My Bristol memories as a final-year student

Hi everyone, my name is Kiki and I have just finished my final year of BA French and Spanish. In February, I featured in the University’s undergraduate film Find Your Focus, which lead me to reflect on my time at Bristol and the different memories from over the years.

Bristol, my university city.  As a finalyear student in my final term, I find myself looking back at my experiences over the years at Bristol – it’s a strange feeling. It has, however, made me really appreciate all the opportunities that I’ve had within and outside the University and the amazing city.  

Bristol skyline

My Bristol experience has been majorly enhanced by my involvement in societies. They are access points to meet likeminded people and make friends for life. There are endless societies here, including some very niche ones, like MagicSoc, to the classic sport societies. There are even societies for different regions in the UK (unfortunately there isn’t a Midlands soc 🙁). I joined the football society in my first year and it was one of the best things I ever did at uni.  

Being interested in sports since a young age, the football society became an integral part of my first year, not only keeping up my competitive sports but also being involved in the socials that take place every Wednesday and getting to know members from across all years. Having support from older peers who have similar interests really allows you to feel comfortable and accepted.  

Group of students in Budapest
Football tour to Budapest 2017

The many trips offered through the University have been some of the highlights of my entire experience. From football tour to the famous university ski tripwhich sells out in minutes to over 1,000 students every yearthere have been many opportunities to explore other countries. No sleep combined with nights of partying – it’s no wonder that these trips are so popular!  

Students skiing
Ski trip 2018

Bristol is so unique and diverse. From the edgy nightlife in Stokes Croft to the bustling student atmosphere on the Triangle, to the peaceful seaside vibe down at the Harbourside. Being part of the undergraduate promotional video Find Your Focus and filming down at Harbourside brought back so many memories as it’s my old home and one of my favourite areas. I love the bustling atmosphere that you find there day and night.  

Closeup of Kiki
Kiki in the University’s 2020 film Find your Focus

I really haven’t had the chance to explore half of what I wanted to in Bristol, and that’s after three years! There really is something in this city that appeals to everyone.

Banksy artwork

Looking back on my experience at Bristol, it has offered me much more than I could have ever expected walking into the uni four years ago. Despite not being able to round off my experience the way most students have, I am forever grateful to have picked Bristol as my university.  

Banksy mural
Banksy’s mural making a statement

Bristol’s cultural scene goes digital!

Missing Bristol? Whether you have left Bristol or are here under lockdown you can still take virtual tours, join in live steams and access collections from some of the city’s iconic cultural venues.

There are lots of great resources and events that are accessible, right from your desktop or smart phone, to make you feel connected to our Bristol community, and beyond.

We have put together some of Bristol’s top cultural resources to access watch online:

1. University of Bristol Special Collections – This holds more 5km of books, archives, photographs, and artefacts dating from the eleventh to the twenty-first century. Visit the Online Archive Catalogue and explore what’s available.

2.  The Watershed – Watch amazing livestreams from the comfort of your own sofa. Find out films are available on the Watershed website. You can also stream films you wanted to watch at the Watershed for free with a trial of BFI or MUBI.

3. Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – There is a variety of online exhibitions, from Japanese prints to British tattoo art. Discover these exhibitions on the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery website.

4. Bristol Old Vic At Home – This opens the curtain to a digital theatre platform which features some of Bristol’s most-loved theatre shows and work by exciting emerging artists. Visit the Bristol Old Vic At Home website for more information.

5. Bristol Cathedral – Take a virtual tour of Bristol Cathedral and find out more about its history and heritage.

6.  Film and TV programmes filmed in Bristol –  The Pale HorseSanditonPoldark and Doctor Who all filmed scenes in Bristol (click on the links for more information). See Visit Bristol for a map of movies filmed in Bristol locations too.

What are you missing about Bristol? Share your favourite memories, places to go and photos of Bristol by using #WeMissYouBristol on Twitter and Instagram. We’ll retweet our favourites and look forward to visiting them again after lockdown!

Top five student cafés!

