Student cities: studying in Bristol

Student cities: studying in Bristol
Bristol is buzzy but manageable, a bike-friendly, music-loving city with spectacular scenery.

Bristol has a laid-back and carnival vibe. It’s a city where floating glass boats, street graffiti, New Orleans music venues and quirky pubs (think bar with 19 kittens to pet and a vinyl jukebox in the corner) are cheek by jowl. Bristol’s nickname is ‘London Lite’, which means it’s buzzy and a manageable size.

It’s also a green city with an array of parks, allotments, woodlands, city farms, river valley walks, commons, downs, massive allotments, and country house estates.

Free and cheap stuff to do in Bristol

There are tons of good walks in Bristol – along the wooded valley of the River Frome, around the Harbourside, along the downs above the Avon Gorge with views of Clifton Suspension Bridge. Stroll among the architecture: it’s a mixture of Victorian, modern, Georgian, and a pocket of wooden eco-housing in trendy St Werberghs where some of hobbit-like dwellings resemble the twisted, organic style of Spanish architect Gaudí. If you cycle, there are 13 miles of converted railway line used by bike riders running from Bristol’s centre to Bath. The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is right next to one of the main areas of housing particularly popular with students at UWE Bristol.

And expect the council to support lots of events such as turning one of the city’s steepest hills into a giant waterslide. On a fine day in August, picnic in Perett’s Park and watch hundreds of hot air balloons take off from the Ashton Court estate.


Bristol has all the chain stores plus scores of independent shops selling anything from specialist ciders to pottery with anti-establishment designs. St Nicholas Market is a maze of stores and stalls selling jewellery, vintage clothes, music, chocolate and cool food snacks. Bristol has the Bristol pound – its own currency – which many independent stores accept.


Bristol is full of characterful pubs and bars. It’s a great place for cheap-ish multicultural eateries and lovers of free, good live music, offering grime, folk, blues and gypsy-skiffle-punk-pop and everything in between. There’s also a good range of nightclubs, from Motion, which is among the biggest clubs in the city and is based in a skate park, to Thekla, which is in a former cargo ship. Whatever your taste in music you’ll be able to find a venue to suit.

If you’re looking for work experience

Bristol has varied employers. Opportunities are there if you are the right match. The city has particular strengths in engineering and IT, media and PR, financial services, law, health, leisure and tourism, retail, higher education, charities and the public sector. It’s a city where there are big, global companies but also a lot of start-ups.

Universities in Bristol

Search for...

Degree Explorer

The Degree Explorer helps you plan for your future! Match your interests to university subjects and explore each recommendation to find out what suits you.

Get started

Teacher or parent?

Join our mailing list to receive monthly newsletters from our TARGETcareers and Inspiring Futures teams to help you support your school leavers in their career and university decision making.


Register today

Sign up to access to use your dashboard and receive extra advice in your inbox

Sign up