Thinking of living with us at Nido Bristol when it opens up later this year? We’ll help you get to know this quirky and creative city a little better with a deep dive into Bristol’s weirder, less well-known side.
With a hidden history that includes bungee jumps, pubs on wheels, and links to The Big Apple, you’ll be proud to call Bristol your home. We can’t wait to see you!
- Bristol was the location for the world’s very first bungee jump. On 1 April 1979, members of Oxford University’s incredibly named Dangerous Sports Club took the plunge.David Kirke went first, dressed to the nines in a top hat and tails, complete with a glass of champagne in hand to celebrate.
- If Bristol has an over-inflated sense of pride, that’s because it’s the largest manufacturer of hot air balloons anywhere in the world. The city is even home to the Balloon Fiesta, Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons that attracts over 130 balloons from around the world.
- Located in the city centre, The Llandoger Trow pub was originally built on wheels so it could be shifted to thirsty sailors on the city’s once-floating harbour. Not weird enough for you? OK, the place is also said to be haunted by 15 ghosts…
- A chocolatey centre runs through Bristol’s history. As well as inventing the first solid chocolate bar in 1847 (you had to drink it before then), the city stepped up its confectionary cred once again when the Bristol-based company Fry’s created the first-ever chocolate Easter Egg in 1873.
- Move over, Bitcoin; Bristol has had its own currency since 2012. Available in both paper and digital forms, The Bristol Pound is accepted in certain shops across the city to encourage people to spend locally at independent businesses.
- Even across the pond in New York City’s Waterside Plaza, Bristol’s presence can be felt. The area was built using bombed-out rubble that was transported from the city at the end of World War II.A plaque next to the fountain commemorates Bristol’s role in helping build this part of Manhattan.
- Darth Vader is from Bristol! Although the iconic villain was voiced by James Earl Jones, it’s towering Bristolian bodybuilder David Prowse under the helmet and suit.At 6′ 6″, Prowse’s stature gave Vader the imposing physical presence that turned him into one of cinema’s greatest bad guys.
- Speaking of films, the website IMDb was created by someone from Bristol. Ran from his home in Stoke Gifford, he sold the site to Amazon in 1998 but continues to head up the cinematic treasure trove.
- Be sure to treat yourself to some world-class food while you’re here; Bristol has five Michelin-starred restaurants including Casamia, Bulrush, The Pony & Trap, Paco Tapas and Wilks.If you need to celebrate a big occasion (deadline, end of exams or graduation maybe?), you know where to go.
- The city has its own ‘leaning tower’. It might not be as famous as Pisa’s, and leans one degree less than the Italian icon, but Temple Street’s own slanted structure is still worth seeing for yourself.
- Here’s a gross one. The Hatchet Pub is said to have a front door which, beneath the black paint and tar, features a layer of human skin. Lovely.
- At one point, Bristol had its own time zone. Up until 1840, the city’s clocks ran 10 minutes behind the ones in London. When train travel arrived in the UK, all time had to become standardised and Bristol’s clocks were pushed forward as a result.
- The first gender reassignment surgery took place here. A woman at birth, Michael Dillon had 13 gender reassignment procedures between 1946 and 1949. The surgeries were so successful that no one knew he had been born biologically female.
- Nature fans rejoice! 25% of the world’s nature documentaries are made in Bristol. The BBC’s Natural Unit is based here, where their extensive nature archives are used in a quarter of the world’s nature-based productions.
- And finally, Time Out named Bristol’s suburb of Easton one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world in 2019, a list that also saw big names like Tokyo, LA, Paris, and Madrid make the cut.The celebrated media company praised Easton for its “globe-spanning food and drink, plethora of community projects and genuinely neighbourly atmosphere” – be sure to check it out while you’re here.
So that’s your lot! 15 things you never knew about Bristol and just some of the reasons we love it so much. Come and join the Nido Community in Bristol from September this year, we’re perfectly located right in the heart of the city, less than 20-minutes’ walk to Bristol University and just 21 minutes on the M1 bus from UWE, University of the West of England. Plus, we’re just a four-minute walk from BIMM Institute, so if you’re attending Music College in Bristol you can roll out of bed and straight into lectures!
Find out more about The Malthouse, Nido Student in Bristol.