As a student, there is no better place to immerse yourself in café culture than Bristol. From local favourites to coffee specialists – even a toilet-turned-café – University of Bristol students are spoiled for choice! Regardless of the vibe you’re going for, you are bound to find a café that appeals to you, which is what I’m here for.

Below are the key factors I focused on while making this list:

  • Proximity to the main campus
  • Quality and inclusive menu
  • Great service
  • Student discounts

While this list is in no way definitive, here are the top cafés that I would definitely recommend:

Primrose Café – The Tried and True

Tucked away in a corner on Boyces Avenue in fashionable Clifton, you can hardly go wrong with Primrose Café. Having operated for nearly 25 years, it has become a firm favourite among local residents and unsurprisingly so. Their brunch menu is absolutely mouthwatering with tasty vegetarian and vegan alternatives available. If you’re still feeling peckish after that, they also have  a gorgeous selection of cakes to choose from. Good-time, guaranteed.

Mrs. Potts Chocolate House – Chocolate Heaven

Brownies, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, home-made marshmallows, chocolate fondue; you name it, it’s available! It is definitely one of the best places to get your chocolate fix in Bristol. I personally recommend their vegan brownie drizzled with warm chocolate sauce (you can also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream; I won’t judge!) Grab a plate and sit by the window overlooking College Green to people watch, or enjoy a rewarding self-care session in their courtyard.

East Village Café – The Secret Garden

Have a sudden cake craving that needs satisfying ASAP? East Village Café will fix you right up. Situated under a gorgeous arc at the entrance of charming Boyces Avenue, this café will transport you into a calm retreat despite being only a 12-minute walk from the Triangle. They offer an amazing array of Instagrammable – but more importantly – delicious baked goods. Plus, everything on their menu is vegetarian!

The Epiphany – The VSCO Dream Aesthetic

The half-tiled walls. The abundance of potted plants. The neon lights spelling the café name. The huge windows spilling light onto the interior.

Almost every inch of the Epiphany is aesthetically pleasing (even the baristas)! Situated inside the RWA, this rather hidden café is sure to charm you with its extensive menu and multitude of sweet treats on the counter.

Two Ways – The Coffee Beast

That café next to the bike shop opposite the Beacon House bus stop? This is it. What you may not know is that this café sells amazing coffee ranging from exotic Turkish coffee to your classic favourites like a latte or Americano. Two Ways pride themselves for their Italian and Turkish background which is reflected in their menus and daily specials. So go ahead and get your caffeine fix before that 9.00 am lecture!

Honourable Mentions

Bristol is so overflowing with cafés that it was a mammoth task to compile this list. Ultimately, different people have different opinions so your top five may include some places I haven’t mentioned. You may also have noticed that I did not include chains and franchises in the list as I can’t guarantee consistency of quality across all their outlets. To counter this, I’ve listed some equally amazing cafes below that did not feature:

  • Caffe Nero, Queens Road
  • Pinkmans
  • Caffe Clifton
  • The Cloakroom

Written by Iskandar Bin Suhaimi

Iskandar is a second year international student studying Law. As well as spending his free time hunting down Bristol’s finest cafes, he’s a member of both of Bristol’s Malaysian societies and Music Theatre Bristol.

Emily’s self-care tips

Emily’s back with some top tips for life after Welcome Week.

So Welcome Week has come to an end… what now? You’re actually here and things are getting real. It might seem daunting but I’m here to give you five self-care tips which might make things that little bit easier.

1. Go outside.
Bristol is renowned for its urban green environment. Why not go for a walk? You could get to know the campus to familiarise yourself with lecture venues.

Spotlight: Ashton Court.

Ashton Court offers 850 acres of land to explore. If you want some fresh air, this is where to go. Also, Ashton Court is a popular spot for dogs, so if you need a dog fix then this is the place for you!

2. Get some rest.
Put on your cosiest pyjamas, unwind with a nice warm drink and go to sleep! Can’t sleep? Read (don’t go on your phone! It doesn’t help!). Read something with no link to your academic studies, something which relaxes you. If the things you must do the next day are keeping you awake then write a list before bed, that way you know you won’t forget! Don’t feel bad about having some downtime.

