By Neve Dawson, Third-Year English and History
So you’re coming to Bristol University. A big round of applause and many congratulations. While the trepidation of moving to a new city is starting to kick in, so are, I’m sure, feelings of curiosity as to the city itself and what it has to offer a new student on the block.
Bristol. Whilst stereotypes prescribe a Bristolian with Skins-esque eyeliner, Afghan fur coats and second-hand clothes sourced through vicious Depop battles, the reality of life in the city is rather different. Even if I am one of the aforementioned Penny Lane wannabes.
The city is undoubtedly one of the most culturally-rich and diverse locations in England. Known for its tendency to make newspaper headlines, Bristol is a city of non-conformity and individuality, which welcomes everyone with open arms.
With that in mind, here’s a compiled bucket list of activities to pick and choose from, serving to further enrich a newcomer’s Freshers Week as they settle into their new lives at the university.
Calling all musicians! – The Old Duke Open Mic
Whether you’re an avid six-string player or just a fan of live music, the open mic at King Street's Old Duke is something you don’t want to miss. Taking place every Tuesday until 11 pm, gather at this city-centre joint for an evening of the best covers and original music. Entry is free and if you are the next Sam Fender, sign-up on the night for the open mic, as free drinks are only an arm’s reach away.
An English student’s paradise – Satellite of Love: Poetry Open Mic
Do you write your own poetry or are you an avid Keats reader? Get yourself down to the Lightship Boat near M-Shed and witness the outstanding Satellite of Love Poetry and Spoken Word open mic. Occuring on the last Wednesday of the month, the night is one of the most welcoming events I have attended in Bristol, guaranteeing laughs, cheap drinks and an abundance of creativity.
To celebrate my 30th birthday, I've partnered with@SOL_Poetry to put on a poetry event. All of the profits will be donated to @ForwardTrust who empower people to break the cycles of addiction or crime to move forward with their lives. Tickets: https://t.co/Z6Kzp7J74O #bristol pic.twitter.com/5Wgx6wUuO9— Josie Alford (@JosieAlfordPoet) June 2, 2023
Feeling thrifty? – Cotham Hill Charity Shopping
Want to impress your friends with your in-depth geographical knowledge of Bristol? Visit Cotham Hill off Whiteladies Road: the hangout and residential area for many second and third-years. The shopping street is full of surprising and niche finds, including a plethora of charity shops. It’s perfect for finding that cheap second-hand fit that will make the Y2K girlies green with jealousy.
Avid cinephile? Catch the latest blockbuster at Showcase Cinema
Are you a film student or the next Christopher Nolan with a longstanding addiction to Cillian Murphy? Located in Cabot Circus, make the most of Showcase Cinema’s cheap student deals - which start at £7.50! You can even sign up for a points scheme enabling future discounts on your cinema visits. This is perfect for those often-awkward first dates or wholesome nights out with your flat - without the hangover the next day.
Free Live Music – Jam Nights at Strange Brew
Who doesn’t love a free event? Jam Nights at Strange Brew are perfect for all you music lovers, regardless of your genre preference. Witness first-hand Bristol’s best musicians and the next Loyle Carner. Or get up on the stage yourself. Strange Brew’s Monday Nights are a night to remember and have been where some of my fondest university memories were made. Get loose and jam along.
Grab the hayfever tablets – University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Are you a budding botanist? Need grounding back to nature after a long week? Take a peaceful wander to the Botanic Gardens, free to all students of the university. Rich with instagrammable content and perfect for some tranquil thinking or fresh air, the garden contains hundreds of different plant species and flowers. It is also a short walk from North Village and close to multiple U1 student bus stops.
Feeling Brainy? – Mother’s Ruin Quiz Nights
Hold onto your hats and bear with me. Mother’s Ruin is the best pub in Bristol. No arguing. Boasting cheap happy-hour pints and a retro-chic interior, the pub also offers quiz nights every Tuesday, just a walk away from King Street and other top drinking spots in Bristol. Perfect for those of you who fancy a brain-stimulating challenge, and a short walk home if your accommodation is in the city centre.
Featured Image: Unsplash /Larisa Mamonova
What are you most looking forward to during Freshers Week?