Study abroad in Bristol, UK and discover the local culture
Bristol is the gateway to the South West of England known for its creative edge, relaxed lifestyle and student-friendly neighborhoods. There’s always a festival happening somewhere, and you can’t miss the colorful street art across the city. Get an insider’s guide to this city’s unique culture and feel right at home when you’re studying abroad in Bristol.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Britain’s greatest engineer was a busy man in Bristol, and he has certainly left his mark on the city. The Clifton Suspension Bridge, the SS Great Britain ship and Bristol Temple Meads Train Station are the three most famous Bristol landmarks in the city today that the cigar-loving gentleman designed. When you’re studying at the University of Bristol, you will spot plenty of local businesses from pubs to car garages with the name Brunel in them. You can learn all about Brunel himself, his engineering feats and explore his most famous ship at Brunel’s SS Great Britain museum in the city center.
It was in Bristol in the early 1990s when Banksy’s spray-painted stenciled artworks started to pop up. This famous, anonymous street artist is now a global star, but Bristol remains a city with plenty of Banksy artworks to see. But that’s not all. Thanks to Over the years, street art has become synonymous with the city with impressive murals to see in Stokes Croft and Southville. This neighborhood also hosts Europe’s largest street art festival, UpFest, every year giving local shops, walls and even homes a fresh lick of paint. Take a walking street art tour to learn the history,
Bristol is the home of Aardman Animations, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph. Since the animators started moulding plasticine characters in the 1970s, they’ve had quite an impact on the city itself, most notably raising £70 million for the Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the official Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity. You can visit the Gromit Unleashed shop in The Mall shopping centre at Cribbs Causeway or pop into the free M Shed Museum where there’s an Aardman exhibit.
The Bristol Sound
Tricky, Massive Attack and Portishead all became famous in the 1990s for creating the Bristol Sound. The music is a Black British hip-hop rooted in Bristol street culture with Caribbean influences. Their musical influence continues today with the city home to many live music pubs and clubs, such as Thekla and The Fleece. Head to independent record shops like Friendly Records and Plastic Wax Records to pick up vinyl albums by Bristol bands and look out for occasional concerts by Massive Attack and newer Bristol bands like IDLES.