Bristol is definitely well-known for its art culture. From amazing galleries to vibrant street graffiti, every corner of the city is filled with inspiring art. If you’re an art lover heading to the city for one day only, then you simply have to read on to discover our guide to the essential spots in Bristol you just can’t miss out on.
The Arnolfini is a bit of a landmark in Bristol and a great starting point for your art journey. The contemporary gallery houses a stream of amazing exhibitions over a number of floors. You can even head to the adjoined book store after your visit to pick up some reading material before you leave. If you visit during the summer months, you’re guaranteed to find the locals filling the outside of the building, soaking up the rays and watching the boats on the harbourside.
Arnolfini Gallery, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, +44 117 917 2300
Right across the horn bridge, on the other side of the harbour to the Arnolfini, lies the Watershed. An independent cinema and art space with a wealth of artistic offerings, you simply cannot miss the chance to catch whatever great, independent flick is currently playing. Plus, you can take some snacks and drinks from the café in with you to enjoy while you watch. What’s not to love?
Watershed, 1 Canon’s Rd, Bristol, +44 117 927 5100
Upfest, North Street
The most prestigious street art festival in Europe takes place on North Street, in the Bedminster area of Bristol. While exact dates of the festival vary every year, the artwork stays put year-round for all to see. Simply start at the top of the street and work your way down, soaking up every work of art which adorns the sides of buildings, shop fronts and more.
Banksy, Park Street
World-famous graffiti artist Banksy hails from Bristol, so it’s pretty obvious that the city would house some of his most well-known work. ‘Well Hung Lover’ is located at the beginning of Park Street, next to menswear skate store Fifty Fifty.
For all your art essentials, or even if you’re just a massive fan of cool stationery, Papersmiths will fulfil your every need. A fairly small store in size, but abundant in its product offering, you won’t be leaving empty handed. We don’t know whether it’s the beautiful succulent wall against the clean white paint or the huge selection of independent magazines, but there’s something gallery-like about the atmosphere of this store.
This is more of a mini gallery slash bookshop. Here, located on the already artistic Stokes Croft, is a small independent space offering local artists the chance to display and sell their work. Mainly selling prints, the store also has a large selection of books, magazines, cards and much more. A definite must-visit on your Bristolian art adventure.
Here Gallery, 108 Stokes Croft, Bristol, +44 117 942 2222
The Arnolfini Café
We’ve already touched on how great the Arnolfini Gallery is, but what makes it even better (if that’s even possible) is the attached café. This is the perfect spot to indulge in a little post-exhibition-viewing brunch. Highlights of the venue are the indoor tree and the tofu scramble. Both are as equally pleasing as each other.
Arnolfini Café Bar, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, +44 117 917 2305
If there’s one place where food is like art, then it’s Flow. With a purely vegetarian and vegan menu, expect expertly crafted food in a modern, simplistic setting. Plus, there’s the added bonus of accessing the restaurant through the vibrant Bear Pit, which is filled with incredible graffiti art for you to feast your eyes upon, pre-dinner.
Flow, Bristol, +44 117 329 6226