the nearby Glastonbury Festival, Thali Café is now an award-winning Indian restaurant, with a great choice of sustainable curries, dhals, rice and salads that are bursting with flavour.


Nightlife in Bristol

  • Those into their live gigs will be pleased to hear the O2 Academy regularly plays host to up-and-coming and well-established bands and artists throughout the year. Located beneath Bristol’s old ice rink on Frogmore Street, it’s an intimate venue that’s far more enjoyable than venturing to one of the larger arenas, with a capacity of just 1,600.
  • The biggest nightclub in Bristol is Pryzm, with a whopping seven different themed rooms and five good-sized bars all within walking distance of the Harbourside. Some of the world’s biggest and best DJs are flown in to the south-west to perform here, bringing the best in house, drum ‘n’ bass and electro to Bristol.
  • The latest arrival to the Bristol nightlife scene is Gravity Nightclub, which opened in April last year. The décor and atmosphere is pretty swanky and somewhat more upmarket than other nightclub venues in the city, with VIP private booths available, perfect for celebrating birthdays with friends.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for some unadulterated cheese, Popworld is the number-one place to boogie along to the best in 80s party tunes. With sparkly glitterballs above the dance floor and 80s décor, this city centre favourite never fails to provide a good night out.

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