Hidden gems of Bristol


By Laura Aish, Film & TV Digital Editor

Bristol is a beautiful city with many different areas to visit outside of the main campus. Why not use reading week as a chance to explore the city a bit more? Read on to discover some hidden gems around Bristol to help you get started.

Stokes Croft

This exciting area of Bristol offers an excellent selection of street art to enjoy and peruse. There are also lots of great places to have a drink, such as The Bell, and places to have a tasty snack such as the vegan eatery Café Kino – their chocolate cake is particularly nice! Café Kino additionally hosts lots of interesting events including gigs, life drawing classes and creative writing groups.

Stokes Croft has many unique attractions like The Attic Bar | Epigram/ Tom Taylor

Cube Cinema

Cube Cinema is an entirely volunteer-owned and run experimental arts space. It puts on a mixture of events including film screenings, gigs and live performances. The ticket prices are very reasonable and anyone can express an interest in being a volunteer, which is a particularly great opportunity to meet new people and to learn new skills.

Spike Island

Spike Island is a small island situated just past the harbour area in the centre. Spike Island the art gallery is situated on the island. It has a variety of art exhibitions and events, such as screenings and artist talks, as well as a warm friendly café. Down the road and to the west of the island are a series of old warehouses that house Bristol Archives, which often has lots of historical exhibitions and workshops, and the Create Centre, which also has its own events and exhibitions.

Redcliffe Caves

The historic Redcliffe Caves, comprised of man-made tunnels and mines, are only open at specific times across the year for certain events. Bristol Open Doors, which is a yearly event that opens up unusual spaces around the city for the public, provides a good opportunity to explore them as well as many other unique places – I recommend looking up this event if you are interested in exploring more of the city.

Arnos Vale Cemetery

The characterful, unique and historical Arnos Vale Cemetery is located between Totterdown and Brislington. It is a Victorian garden cemetery, according to its website it was originally opened in 1839, and it has several paths around the site and also hosts many events including workshops, screenings and talks. It has a lot of history to explore and a café to have a drink or a snack in afterwards.


Clifton is a well-known area for many students. However, there are several things to be found there that you may not have previously heard of. Adjacent to the Clifton Suspension Bridge is the Clifton Observatory. Inside the observatory, there is a small museum and the unusual feature of a functioning Victorian camera obscura – which, according to its website, is one of three remaining working ones in the country.

The Giant’s Cave is also worth visiting. These are historical and said to be the home of Bristol’s legendary giants. The Giant’s Cave also boasts wonderful views of Avon Gorge and the Suspension Bridge from a lower angle. It is important to note that the steps within the cave are quite steep.

Clifton from the suspension Bridge | Epigram / Tom Taylor

More Museums

Many will have heard of M-Shed, a museum situated in the harbour opposite Arnolfini and Watershed Cinema, but some might not know that they offer free behind the scenes tours where you are taken around by a volunteer and shown some unique and historical items from Bristol’s past. There are also two further museums located right next to the university campus but many may not know of them. These small museums are The Red Lodge Museum and The Georgian House Museum.

Temple Gardens

The Temple Church and Temple Gardens are situated nearby to Bristol Temple Meads station and Redcliffe. The church is very historical and its structure is said to be from the 12th Century. It was largely destroyed in the Bristol Blitz but its remaining structure is still impressive to see. The adjacent gardens are also pleasant and a great place to have a pause from a day of travelling around Bristol.

Happy exploring!

Featured: Epigram / Imogen Horton

Think we've missed out your favourite spot, want to write about it? Get in touch!


Laura Aish

I am the Digital Editor for Film and Television at Epigram, alongside my PhD study at University of Bristol. I am also a freelance filmmaker, film tutor and photographer.