If you’re one of the graduates-to-be collecting your undergraduate degree, masters or PhD this year, it’s time to mark the end of an era and raise a glass or two with your friends and family. Here are some ideas of ways to celebrate and make it an occasion you never forget. 

When is Graduation?

UWE Summer Graduation will run from Monday 15 – Thursday 25 July 2024 and University of Bristol Summer graduation dates are Tuesday 23 July – Thursday 1 August.

If you're looking for a last minute place to buy a suit, Zebel in Cabot Circus offers bespoke suiting, off the shelf and tailoring services.

Where to stay for your graduation in Bristol

After three or more years of hard work, you deserve to make the graduation celebrations last as long as possible. So rather than rushing through a day in the city for your ceremony and then heading home, book an overnight stay.

Brooks Guesthouse is one central spot (it's right next to St Nick's Market), with comfortable and stylish rooms and even the option to bed down in a rooftop caravan if you and your loved ones fancy something quirkier! Graduates can enjoy one of their award-winning breakfasts for free when your family members stay here. 

Retro rocket caravans surrounded by plants
Image - Brooks Guesthouse Bristol

The Clayton Hotel Bristol also has its own special offer for graduates and is a perfect spot if you’re planning on celebrating in the city centre.

Hort's Townhouse is also just up the road, with a newly-renovated bar and restaurant area and space for graduation dinners and boutique rooms for family to stay in. Future Inns have spacious, air-conditioned en-suite bedrooms equipped with all the enhanced modern room amenities, with rooms from £67 per room per night if you book direct.

A bedroom at Hort's Townhouse Bristol a boutique hotel in Bristol city centre
Image - Hort's Townhouse

If you want to stay somewhere with a distinctive vibe, Artist Residence is a super stylish hotel in St Pauls, which is also well-known in the city for doing great brunches in its bar-café The Boot Factory.

A double bedroom in Artist Residence boutique hotel in Bristol.
Image - Artist Residence

Enjoy a pre-graduation brunch

If you’ve got an afternoon ceremony, head out for brunch beforehand. Mud Dock is a relaxed and photogenic spot with a harbourside view.

Feeling sophisticated? Aqua Grand Café on Whiteladies Road is a Parisian-inspired café, specialising in brunch dishes such as Eggs Benedict and pancakes. It also has a beautiful front terrace, perfect for celebrating in the sunshine.

A women wearing a black tank top serving people on a terrace - Credit Mud Dock
Image - Mud Dock Café

Rick’s is set right by the Harbourside has great gluten-free brunch options, plus if you go on a Sunday your brunch will be accompanied by mellow Jazz music.

If you want to get a quick bite to eat before running to your ceremony, you can Spicer and Cole at the RWA sell a great selection of coffees, snacks and pastries.

Two women eating brunch at Rick's Bar on Bristol's Harbourside - credit Rick's
Image - Rick's Bristol 

Pop the prosecco

Say cheers to spending your student years in the world’s best city (in our completely unbiased opinion) with a free glass of prosecco.

Restaurants across the city are ready and waiting with free fizz deals to keep your glass full throughout graduation season and accompany some mouth-watering menus:

The outdoor terrace at the Racks restaurant in Clifton, West Bristol - credit Racks Bristol
Image - Racks Bar and Kitchen

Book a celebratory dinner

After a parading around town with your gown you’re bound to want to a good meal after.

Celebration dinners don't come much more decadent than steak - Chophouse Restaurant, The Cow and Sow on Queen Square or Whiteladies Road for chophouse classics, or The Ox in the Old City for a more intimate setting.

Steak, sauce and chips
Image - The Ox

If you're craving fresh fish dishes head to Noah’s seafood restaurant, which you'll find tucked away next to the Cumberland Basin at the Hotwells end of the Floating Harbour. Izakaya do great sushi and Japanese plates, as does KIBOU - toast the evening with a shot of sake or one of their signature cocktails!

