The heart of Bristol: living in the city centre

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by Razaan, BSc(Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering

Hi, I’m Razaan, and I am currently a third year student at UWE Bristol. I’ve been living in the city centre ever since I started studying here, and it has its pros and cons. In this post, I’ll walk you through what it’s actually like living in the centre as a UWE Bristol student.

Before moving to Bristol, I had to do my research on the city itself to know what to expect. When deciding where to live, I knew I wanted to live close to the shopping centre, restaurants and cafes, so the city centre was a great option for me.

Travelling to campus

The first thing you need to know is that, unlike people living on campus, you’ll have to take the bus to get to your classes. The bus ride is usually 15-35 minutes long to get to Frenchay Campus, depending on which stop you are getting on from the centre.

Keep in mind that buses for 9am lectures are usually the most crowded. You should aim to get to the bus stop at least an hour before your lecture to ensure you get to campus on time.

On the plus side, the buses get less crowded by 9:30am. So if you have a 10am lecture, you can get to the bus stop 25-40 minutes before your lecture (depending on the bus service you’re taking.)

Things to do in Bristol city centre

You get to enjoy shopping at Cabot Circus, visit the Hippodrome, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, and enjoy many different kinds of food choices (including halal options). Bristol is actually well known for the best vegan food you’ve probably ever tried (so vegans this one’s for you!).

Living in the centre means you’re surrounded by everything, perfect for a spontaneous day out.

Some coffee shops close around 9pm, so it’s perfect if you ever want to relax and do some work after coming back from university. Personally, I tend to be more productive when I work in coffee shops than in libraries or at home, but that could just be me. 

Finding accommodation in the city centre

For my first two years in Bristol, I lived alone in a studio apartment. I didn’t have to worry about someone taking out my food straight from the fridge (yes, I have many friends who have experienced that). Also, the place would be as tidy as I wanted it to be, and it was always quiet and calm.

Accommodation in the centre can be quite costly, especially if you look into it late. However, if you try to book yourself a place by January-March, you should be able to get a good deal. That’s usually when there are deals on studio apartments, to get students to secure a place before September comes.

Search online beforehand if you’re planning to live in the city centre. You’ll find there are many websites that provide accommodation to suit your needs, at different price points.

In all honesty, living in the centre is one of the best choices I’ve made – it’s so efficient.

Another option is to do what I have done for my third year. I found a 2-3-bedroom apartment and divided the costs between myself and my friends. That way you pay less than what you’d usually pay for a studio apartment, with more space and in a prime location.

However, ensure you move in with someone you trust and truly don’t mind living with. It’s best to share an apartment with someone you’re really comfortable with.

My favourite things about living in the city centre

Shopping stores close up at 8pm on weekdays, and being surrounded by grocery stores makes it easier to pop out whenever you run out of milk or bread.

Travelling to university is fine once you get used to it. Everything feels like it has its own rhythm. You never know what exciting thing you could experience and discover in Bristol if you choose to live in the city centre.

When you live in the city centre, you have a wider selection of things to do at the weekends.

If you’re more of an outgoing person who enjoys being in the city, then you won’t regret staying in the centre. You’ll be surrounded by shops, restaurants, cafes, and plenty of exciting things to do, all on your doorstep.

Find out more about living in private accommodation on the UWE Bristol website.

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