Explore Banksy’s Bristol: 5 places to discover

Banksy graffiti in Bristol Mild Mild West

Known worldwide for his legendary graffiti, Banksy is originally from Bristol and many of his artworks line the city walls. While you enjoy spotting Banksy art around Bristol, you can explore the different neighbourhoods which make up this eclectic and striking city.

To explore Banksy’s Bristol and spot Banksy graffiti, visit these 5 places and discover the city from the artist’s perspective. Unfortunately, Banksy artworks get all too easily covered up or vandalised, so don’t be too disappointed if you can’t find the piece of art you’re looking for.

Last updated: April 2020

Contents:
1. Explore Bristol’s city centre
       Bansky spot: You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky
       Banksy spot: Well Hung Lover
       Banksy spot: Paint Pot Angel
2. Discover the serene Harbourside
       Banksy spot: The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum
       Banksy spot: Grim Reaper
3. Escape to the vibrant Stokes Croft
       Banksy spot: Mild Mild West
       Banksy spot: Rose on a Mousetrap
4. Visit Easton’s colourful streets
       Banksy spot: Cat & Dog
       Banksy spot: Masked Gorilla
5. 2020 Update: Drop by Barton Hill
       Banksy spot: Valentine’s Day

1. Explore Bristol’s city centre

Stroll along College Green

Located on College Green, Bristol Cathedral is one of the most arresting cathedrals in Bristol. Built in the 12th century, this medieval church features spectacular vaulted ceilings and is well worth a visit. The other landmark of note on College Green is the City Hall, a remarkable crescent-shaped building bordering the western side of this green space.

Banksy spot: You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky

Location: 99 Lower Lamb Street, Bristol BS1 5TL

This Banksy graffiti is a simple quote: You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky. Painted on the side of the Bristol Central Library, in an alleyway behind College Green, the artwork is arc-shaped and forms a smiley face.

Banksy’s You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky

Shop along Park Street

One of Bristol’s most famous streets, Park Street features a variety of trendy shops, fashion stores, vintage boutiques and delicious cafés. You will not be able to resist visiting a couple, if not all the shops, providing a welcome break from climbing up (or down) the steep incline of the street.

Banksy spot: Well Hung Lover

Location: Intersection of Park Street and Frogmore Street, Bristol BS1 5HX

Found on the side of a building on Frogmore Street, you can best enjoy the Banksy Well Hung Lover from the bridge at the bottom of Park Street. Stencilled at window height, the artwork’s title, also known as Love Cheat, describes it perfectly. The Well Hung Lover has unfortunately suffered from vandalism, but you can still enjoy the graffiti in all its beauty.

Banksy graffiti in Bristol Well Hung Love
Banksy’s Well Hung Lover

Visit Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (for free)

Located at the top of Park Street, the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is one Bristol’s main (and free) museums and features extensive collections of art and natural history. The building hosting the museum is a work of art in itself: its facade is intricate yet imposing, its high tower can be spotted for miles and its entrance hall is grand and statuesque.

Banksy spot: Paint Pot Angel

Location: Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RL

Banksy’s Paint Pot Angel is a sculpture commemorating the ‘Banksy versus Bristol’ 2009 exhibition at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Located in the museum’s grand entrance hall, the artwork depicts an angel with a pot of pink paint covering its head and paint trickling down its snow-white front.

Banksy artwork in Bristol Paint Pot Angel
Banksy’s Paint Pot Angel

Explore more: Hike up Brandon Hill

Near the top of Park Street, Brandon Hill commands stunning views of Bristol and the surrounding hills. You can walk up Cabot Tower for 360° views of the city, extending from the city centre to the Harbourside and Clifton Village.

Explore more: Discover Clifton Village

Known for its spectacular Clifton Suspension Bridge and its magnificent Georgian terraced houses, Clifton Village is a charming neighbourhood of Bristol and has many delightful places to explore and visit. Check out the Clifton Village discovery guide by A Dragon’s Escape!

2. Discover the serene Harbourside

Walk along the harbour

The best way to discover and fully enjoy Bristol’s charming harbour is to walk along the waterfront. If you’re up for a long walk, I would recommend walking from the old city to Hotwells and back, along one side of the river and then the other. For a shorter walk, I would recommend walking along Spike Island’s quay, passing the M Shed museum, the SS Great Britain ship and the Bristol Marina, from where you can admire Hotwells’ colourful houses. If you’re up for it, you can even walk to the tip of Spike Island. From there you can enjoy lovely views of Clifton Village and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Just follow the signs for the Harbourside walk.

Banksy spot: The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum

Location: Hanover Place, Bristol BS1 6UT

Along the Harbourside walk, you can spot The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum graffiti by Banksy. Located behind the Bristol Marina, off Hanover Place and tucked in a recess, the striking artwork is as high as the house it’s painted on and replicates Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring. If you’re walking from the SS Great Britain to the Bristol Marina, be sure to turn around when you get to Hanover Place so you can spot this masterpiece.

2020 Update: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum received a makeover. A medical face mask was added to the artwork in April 2020. Banksy has yet to claim or refute this addition to the graffiti.

Banksy graffiti in Bristol The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum
Banksy’s The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum

Get lost in the M Shed museum

The M Shed is one of Bristol’s main museums and is located on the Harbourside. Hosting permanent exhibitions as well as thrilling temporary displays, the M Shed narrates Bristol’s history from prehistoric times to today. Best of all, you can visit the M Shed’s permanent exhibits for free; this is the case for all Bristol Museums.