Within a short walking distance from the University of Bristol Students Union, Bar 44 do a great selection of tapas dishes, and No.4 Clifton Village has a popular menu of seasonal British dishes.

One of the vegan dishes at Izakaya in central Bristol - credit Emilia Risso & Izakaya
Image - Izakaya Bristol

For something more casual, enjoy some classic burgers and fries at Three Brother Burgers on the harbourside or Burger Theory in the city centre. Both have extensive veggie and vegan options too. GBK in Cabot Circus are also offering 20% off their menu for graduates from Monday 24 July - Thursday 3 August, if you show a photo of you graduating, or show up in your gown!

If you want to combine great food with the perfect backdrop for those post-graduation photos, head to Harbour House, a former boatshed designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel with gorgeous views of the colourful houses of Redcliffe from its waterside terrace.

Wine being poured on the terrace at Harbour House in the Redcliffe area of Bristol - credit Harbour House
Image - Harbour House

If you’re on the hunt for great veggie options, Root in Wapping Wharf let veg taking centre stage on their menu.

For a fancier meal, COR on North Street offer award-winning, seasonal small plates. Hattusa at Berwick Lodge will offer all adult members of the graduation party a complimentary glass of Prosecco with their meal.

One of the dishes at COR in Bedminster, South Bristol - credit COR
Image - COR

Toast with cocktails

Kick-start your celebrations at the Ivy Clifton Brasserie with their limited-edition cocktail, ‘That’s a Wrap’. This delightful drink is made with Beefeater gin, lemon, rose, and strawberry, and is elegantly garnished with a graduation-themed topper. 

Looking for somewhere a bit quirkier? Hidden in plain sight in the city centre, The Milk Thistle has epic architecture, eclectic decor and exceptional cocktails. Trust us, your mates will be impressed!

Cocktails on an ornate tray
Image - The Milk Thistle

Continue the celebrations at Bristol's top bars and breweries

If you just want somewhere to relax and enjoy a few drinks in the sun with your mates after all the formalities, check out Bristol’s breweries.

Wiper and True and Lost and Grounded sell freshly-brewed pints at their brewery taprooms, and also host regular street food vendors.

People inside the Wiper & True Taproom in Old Market, East Bristol - credit Wiper and True
Image - Lost and Grounded

Bristol Beer Factory also have a popular brewery taptoom on North Street, or you can head to their newest pub in Wapping Wharf – Junction - for proper pub grub with a view of the harbour.

For fancier vibes The Strawberry Thief in Bristol’s Old City sells a range of local and international beer, with a food menu ranging from bar snacks and cheeseboards to confit duck leg (plus excellent vegan and gluten-free options).

If you’re not sure which pub you want to head to, make your way to Bristol's 'Beermuda Triangle', King Street, where you can visit Bristol Old Vic Kitchen + Bar, King Street Brew House and many more.

Toast your time in the West Country with a glas of wine at KASK in Bedminster or the extensive wine list at Hotel du Vin & Bistro.

Wine bar interior - credit Kym Grimshaw Photography
Image - KASK

Afternoon tea

If you've been studying abroad in Bristol, treat yourself and your family to an indulgent graduation day treat with an afternoon tea. There are places serving everything from quaint cream teas to full-on teatime feasts - you can even choose to upgrade your drinks from tea or coffee to Prosecco or cocktails. 

Afternoon tea at No. 4 Clifton Village in Bristol - credit Evoke Pictures
Image - Afternoon tea at No. 4 Clifton Village

Go on a night out

Plan a farewell drink and dance to the city (that's if you haven't caught the Bristol bug and are staying put, of course) with your uni mates. We're certain you have a long list of favourite bars and clubs by now, but you can always check out our guide to Bristol's student nightlife and see if there are any you're yet to experience. 

Audience inside Bristol's Lakota nightclub with confetti raining down - credit Lakota Bristol
Image - Lakota


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