3. Baking on a budget is not only easy but stress relieving. Why not bake a big dish for your flat mates? Not only is this a nice gesture but then you can all enjoy it together. Make sure you get some good food in that dish, that little bit of veg is going to make you feel so much better.

4. Organise!
If you don’t know what to do with yourself, why not make sure that your room is arranged in a way that works for you. You could create a timetable to give yourself some consistency in your new life at uni (you don’t have to follow it with great precision, it’s just nice to have some stability when you’re having a bad day). Here’s an example of mine…

5. So, you’ve followed all the advice and things still don’t seem right? Its okay to ask for help.
There are loads of ways you can get the support you need, from friends and family to university services. When things got tough for me – I talked to the uni which I personally found really helpful. At the end of the day, you know yourself. If things don’t seem right, speak up.

Self-care is laying the foundations for the life you want to live, make sure you’re living your best life in Bristol.

 

At Bristol you are not on your own, there is always someone to support you; in our residences, academic schools and on campus. It’s ok to not be ok – talk to us, we’re here to help.

bristol.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/

Find Your Way

We’re sure you’re starting to imagine yourself here on campus, wondering how you will find your way without getting lost don’t worry! This week we’ll be sharing lots of helpful tips on everything from getting your university email address to where to find your nearest supermarket.

Let’s talk about registration

You need to register before you can start your studies here at the University of Bristol and become part of our community. Registration is a two-part process which involves registering online and also registering in person when you arrive here at Bristol.

    • Online registration is open from the 4 – 14 September.  You’ll need to upload a photograph of yourself by 14 September, so that your student card (UCard) can be ready for you to collect during your in-person registration. Once you have registered online you’ll have access to your student email address.
    • Registering in person will confirm your attendance here on campus and may include document checks. At this point you will also collect you student card (UCard). Not all students register at the same time, so you’ll need to check your Welcome Week timetable which will be sent to you soon.

Places to know about

You should have received your Welcome Pack in the post by now – which includes a fold out map of Bristol. This will be useful in your first couple of weeks to familiarise yourself with the city. During Welcome Week, there’ll be an information tent on Tyndall Avenue and if you get lost, there are lots of friendly faces around campus ready to help.

  • Wills Memorial Building – At the top of Park Street. Your Welcome Ceremony will take place here during your first week. This is a celebratory ceremony were you’ll hear from Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady, and your Bristol SU Sabbatical Officers.

  • Beacon House – on the Clifton Triangle. This is a key study space for all students. You’ll find bookable group study rooms and a dedicated quiet space perfect during exam periods.
  • Bristol SU – on Queen’s Road in Clifton. You’ll find a bar, café, social spaces and, plenty of events to take part in from ticketed gigs to poetry reading session.
  • Senate House – on Tyndall Avenue. The home of the Bristol SU Living Room and Postgraduate Research Hub which run a variety of activities, during Welcome Week and throughout the year. This great student hub also offers a variety of study and relaxation space and even a food court to sit down and enjoy a tasty treat with friends.
  • Global Lounge – inside the Bristol SU, a pop-up hub for all students. Offering a range of activities to exchange cultural experiences, meet friends from around the world and be inspired to become global citizens.

Services to know about

Feeling hungry?

From grabbing a quick snack between lectures to doing you’re weekly food shop, Bristol will cater for your every need.

  • Balloon Bar – Based in the Students Union, serving great value, locally sourced food and drink – the ultimate student hangout.

  • Source Cafés – dotted around campus, often within University study spaces. Take a look at our Source Café map to find your closest one.
  • Supermarkets – We are lucky enough to be in the heart of the city with a variety of shops nearby – from Sainsbury’s in Clifton Down Shopping Centre, and Chinese supermarkets on Park Street, to local fruit and vegetable grocers on Gloucester Road. Take your pick!
  • Eating out – Bristol is extremely multicultural and caters for all. Whether you’re vegan or looking for halal options on the menu, there will be something for you. If you’re hungry to explore and try new things, in and around the city centre offers a great choice – with everything from Japanese to Jamaican cuisines.

