Cosmopolitan Bristol is famed for its multiculturalism and vibrant creativity. Examples can be found everywhere – from innovative street art to home-grown music incorporating a diverse range of influences. Despite being the most populous city in South West England, Bristol remains tolerant and laid-back. There are a number of ways for students and visitors from around the world to get better acquainted with the varied cultures that co-exist within the city.
Exploring the world via taste is an enjoyable way for anyone to expand their cultural horizons. Try some Mexican street food at one of the two burrito restaurants found on Broad Quay, or some Spanish tapas at El Puerto on Prince Street. Eastern European treats can be found hidden away near the Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Stadium at a deli called A Taste of Poland. For a more standard alternative, try A Cappella in Knowle – the pizzas are the city’s finest and topped with mozzarella straight from Naples.
Enjoy an event
With its temperate climate and coastal location, Bristol plays host to a number of festivals throughout the year. The St Pauls Carnival celebrates African Caribbean culture and includes a wildly colourful masquerade procession and a variety of stalls selling food from different parts of the world. The World On Your Doorstep festival has a similarly international flavour, and is held in Bristol’s most multicultural area – Easton.
Study a new language
For those hoping to start Swahili, Cantonese or French lessons Bristol is an ideal place. Its inhabitants speak a diverse range of languages – the three most commonly spoken (aside from English) being Polish, Urdu and Somali.
Learning another language enables the speaker to engage with a different culture and better understand some of its subtleties. For example, those who learn German in Bristol will be able to join in the city’s annual Nikolausabend party.
Explore the art world
Simply walking around the Stokes Croft and Montpelier areas of Bristol will give visitors a taste of art from around the world – mostly in the form of masterful graffiti. For a more mainstream taste of Bristol’s eclectic artistic heritage, visit the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in the West End.
Soak up some music
Listening to music can be one of the more sublime ways to explore another culture. There are plenty of live music venues in Bristol that offer everything from reggae to rap. The Prom on Gloucester Street specialises in folk and jazz, while the Fiddlers Club on Willway Street in Bedminster is great for Cuban, African and Latino beats.
Comprehensive Bristol tourism guide.
Non-profit society dedicated to Bristol’s long history of multiculturalism.
List of Bristol-based festivals.