17 Jul Bristol Nightlife
Bristol Nightlife: Bristol is one of the lesser known UK cities but it’s one of those places, like Oxford or Edinburgh, that always elicits a “oh yeah, you went there, it’s nice isn’t it” reactions. It’s a beautiful spot with good transport links, a vibrant night life scene and plenty of things to do during the day.
The night life in Bristol is centred around two main areas. The mainstream part is by the harbour. Along the waterfront there are a number of popular bars which are always busy at the weekend and are very popular with hen parties. The harbour bars are big enough to get plenty of people in and still have room to move around.
The harbour side bars go from cheap and tacky vertical drinking establishments such as Lloyds to classier but more expensive places such as the Pitcher and Piano and great cocktail venues with live lounge singers at Shed Severn.
At the end of the night you can plan to go to one of the mega clubs such as Oceania. This is a huge disco with multiple dance floors inside. It’s lowest common denominator girls in stilletos, lads on the pull, big bouncers type of place but it’s always packed and there is rarely a weekend night when you don’t see plenty of stag and hen parties inside. It’s on three different levels and has multiple bars and has an 80s room and a bigger mainstream dance floor so it can cater to lots of different tastes.
A short, but steep, walk up Park St from the City Centre will take you to the area known as The Triangle. This has a more relaxed, refined atmosphere than the harbour. Some of the main Bristol University buildings are here and it’s a pleasant area to walk around. You’ll find the bar Browns here which mixes a great cocktail and some smaller more intimate nightclubs. If you like cool hip hop then you can try the Dojo lounge if you are after anything goes cheese for a thirty plus crowd then Le Rocca is for you.
The more bohemian side of Bristol is found at Stokes Croft. This about twenty minutes walk from the harbourside. If you venture over you’ll find street art by Banksy, independent cinemas like The Cube and various spit and sawdust real ale pubs. The Star and Garter is one very late night institution if you are looking for somewhere on the edgier side.
How to Get to Bristol
Air: Bristol Airport is about 20 minutes by outside in the city (in light traffic). There are regular flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Dublin. The budget airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair fly from here so there are many cheap flights. Buses leave the airport to go the city every half hour. The main airport buses stop at Bristol Temple Meads Bus Station and Bristol Bus Station.
Convenient Hotels near Transport Hubs :
If your group are getting the airport bus, the train or a bus then booking a hotel near the bus or train station is a good idea. The airport bus stops at both Temple Meads central train station and Bristol central bus station. It only takes twenty minutes to ride the bus from the airport to the city centre so even when I caught a long haul flight back after a campervan trip in Australia it wasn’t too much bother.
The closest hotel to Temple Meads train station is the Holiday Inn Express. This is a budget version of the Holiday Inn chain. You can get weekend rates of around £60 pounds including VAT for either a double or a room with two single beds. If you are willing to share then this can get the price down to £30 per person per night. The hotel is about a 15 minute walk to main harbour side night spots so you won’t need taxis at the end of the night.
A slightly more expensive, but better quality, hotel very near to Temple Meads is the Hilton Garden Inn (formerly known as the City Inn). Weekend rates run at around £85 per night.
If you are getting off at Bristol Central Bus Station either from the airport bus or a city to city bus then the most obvious hotel choice is the Premier Inn. Weekend rates can be as low as £39 for a double or twin room. This can work out at less than twenty pounds per person per night if you are willing to share. The hotel is about fifteen minutes walk from the main harbourside nightspots and it’s usually easy to flag down a taxi right outside.
If you are looking for something more luxurious, and are willing to spend a bit more money, the Hotel du Vin is about three minutes walk from the bus station and airport bus drop off. The hotel itself is a destination in itself with well kitted out rooms and a renowned onsite restaurant. A double room for the night costs from £145 so it might be out of your price if you have a large group with different budgets. Even if you can’t quite afford to stay there then you could stay at the Premier Inn round the corner at £39 a night and then book in to Hotel du Vin for breakfast, lunch or dinner or even just a drink at the bar.