New year, new scenery | A look into Bristol’s 2020 cultural offerings

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By Tom Woodruffe, Second Year, Geography

With January coming to a close, Epigram gives you some tips and tricks for students about some of the best things to do around the city this year.

January’s for Justice and politics:

A great way to educate yourself on the challenges society faces with the climate is the  Fridays for Future movement, which sees hundreds of young people assemble on a monthly basis on park street,

Additionally, the University has collated a range of research pieces to form the voices of the Cold war, to be displayed and debated at the Cold War Voices conference from the 22nd-23rd in Senate House.

Film in February:

Where blockbusters are concerned, ‘Like a boss’ is a comedy that follows two businesswomen battling the hierarchical powers for control of their own ideas. Due to be starring Tiffiny Haddish and Rose Byrne, and released on the 21st, catch this comedic adventure at cinemas like the Orpheus in, with student admissions at just £5 on Mondays..

Locally, the beautiful Arnolfini gallery on the harbourside is holding silent film screenings, presented by South West Silence. For example, Der Golem is renowned for its stunning cinematography and lighting as it explores the foreshadowing of the Jewish persecution in Europe.

Halls at Wills in January | Epigram / Robin Connolly

Museums in March:

An old but underestimated favourite, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery are starting the decade off with a bang, a fizzle and an unexpected rabbit with their new magic exhibition on the ground floor. ‘Do you believe in magic?’, the exhibition offers 200 artefacts which explain the history of magic and its effect on society. Get there before it closes in April!

For those who desire a new quiet space, the museum’s staff have recommended using the space on the top floor to have 15 minutes of peace and quiet. Currently art exhibitions, the rooms are usually empty and completely silent providing the best space to take a minute.

Discover Bristol’s Art in April:

One favourite exhibition that cannot be missed is the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition at the Watershed, only a few hundred meters from  the Wills Memorial Building. Open most days, free for those aged 16-25 on Wednesdays (with ID), it includes an array of competing artworks from around the world, with creatures great and small. It will close on the 4th May.

| Take to the streets - Bristol's love affair with street art

May is for Music:

The month’s musical festivities revolve around the infamous Love Saves the Day festival. A Bristol student favourite, LSTD will commence from the 23rd to the 24th in Eastville Park. The lineup is yet to be announced but if last years headline acts, Lily Allen and Chase & Status are anything to go by, the festival’s final year should not be missed.

If the trek to the venue does not appeal to you, Mr Wolfs is a local yet viable option. Best on a Tuesday, with £3 pints and an accompaniment of jazz from student and local musicians, the chilled vibe is ideal for anyone looking for a night out without the intensity of the triangle. Always look out for open mics and concerts on the Bristol LivSoc Facebook page to support up and coming acts from the university.

Bristol Harbourside in May | Epigram / Robin Connolly

June- J-drinking:

Suns out, tinnies out: as the deadlines start to fizzle away and the sun starts to peak through the clouds, drinking on the grass becomes its own social activity. Gather your mates and assemble on the downs and drink the sorrows of the exam season away. However always check if public alcohol consumption is allowed, as drinking in areas such as Castle Park and College Green could lead to a significant fine if caught.

Beer aficionados will look forward to the Bristol Craft Beer festival on the 12th and 13th. Head down to the Harbourside for a selection of local beer, live music and good food.

July and August – Summer Socialising:

By this point in the year, the university becomes an abyss; a student-less wasteland interrupted by the hush of the odd academic, surrounded by a mountain of books. The odd student, parent in tow, visits the city in early July to move house. A process that sometimes involves more than one  day- trips for caffeine refills are very much needed.

| Coffee for coffee's sake

Whilst the Primrose Cafe in Clifton Village is the ideal place to prove to parents that you can ‘adult’, another place is Spicer and Cole. Just 100 meters away on Princess Victoria Street, the competitive pricing and a selection of small dishes makes the brutalist venue a good shout if you’re in the area.

Love Saves the Day Festival | Epigram / Robin Connolly

Back to School Shopping in September:

For most, September is the time to refresh. Hearty student loans and holiday job money is coupled with an eagerness to declutter, buy fresh stationery and actually do the work that you made your relatives think you were doing.

Bristol’s shopping facilities are ready and waiting. Replace the hustle and bustle of Cabot circus with local shops such as Old Market plants on Gloucester road, whose nursery has a great selection of indoor plants.  Although Wilko is the cheap bet for highlighter and stationery sets, the minimalist design and quality of the kit at the Papersmiths store in Clifton village are non-negotiable.

Go Outdoors in October:

One of the perks of  Bristol relative to  other university cities is h the amount of green space right under our noses. The Natural Trusts’ Leigh Woods is the perfect place for a walk or cycle. This 490-acre woodland, only a short walk over the Suspension Bridge, is a silent place  where you are able to experience the benefits of a brisk country walk, For cyclists, spice up your ride with the mountain bike trails which vary in difficulty and muddy puddles sizes!

November Nightlife:

Although November is on the distant horizon and few events have been arranged for this month, there are a number of timeless places, outside of the triangle, that need visiting to experience what the city truly has to offer.

Cosies, near the Bearpit, is a personal favourite Sunday venue  which strikes the right balance between socialising and refreshing for the week ahead. Supporting local musicians from 10pm onwards, the Reggae/ House/ Dubstep atmosphere can trick you into thinking you are on the lash whilst leaving you the essential energy you need for your 9am on a Monday.

Clifton in September | Epigram / Robin Connolly

Dating in December:

Whether you are looking to impress the love of your life or your  seasonal study buddy, the iconic  and idyllic suspension bridge is the place to start. Indeed, trekking through Clifton Village to look at a 200-year-old bridge does not sound particularly Hugh Grant-esque but there a number of ways to enjoy the view in style.

If you want to impress your date with your deep pockets, stop off at the White Lion for some overpriced beverages with a nice view. Conversely a short walk into Clifton Village (Princess Victoria Street) will take you to the infamous Clifton Village fish bar. One of the top 100 ‘restaurants’ to visit in the country, this chippy will provide a meal to warm your hands and hearts while you look across Bristol’s scenic vistas. Do make sure you go before sunset, its earlier than you would think!

Featured: Epigram / Robin Connolly


Have you done any of these things in Bristol, or have any further suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

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