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Bristol: Things to Do and Places to See

Part 3: Culture & Entertainment

There are countless opportunities in Bristol to go out and discover something new, educate yourself, dance the night away or find unusual art, music or movies in Bristol. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and practice your English language skills and get to know your new friends from the language school better, and to give you something to talk about at your classes. It would be impossible to list all the stimulating, intriguing and downright quirky goings-on in Bristol, so we’ve narrowed it down to our top three must-sees. As with our other recommendations, we’ve sorted the attractions according to price bracket, so you’ve got a good idea of where to go depending on your financial situation!

Side note: In an earlier blog we looked at slang, and how it integrates into the English language and culture. This week we’ll include slang into our descriptions to give you a taste of how and why it’s used. Try looking up the slang you don’t understand, or ask us to explain it in your next lesson. To make things slightly easier, we’ve written the slang we use in bold.

Feeling Flush?

Bristol Old Vic, situated in the beating heart of Bristol’s Old City, is the longest continuously-running theatre in England, and arguably the most beautiful to boot. With its internationally renowned theatre school and 350 strong young professional company, the theatre is known for its innovative, emotive and passionate performances, which are a melting pot of the high-end classic, the provocative post-modern, the side-achingly funny and the poignantly beautiful. As well as delivering performances from its talented company, it also plays host to some of the best-reputed touring theatre companies in the world.

It sits right on the river, where sailors, traders and pirates alike once roamed, drinking and gambling in the assorted taverns available, many of which still stand today. Nowadays, they are accompanied by a wide variety of upmarket eateries and novel little pubs, including the Small Bar (an American-inspired sour mash beer specialist) and ­­­­­­Kongs, which features a great assortment of retro computer games, ping pong, a pool table and a number of cosy little booths to catch up in over a beer. Perfect for a little dose of light relief after the high culture of Bristol Old Vic.

On a Decent Budget?

The Arnolfini, an international hub for the contemporary arts, is Bristol’s answer to London's famous Tate Modern. With a diverse exhibition programme, frequent spoken word performances, talks, lectures, dance events and book reading, this centre of excellence offers far more than an average art gallery. Equipped with an airy, attractive café-bar and the spectacular views offered by its waterfront location, it offers endless inspiration and creative stimulus. In the summer, the street outside buzzes with life as young people congregate there to watch the sun set over the water with a couple of drinks. You will often experience impromptu carnivals of live music, circus and dance performance in this quirky, energetic pocket of Bristol.

Feeling Thrifty?

If your pockets are bare but you’d like a good boost of culture and intellect, head over to Bristol Museum and take a look at its educational offerings. Situated on Clifton Triangle at the top of Park Street, the museum’s imposing Victorian architecture belies its surprisingly accessible exhibits. Along with its comprehensive biology and history departments, covering everything from the Aztecs to natural history, the museum regularly features exhibits based on recent research carried out both at home at Bristol’s world class university, and further afield. We recently attended an exhibition on human death, and how society has perceived and reacted to it over the ages. Emotional, chilling, thought-provoking and intriguing, it forced us to confront our own beliefs about death, and what it means to us. Like all guest exhibitions in Bristol Museum, it works on a donations system, wherein you pay as much as you think it’s worth, or whatever you can afford.

As we said, there are many more places to go and exhibitions, concerts, talks and nights out to experience – let us know your recommendations either in class or on the website, and we’ll be sure to share them!

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