Thursday, 25 October 2018

How to Find Banksy Art in Bristol

Banksy work 'The Girl with the Pierced Ear Drum', with title overlaid. Over the weekend, I took my daughter and her boyfriend on a tour of all the local Banksy paintings, or, as some consider them, 'graffiti'. In Bristol, we don't have graffiti, we have street art, and Banksy is probably the most famous Bristol street artist of them all. This post contains directions to all the Banksy art that is close enough to walk to, as well as information about where to find the others further afield. The directions I have given are intended to be followed on foot, but you could do it in two parts if it's too much walking for one trip. There are lots of tourist attractions on route to break things up a bit if necessary.

If you drive into Bristol from the north, along the A38 through Stoke's Croft, you will see the Mild, Mild, West on the left hand side, which is my personal favourite. Everyone has a landmark that makes them think of home, and this is mine. It was painted in 1999, and is considered by many to represent the community of Stokes Croft, where it resides. The painting depicts a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at police. It is believed that this alludes to a series of altercations between police and party goers at a series of raves in the city during the 90s. The teddy bear suggests that the ravers were the innocent parties in these proceedings, certainly in the opinion of the artist. The work can be found on the side of a barber shop, with green signage, at 80 Stoke's Croft, at the traffic light junction with the B4051. 

Banksy artwork The Mild, Mild, West in situ on the side of a building.

Photo by Chloe, from

When you arrive in Bristol, head for the Trenchard Street car park (BS1 5AN), where you can leave your car to embark on the walking tour. Leave the car park via the Park Row exit and turn left onto Park Row, continuing along the road until you pass the Wills Memorial Building on the right and come to the Bristol Museum, also on the right hand side. This  part equals about one third of a mile.  Inside the museum, you will find Paint Pot Angel, a souvenir of the Banksy versus Bristol exhibition held there in 2009. Not a painting, but a large sculpture and one that is at least free of vandalism. I don't have a picture of this one, so no spoilers here!

The next stop on the tour, takes you to Park Street, from where you can see The Well Hung Lover, a piece ironically painted on the side of a sexual health clinic, although I'm not sure if the clinic is still there now. This section of the tour is almost half a mile long. The address of the building is Frogmore Street, but the best view is from Park Street, coming down the hill towards College Green. Exit the museum the way you came in and turn left towards the Will Building. Cross the road and take the left fork (A4018). Continue all the way down the hill, until you come to a little bridge, where Park Street crosses Frogmore Street beneath. On your left you will see The Well Hung Lover. 

Banksy painting, featuring a man and woman looking out of a window and a naked man hanging from the sill.

The next stop on the tour is not far away, it's about a third of a mile, but it's not the most exciting piece of artwork you will find on this tour. When it was first created, there were two lights, which formed the eyes and the lettering became a smile, but the building owners must have done some work at some stage, as there's new brickwork and one of the lights has disappeared. They've also made a rather crude attempt to replace some of the lettering that was removed during the building work, which isn't quite the same, but if you want to add it to your viewed collection, at least it's not far away.  On the opposite side of the road from The Well Hung Lover, you will see a road called Frog Lane, travel along there until you get to the roundabout, and then take the first exit onto college street and at the end of that road, turn right onto Deanery Road. Cross the road, and take the next left onto Lower Lamb Street, where you will find what's left of 'You Don't Need Planning Permission' on the left hand side.


After you've 'meh'd a bit at the anticlimax of this chewed up version of the original, carry on in the direction you were travelling (with the artwork on your left) until you reach the main road (Anchor Road). Turn left, towards the Aquarium. Cross at the traffic lights, just past Bristol Cathedral School, and keep going in more or less a straight line into Anchor Square, where you will see We the Curious on the right. In front of you, some distance away, you should see a sign for Za Za Bazaar, that's the building you are aiming for. When you get there, you can either cross Pero's Bridge (distinguished by its giant, inexplicable horns) and walk to our next destination, M Shed, or turn left, head for the Centre Landing (big steps with water coming down) and grab a ferry. It's half a mile to Centre Landing from the location of 'You Don't Need Planning Permission', and almost a further mile to the final destination, with one stop en route, so I would recommend the ferry, it's only a couple of pounds each and a lovely way to travel. If you prefer to walk, though, cross the bridge, turn right, walk all the way around the Arnolfini building, then turn right over Prince's Street bridge. Walk along Prince's Wharf and the second building you come to is M Shed, the new home of The Grim Reaper, a Banksy work that was originally painted on the side of a boat called the Thekla, but moved inside for its own preservation. 

After you've marvelled at The Grim Reaper, leave M Shed and either wait for another ferry to continue your journey, or turn left and make your way on foot further along the wharf, to your next destination, The SS Great Britain car park. Just before you get to the SS Great Britain, you will see the car park on your left. It's actually called The Maritime Heritage Centre car park. Walk right through it to the other side, until you reach Caledonian Road, where you turn right, then at the end of the road, turn left onto Gas Ferry Road. A little way along, you should see a cut through, sign posted 'Orchard Inn', follow that all the way around, onto Hanover Place, until you see a sign saying Bristol Marina, when you get to the sign, you will see a white building on your left. walk around it, until you come to an alleyway, at the end of which is The Girl with a Pierced Ear Drum, so called because it's based on The Girl with the Pearl Earring painting, but her earring is actually a building alarm.

Banksy artwork, featuring a woman in the style of the girl with the pearl earring.

This is the end of our Banksy expedition, so all you have to do is retrace your steps back along the wharf, over the bridge, around the Arnolfini, back over Pero's bridge and then right, until you reach the Centre Landing again. From here, you can carry on onto Anchor Road, past the Bristol Hippodrome, until you see a left turn, towards the Colston Hall. Go left around the Colston Hall building, along Pipe Lane and at the end of that little road, you will find Trenchard Street car park.  I hope you've enjoyed this virtual tour and it inspires you to visit our fair city to see the artworks first hand. Below are some other Banksy paintings that are a little further away, but you could visit by car, if you wanted to complete your visual collection. 


Cat and Dog - Robertson Road, not far from where it meets Foster Street. BS5 6JE

Masked Gorilla - Fishponds Road, on the side of The New Testament Church. BS5 6PN


The Rose Trap - Thomas Street, near the junction with Freemantle Square. BS2 8NG


Montpelier Health Centre, St Andrews Road BS6 5EH



  1. This pictures are so beautiful and lovely, and funny. I love looking at street art. It is so clever and talented those that do it.

  2. I am loving the beautiful artwork here. So creative.

  3. I love Banksy's art and artwork like his, I would never have thought about how to find it though so this is a very interesting and informative post!

  4. I had no idea there was so much of his artwork in Bristol. It would be great to go and see it all!

  5. Love those artworks. This is definitely helpful for art lovers who plan to visit Brostol.

  6. Great artwork! Big fan of Banksy artwork here too, I have never been to Bristol!

  7. Banksy and other street artists are so clever and talented. I love the use of the alarm as the earring: so creative


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