As a student, I know how hard it seems to eat healthily and workout properly when on a budget. However, having spent two years roaming the streets of Bristol as a student, I have found that it is indeed possible, even if it doesn’t have all the options London has. In some ways it’s even better – without the London prices, eating healthily doesn’t have to munch into your monthly budget, and with multiple gyms with student discount memberships and classes, it’s possible to keep fit and fuel yourself on the smallest of budgets.
Hit the gym
There are many gyms in Bristol, some of which have PAYG classes, which are useful if you’re just around Bristol for the weekend or simply want to try something different from your usual gym. There are many chains, including Puregym, Anytime Fitness, The Gym etc. which offer everything you could want. The university gym is basic but contains most things you need for a workout. However, Bristol has no way of competing with London in terms of fitness classes – the real wonders lie outside the gym. So you could…
Explore the countryside
Despite being one of the largest cities in the UK, in Bristol you’re never far away from the countryside. Living in the city is fun, but it’s the surrounding areas that are truly breathtaking, and allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Ashton court is my favourite – an easy walk from the city centre, or a quick bus ride away. Walk or run over the Clifton suspension bridge for the spectacular view and you’ll find yourself in a huge park with deer and other wildlife, and plenty of space for a nice run, walk or bike ride! If you can’t get to the Ashton court, the Downs is another area of spacious grassland perfect for getting in that vitamin D and getting those endorphins pumping.
Relax in a café
Bristol is well known for its myriad of independent cafes and café chains. My favourites include Friska, which does healthy hot food and homemade cakes and wraps and Boston Tea Party, which, although it’s a chain, is one of my favourite cafés/restaurants ever! They use all free-range eggs and meat and have delicious salads, although my favourite has to be their brunch – the eggs royale and brown rice porridge are both incredible. Bakesmiths is the new kid on the block, offering homemade cakes and sourdough bread, as well as incredible coffee and lunch menu items. I hear their in-house baker is in at 4:30 every morning making that day’s sourdough. The décor is also incredible, which just adds to the experience. I can recommend their mackerel on sourdough and their baked eggs.
Fill up on restaurant food
There are so many restaurants in Bristol it’d be impossible to recommend and review them all here. However, favourites of mine include Wildwood (yay for 50% off for students!), the mint rooms (delicious Indian food) and the River Cottage canteen. River Cottage’s new winter menu includes a mix of mains (free-range meat, delicious fish and vegetarian options) and side salads, which you can order to compliment your mains. This is definitely one of my favourite places to eat out in Bristol, although the dish prices can add up if you’re like me and want to try everything! If you’re looking for somewhere cheaper but equally delicious, Eat a Pitta is incredible. There are three in Bristol, and all serve pitta and a range salads which you can either stuff into your pitta (which is HUMONGOUS) or have in a box on the side.
River Cottage Canteen – the dream ❤
Eat a Pitta – the best pitta you will ever have!
Although clean eating is rife on social media, its rival, IIFYM (‘if it fits your macros’) has a following similar to ‘clean eating’. I’m one for balance and LOVE to indulge in totally unhealthy things every now and again, because what is life without indulgence? One of my favourite restaurants in Bristol is Bosco pizzeria, which does the best pizzas I’ve ever tried ANYWHERE (including Italy). Kaspas on Park Street is a restaurant purely for sweet sugary desserts. With décor like an American diner, it might not be your traditional British café, but it sure is worth a visit.
Indulging doesn’t have to be all about food. The Lido in Clifton is a spa that allows for a full day of guilt-free relaxation. Tuck in to some warming food in their restaurant afterwards before braving the real world again.
Bristol, although not as fast paced or forward-thinking as London, is known for being a ‘green’ city, and is excellent when it comes to walking everywhere. In my third year in Bristol, I’ve already found several new places where I now love to eat and drink, that I hadn’t discovered before. Every time you’re here there’s somewhere new to visit, and some new part of the surrounding countryside to explore.
I hope you find this really useful, whether you’re already a student in Bristol, a visiting Londoner or just fancy checking out what Bristol has to offer (clue: a lot!).