Even if you’ve only been in Bristol for less than a hot minute, you probably already know that it’s the hometown of Banksy. Since the 90s, the anonymous and elusive artist has helped to define Bristol’s street art scene. His often satirical and darkly funny street art has made our home a more colourful and interesting place. And while you can see ‘a Banksy’ in cities all over the world these days, it’s Bristol that still has some of his best. So here’s where you can find every Banksy in Bristol.
The Mild Mild West
Painted in the late 90s, The Mild Mild West has since become an iconic symbol of Stokes Croft. This was Banksy’s response to violent police crackdowns on raves and parties at the time, depicting a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at three riot police. While one of his earliest murals, it was a sign of Banksy’s humorous and political edge to come.
80 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY
Well Hung Lover
You can’t miss this piece on Park Street if you tried. There’s often a horde of visitors taking photos that you have to step around. This raunchy piece, also called Naked Man Hanging From Window, was painted in 2006 on the side of a sexual health clinic. It became the first legal piece of street art in the UK. Bristol City Council gave it retrospective permission and protection following pressure from locals. In 2009, Well Hung Lover was defaced by a paintball gun and some of the blue paint splatter remains on the artwork still.
7 Park Street, Bristol BS1 5HR
The Girl With The Pierced Eardrum
This might be our personal favourite Banksy piece in Bristol. A pretty faithful recreation of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (with pearl earring replaced with a security alarm), you’ll find it at the end of a small alley in Albion Dockyard on Spike Island. The graffiti artwork first appeared in 2014, but received a pandemic-themed makeover in 2020, with the addition of a facemask.
Hanover Place, Bristol BS1 6UT
The Grim Reaper
There are a number of Banksy’s no longer with us. Some were painted over, others were removed and sold. But, despite moving from its original location, The Grim Reaper is still with us in Bristol. Originally painted on the side of the much-loved Thekla boat in 2003, it has since been removed to protect it from damage. You’ll find it these days at Bristol’s M Shed where it’s on long-term loan from Thekla.
M-Shed Museum, Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN
The Girl With The Stick
Back in 2016, Bridge Farm School named a schoolhouse after Banksy. As a ‘thank you’, he in turn painted this mural over the half-term for them. While we don’t condone vandalism in schools, this cute mural still acts as an artistic inspiration for pupils of the primary school.
Bridge Farm Primary School, E Dundry Rd, Whitchurch, Bristol BS14 0LL
Take The Money And Run
This might be the oldest Banksy still knocking about Bristol. It appears to be a bit different from his usual style, but that could be because it’s a collaborative piece with fellow Bristol graffiti artists Inkie and Mode2. Painted back when he was still drawing freehand, there’s still a hint of the political edge that came to define his style.
Bath Buildings & Saint Andrews Road, Montpelier, Bristol BS6 5PT
Cat And Dog
The writing here reads: “There are crimes that become innocent or even glorious through their splendour, number, and excess.” Another early piece, it is based in an area where Banksy apparently lived and hung out. It shows a cat spraying graffiti on a wall as two guard dogs approach.
18 Robertson Road, Easton Bristol BS5 6JY
You Don’t Need Planning Permission To Build Castles In The Sky
Not much to say about this piece as it’s one of Banksy’s simplest ever. It was originally made to look like a smiley face, with the title arched like a mouth and two air vents making the eyes. It’s changed a bit since then, however, to make way for a door. You’ll find it near Bristol Cathedral.
99 Lower Lamb St, Bristol BS1 5TL
Rose On A Mousetrap
This is a fairly understated piece for Banksy, but less effective. The art on the side of a house features a delicate rose lying on a mousetrap and is loved so much by the residents it’s been placed in a protective frame – to save it from vandals.
Thomas Street North, Cotham, Bristol BS6 5TN
Barton Hill is where everything began for Banksy in Bristol. At Barton Hill Youth Centre, under the tutelage of John Nation, Banksy was free to practice graffiti without retribution at the Aerosol Art Project. So it’s only fitting that the most recent still-standing (Aachoo!! was removed from Vale Street in 2021) is in the same area.
Valentine’s Day appeared on February 14, 2020, in Barton Hill on the side of the house. Depicting a girl flinging flowers into the air with a catapult. It was vandalised shortly thereafter, as things go with graffiti, and was covered up. Later another stencil appeared of a masked man trying to free the artwork with a crowbar.
Marsh Lane, Redfield, Bristol BS5 9SR