A student guide: Getting to know Bristol

Bristol is the largest city in south west and is one of the main centres of culture in the area.  The quirky city is famous for the Clifton Suspension Bridge and its home to the legendary street artist Banksy.  The city is also a hub for the arts, music, food, sport and education. Straddling the River Avon, Bristol's history is rich and it also offers a nightlife that is second to none.

Good Areas to Live

Within walking distance of Bristol University and close to good shops, Clifton is one of the default options for many home movers to the area, in addition to Redland and Cotham.

The residential areas of Westbury Park and Stoke Bishop also offer a wide range of houses and flats.


Commuting into Bristol city centre is much better now following improvements along the M32. Although with the usual congestion, it’s worth using the Park & Ride schemes which operate from Portway, Bath Road and Long Ashton.

Bristol is served by two main stations – Temple Meads and Parkway which aren’t very central. Both stations have frequent services to many of the same locations, but Parkway is mainly for the suburban routes and is located about three miles from the city.

For the health conscious and sporty types, Bristol has a number of urban cycling routes throughout the city and beyond.


Bristol has a number of notable professional sports teams and a large number of active amateur sports clubs. The city has two Football League clubs, Bristol City F.C. and Bristol Rovers F.C.

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club has its headquarters in the city. Bristol Rugby club is long established dating back to 1888. Bristol City Council operates a number of sports centres and swimming pools in the area.


Bristol has a thriving current and historical arts scene and has many venues for live music, the largest being Colston Hall which seats 2,000.  The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery houses a collection encompassing natural history, dinosaurs, archaeology, local glassware, Chinese ceramics and art.

The Watershed Media Centre and Arnolfini gallery exhibit contemporary art, photography and cinema, and the city's oldest gallery is at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton.

The world famous anonymous graffiti and street artist Banksy was born in Bristol and some of his famous works make for a great self-guided walking tour of the city.


With a 30,000 strong student population in the area, the nightlife in Bristol is top quality with prices similar to that of London.  Most of the nightlife is centred in the ‘old city’ in King Street and Corn Street whilst the busy chain bars can be found in the Harbourside and Whiteladies Road areas.

The eastern end of King Street provides a slightly more relaxed, but popular, outdoor drinking area for balmy summer evenings.   

Places to Eat

There Bristol has a huge choice of bars and restaurants so every cuisine is catered for from traditional greasy spoons to fine dining establishments.

One of the best places to grab some food on the go, is Pieminister – famous for its homegrown pies. In high demand and often requiring booking is Casamia on the Harbourside serving a strictly seasonal menu.

Bristol's rich mix of cultures is reflected in the food available in different quarters of the city. For Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, head to St Mark's Road in Easton.  Stop off at St Pauls for Caribbean food or Clifton for classic British and seafood or Park Street.  And if you’re after some of the best burgers in town, pay a visit to the Triangle.

Places to Shop

There are two main shopping areas in the city – Broadmead and Cabot Circus.  Cabot Circus is a newer, mostly under-cover shopping centre with over 120 stores whilst Broadmead has the staple high street stores.

Bargains can also be found in the popular market St Nicholas Market. With the usual jewellery, books and CD stalls, there are also plenty of food stands with freshly cooked international cuisine.

On the hilltop to the west of the centre, is Clifton Village, home to trendy and expensive boutique style shops, cafes and restaurants.

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