16 May 2015

Life in Bristol

I've been meaning to write a blog post on living in Bristol for a long time and finally I got around to do it. :) I have been living in Bristol (U.K.) for the past two years, although I would say that I live here part-time because I like going back to Florence, my hometown, quite often, and travelling around the world. Bristol is absolutely an amazing city. It's won the 2015 European Green Capital Award, so this is perhaps one of the best times ever to be living in here. I am a proud student of the University of Bristol and although I'm excited to go on my year abroad next year, I can't wait to come back in my fourth and final year.
Here are some facts about the city that you may not be familiar with and obviously my opinion as an adopted Bristolian.

1 Bristol is the capital city of the South West of England

I know what you're thinking: isn't Cardiff the capital city of the South West? Well, yes, but Cardiff is technically in Wales, which is a different region from England. Although England is widely used definition by the natives, this is not always the case abroad, where 'England' is a term often used to indicate 'United Kingdom'.

2 The weather is alright

When I moved here, I have to admit that I had very low expectations. However, I soon realised that the weather wasn't bad at all! Every time that I go to London I feel like it's a lot worse there, but most people disagree with me. Yes, it does rain, but never as much as one would imagine when coming from a Mediterranean country! In the morning it's often sunny and this year we've had an amazing sunny start of spring. Also, a good thing is that it never gets ridiculously cold in winter - it's more humid than cold with super low temperatures. Sadly, it never gets very hot either. It's basically mild all year long.

3 Bristol is a green city

As I mentioned before, Bristol has recently won the European Green Capital Award, both because it's very green and because of the high attention on environment issues (yes, I'm obsessed with recycling). The truth is, there are so many beautiful parks where you could go but you probably won't end up spending much time in there. It's quite hard considering the rapid changes of the weather such as sudden unexpected showers. My favourite park is Brandon Hill where I spent quite a lot of time last year. The Downs and Ashton Court are also incredible, but they are massive parks that don't have that cozy feeling or stunning view that Brandon Hill offers.

4 Bristol is a hilly city

Surely this is an aspect that you would rarely take into account when moving or travelling to Bristol. Bristol has so many hills that the 5 minute journey you'd planned to go to Sainsbury's will soon get the feel of a hiking trip to the Himalayas. I found out that it's a great exercise (no need for that expensive gym membership you'd been planning to get) and it's one of the reasons why you won't ever get very cold: Bristolian hills are there to warm you up!

5 Bristol is Banksy's hometown!

Have you heard of Banksy, that great graffiti artist who manages to secretly create amazing street art without being caught? He comes from Bristol, and if you have a walk around the main areas of the city you'll find some cool dark humour graffiti.
6 If you're a student, you'll get the best out of Bristol

Bristol is one of the most studenty cities in the U.K. The largest part of the population is made by students, not just from the main university but also from the many other schools and colleges. Our Students' Union (something I didn't know before coming to England - it's a social headquarters for students where cultural and sports activities happen) is super cool and there are many other events organised by students for students that you can join on a daily basis. The nightlife is also quite active, especially at the beginning of the academic year when people have less to study.

7 It's also a great place for linguists

Bristol offers so many language tandems: anywhere, anytime. It's a fairly international city and people like to meet up and practice their language skills on a one-to-one or group basis. I usually have a look at University of Bristol societies pages on Facebok (i.e. the Hispanic Society - I ran the weekly language exchange in second year - and the Erasmus Page), and perhaps even though I haven't used it so far in Bristol.

8 Bristol has a very low rate of unemployment

I know this is a type of information that I don't include in my blog, but as a person coming from a country where it's quite hard to find a job, I was shocked to see how easy it is for students to get a part-time job or just the great availability of full-time jobs. I'm not planning on remaining to work in Bristol, but if did it would certainly be a good choice for my career.
9 Bristol's got a strong local culture

From Stokes Croft to Clifton Village to the entire Park Street, Bristol offers a lot of local shops, especially for food and charity shops. Also there are so many vintage fairs going on all the time for very cheap entries (check out This means cheap books for avid readers like me and lots of other interesting vintage items to buy!

