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Living in Bristol
Bristol is essentially one long hill that starts up around Clifton Downs and runs down into the city before heading back up again. Nice and simple. There are two universities based in Bristol; the University of the West of England (UWE) and Bristol University.
Most of Bristol isn’t too steep (except for St Michael’s and the well-named Constitution Hill, rumoured to be the steepest bit of road in the country. Only brave cars go up/down it, and the occasional mad roller-blader), and anyway, walking up hills is good for you! The Avon Gorge slices through the city with the river at the bottom, and now and then fearless souls zip-wire across the 80m drop, usually for charity.
Naturally Bristol's universities have a historic rivalry. However one thing they both have in common is a love of the Whiteladies Bar Crawl. Locals recommend starting at the Kersey Lilly, at the top of Whiteladies road, and heading down it until you reach The Vittoria.
If you’re not up for a bar crawl the Orpheus Cinema, right by the Downs, shows all the big films and sells student tickets for under £4 (don’t forget your NUS card), and the Cube is a little independent place in town with a unique atmosphere and a really quirky line-up of movies. Bristol has a number of free museums and galleries that you could literally spend all day exploring – we know, we’ve done it! Favourites include the M Shed, which tracks the history of Bristol using a lot of hands-on exhibits and some rather amazing historical hats to try on, and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery where you can see the skeleton of a 10ft tall prehistoric moose and an entire room full of stuffed animals, including a gorilla called Albert who used to live in Bristol Zoo.
Of course half the time you won’t even need to go indoors to see great art. Recently Bristol has become known for the work of one man in particular; the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy. Rather than scrub the walls clean, the city has really made the most of this and actually designated walls to have street art on them, making just walking round Bristol a surprising and enjoyable experience. There’s even a little Banksy Tour you can do, taking you on a short trip round his work in Bristol.
At the top of Whiteladies Road you’ll find Clifton and then Durdham Downs. Up above the main part of the city, and with their stunning views of the gorge, The Downs area is a welcome break from the bustle of central Bristol. If you’re around in the summer you’ll be able to come up here when the weather’s good and watch a stream of hot air balloons lift off from the International Balloon Fiesta. But even if you aren’t The Downs are permanently open to the public. This makes them ideal for everything from jogging and horse-back riding to bird watching and romantic walks overlooking the lights of Bristol.
As a student you’ll probably start your stay at Bristol in The Triangle area, very near Whiteladies road. It’s aimed at you guys with clubs like The Bunker and Lizard Lounge being particularly popular.
Once you’ve found your feet head out towards Park Street and then the Harbourside. There’s a range of clubs including Thekla and Syndicate for mainstream dance tracks, and then The Fleece, The Croft and Mr Wolf’s which have a range of alternative, rock and live music
If you get lost on the way home, or just can’t manage that hill in your heels, the Yellow Cab Company can give you a ride.
Pieminister: Founded by Bristolians and scoffed by Bristolians, these connoisseurs of pie and mash could not be more West Country flavoured if they tried.
St Nicholas Market: There is almost always some kind of market happening here, with food stalls offering tasty munchables. And while you’re there, pop into the Rolls Royce veggie-friendly café and grab something for that herbivorous house-mate of yours.
Miss Millie’s: Another Bristol special, Miss Millie’s is a local alternative to the bland beigeness of some other chicken fast food outlets who shall remain nameless. Isn’t that right, Kentucky Colonel?
32 Bristol Reviews
Cost of living is pretty expensive. If you want to eat out there are some fantastic restaurants, and nights out are pretty decent, you just have t make sure you're going to the right places on the right nights. Shopping is awesome.
VERY EXPENSIVE ON A BASIC STUDENT LOAN. My family only just come into the bracket where you can only get the basic loan of £3,300 a year - I can't even cover my accommodation on it. Nights out are good and varied, the house scene is also really good. A little druggy, but you can easily avoid it if you want. Dinner out is always good fun, there are student deals in almost every place you go to. Buses can get kind of expensive, and around rush hour in the centre it's often quicker to walk anyway.
Bristol's such a lovely city to live! It's got so much variety - from your normal shopping centre (cabot circus) to the harbourside, park stree, clifton village, the downs, the suspension bridge, Gloucester road and Stokes croft. It's not too big either, but still plenty to see and do! It's quite expensive, but I guess it's in the south anyway, and it's still a lot cheaper than London and the SE. There's always a lot of things going on, and there's a lot of things targeted at students too :) There's plenty of bars and clubs to suit all tastes, and loads of restaurents and stuff too :) I'm from Birmingham and honestly it is sooo muh better! Despite being smaller, there's so much more to see and do compared to Birmingham, which with the exception of a couple of parts of the centre, is just a big, dirty city. Bristol is so much nicer and more exciting!