BIMM Cities

Being a Fresher in Bristol

14th August 2019


So, you’ve been offered a place at BIMM and will be heading to Bristol in the autumn – that’s great, congratulations! Now, to optimise your time as a fresher, here are a few things to know before the big move.

Bristol is a big city – go explore!

Your time at BIMM does not officially start until October. This provides an excellent opportunity to explore your new city. Arriving in Bristol at least a few weeks prior to the start of your course is highly recommended, as this allows enough time to familiarise yourself with this beautiful city!

A few must-sees are:

Clifton Village/Suspension Bridge – The best place to go for cute cafés and amazing views – also very Instagram-friendly!
Harbourside – great bars and restaurants, and here you’ll also find We The Curious and The Aquarium.
The Downs – A gorgeous open field area just outside of the bustling city! Head up here for a walk (or jog) with a view.
Castle Park – Right next to one of the BIMM Bristol campuses (Passage Street) lies Castle Park – a perfect place for picnics and sun bathing. You may find yourself hanging out here in between lectures once your course gets going.

Get gigging in the city’s music scene

Even if your time at BIMM hasn’t officially started, doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with the local music scene. There are loads of great venues hosting open mics and jam nights all around Bristol – getting involved with these is a great way to meet other musicians and start networking.

Just a few to check out are Mondays at Gallimaufry (jam night), Tuesdays at Nova (open mic), Wednesdays at Mr Wolfs (open mic night) and Thursdays at LeftBank (jam night). You can also find some of the best jam nights via BIMM Bristol’s Facebook student group, so be sure to sign up.

Discover Bristol’s Nightlife

There are so many great places to go in Bristol to experience its vibrant nightlife. Here are some good spots to check out.

Stokes Croft/Gloucester Road is probably the liveliest place to go in Bristol for a night-out. Whether it’s a chilled weekday drink at Full Moon Bar, enjoying some student offers at Blue Lagoon on a Thursday, or an all-nighter at Lakota on a Friday, Stokes Croft/Gloucester Road has got you covered.

Kings Street – if you are a beer enthusiast (Small Bar) or love 80s arcade games (Kongs), Kings Street is for you. This is probably my favourite place to go for a few drinks before continuing the evening somewhere else. It’s a little bit pricey, but totally worth the extra cost.

Right down the bottom of the street you’ll find The Apple, a boat/bar serving all kinds of tasty ciders – definitely a must-see!

Thekla is the host of many different events and gigs, and often puts on student nights with some really good deals! Loads of freshers hang out here in their first year, so this is a great place to go to meet students from other campuses as well.

Other places worth visiting included The Cuban, OMG and Motion.

Go see the colourful houses!

If you love aesthetically pleasing places, you should definitely check out the famous colourful houses located around Bristol. It’s a great excuse to go for a nice long walk too.

You can see these houses from afar depending on where you’re stood (Brandon Hill is a perfect vantage point for this), but I recommend heading out on a trek to see them up close. Here’s a blog post giving you an idea of where to start.

Visit Bath!

Only about a 50-minute bus ride (or an 80-minute cycle!) from Bristol is the beautiful city of Bath. If you are into history and old buildings, Bath is a must. There are lots of great shops, cafes and restaurants here, but most people head this way to experience the legendary Roman Baths! However, if you’re not a fan of tourists, perhaps just stay in Bristol.

Food & shopping

Bristol is the home of some fab restaurants, cafes and shops. Cabot Circus is a good place to start for all of this – it’s basically got everything you need. But if you’re like me and like the more independent, hidden places, check these out.

St Nick’s Market – located in the centre of Bristol, St Nick’s Market is where you can find some amazing food and cute little shops. I personally enjoy Cafe Revival for food/coffee, and Urban Fox for clothes shopping. Every Saturday, St Nick’s hosts a vintage flea market as well, which is definitely worth a look.

The Bristolian – My absolute favourite coffee shop in Bristol! They serve a delicious cup of coconut latte, and their veggie breakfast is to die for. The Bristolian offer both vegan, vegetarian and standard meals, so it suites everyone’s liking.

Cox and Baloney – I can’t recommend this place enough! Head up towards Gloucester Road to find this hidden gem, and enjoy one of the best Afternoon Teas in town.

Park Street – if you are wanting some new vintage clothing, Park Street has got some great shops. Sobeys, The Vintage Thrift Store and BS8 are some of my favourites.

Wapping Wharf – If you’re into great food, you have to visit Wapping Wharf. Located right by the water, this place offers both a tasty lunch and lovely views!

This should keep you busy until Fresher’s Week kicks off! Then, your first year at BIMM begins! Don’t worry if you can’t fit it all in, you’ll have three years to find your own favourite places. Enjoy!


Sally von Hofsten

Sally von Hofsten moved from Sweden to the UK in 2016 and recently graduated from the Professional Musicianship Vocals course at BIMM Bristol. Though currently engaged in marketing projects, management and content production (see @silentmedia_ on Instagram), her interests also includes arranging harmonies and travelling.