10 Bristol has got many attractions!

Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Harbourside, the local museums... Bristol definitely has a lot of attractions to offer, but I'll have to insert all of that in another blog post (very soon) :)

11 The German Christmas Market in December is one of my favourite things Bristolian

For the second year in a row, my German Market experience has been magical. I like to go with some friends and enjoy sipping hot chocolate and eating cakes and I am already looking forward to the next one!

12 Air Balloons are a thing

I still haven't had the chance to fly with an air balloon but I'd love to do it! Here's one of the many air balloons I saw from my window last year, it's quite common to see them here.
I get lots of questions about what it's like to live in Bristol, and I think that these would be the main points that would make my answer. If you're thinking of moving to Bristol feel free to message me and ask any questions :) Thanks for reading!


  1. It sounds amazing. I would love to live in the UK or Europe. I've visited a few times which makes me want to experience more. I love experiencing new foods, different culture, people....

    About as far as I got was Moving from Calif to Arizona. A far cry from Bristol!

  2. You paint a very lovely picture of Bristol--it sounds like a wonderful place!

  3. Hey! Thanks for your comment :) to be fair, most people in Europe dream of living in California for a while or at least visit it: consider yourself lucky! And Arizona also looks amazing! I still haven't had the chance to visit the U.S. but I really want to. Where did you go when you travelled to Europe? Assia x

  4. Hey Pam! Thanks for your comment. It is a great place - you should visit it if you have the chance to :)

  5. I've been working in Bristol for 1 year now and I have to say I love it. It's not London but it has such a good vibe! Loads of good restaurants and local shops. I love the Clifton village, so green and such an amazing view :)

  6. Yeah, it's kind of a smaller London but easier to handle. Hope you're having a good time! :)

  7. Really?? OMG!! I can't imagine not wanting to be in Europe. It's so beautiful!! In Europe I was in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin last year. I thought I'd hate Berlin but it was fascinating! Paris is just amazing. Years ago I was in London. But oh Paris

  8. Can you believe that I've only been to Paris and London of those? Same for Berlin, I don't have high expectations but I might end up liking it :)

  9. It's not pretty in Berlin and I thought the history would bore me but it was fascinating. We did a Segway tour and my husband had to drag me but then I loved it!!!

  10. What an excellent feature... Very informative and it's really nice to know London at a Glance! :)
    Best wishes, Aquileana :D

  11. Sounds so good, I'd LOVE to visit Bristol anytime soon !! (sooner rather than later ;p)

  12. You definitely should! It's very well connected so it's quite easy to get here :) xx

  13. Great've been tweeted!

  14. Hi Amanda, that's so sweet! Thank you so much! Have you visited the UK yet? Assia xx :)

  15. I'm from the UK. I was born in London and lived mostly in Winchester. Now I live in Canada and unfortunately I didn't get a chance to visit Bristol while I lived there, maybe on one of my visits back I will. :-)

  16. That's so cool! I really want to visit Canada. Some of my relatives live in Ontario, I might go some time soon. :) xx

  17. Hi Aquileana, thanks for your comment :) speak soon!

  18. I just moved back to the UK from Barcelona last year and chose Bristol, many of the things you mention surprised me too - especially the hills and the weather! Lovely to hear your perspective on the city :)


  19. That's so cool! Because... I'm thinking of going to Barcelona next year! What a coincidence. Is Barcelona a lot different in terms of size / moving around / cost? :) Assia x

  20. It is definitely different - it's bigger and yet is easier to get around because the metro is super good & pretty cheap. Overall it's cheaper to live there - rent is lower, food costs lower, lots of free events and wine/beer is very inexpensive. It's a really awesome city with so much to do, beautiful architecture and a beach. I'd definitely recommend it! Happy to help if you have any questions now or closer to the time x

  21. Thank you! I'm just really worried about the great amount of people that I'm not used to and the pickpockets. Everyone says there are many and I'm quite scared! haha xx

  22. Yes there are pickpockets, but you just have to be careful. We didn't have any problems, but a tourist who stayed with us through Air B&B had some money taken. I think if you live in Gracia or Poblenou then you will be fine :)

  23. Thanks for the advice! Air B & B sounds fantastic by the way. I really want to try it once! :)