Why the city centre is the best place to live in first year

You’re so close to everything

When I began applying for first year accommodation I had a vague sense of what I was looking for. I wanted somewhere sociable, well-located and popular but beyond this I didn’t put much thought into it. Having spent the majority of my childhood in a small coastal town in Devon I decided city centre living would give me the most exciting introduction into university life and looking back at the end of my year as a fresher I’m confident I made the right decision.

The city centre ‘bubble’ has everything

A friend of mine came up with this catchy phrase which perfectly sums up one of the advantages of living in the centre. Imagine a bubble, inside of which are all the most beautiful and exciting parts of Bristol: this is where the city centre accommodations are located. Within walking distance are Bristol’s most popular areas: the harbourside, Park Street, Cabot Circus and St. Nicholas’ Market to name just a few, and their endless variety of quirky cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and clubs.

And you have this just outside

Living here helps you keep fit

One of the concerns I had about leaving home for university was the possibility I’d gain weight as a fresher. A combination of alcohol, budgeting on food and the temptation of Domino’s makes it a challenge to stay healthy. However this wasn’t a problem because living in the city centre means you tend to walk everywhere. I worked out that walking to and from my lectures alone took me between forty and fifty minutes a day and this made it easy to stay in shape. I also quickly realised that everywhere in Bristol is on a hill: anyone living in the centre will tell you what a killer Christmas Steps and St. Michael’s Hill are.

Fun going down, torture going up

It feels much safer

Some people may be put off living the in the centre by the notion that it’s less safe than other areas. I haven’t found this to be the case at all. One of the benefits of living in such a highly populated area is that at night you’re rarely alone, making it far safer walking back from places at night. Streets are busy and well lit and most of the most popular clubs are nearby making the city centre a safe place in my opinion.

The city never sleeps

One of the things I love about living in such a busy area is that the city never seems to sleep. This is somehow comforting if you ever find yourself studying into the early hours of the morning because when you look out of the window you realise you’re not alone. It’s surprising how many cars are on the roads at one in the morning and at night the lights of the city are very beautiful. For me, this is one of the things I’m going to miss most when I move into my house in Clifton next year.


It’s ridiculously convenient

Perhaps one of the most obvious advantages of living in the heart of Bristol is that everything you need is a convenient distance away. From Nelson House, the nearest club (SWX) is under five minutes walk away, along with food shops, clothes shops and cinemas. University campus is fifteen minutes walk away and when you’re feeling lazy the bus services are great for getting around.

It’s extremely sociable because so many students live here

Another thing I’ve loved about living in the centre is that there are so many other accommodations nearby. From Nelson House, The Courtrooms, Unite House and Orchard Heights are all five minutes walk away and this makes it easy to meet and socialise with people from other halls. It also means you’re always surrounded by students, which was something I wasn’t expecting considering I’m not living on campus.

Although I recommend city centre living, the truth is that I would have enjoyed my first year at university no matter where I ended up. The trick is to make the most out of what you have and treat every experience, good or bad, as part of the university experience.