Bristol UniBus Transport

Bristol is a great city to get around by bus. We even have our own bus service Bristol UniBus has two routes: U1 and U2.

If you’re an undergraduate student living in University-allocated accommodation, you will receive a bus pass for unlimited travel on the U1 service (and four other local services) to get you back and forth safely from campus to your halls. If you are a Vet School student, you will also receive a free bus pass to travel between the Clifton campus and Langford campus on the U2.

Visit our University of Bristol bus services web page to find out more.

Next week’s blog…

Next week we’ll be talking about balancing your social and academic life and the support available at the University of Bristol.

City sights: Your best bits of Bristol

We asked students their top spots to unwind, grab a bite, discover something new or meet friends around town. Here’s what they had to say:

Harbourside

Bristol harbourside

Joseph (MSci Mathematics) told us, ‘My favourite spots are on the harbourside, which not only has loads of cool bars and restaurants, but is also one of the prettiest areas of Bristol at night.’ From independent cinema at Watershed to art at Arnolfini, this area is a cultural hub as well as a central place to catch a drink with friends or watch the boats go by.

If you’re still getting to know Bristol, the (free!) M Shed museum aims to tell the story of Bristol through quirky artefacts, personal accounts and interactive exhibits. Nearby Cargo offers an array of lunch options – from tacos to tapas – served out of re-purposed shipping containers.

Bristol Museum

Where to duck to escape the bustle of Park Street at lunchtime? Tamara (BA English Literature) said, ‘I love the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The architecture is beautiful and it’s so peaceful.’ From gilded Renaissance masterworks to Banksys, local wildlife to Egyptian mummies, there is plenty to explore.

Royal Fort Gardens

Royal Fort Gardens in bloom

This lush green space is a firm student favourite for the way it brightens up the middle of campus. The gardens feature a (seasonal) wildflower meadow and pond as well as unexpected art installations like the mirror maze sculpture ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Hollow,’ a modernist wooden grotto constructed from samples of 10,000 trees. When the weather warms, this is where you want to bring a book to study al fresco.

Mrs Potts Chocolate House

Mrs Potts is a wonderful place to escape reality for a while and just relax or have a chat,’ says Yasmin (MEng Mechanical Engineering) about the Park Street cafe. ‘The cakes are delicious (with a lot of vegan options), the coffee and hot chocolate warm you up on a cold day, and the interior is extremely cosy…When it’s not too cold, you can go downstairs to a picturesque courtyard with fairy lights and candles.’

St Nicholas Market

St Nicholas Market on Corn Street in the Centre

Established in 1743, this spot is home to the city’s largest collection of independent retailers. It’s a favourite of Muirne (MBChB Medicine), who says, ‘What I love most about St Nick’s Market is the sheer variety. There are tons of different cuisines available as street food, and most of it has amazing vegan and vegetarian options. There’s a mix of shops, from niche jewellery designers, to antique record and book shops, to boho-style crystal and incense stalls. And because of this variety, you get a wonderful mix of people there too.’

Christmas Steps

Draped in white fairy lights and dotted with interesting indie businesses, this spot gets your vote for atmosphere. An ornate wrought-iron sign announces ‘To Christmas Steps’ from high above the chimneypots before winding down layers of city streets – past artisan popups, an art-house video rental with mini cinema, and a popular board game café.

Have we missed any of your best bits of Bristol?

Tis the season to…be mindful.

If you haven’t met your new neighbours yet, why not take the festive season as an opportunity to say hello and maybe share a mince pie or two? They could keep an eye on your empty house over the holidays and perhaps bring your bins back in for you once you’ve gone. It’s great to build relationships with the community around you; find out what’s happening in your local area and get involved. You’ll meet new people and feel part of your neighbourhood.

Try to also remember your neighbours if you’re planning a festive celebration and the impact it might have on them. The guide to community living provides some good advice.

During this season we tend to generate a lot of extra stuff. Bristol Waste offer some useful ideas for recycling, reusing, re-gifting and donating to help us be mindful of our impact on resources and landfill.

