From lions and bears to planets and Gromits, we’re used to seeing unique sculpture trails around Bristol. But now the city is about to be invaded unicorns this summer. Taking is us to the far-flung corners of our beloved city.
As part of the 650th anniversary celebrations for Bristol, UnicornFest will see these mythical and magical creatures appear in some of the area’s most iconic landmarks from the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Weston-Super-Mare pier.
These two-metre high statues (alongside some smaller companions) will start appearing in Bristol and the South West on July 3. The nine-week art trail will add a splash of colour and majesty to our streets. Bristol artists like Inkie and Silent Hobo, as well as children from St Werburgh’s Park Nursey school, are among those that have decorated the “blessing” (the name for a group of unicorns) .
The herd will include 59 unicorn sculptures, each with a unique design. At the end of the trail, raising money for Leukaemia Care, UnicornFest will finish with an auction so you can get your hands on these unique creatures yourself. To learn more about the unicorn trail head here.
What is the connection between Bristol and unicorns?
This year marks 650 years since Bristol achieved county corporate status in 1155. But the history between the city and these mythical creatures goes back to 1569 (Bristol became a city in 1542) when the city’s seal featured two golden unicorns. Apparently chosen, according to the City Audit Books, because they “only do homage to men of virtue” – which is also why they are also seated rather than rampant and rearing up. You’ll still see them on Bristol’s coat of arms!
But you’ll find these majestic beasts hidden in plain sight all over Bristol. There are two bronze unicorns standing on the roof of City Hall on College Green; and unicorns also adorn the bow of the SS Great Britain; and Bristol City FC keep going back-and-forth between unicorns and a robin on their kits. Once you know about them, you’ll start to see them everywhere too. From the Church of St John the Baptist to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the original University of Bristol logo.