Bristol street art is as iconic to city as Clifton Suspension Bridge. Its a major tourist pull, with world-class art decorating our streets everywhere, all visible for free. From Barton Hill Youth Centre and Banksy to UPFest and See No Evil, Bristol often feels like the capital of the UK’s best street art. The vibrant and colourful city is a must-visit for anyone with more than a passing interest in graffiti.
Surprisingly, however, Bristol has been labelled only the second, second, best city in the UK to see street art. In a study by South Western Railway, the city was pipped to the post by none other than the nation’s capital. London is arguably the birthplace of Britain’s street art, however, with a number of artists coming to prominence in the 70s. Areas such Shoreditch are a rich tapestry of graffiti.
We should still be proud, however. A quick comparison of Bristol’s and London’s population sizes (Bristol’s is 1/19 of the capital’s), shows how strongly the South West city is competing. According to the study, the annual Google search volume of street art in London was 16,200. While Bristol wasn’t far behind with 11,980. It also ranked well above the likes of Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. Second is starting to sound like quite the accomplishment.
To work-out the UK’s top locations for British street art, South Western Railway analysed Instagram hashtags, TikTok views and Google search volume. It used terms such as: ‘Bristol street art’ and ‘street art Bristol’ to capture relevant results. The total number of Instagram hashtags focussed on Bristol street art came in at 90,583. No other city other than London came close to that. While the total number of TikTok video views came in at 31,100.
Of course, we know that numbers don’t say everything. Since the 90s, Bristol has been home to some of the most iconic graffiti artworks the world over. Banksy’s Mild Mild West and Well Hung Lover are as recognisable as anything in the Louvre. While, you can spot some truly special works from a range of artists around Stokes Croft and Bedminster too. We’ve rounded up some of the best if you fancy taking a look.
“It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate everything that street art has and continues to do for tourism here in Britain,” said Calli Ward, head of marketing at South Western Railway. “Often making headlines when new statement art and murals appear, we have a rich culture of urban art in the UK.”
Other cities to make it the list after London and Bristol include Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Brighton, Sheffield, Belfast, Birmingham and Edinburgh. To see the complete study head here.