What should everyone know about Bristol

City trip: Bristol - the sparkling metropolis

Urban look: The city in the south-west of England is one of the world centers of street art. A stroll through the city on the trail of the graffiti legend Banksy

Street art in Bristol

A naked man is dangling from the wall of the house, his fingers clutching the window ledge. His playmate and the betrayed husband stare out of the window above. Next to me there is whispering, cameras clicking, a normal morning on Park Street. The in-flagrant scene is one of Banksy's most famous works. The street artist from Bristol inspires people all over the world, Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt are among his fans. With his spray can, Banksy addresses socio-political issues and stages them as contradictions: radicals throw bouquets of flowers, policemen kiss each other, Neanderthals stuffing fast food into themselves.

The artist tells the triangle story on the facade of the city's sexual health clinic. Bristol itself does not seem rebellious at first glance: lush hills in the hinterland, and a breeze always blows through the eighth largest city in Great Britain from the nearby west coast. In quarters like Clifton Pretty townhouses from the 18th century line up next to traditional pubs and candy-colored cupcake bakeries. Sailing yachts made of wood and historic excursion boats bob up and down in the former industrial port. The Saint Nicholas Market, surrounded by medieval streets, is one of the most popular and oldest markets in the kingdom. And even next to Banksy's naked man, the Gothic ensemble of cathedral, town hall and city library spreads harmony.

Although the Bristolian's canvas works sometimes change hands for millions at auctions, the graffiti he sprays on walls around the world is illegal. And the artist's identity remains a secret. In his hometown, however, almost everyone thinks they know the star. "I once caught him spraying," says a taxi driver. One barista is sure: "My sister went to school with him." Someone who really knows Banksy is John Nation, his former supervisor at the youth club, where the sprayer legend made its first attempts in the eighties. John is in his early fifties and has been watching the street art scene for 30 years. During the week he works on the construction site, on Saturdays he guides graffiti enthusiasts through the city, one of the world's centers of art.

A highlight of the tour is the Nelson Street. "That was an eyesore, by far the ugliest street until See no evil‘ took it on, "explains John. The street art project, organized by artists and the city, brought the world's best sprayers to Bristol in 2011 and 2012. Even if the exposed aggregate concrete buildings are still not a feast for the eyes, their new clothes are definitely.

The creative heart of Bristol is just a few minutes' walk away: the former problem district Stokes Croft. Colorful lettering, abstract portraits and systematic criticism as high as a house bloom between restaurants, galleries and clothing stores. The anonymous artists call themselves "Rose", "Inkie" or "Banksy". Most graffiti can only be viewed for a few weeks, then new motifs are sprayed over them. "I see pictures on almost every tour," says John. "Often they are not a day old and the paint has barely dried."

Unlike the redeveloped inner city, Stokes Croft was spared gentrification, and to keep it that way, an interest group of shopkeepers and artists recently introduced the "Bristol Pound", a currency of its own, with the help of the Bristol Credit Union. Anyone who exchanges them for the British pound (rate 1: 1) is setting an example against the predominance of large fashion labels.

The Bristolians like to think outside the box and give art space: the Kulturkino shows at the harbor Watershed Independent films instead of blockbusters. And at Saint Nicholas Market, traders decorate their sheds in a kitschy British style, sometimes as a Caribbean beach bar. Dishes from all over the world and local goods are sold. Every Wednesday farmers from the region come and offer cheese, meat and wool from their own farm. Should anything change in this attitude, the walls of the city will be the first to tell about it.

Tips for Bristol

John Nation and Rob Dean founded "Wherethewall", the small start-up offering street art tours in Bristol. They both love the atmosphere and life in Bristol. We asked them what they like to do in their city on a day off.

John Nation:"There is a good English breakfast in 'Brunel's Buttery' down at the harbor. This place is an institution and sells the best sandwiches in town. Then I would see what 'M-Shed' so has to offer. The former Industrial Museum now mainly shows modern art and interactive exhibitions dealing with Bristol. I would devote the afternoon to street art and visit a few shops and galleries run by artist friends, such as 'Weapon of choice', 'Colab' or 'Upfest Gallery'. When I find the time, I just enjoy wandering the streets and taking photos of street art because I just can't get enough of it. I like to go for a beer 'Pipe & Slippers' or 'Bristol Social'. If I want to move on after that, I would probably go first 'The bank' seek out and then head for 'Motion' walk. It's one of the biggest clubs in Bristol, very creative and sometimes a bit weird. "

Rob Dean:"I would have a coffee in my day off 'The Canteen' start and then go on a bike tour of the docks with my son. The historical area stretches along the harbor basin and is really very nice for cyclists and pedestrians. In the sunshine we would do our tour in the café of the Kunsthalle 'Arnolfini' break up. The terrace of the café is directly on the water, there are fantastic cakes and afterwards an exhibition of international artists. In the afternoon I would stroll a little more on Park Street with a stop at 'Boston Tea Party' - a chain of cafes here in Bristol. The shop on Park Street is my favorite because it has a nice back yard. In the evening I would go back to 'The Canteen', because there is live music here every evening, or alternatively I would watch an independent film in 'Watershed' look at."



Street art tour with John Nation. Start: Saturdays at 11 a.m. in front of the town hall, www.wherethewall.com


Europe's largest event for urban art is celebrated on the last weekend in May. You watch street artists or try yourself and legally on the spray can, www.upfest.co.uk

Bristol Old Vic

The town's first stage was built in 1766 in the back building of what was then the fruit and vegetable market. Since then, all performances have been sold out.

King Street, Tel. 0044-117-987 78 77, www.bristololdvic.org.uk


The Canteen

Meeting point for creative people with live music in the evening. The outside wall is decorated with a real Banksy - The Mild Mild West

Stokes Croft 80, Tel. 0044-117-923 20 17, www.canteenbristol.co.uk


Lamb, fish or pasta are served on the plates while the athletes swim their laps below in the swimming pool from 1850.

Oakfield Place, Tel. 0044-117-933 95 30, www.lidobristol.com

The Arts House

A colorful mix of coffee, cake and art.

Stokes Croft 108 A, Tel. 0044-117-923 28 58, www.theartshouse.org

Going out

Brew Dog

The beers from the young brewery have funny names like "Dead Pony Club" or "Punk IPA" - and they taste great.

Baldwin St 58, www.brewdog.com

The Bank of Stokes Croft

Here hipsters and long-time residents contest the evenings together.

Stokes Croft 84, www.thebankofstokescroft.com

The Milk Thistle

A door and a bell, nothing more. If you don't know the address, you just walk by. Which would be a shame. The best cocktails are served in a country house ambience with leather sofas and deer heads.

Quay Head House, Colston Avenue, www.milkthistlebristol.com


Brooks Guesthouse

Newly renovated rooms directly on St. Nicholas Market and a bright inner courtyard - decorated with street art, of course.

Exchange Avenue / St Nicholas Street, Tel. 0044-117-930 00 66, www.brooksguesthousebristol.com

Avon Gorge Hotel

A beautiful view of the Avon River and the Clifton Suspension Bridge can be found in the posh Clifton.

Sion Hill, Tel. 0044-117-973 89 55, www.theavongorge.com

Hotel Du Vin

The sugar store from the 18th century houses a dignified hotel with 40 rooms and an award-winning bar.

Narrow Lewins Mead, Tel. 0044-844-736 42 52, www.hotelduvin.com

getting there

BMI Regional flies directly to Bristol from Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt: www.bmiregional.com.