Bristol – a few of my favourite things

by Rebecca Fong

Food and drink!

Best independent coffee shops – Coffee #1, Boston Tea Party… there are too many good coffee shops to mention.

Best bread:

The Bread Store on the Gloucester Road is great (go at the end of the day and they sell of bread cheaply) Joe’s bakery, Gloucester Road, Herbert’s Bakery, York Road Montpelier

Best place to buy oriental ingredients for cooking:

Wai Yi Hong (good fresh food on Sunday mornings, Peking duck, dumplings, Chinese cakes etc) -Eastgate Centre, near IKEA. Big restaurant upstairs serving dim sum (take the same buses as for IKEA, see page 3 of this document) and then walk (about 8 minutes). Look it up on google maps.

Vietnamese supermarket, Gloucester Road

Korean supermarket, Gloucester Road

Wing Yip – Thomas Street East (near Bristol Bridge in The Centre) A good Asian supermarket, with a Chinese restaurant above it (look it up on google maps)

Asian supermarket – Denmark Street (just next to the Hippodrome in the centre – if you are facing the Hippodrome, Denmark street is on your left, walk to the top, it’s on your left)

Best pubs/bars: Too numerous to mention….

Several on the Gloucester Road (Bristol Flyer, Hog’s Head etc etc)

Roo Bar (Clifton Down) or Walkabout Gloucester Road – good for watching sports events

There are lots of pubs around the Corn Street area (just off The Centre) eg The Slug and Lettuce, The Commercial Rooms etc etc

The Old Duke for live jazz and The Llandoger Trow – both on Welsh Back

Hope and Anchor (Hotwells Rd) – excellent pub food

Best pub terrace: The White Lion (The Avon Gorge Hotel, Clifton Village) – go on a nice day and sit on the terrace…what a surprise…

Best bars: loads of bars in Corn Street, The Centre, The docks area and Waterfront: Arnolfini, Watershed Bar, Pitcher and Piano, Mud Dock…..

Cheap and cheerful restaurants: (too many to mention)

Here are some “all-you-can-eat” buffets

COSMO, (Clifton Triangle) Asian food (Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Japanese), Za Za Bazaar Waterside (World buffet), Yates, Centre (Buffet)


Order of supermarkets in terms of cost:

v  (Cheap) Asda (Bedminster) Somerfield (Gloucester Road/Cotham/Clifton), Lidl and Aldi (Southmead)

v  (Medium) Sainsbury’s (near UWE/Clifton Down/Clifton Triangle),

Tesco’s (Broadmead/Eastville/Kellaway Avenue (near Gloucester Rd)

v  (Expensive) Waitrose (Henleaze/Clifton Triangle), Marks and Spencer (Broadmead)

The big supermarkets have “city centre” convenience stores (sometimes called “metros”) which are smaller, slightly more expensive and carry less stock. These are:

* Tesco Metro (Broadmead)                      *Sainsbury’s Central (Clifton Triangle)

Cheap place to shop: Poundland – everything costs a pound (Broadmead and also top floor of the Galleries, Broadmead)

Other shopping – get an NUS card from the Student Union, this can get you discounts in shops, restaurants and clubs.

Cheapest pharmacies: Superdrug (Broadmead); Lloyds (top floor, The Galleries, Broadmead/Clifton Down)

Cheapest place to get most home goods (toasters, duvets, hairdryers etc): Argos, the “catalogue” shops (top floor, The Galleries, Broadmead); IKEA

Very cheap place for new clothes, shoes, sportswear, last season’s designer wear, some household goods: TKMAXX, The Galleries, 3rd floor, Broadmead

WILKOs/Wilkinsons – Broadmead and Queen’s Road – drugstore, household goods, cleaning agents – all very cheap

Cheapest place to buy new and used books: (you need a credit card) – much, much cheaper than bookshops.

Best place for free books: the central library – (join the library by taking your UWE student card and a utility bill/bank statement which has evidence of your address – also a nice place to work, if you live in town)

Hardware store for Do-It-Yourself stuff: screws, lightbulbs, hooks, hoover bags, brooms, bits and bobs Bishopston Hardware (Gloucester Rd) Cotham Hardware (Cotham Hill), Robert Dyas, The Galleries Broadmead

Second hand shops are popular in Britain – you can sometimes find a real bargain! lots on Cotham Hill, the Gloucester Road, etc etc.

A cheap haircut: Supercuts in the Galleries, Broadmead, about £13.95 (they don’t do appointments, just turn up and queue)

Great travel agents for students: Trailfinders (Corn Street), STA Queens Road

DIY (Do-it-yourself): if you’re decorating your room/house and want paint, the most convenient DIY store is Gardiner Haskins near Temple Meads station – you can get there on a number 8 or 9 bus, get off at The Bristol Evening Post building, just 2 stops before Temple Meads station; ….and opposite Gardiner Haskins is a good garden centre for pot plants there’s also a huge B & Q store opposite UWE;

Shopping day out!

IKEA just off junction 2 of the M32 motorway. From UWE, take a First bus 70 to the Muller Road bus depot. Get off, walk forward a bit to the 25 bus stop. Take the 25 a few more stops down the road to IKEA. The IKEA bus stop is called “Tesco’s Eastville”.  (If you are confused, ask when you get off the 70 at the Muller road bus depot).

Or take a bus number 4 direct from Broadmead (bottom of Union Street on the left) and ask for Tesco’s Eastville (about 20 minutes); or take a number 25 bus from outside the Muller Road bus depot in Horfield, and ask for Tesco’s Eastville (about 10 minutes).

