Life in Bristol

Say hello to Bristol. This West Country city has a fiercely independent spirit and is alive with inspiration and culture. A place where music and art come together to form a diverse creative community – and it’s waiting for you to become a part of it.

Bristol was the first British city to be named European Green Capital and is often hailed as one of the best places to live in the country. The atmosphere and friendly locals are a big part of that-–you’ll feel right at home here.

If you’re after an exciting city with lots to offer, you can’t go wrong with living in Bristol. There’s a huge variety of clubs, bars, pubs, independent cafes and restaurants with many different cuisines to try.

There’s also a wide range of legendary Bristol music venues everywhere – we’re talking dive bars, swanky concert halls, and everything in between, including Theatre Royal, the oldest continually operating theatre in the UK.

Within a half-mile radius of both BIMM sites, you can find Colston Hall, O2 Academy Bristol, The Canteen, The Attic and many more. Not bad to have on your doorstep, right?

But, don’t just take our word for it. Hear from Sally Von Hofsten, our Vocals graduate, and her three great things about living in Bristol.

The Fleece
St Thomas Street

A legendary live music Bristol venue offering live music and club nights seven nights a week since 1982.

The Grove, East Mud Dock

A Bristol live music venue onboard a converted German cargo ship moored in Bristol Harbour since 1984.

Mr Wolfs
St Nicholas Street

An intimate venue with live music, club nights and open mic sessions – as well as an amazing noodle menu.

Rough Trade
New Bridewell, Nelson Street

A legendary record store with a cafe, bar and live performance room.

LeftBank Bar
Cheltenham Road

Intimate bar hosting regular live jazz and soul sessions – and set in a language school.

bristol grafitti

“What I love most is that everything is on your doorstep.”
Aliesha Lobuczek, Vocals

Music plays a massive part in maintaining Bristol’s cultural prominence. Study in the city where drum & bass, trip-hop and punk have strong roots, with acts such as Roni Size, Massive Attack, Portishead, IDLES and Onslaught hailing from here.

Bristol’s other emerging names include Phoxjaw, Heavy Lungs, Scalping, Gardna, Keir, Elder Island, Eva Lazarus and Giant Swan. Each band is supported by a strong network of live music venues, including iconic Louisiana and the famous boat venue, Thekla.

“Bristol is such a diverse yet unified city. Of course, the music is brilliant.”
Will Brookes, Bass


There is a big dance music scene in Bristol. It’s vast and ever-expanding. You’ll find many student nights across all different clubs, bars and pubs. Some popular clubs are Bunker, The Lanes and Motion for the more seasoned clubber.

The O2 Academy also hosts club nights, including Ramshackle, a weekly rave for the student masses. Propaganda is held at The Fleece and is regarded as the UK’s biggest student night, with sets from guest DJs such as Huw Stephens and James Buckley (Jay from The Inbetweeners).

If you prefer something less intense, Mr Wolf’s is an excellent student bar. They serve up noodles until late in the evening and play reggae, dancehall, soul, rock‘n’roll, funk and occasionally some disco. They also put on live music and hold weekly open mic nights.

You can also find a night out at The Canteen. Seven nights a week, local and touring musicians from all genres of music take to the stage from 10pm for a free concert until midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends. You can then grab some rest and head there for a freshly roasted coffee the following day. Perfect, right?

Bristol Festivals

Bristol festivals are growing. Check out Love Saves The Day, Bristol Harbour Festival and 2000Trees in the neighbouring town of Cheltenham. Of course, you’ll have the chance to get involved with some of our festival partnerships too.


The multi-award-winning festival takes place in the stunning Cotswold Hills for three days. Past acts include Enter Shikari, Wolf Alice, Lower Than Atlantis and Nothing But Thieves. And every year, BIMM students have the chance to get involved setting up, running and performing at the festival.

Dot to Dot

For one day in May, Dot to Dot festival sees incredible bands and artists play across multiple venues across the city. The lineup then travels to play for a day in Nottingham and Manchester. This is a festival that’s known for having its fingers firmly on the pulse and championing artists on the cusp of greatness. Previous years have seen the likes of Swim Deep, Crystal Fighters, Pale Waves, Mystery Jets, Rae Morris and Dua Lipa take the city’s venues.

There’s certainly no shortage of fantastic restaurants and cafes in Bristol. If you’re looking for a good starting point, head to Wapping Wharf near the Harbourside for an eclectic range of food joints housed in old shipping containers. In the centre, Chilly Daddy, Caribbean Croft and Cafe Cuba are also must-visits.

St Nick’s Market has no shortage of food spots. You simply must have a naan wrap from Matina. They’re amazing! Coffee nerds head to Full Court Press for a pour-over or go to The Canteen, where you can eat, drink, watch live music and play table tennis in their roomy beer garden.

Bristol is a popular shopping destination as it is the only major city in this part of the South West. People flock from all over North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire to visit Bristol’s many shops and boutiques.

The town centre is home to Broadmead. Here you can find loads of shops, independent and high street. You will discover Cabot Circus and the Galleries, both indoor shopping centres at either end of Broadmead. Cabot Circus boasts a collection of modern and high-end retailers, including Vans, Urban Outfitters and Footlocker. There are also several restaurants, a cinema, indoor crazy golf, and other entertainment outlets.

If you venture out of the centre, you can visit Park Street or Gloucester Road. These are home to more independent boutiques and charity shops. Gloucester Road, in particular, has been famed for its self-sustained nature and anti-corporate attitude. They also love to accept the Bristol Pound: a local initiative encouraging residents to put more into Bristol’s local economy.

There are lots of music retailers, including Wanted Records, Rough Trade and Shall Not Fade. If you’re after music gear, you can also check out Hobgoblin, Mickleburghs, Music Room PMT and Rikaxxe.

You’re never far from greenery in Bristol, meaning it’s the perfect city for BBQ spots and sunshine beers.

Hop on a bus, and you may find yourself near Clifton Downs. Clifton Village itself is a great place to visit on a sunny day, as you can sit in the shadow of Clifton Suspension Bridge and enjoy a drink at the White Lion.

Opposite Clifton is Leigh Woods – a charming patch of woodland to walk through. The famous Bristol Harbour is perfect for taking a stroll along the river. If adventure is calling and you fancy going further afield, Cheddar Gorge, Blaise Castle, the Mendip Hills and many other beautiful spots are nearby. There are lots of picturesque towns and cities to visit nearby, such as Bath and Gloucester.


If you cycle, you will find that you are not alone. There are plenty of initiatives laid out by Bristol City Council to get people out on their bikes. The Yo!Bike app allows you to ride a bike for just £1 with the first journey free – these are the yellow bikes seen around town.


From the Bear Pit (Barton roundabout), you can catch buses that go all over Bristol. It’s also handy to know that students can show their BIMM ID for a 30% discount on bus journeys.


Temple Meads is Bristol’s central station. It is approximately a 20-minute walk from King Square/Moon Street campuses and connects you to the rest of the country via First Great Western, Cross Country and Stagecoach.

Parkway is a large station connecting Bristol to Wales and surrounding Bristol towns, London and the Midlands.

Montpelier is the nearest platform to either campus. This is an inner-city station which connects you to other parts of Bristol, including Bristol Temple Meads, Clifton, Lawrence Hill and Stapleton Road.

Redland is another platform nearby connecting you to other parts of Bristol, including Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Severn Tunnel Junction.


Bristol has its own airport, with flights worldwide.

Any Questions?

For any questions regarding Bristol student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to BIMM Music Institute Bristol please contact our Enquiries Team on 01273 840 346 or email [email protected].


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