Banksy spot: Grim Reaper

Location: M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN

The Banksy Grim Reaper graffiti is exhibited at the M Shed. Originally painted on the side of the Thekla boat, the artwork was moved to the museum in order to preserve it. The piece of metal it was painted on is now hung in the People Exhibit on the first floor.

Banksy graffiti in Bristol Grim Reaper
Bansky’s Grim Reaper (credit: Jule B)

Explore more: Escape to the SS Great Britain ship

Be transported back to seafaring times with the SS Great Britain ship! Located along the Harbourside, the19th century ship is a museum and narrates the vessel’s story from a luxury passenger liner to an abandoned and rusty ship. Check out the SS Great Britain’s guide by A Dragon’s Escape!

3. Escape to the vibrant Stokes Croft

If you’re a street art enthusiast, Stokes Croft is the place to visit. Located north of the city centre, Stokes Croft is Bristol’s cultural centre and graffiti neighbourhood. Most buildings and street corners are painted in vibrant colours and shapes. And if this wasn’t a good enough reason to visit, Stokes Croft’s main road is always lively and features many delightful shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, as well as many artist studios.

Banksy spot: Mild Mild West

Location: Intersection of Stokes Croft and Jamaica Street, Bristol BS1 3QY

At the heart of Stokes Croft, one of the most famed Banksy graffiti Mild Mild West is painted on the building next to Hamilton House, a community centre hosting artist studios and exhibits. Depicting a street riot that actually happened in Stokes Croft, Mild Mild West is one of Banksy’s earlier artworks.

Banksy graffiti in Bristol Mild Mild West
Banksy’s Mild Mild West

Banksy spot: Rose on a Mousetrap

Location: Thomas Street North, Bristol BS6 5TN

Stencilled on a garden wall near Stokes Croft and off a delightful square of coloured terraced houses, the Banksy Rose on a Mousetrap has been well protected from vandalism thanks to the cover encasing it. This graffiti even includes Banksy’s stencilled signature, which is unusual.

Banksy graffiti in Bristol Rose on a Mousetrap
Banksy’s Rose on a Mousetrap

Explore more: Shop along Gloucester Road

If you continue further north along Stokes Croft’s main road, you will come across Gloucester Road. This more hipster version of Stokes Croft stretches for miles and also features lovely independent shops, cafés and bars. Gloucester Road is also known for its vibrant nightlife.

4. Visit Easton’s colourful streets

Easton’s walls and buildings are also rich in street art. Located east of Bristol and a little further away from the city centre, the Easton area isn’t as prominent, lively or trendy as Stokes Croft, but is still worth a visit for the distinct and varied graffiti artworks lining its streets. In addition Banksy’s oldest art features in Easton. The neighbourhood is also a hub of world culture and food, and offers delightful cafés and restaurants.

Banksy spot: Cat & Dog

Location: Robertson Road, Bristol BS5 6JY

The Cat & Dog is one of Banksy’s most colourful and vibrant artworks, as well as one of his earliest graffiti. Painted on a garden wall, in between other remarkable street art, this piece of art depicts a cat spray painting a wall, while two dogs walk by.

Banksy graffiti in Easton in Bristol Cat & Dog
Banksy’s Cat & Dog

Banksy spot: Masked Gorilla 

Location: 157 Fishponds Road, Bristol BS5 6PR

Stencilled on the side of a building, the Banksy Masked Gorilla is also one of Banksy’s earliest works. The graffiti depicts a gorilla cheekily staring through a pink ball mask. Unfortunately, this artwork was painted over and then in part restored, and is only a shadow of the original.

Banksy graffiti in Bristol Masked Gorilla
Banksy’s Masked Gorilla

5. 2020 Update: Drop by Barton Hill

Barton Hill is an unassuming neighbourhood of Bristol. Featured on the news in 2020 for the location of Banksy’s new graffiti, Valentine’s Day, Barton Hill is located east of the city behind the Bristol Temple Meads station. Boasting the serene River Avon, this neighbourhood hasn’t much more going for it.

Banksy spot: Valentine’s Day

Location: Marsh Lane, Bristol BS5 9SD

In February 2020, a new Banksy graffiti appeared in Barton Hill in east Bristol. Stencilled on the side of a house, the Valentine’s Day artwork depicts a girl firing a slingshot of red flowers. Banksy confirmed he was the artist behind this graffiti on Valentine’s Day, hence its name. Unfortunately, this piece of art was vandalised within days of appearing and is temporarily covered up for protection.

Banksy's graffiti Valentine's Day
Banksy’s Valentine’s Day (Banksy)

If you spot any other Banksy graffiti lining Bristol’s streets, please share them with us.

Explore Bristol further

Known for its spectacular Clifton Suspension Bridge, colourful houses and charming Harbourside, the city of Bristol offers an escape for everyone. Discover the best places to visit, top attractions to explore and most charming walks to enjoy with the Bristol discovery guides by A Dragon’s Escape.

View from Bristol's Harbourside of moored boats and Hotwell's colourful houses
Bristol’s charming Harbourside

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References: Visit Bristol, Bristol Museums, Bristol Museums (2), Bristol Cathedral

Featured image: Banksy’s Mild Mild West

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