CRIBBS CAUSEWAY – a huge out of town shopping park, you could spend a day there. Many buses  eg 319/318 from UWE go to Cribbs Causeway as their final destination (about 25 mins from UWE). Or from the centre, a 1 or a 2 will take you there (about 45 mins).

Extracurricular activities!

Markets: St Nicholas permanent outdoor and indoor markets on Sat, Mon, Tue, Wed (food), Thurs – Corn Street Bristol (+ first Sunday of every month is The Slow Food Fair, very nice organic food)

Independent cinemas for independent foreign films and old movies: Arnolfini and Watershed (both on the Docks), The Cube (King’s Square)

In town cinemas: The Odeon, Broadmead; The Orpheus, Henleaze (bus 2 from the Centre, to Waitrose Henleaze); Independent cinemas – The Watershed, The Arnolfini, (both Waterfront), The Cube (King’s Square – near Stokes Croft)

Best swimming pool: Bristol University in the Students’ Union, Queen’s Road (a UWE student’s card will get you in for £3 a time); also Horfield Leisure Centre on the Gloucester Road (top end not city end)

Best classical concert venue: St George’s, Brandon Hill, just off Park Street; The Colston Hall (Colston Avenue)

Best theatres: The Bristol Old Vic (afternoon matinee tickets are cheaper); The Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road, Bedminster (wonderful performances); The Hippodrome for musicals (The Centre)

Clubs and discos: I have no idea!!! Evolution, Revolution, Lounge Lizard, Oceania….??? You tell me!

Best local radio station?: HEART for the current pop songs FM 96.3


Best public transport: there is no such thing as good public transport in Britain, sorry…

Bristol buses: 2 major companies the Wessex Red buses and the First buses (white) – student deals are available, visit the Student Union in F Block and ask about weekly/monthly/annual passes. Get a Ulink student card to reduce your travel costs.

Red bus all day pass with a Ulink card = £2.50

You can also get a “First day pass” allowing unlimited travel for a day on all buses in Bristol for £4 (may be cheaper with student card, I’m not sure)

If you want to go to BATH for the day, get a “Freedom pass zones A and B” ticket on the bus. It’s £11 without a student pass and includes unlimited bus travel in Bristol and Bath PLUS the train fares to and from Bath.

Cheapest coach trip to London:

1) The Megabus from as little as £1 a journey. You must get your tickets online at The Megabus picks up from UWE (takes about 2 hours 30 mins)

2) National Express student travel card for 30% off standard rates on all trips (day trip return about £11)

Trains: Trains are incredibly expensive in Britain, but if you book and pre-pay several weeks in advance on the internet, you can often get much cheaper fares (you cannot change the times on the tickets though). Travelling on Fridays or at peak times (before 9.30am and after 4.15pm) is more expensive on trains.

Here is the train website:

For discounted travel also try

Regular “Bristol Flyer” coaches from the train station/coach station to Bristol International Airport (cheap airlines from Bristol include Easyjet, Ryanair, bmi). Single to the airport is £8, return is £11.

Buy a bike! – best place to get a bargain – check the “For Sale” section of the local paper, the EVENING POST, or advertisements in small shop windows; you could get a perfectly usable bike for about £30 and never have to take a bus again!

When you cycle in Britain, you must follow the Highway Code (pretend you’re a car!). Wear a helmet, and/or a green cycle strip. Don’t cycle on the pavement or the wrong way down a one-way street, stay in the bike lanes and stop at red lights. Also, drive with care, some buses and cars (not the majority) are disrespectful of cyclists. Please give cyclists a good name. There is a “back way” through fields from Lockleaze into UWE avoiding all the major roads.

Cycling to UWE from the Centre takes 30 minutes – it’s cheaper, healthier and a lot faster than the buses… and rain is only water, after all…

STAY SAFE – only get a bicycle if you feel confident about cycling, if you have a good lock and bike lights and if you stick with the rules of the Highway Code. Be aware that bikes do get stolen in Bristol, so don’t buy a very expensive model, and always tie your bike to something that doesn’t move!

Cheap hotels/bed and breakfast for friends to stay in: The Premier Travel Inn, Broadmead,

Sightseeing in Bristol (all city museums are free – though special exhibitions may not be)

Best historical hour out: The Georgian House, Brandon Hill, just off Park Street

Best view of Bristol: From the top of the Cabot Tower (110 steps), Brandon Hill, just off Park street, – go on, it won’t kill you, and it’s free….lots of squirrels in the park too!

Best alternative perspective of Bristol: From the camera obscura in the Observatory next to the Suspension Bridge – only go on a really sunny day or the camera won’t work!

Best rides: take the ferry from the centre – to….anywhere, do a round-trip stopping off at some pubs! The Official Bristol open top bus tour is fun too, about £6 on/off as you like all day

Best summer fun: The Harbour Festival (July), The Balloon Fiesta (around the second weekend in August), The Pop Festival (July), The Kite festival (early September), The Organic Food Fair (early September), Brisfest (Sept 21st, Ashton Court), Open Doors Day, the Half Marathon…

Best creative fun: The “art trails” – area by area, a chance to go round people’s houses checking out all the incredible artistic talent there is in the city and get a look at how other people live while you’re at it… wonderful!

Autumn art trails (look them up online)


Bristol West or Clifton Art trail

North Bristol Art trail (Gloucester Road area)

Totterdown Art trail

Windmill Hill Art trail


Bedminster/Southville Art trails

I hope you have a great time in Bristol.       Rebecca



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