Another perk of being a student at BIMM is that term doesn’t start until October: you get another month of summer while all your friends attending university elsewhere will already be back in a lecture hall! For second and third years, this extra time should be used wisely – catching up on work, earning money or gaining useful experience. But for all you freshers, you should use this time to explore the city and have some fun! With this in mind, I’ve come up with six things to do in Bristol to ensure you have the best start to your time at BIMM…
1) Get some culture!
Most BIMM students move down anywhere from 2-4 weeks before term starts, to get settled and to enrol. I know my friends and I kept listing all the things we wanted to see and do before term started and… we barely did anything. Don’t waste this time! There’s so much to do in Bristol and a lot of it you can do for free. Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery on Park Street is a great start: it’s free entry and in September most kids will be back at school so it’ll be quiet! M-Shed by the river is also free and is a more modern but equally interesting place. Museums aren’t for everyone but it’s better than doing nothing with your day. Plus, you never know what you might learn!
2) Explore the streets!
Get to know the streets and your surroundings. Bristol is brimming with beautiful architecture and there are some particularly lovely houses in Clifton and the north of Bristol (if you like that sort of thing). Walking the streets isn’t just interesting, it’s useful. When you’re new somewhere it can often be a bit daunting finding your way around but if you use some time before term starts you can begin to feel more comfortable in the city. The first time someone asks you for directions and you can actually help them you’ll feel so chuffed!
3) Cuddle some cats!
This may seem like an odd one (obviously if you’re allergic you can skip this) but Bristol has many places where cuddling a cat is possible! You can pay and go to the cat café ‘You&Meow’ on Denmark Street but personally I’d recommend the ‘Bag O’Nails’ on Hotwell Road. This is a tiny little pub bursting at the seams with feline friends. Avoid this place if you’re in a large group or wearing fancy dress (the kitties might get scared) but otherwise you should go along with a mate, have a pint, chat to the friendly staff and stroke a cat! Sometimes they have kittens which just makes it even better. It’s well known and attracts tourists so I would suggest going in the daytime Mon-Thur.
4) Go shopping!
Bristol has some great shopping spots and you should familiarise yourself with where the best places are. High street and designer shops can be found in Broadmead and Cabot Circus shopping centre – it may even be worth going around to see if anyone’s hiring if you’re in need of a part time job? There’s an array of vintage shops on Park Street as well as some great arty places. Rise Records used to sit at the top of Park Street but it will soon turn into a Rough Trade located in the city centre before too long (RIP Rise, welcome Rough Trade!). If records are your thing, there are tons of great places to get them on Gloucester Road. There are also tons of charity shops up there (or in Clifton if that’s nearer for you) so you can browse those to your hearts content. St Nick’s Market is also a cool scene, plus it’s right in the city centre.
5) Look at the graffiti!
Banksy may be the most famous graffiti artist in Bristol to those who do not live here, but once you do you’ll realise he’s not the only artist in town. M-Shed do a monthly walking tour of the graffiti scene (5th Sep is the next date) which I would highly recommend. If you’d rather do it yourself, you absolutely can: Park Street holds many artistic gems (including Banksy’s Naked Man Hanging from Window), and if you walk down Nelson Street you’ll see lots of big works from a past graffiti festival. There’s an awesome alley near St John on the Wall Church that is a must-see… it’s graffiti heaven.
6) Eat some good food!
Bristol isn’t just graffiti and museums, there are also some great places to eat! Cosmos on the Triangle is popular (it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet… what’s not to like?) and The Cosy Club near St Nicks is a nice spot for lunch and is so cool inside! St Nicks itself is a food-lover’s dream as it houses cuisine from all over the world – everything smells delicious, so it might be hard to pick what to have!
Of course, one thing you need to do before BIMM starts is check out Bristol’s music venues. Go to gigs, attend BIMM-official fresher events, get to know the hot music spot near you. You’ll be finding yourself in these places a lot, so you may as well get acquainted!