The absolutely fabulous YHA Bristol is chock full of hostel seeking amenities, and is further fabulized by its amazing location right on the waters of the River Avon. It is a bit of a walk from the bus and train station (about 20 minutes), but is well worth lugging your heavy pack a few extra meters.
If you are looking for a small, intimate, bed and breakfast type atmosphere, then look elsewhere. This place rivals college dorm style living and is quite massive. Six floors hold two commons areas, a dining hall, a self service kitchen, a laundry room, a game room, and a quaint cafe near the reception desk. The larger of the two commons areas has computers with Internet access, although it is a little expensive (7 pence per minute). The dining hall on the second floor serves a free and extremely generous breakfast every morning from 8 to 10 AM consisting of eggs, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns, beans and toast, croissants, cereal, yogurt, and OJ. The cafe on the first floor opens its doors to passersby during the day and serves light snacks and beverages (including beer).
The rooms at YHA Bristol are small with dorm style beds that are very low to the ground. They are cramped, but clean, and each room has locker storage and its own wash basin. The toilets and showers are spacious and clean, but not plentiful enough and you can unfortunately be stuck waiting. The hostel staff are very friendly and helpful, providing you with a map and sightseeing advice upon arrival.
The harbor area along the River Avon where YHA Bristol is located has the best of both worlds. It is usually nice and quiet in the evening hours, yet directly across the magnificent Pero's Bridge lies plenty of hip restaurants and clubs to satisfy the need for nightlife.