A-Z of Bristol

Bristol’s so iconic – it’s almost too iconic. It’s so iconic that there are what feels like a million reasons as to why Bristol achieves its iconic status. So, we thought it fitting to write up a little A-Z of Bristol, so you newbies can get clued up on what makes this city such a wonderful place to be!


Bristol’s so iconic – it’s almost too iconic. It’s so iconic that there are what feels like a million reasons as to why Bristol achieves its iconic status. So, we thought it fitting to write up a little A-Z of Bristol, so you newbies can get clued up on what makes this city such a wonderful place to be:

A is for artistic 

We’re not overestimating when we say Bristol’s an arty city. And whilst coronavirus has halted many of the events Bristol’s artists participate in, there have been many livestreamed concerts and online events to take part in, whilst we wait until things are safer. The artistic scene thrives here, whether it’s the independent music scene, with up-and-coming musicians working the circuit, creative expression through fashion choices, or street art tagged by some rather famous artists…

B is for Banksy 

We’d say this unidentified artist is up there with Bristol’s biggest celebs. Banksy’s art is internationally renowned, can be found everywhere from Berlin to New York, and Banksy apparently calls Bristol home, so we’re very proud of this. You can find Banksy pieces scattered throughout the city, and new ones crop up regularly.

C is for Clifton Suspension Bridge 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s creation, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the main things that makes Bristol so iconic. It feels like a mini Golden Gate Bridge, is one of the best viewpoints in the city, and can be found in beautiful Clifton Village. Note: it’s where you go if you want to feel bougie.

D is for (the) Downs 

One of the biggest open spaces in Bristol, The Downs is the big stretch of parkland at the top of Whiteladies Road in Clifton, which stretches as far as Clifton Village and Redland. Usually the place to go for some of Bristol’s best events, you can find The Downs Festival and Bristol Pride located here. For 2020, things may be a little different, but a socially distanced outside eating area called Breaking Bread has opened this summer, and it’s also the place to be.

E is for eating out 

From much-loved chains, to quirky independents, Bristol goes big on food. Each corner you turn in the city centre, there’s a new restaurant (or five) you’ll be dying to try. Our favourite areas for food? Try Welsh Back in the city centre, where you can find restaurants on barges on the river, or opt for Gloucester Road, the road you can eat your way down the long street at.

F is for ferry boats 

Bristol harbour isn’t just a beautiful area to walk around, it’s a must-visit by water, too. Luckily for us Bristolians, we can take trips around the harbour and even to as far as Bath by hopping on one of the adorable ferry boats that take customers. You’ve got Bristol Packet boat trips, Bristol Ferry Boats, Avon River Cruises and more.

G is for Gloucester Road 

Packed full of independent shops, household names, traditional pubs, quirky eateries, street art and music, Gloucester Road is one of Bristol’s bohemian areas. The road is long – and we mean long – and is found in North Bristol.

H is for harbourside 

The harbourside is one of Bristol’s stand-out city centre locations. With picturesque walks, fresh coffee shops, delicious restaurants, bars and clubs, the harbour really has got it all. Oh, and there are a few seagulls as well.

I is for independents 

Bristol is all about the independent businesses and Bristolians are all about supporting them. Whether it’s checking out independent traders at St. Nicholas Market, visiting the Harbourside Market for some indie stallholders, or supporting one of the many street food markets that pop up across the city, you can support small the second you step foot in Bristol.

J is for just take a trip in a hot air balloon, why don't you? 

If we’re talking iconic Bristolian sights, hot air balloons are one of them. Especially in summer, where we find the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, an annual celebration of hot air balloon flights, you’ll often catch these beauties flying in the sky overhead. Grab a trip in one if it takes your fancy, or watch them float across the sky if you’re secretly terrified of heights.

K is for King Street 

Recently pedestrianised, King Street is one of Bristol city centre’s most historic streets. Built in the 17th century, this street near the riverside is now full with outside seating areas for many of the fun pubs and restaurants that line the street. Here, you can find the King Street Brewhouse, Kong’s Bristol, The Old Vic Theatre and more.

L is for lush (usually preceded by gert) 

We’re getting deep into the Bristolian lingo now. Perhaps initially associated with the cast of Gavin and Stacey, ‘lush’ has a history a little further than Barry Island and is popular language with Bristol folk, too. Usually preceded by ‘gert’, ‘gert lush’ means ‘really good’ or ‘really lovely’. So, Bristol’s gert lush.

