Bristol Student Bucket List - Urban Student
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Bristol Student Bucket List

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After onboarding at your first term at university, make sure to give yourself a well-deserved break. When better than October half term? Schools out for…one week in October!

There are plenty of exciting things to do for students in the lively city of Bristol. Take a break from the research, we’ve done it for you.


We couldn’t write a blog about student experiences in Bristol without mentioning Motion – it is a rite of passage that you at least visit once!

This huge warehouse-style nightclub, once indoor skatepark, is situated just down the road from Temple Meads Station. Motion holds massive night events all throughout the year, so if you fancy clubbing ‘til the early morning, this is the place for you.

With three rooms, and curfews as late as 6am, it’s quickly become one of the most prominent underground clubs in the UK. If you’re into house, dnb, dubstep or dance music, what are you waiting for?!

The Downs

OK…so you’ve had a big night out at Motion. Now you’re looking for something a little quieter and a little more ‘wholesome’ perhaps?

Clifton Downs is a large expanse of grass and open fields, re-connect with nature by the Stoke Bishop halls. It’s the perfect place for walking, sport and some great sightseeing (we’ll come onto that!)

This is also where all the sports societies come to play games on a Wednesday afternoon, so if you join a team you’re bound to come here. Even if sport isn’t your thing, take some time out to stroll around the parks – or if you’re particularly adventurous, wander over to the Avon Gorge, where you get a fantastic view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. We did say we would come onto it…

The Clifton Suspension Bridge (and Clifton Village)

One of the greatest landmarks in the city, take in the admiring architecture and engineering of the stunning bridge that spans the Avon Gorge.

Any engineering students reading this? This is a must-see for you! Mechanical engineer Isambard Brunel designed the bridge, it was completed in 1864. It was only initially built to carry horse-drawn traffic, and yet it still functions today as an active road bridge for modern traffic.

Stokes Croft

So you’ve seen a bit of Bristol’s history, ready to see what today’s Bristol is really like?

Get yourself down to Bristol’s ‘cultural quarter’ aka Stokes Croft. The eccentric, vibrant place boasts wonderfully painted murals and stunning graffiti art, all up and down the main street. Visit the ‘outdoor gallery wall’, there is always something new for you to see up there. Finish off with a delicious bite to eat in one of the areas quirky cafés.


On the topic of art…any art students about? If you love a bit of contemporary art you need to check out the Arnolfini, a free art gallery right by the harbour side. Most exhibitions are free admission – check out their website to see what they’ve got on. Not only that by the location is excellent – after wandering around the gallery, you can finish off your day perfectly by sitting down for a meal at one of many restaurants just across the water.

Cabot Circus

With over 120 shops and two department stores, the reason for coming to Cabot Circus is obvious – shopping, shopping, shopping! But even if shopping tires you out, this modern shopping centre in the heart of Bristol, has a multiplex cinema upstairs and array of delicious restaurants. When you do end up going, make sure you check out the epic glass-panelled roof enclosing it all!


Enjoyed Motion? There’s plenty more where that came from…and it doesn’t get much cooler than a moored cargo ship converted into a music venue, Thekla. From metal bands to DJs, from spoken word to cabaret, the variety of music you get is amazing. If you’re into seeing live music or just clubbing in general, the sound system there is of top quality. And last but not least, did we mention it’s on a boat? I mean, need I say more?

S.S. Great Britain

This blog post (or just Bristol) really does have a little something for everyone. Calling all marine engineering students, or history lovers for that matter.  Check out the S.S. Great Britain, a restored version of the great passenger steamship designed once again by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (a bit of a Bristol legend!)

This ship was the first iron steamship ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and in 1970 she was returned to where she was originally built – the Bristol dry docks. Walking from the city centre to the S.S. Great Britain gives you a fantastic insight into Bristol’s shipping-industry history, and with museums, exhibitions and bars dotted up and down the harbour, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Old Vic

Looking for some entertainment outside of TikTok? (we’re all guilty) Why not visit the longest continuously running theatre in the UK? Recently refurbished, The Old Vic Theatre always has something on, from classics like ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Hamlet’ to productions by the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company. Enjoy a variety of plays, musicals and productions at this engaging and intimate venue.

…aaand there you have it! We hope this blog post gave you some brilliant inspiration for your October break. There is never a dull day in Bristol!

Published: Monday 30th October 2023 by Phoebe Clutton