Bristol’s Must Visit Areas for new students!

13 Aug

Bristol is a diverse and exciting city made up of a several different and distinct areas, each with its own character. From the indie shops of Stokes Croft and food markets in the centre, to classy bistros in Clifton and world-class exhibitions along the Harbourside. Whether you’re returning to Bristol or exploring for the first time, take a look at our pick of unmissable areas.


Clifton is the home of the University of Bristol and Bristol SU. It’s an area you’ll get to know very well during your time here as a student. Full of elegant Georgian terraces, pretty squares and impressive period architecture, it’s renowned for its beauty. The area is scattered with swanky restaurants, posh boutiques and upmarket pubs. It is certainly Bristol’s poshest- and sadly priciest- area.

A view of Clifton Crescent curling into the background


Eating: The Primrose Café. Boho café by day, smart bistro by night. Check out their secluded roof top terrace in the summer months! For a cheaper option the SU bar -The Balloon- does a great fried breakfast.

Drinking: The Coronation Tap. Known as the Cori Tap amongst locals and home of the student favourite- Exhibition Cider, produced exclusively at The Cori Tap.

Shopping: The Clifton Arcade. A beautiful Victorian style arcade crammed with independent clothes and record shops.

The Triangle & Park Street

This busy, central area is just a stone’s throw away from the University. It’s packed with cafes, shops, bars and a supermarkets. The area is buzzing at nights, with kebab shops and bars galore. Lizard Lounge and Mbargo are a few of the favourite student haunts.

A view of Wills Memorial Tower at night time from Park Street


Eating: Rocotillos American Diner serves some of the best milkshakes and pancakes around.

Drinking: The Brass Pig. Self proclaimed number one late night destination in Bristol and firm favourite amongst students.

Shopping: BS8 Fashion Emporium. One of the city’s most diverse vintage collections. There’s loads of different independent brands to browse for all genders. But if you’re looking for something specific, the friendly team will be on hand to help. It’s pretty affordable too.

City Centre & Old City

This diverse area hosts a range of shopping delights. The Old City is filled with independent shops, bars and cafes, whilst Cabot Circus boasts a very wide selection of the more familiar brands of shops and bars.

A view of Broadmead Galleries from Cabot Circus' Philadelphia StreetHighlights:

Drinking: Thekla. One of the most legendary clubs in the city, which is quite literally a boat. It hosts a great line-up of gigs as well as regular club nights.

Shopping: St Nick’s Market. Established in 1743, it’s the city’s oldest independent market. It has over 60 stalls with a wide variety of foods and goods, as well as additional outdoor markets in the surrounding pedestrian streets.

Culture: Arnolfini. This gallery has loads of amazing exhibits and performances as well a an in house cafe and bookshop.


This lively yet scenic area offers many bars and restaurants with a top notch view of the river. Boat trips round the harbour are a great way to explore this delightful area, or check out the science museum off Millenium Square.

A view of Peros Bridge from Narrow Quay, along Bristol Floating Harbour in the City CentreHighlights:

Drinking: Number One Harbourside. Located right on the waterfront their food and drink is all locally sourced and super tasty!

Shopping: Harbourside Market. A covered market every Saturday and Sunday from 11-4pm selling local jewellery, food, books and art. You’ll now also find a selection of street food stands on the weekend and on Thursdays 12-3pm.

Culture: The Watershed. Arthouse cinema showing some of the best international and independent films. They have a student price, so you can enjoy a film for just £5.

Gloucester Road & Stokes Croft

The stretch from Gloucester Road to Stokes Croft is the heart of Bristol’s vibrant alternative scene. Gloucester Road hosts the longest stretch of independent shops in the UK and on the road down to Stokes Croft there’s a huge variety of bars, shops and restaurants. This edgy area hosts hipsters and hippies alike. Visit Lakota and Blue Mountain for a more alternative, bass-heavy night out!

A vanishing perspective of the multiple independent stores along Gloucester RoadHighlights:

Eating: Poco. Serving up seasonally inspired organic and fair trade Tapas, Poco has receieved multiple awards champoining it’s sustainable outlook and delicious food. It’s a must visit for a foodies. They also serve brunch.

Drinking: The Gaullimaufry. An independently run restaruant, bar and live music venue. The Gaulli, as it’s affectionately known, offers up six different cask ales at any one time, as well as a selection of locally sourced bottled beers.

Shopping: The Amnesty Bookshop. A vast library of second-hand books on every topic imaginable.

More Information:

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