Street Art of Gloucester Road in Bristol

Living in Camden Town, it takes a lot for me to be impressed by the graffiti scene in any given place – but some parts of Bristol almost blew my beloved London borough out of the water! The street art of Gloucester Road was some of the best I have ever seen and today I will share it with you.

Gloucester Road is Europe’s longest street of independent shops, which is a bit of a shock to those of us used to the overwhelmingly standardised shopping experience offered by most urban high streets. When I stepped onto the street, the flower child inside my heart rejoiced when seeing this endless row of windows filled with organic produce, vintage clothes and antiques.

Unfortunately, its indie spirit is slowly but surely being crushed. The first shop on the street is now a Sainsbury’s Local and you can find oversized chains like The Carphone Warehouse wedged in between its independent businesses. The one thing keeping its rebelliousness alive is the incredible graffiti lining the road – the street is practically a bright outdoor gallery with free entry!

If I hadn’t been rushing to explore the city centre, I could have spent hours wandering around and snapping photos of the beautiful street art of Gloucester Road, as well as the neighbouring Stokes Croft and Cheltenham Road which are included in this post. Good thing I captured at least some of the area’s charm, because it’s in a perpetual state of artistic flux. Elaborate murals are routinely covered up just to be replaced by another intricate work of art, so the rare gems you notice one day may no longer be there the next time you visit. So check these out before they begin to disappear, much like the traditional character of what is sometimes seen as the last great British high street

DSC_0194 DSC_0186 DSC_0189 DSC_0168 DSC_0214 DSC_0176 DSC_0178 DSC_0183 DSC_0207 DSC_0173
DSC_0204

How do you feel about street art, and graffiti in particular? Do you think it adds to a city’s character or takes away from it? Share your thoughts with me!

  • I love street art, but then I live in East London so I spend a lot of time surrounded by cool street art. The street art in Bristol looks fab though.

    • So true – East London and Camden have some of the coolest street art out there. Bristol really impressed me though!

  • Lady Zith

    I love it. I’m insanely lucky to have moved here 3 weeks ago. Off exploring the art & independent shops today (just because I can). 🙂

    • That’s so cool! What brings you to Bristol? The independent shops are amazing & there’s a GREAT vintage store on Gloucester Road you should check out 🙂

  • Cool – I do think that street art (rather than those scrawling, artless tags) adds a lot to a city!

    • I agree! Tags are often just vandalism and they give graffiti a bad name. It can be beautiful art, too! 🙂 And free for all to see!

  • It must be fun to see all the colorful art! Living in Vancouver, Canada, we’re not as accustomed to seeing street art around us.

    • It definitely adds a lot of character to a place! Shame about Vancouver… or not – that’s what travel is for after all. Exploring new things, seeing what you wouldn’t at home 🙂

  • Anna

    I love some good street art. My hometown, Athens, has lots of street art (some good some not), but in Boston where I am now, there’s none (that I know of)!! Loved that building with the rabbits drawn on it!

    • YES – I was in Athens in October & I will still be publishing a post about the incredible street art I saw there. What a beautiful city, I LOVED my time there 🙂 Have you seen my post about the Monastiraki flea market? So good. Never been to Boston… hopefully you’ll discover some hidden gems 🙂 And yeah, I thought the rabbits were really cute! 🙂

      • Anna

        Yes I saw it a while back (and have also left a comment there)…I loved the photos!

  • Street art is an interesting one. I feel sometimes it really makes a city, and adds to its character! But at times, it’s taken a little far when it covers heritage listed buildings that maybe don’t suit the modern artform. But it’s a pretty cool form of expression.

    Chalsie | The Workshop Co. x

    • I think you make a great point Chalsie. Street art isn’t always well suited to a particular area – but when it is, I think it adds SO MUCH to a place’s character 🙂 I love art and having it out in the open for everyone to see in their everyday life is so important! Way to make art accessible 🙂

  • I’m a huge fan of street art, huge! Recently I’ve heard only good things about the street art scene in Bristol and your pictures just confirmed it’s pretty decent! Definitely on my list of places I’d love to visit in 2015!

    • I remember seeing street art form Athens on your site a while back if I’m not mistaken!! 🙂 Bristol is incredible that front – definitely deserves a spot on your list 🙂

  • TriReagan

    I’ve become a huge fan of street art lately. It’s something that I actively seek out now on my travels. Montreal has some really awesome pieces. I used to think that street art was just graffiti done by punks, but a lot of the pieces I see now are truly pieces of art. Lord knows I could never create such a thing! 🙂

    • Yeah – same for me. Living in an area that’s full of street art, I also seek it out on my travels now 🙂 I know – it’s so incredible how talented some people are 😀 Love it!!

  • Sophie

    When were you in Bristol?? I literally live so close to Stokes Croft – I’m just in Montpelier near the train station! It would have been great to catch you!
    Give me a shout next time you’re over hun 🙂

    http://saintsonaplane.com
    http://travelettes.net

  • We should definitely try and stop by Bristol now that we are temporary in the UK, the street art looks fantastic! 🙂

  • Tom

    I used to live in Bristol, including on Gloucester Road for a bit, so your photos bring back a lot of good memories! That area has a long-standing reputation for all the independent shops etc, but it’s crazy how much Stokes Croft (where most of the graffiti is) has changed over the last 10 years or so. When I first moved to the city (way back in 2003 – that makes me feel old…) there were a couple of good clubs down there but that was about it, that part of the street was pretty sketchy, and there was none of the street art really, apart from the ‘Mild Mild West’ Banksy piece which has been there for years.

    As I remember it, that whole ‘People’s Republic of Stokes Croft’ thing was a response to the city council’s plans for the area, which they wanted to turn into luxury flats as part of the Cabot Circus shopping centre development – then the recession hit, a lot of the developments got cancelled and it gradually turned into what it is today. Nowadays the council use Banksy in their tourist literature – funny really considering they used to scrub his stuff off the walls!