Durham vs Bristol Watch

Anniechong
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Hi everyone, I know that this is an old topic but I'm an international student thinking of doing an exchange in the UK so my focus would be different. I would like to be in a place where I can experience the different sides of England. On one hand, Bristol is a vibrant city, on the other hand, Durham is more historic. Where do you guys think is the perfect place for me to get to know England? I'm kind of introverted but at the same would like to maximise the exposure. Also, can anyone tell me about the accommodation in these two unis? Quality living matters a lot to me.
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(Tom)
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(Original post by Anniechong)
Hi everyone, I know that this is an old topic but I'm an international student thinking of doing an exchange in the UK so my focus would be different. I would like to be in a place where I can experience the different sides of England. On one hand, Bristol is a vibrant city, on the other hand, Durham is more historic. Where do you guys think is the perfect place for me to get to know England? I'm kind of introverted but at the same would like to maximise the exposure. Also, can anyone tell me about the accommodation in these two unis? Quality living matters a lot to me.
Hey Annie, I went to Bristol, so I'm a bit biased, but I think you'd have loads more opportunities to integrate into UK life there. It's a brilliant city for music, culture and history, and there's beautiful countryside right on the doorstep. Quality of living is very good - a lot of international students live in high quality rented accommodation. Excellent food (both cheap and more expensive), loads going on, vibrant communities, and the teaching isn't bad either.

Durham is a great place to study too, but I chose Bristol because I found Durham a bit small, with not enough going on to keep me excited.

Hope that helps... Let the debate commence!
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Incredimazing
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Durham is quite small and compact, whereas the centre of Bristol is quite nice and most of the suburbs are ****. Durham is next to Newcastle which is fantastic for nightlife and the infrastructure links are not only excellent, but cheap.

Durham is old and historic with a world heritage Harry Potter cathedral in the centre, whilst Bristol is more vibrant and more modern with more shops. Both are acquired tastes, so I'd advise visiting.


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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Anniechong)
Hi everyone, I know that this is an old topic but I'm an international student thinking of doing an exchange in the UK so my focus would be different. I would like to be in a place where I can experience the different sides of England. On one hand, Bristol is a vibrant city, on the other hand, Durham is more historic. Where do you guys think is the perfect place for me to get to know England? I'm kind of introverted but at the same would like to maximise the exposure. Also, can anyone tell me about the accommodation in these two unis? Quality living matters a lot to me.
I think I would choose Bristol. Durham is something of an academic bubble. In Bristol you will be much more integrated into the life of a major city. Although in terms of time Durham is not much further away from London than Bristol, in terms of perception it is much further away.

Moreover, Bristol is much closer (in travel time) to places which people back home will regard as typically British. It is not a coincidence that most tourist tours to Britain start in London and work their way outwards (quite often via Durham to Edinburgh). These tours introduce people first of all to the things they know about before coming here and then introduce them to things which are equally good or better, but are less well known. Back home, people will ask you whether you visited places that are relatively accessible from Bristol and not from Durham because they will not have heard of the impressive places you are likely to have visited from Durham.
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Anniechong)
Hi everyone, I know that this is an old topic but I'm an international student thinking of doing an exchange in the UK so my focus would be different. I would like to be in a place where I can experience the different sides of England. On one hand, Bristol is a vibrant city, on the other hand, Durham is more historic. Where do you guys think is the perfect place for me to get to know England? I'm kind of introverted but at the same would like to maximise the exposure. Also, can anyone tell me about the accommodation in these two unis? Quality living matters a lot to me.
Hi Annie,

I think that Durham has the edge, academically. For all the things you talk about, though, Bristol would be far better in my opinion.

If, by 'historic', you mean 'old buildings!' that will wear off after about two weeks and you will realise there is nothing to do in Durham. Bristol has a rich mercantile history (warts and all), and if you like to explore old - Roman old - cities you can go 20 minutes on the train to Bath. It is also quicker and cheaper to get to London from Bristol than from Durham.

Purely on the basis of experiencing England, I think there's little contest to be honest.

FYI, I studied law at Bristol.
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Anniechong
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Thanks you guys. Really useful advice. I went with Bristol
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River85
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Depends on what you mean by experiencing England or British culture. The North East of England is well known for being a particularly unique and vibrant region of the country. Hospitable, aching with natural beauty and history, but different. Bristol, and the surrounding south west, may be more like the Britain you picture.

Durham is small, and might be claustrophobic. People will say Newcastle is only 12 or so minues away by train and, although this is true, many don't make the trip often (if at all) and it still costs money to travel. You are close to Edinburgh for a day trip, however, and London is still easily accessible. Just down the East Coast mainline.

At Durham you're within easy reach of many national parks such as the North Yorkshire Moors, Northumberland and, to a lesser extent, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. The Lake District is particularly famous worldwide.

If you're interested in history then Northumberland, which is north of County Durham, has more castles than any other English county. There's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hadrian's Wall, Roman forts, and a city of culture in Newcastle. Another World Heritage site in Durham castle and cathedral, of course.

Bristol will give a much better "city" experience, however.

Academically there's little between them.

(Original post by TurboCretin)
If, by 'historic', you mean 'old buildings!' that will wear off after about two weeks and you will realise there is nothing to do in Durham. Bristol has a rich mercantile history (warts and all), and if you like to explore old - Roman old - cities you can go 20 minutes on the train to Bath. It is also quicker and cheaper to get to London from Bristol than from Durham.l.
In terms of time and cost there probably isn't much difference, certainly not in terms of time.

Bristol is up to 2.5 hours from London by train, Durham is 3. However, this is time taken from the relevant stations. Considering Durham is smaller it'll probably be quicker to travel to Durham train station from typical student areas than it is to travel from somewhere such as Clifton to Temple Meads by about 20 minutes or more. The viaduct, only five to ten minutes walk from Durham station, is one of the most popular student areas for example.
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