Be mindful of safety – look after yourself, your belongings and each other. Security Services promote useful tips on personal safety. And if you are going to be away, make sure everyone takes responsibility for switching things off and locking up.

This time of year particularly can be difficult for some people, so help out where you can. Check out SU Volunteering for opportunities to make someone else’s festive season a little brighter.

#TisTheSeason

Joni Lloyd, Community Liaison Manager

 

 

If you’re staying in Bristol, don’t forget to join the University Staying in Bristol Facebook Group listing events and activities taking place over the festive season.

You can also find out about our opening hours during the holidays including study spaces, the Students’ Health Service and the sports facilities. If you want to talk to someone over the festive season, you will be able to access support via our Residential Life Support Centre, open to all students for urgent issues, whether you live in Uni residences or not. There are also self-help tools to provide support, including Big White Wall.

 

Tis the season to…enjoy your city

If you’re staying in Bristol over the holiday period, why not get out, explore and enjoy your city. There is plenty of festive fun taking place and why not join the Facebook group open to all students staying in the city for the holidays.

Here’s our pick of Bristol’s festive offerings.

Get your skates on

Try out your fancy footwork at the Millennium Square ice rink until 7 January. If ice skating isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to enjoy at the Winter Fair with a Christmas Market, Apres Bar and Big Wheel to choose from.

If you prefer your festivities a little more stationary, wrap up warm and head to the We the Curious big screen for free showings of Love Actually (6 December), Gremlins (13 December), the Polar Express (16 December), Elf (23 December) and Home Alone (3 January).

Skating at Millennium Square

Festive fun

If you’re looking for quirky gifts, or just fancy getting into the festive spirit, Bristol has plenty of Christmas markets to choose from.

St Nick’s market will be open every day until Christmas with outdoor markets from Wednesday 12 December.

St Nick’s Market, Bristol

Let it snow

We might not be in for snow on Christmas Day but there’ll be guaranteed snow at Millennium Promenade from 1 to 7 December and again from 15 to 21 December on Corn Street and Clare Street from 5 to 7 pm.

If you’re missing the real thing, take a look at our snowy snaps from earlier this year.

Sparkling lights

We think our city always looks beautiful, but there’s something special about seeing it decked in lights for the holidays. Start at College Green then wander up Park Street to Clifton for those festive feels.

If you’re staying in Bristol, you can  find out about our opening hours during the holidays including study spaces, the Students’ Health Service and the sports facilities.

We know that the festive season isn’t easy for everyone so if you want to talk to someone, you will be able to access support via our Residential Life Support Centre, open to all students for urgent issues, whether you live in Uni residences or not. There are also self-help tools to provide support, including Big White Wall.

And don’t forget, join the University Stay in Bristol Facebook Group listing events and activities taking place over the festive season.

 

Find Your Mayor! Get involved and join the debate.

The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, is hosting the next Global Parliament of Mayors meeting in Bristol and you can be part of it too.

City Hall

This is a great opportunity for you to gain exclusive access to the Parliamentary Forum and meet city leaders from around the world.

Apply to become a student ambassador and:

  • Act as a host for your assigned global Mayor;
  • Help them with queries and escort them to seminars;
  • Meet other student ambassadors and influence the debate.

You will also be invited to attend the closing ceremony where you will receive an official Certificate of Excellence and Leadership and have an opportunity to be photographed with your Mayor.

When is it?

The summit is held between 21-23 October and this year’s theme is Empowering Cities as Drivers of Change. The discussions are wide ranging from migration, health and climate change to urban security.

What do I do next?

Find out more and apply before 4 October.

It’s time to Find Your Bristol!

Congratulations on getting your place at the University of Bristol! We’re really looking forward to welcoming you and hope you are excited about becoming part of our community. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing advice from staff and students here at Bristol to help you prepare for life as a university student and get excited about our beautiful and unique city.

Five things you can do now 

What are you looking forward to most about Uni? 

Share your first Bristol experiences with us using #FindYourBristol and give us a follow to stay up-to-date with Uni news, student stories and all the most entertaining and enlightening events. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.