M is for Montpelier 

Another of Bristol’s up-and-coming, Bohemian areas, Montpelier is quirky, arty and creative. A lot of street art can be found in this area of Bristol, and there are some great pubs and restaurants, too.

N is for nights out out 

Bristol can be the place to go if you’re looking to go out out, too – with lots of traditional clubs such as Pryzm, Lakota and, of course, Popworld. However, it’s the independent club scene that really thrives, with venues such as Motion, Thekla, Old Crown Courts and Mr. Wolf’s bringing a new meaning to ‘out out’. So whilst we wait until clubs reopen again, you know you have all this and more to look forward to.

O is for outside spaces 

Bristol is a very green, leafy city and there are some amazing outdoor spaces to explore. Whether it’s close to the city centre, with Castle Park, Brandon Hill and The Downs within easy walking distance, or if you’d like to venture further out to Stoke Park Estate or Ashton Court, you can escape to nature even within the hustle and bustle.

P is for pastel-coloured houses 

Yet again, an iconic Bristol sight: the city’s pastel-coloured houses. A long-standing tradition, many city dwellers have chosen to paint their houses an array of pastel colours. From blues and greens, to pinks and yellows, one look at the Bristol skyline gives you a burst of happiness (and some sartorial inspiration).

Q is for Queen Square 

This Georgian square, which spans 2.4 hectares and is just tucked away next to the harbour, is a haven of quiet in the busy city centre. Recently painted with socially distanced hearts in summer 2020, this is a lovely spot to grab a picnic and daydream about living in one of the incredible townhouses which line the square.

R is for really good vibes only 

‘Good vibes only’ is an understatement when it comes to Bristolians. The liberal, free-thinkers are artistic, playful, laidback and fun – and the community in Bristol is one of acceptance, inclusivity and diversity. The Bristolian spirit is quite unlike anything else, and it’s one of the markers of Bristol’s identity.

S is for sustainable 

Having hailed the title of Europe’s greenest city, Bristolians know what they’re doing when it comes to sustainability. From our own zero waste section of The Students’ Union Shop, to independent sustainable traders in food and household products throughout the city, Bristol embraces green.

T is for too many things to do 

That’s just how you might feel when you move to Bristol! There’s so much to see, do and explore, you’ll never be bored! We still haven’t even mentioned iconic attractions such as the SS Great Britain, We The Curious, the Aquarium, Bristol Zoo Gardens and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, among others.

U is for unique suburbs

Bristol is known for its distinctive suburbs, each with a different personality than the last. You’ve got Clifton: it’s expensive postcode and independent cafes. Bedminster: with rough and ready street art, amazing restaurants and the popular Sunday market. St. Paul’s: the annual carnival and creative, cultural area of the city. The list is endless – there’s so much to explore.

V is for views 

Whether it’s from the Suspension Bridge, suspended in the sky in a hot air balloon, or viewing the city from above at Brandon Hill, Bristol’s decidedly hilly, which means it’s great for views. And even better, Bristol is architecturally beautiful, so every view is a mish mash of colourful buildings set against the sky.

W is for Wapping Wharf 

Set back from the harbour and the famous M Shed museum, Wapping Wharf is an exciting waterside development featuring flat blocks with views, restaurants set in cargo containers and many exciting cafés. One to add to the Bristol bucket list, that’s for sure.

X is for Xmas 

Christmas is a time that Bristol really comes alive. From its Christmas Market in Broadmead, the Night Market specials at St. Nick’s and its many festive theatre productions and events, you won’t want to leave Bristol when it comes to the end of Semester one.

Y is for your new home - and subsequent favourite ever city 

You don’t hear of anyone who’s currently living in Bristol that thinks it’s sub-par. You also don’t hear of anyone having left Bristol with nothing but a broken heart. Your new city will become your favourite: just watch this space.

Z is for Za Za Bazaar 

How could we not end on an iconic Bristolian restaurant? The help-yourself, eat-three-plates-or-more buffet restaurant sits on Bristol’s harbourside and is a firm favourite among city dwellers, with cuisines featured from around the world. All with a view from your table of boats bobbing on the water – the dream.

Want to find out more about Bristol? Check out our Welcome content here for more Bristolian insights!