Top 5 Art Galleries in Bristol

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Bristol is well-known as an artsy, creative city, and you don’t have to look far for the evidence - it’s all here, in our list of Bristol’s top 5 art galleries!

There’s plenty to enjoy and ponder, from treaured, legendary works by history’s famous painters to exciting new pieces by up-and-coming artists of all disciplines - read on to find out where to find it all...

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1RL | Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm 

The Fine Art Collection at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery comprises 1293 paintings,193 sculptures, around 20,000 works on paper including watercolours, drawings, artists’ sketchbooks, albums, photographs, prints and miniatures, and 15 videos from Northern and Italian Renaissance painting, Baroque to modern French art, and British painting from the 17th century to the present day.

The buiding’s Second Floor also features galleries filled with paintings spanning Europe and Asia from the last 500 years, plus permanent exhibits of pottery, ceramics and silver.  Exhibition Gallery 3 temporary exhibits like The Art of Japanese Porcelain, which is now running until September 2024. You can even explore three of the art galleries online via this interactive 360 photo.

Entry is free

Click here for the website


16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA | Tuesday - Saturday, 11am-6pm

Right in the heart of Bristol, Arnolfini is Bristol’s international centre for interdisciplinary contemporary art, with a wide-ranging programme of visual art, performance, dance, film, and music. It’s a place dedicated to fostering international and local art and bringing education to the public, buzzing with artistic spirit; the Bush House building, standing at the harbourside, is also part of the University of West England’s Bristol City campus, where over 300 students and tutors work on their crafts.

As a visitor you are invited to enjoy yourself (it’s literally the principle of the entire enterprise, as imagined by founder Jeremy Rees), and there’s plenty to do here, including performances and workshops such as Life Drawing and Adult Creative Wellbeing. Current exhibitions include ‘Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood’ and  ‘Slow/Flow’, an exhibition of work by students from the University of West England. Check out the programme here.

Entry is free, with donations welcomed

Click here for the website

Spike Island

Spike Island, 133 Cumberland Road, Bristol BS1 6UX | Wednesday - Sunday, 12–5pm

Spike Island was founded in the 70s by a group of painters, sculptors and printmakers who sought out and administered affordable studio spaces for artists in Bristol, and the plan is still working, with a thriving community of artists and creative entrepeneurs spread across the 80,000 square-foot industrial site. The idea is to foster and support a community of artists who can thrive (and stay) here in Bristol.

They support and develop contemporary art in Bristol and across the world by providing artists’ studios and exhibiting in museum-sized spaces, and as well as commissioning new artworks to be created in physical space and online both on and off-site. They aim to inspire a passion for contemporary art through a fantastic programme of performances, workshops, tours and exhibitions. 

Entry to exhibitions and galleries is free, and selected events are ticketed.

Click here for the website

The Royal West of England Academy

Queens Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1PX | Tuesday - Sunday, 10am – 5pm

The Chair of the Arts Council in England calls The Royal West of England Academy "One of the most beautiful places in which to look at art in this country" - In 2021, the building completed a £4.8m transformation, and truly feels as though it embodies its mission to inspire people of all walks of life to get creative through its range of exhibitions, its programme of events and workshops, and its Drawing School

The RWA first opened its doors in 1844 and has been expertly exhibiting estblished artists ever since; fine art sits comfortably alongside contemporary work created from materials like raw earth, charcoal, steel or sycamore tree. Current exhibitons include Dreaming in Fire, an exploration of art produced in clay, and Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation.

Some exhibits are free to visit, while some are ticketed; day tickets cost £9.90 (we reccommend buying an Annual Art Pass for £16) 

Click here for the website

Centrespace Studios & Gallery

6 Leonard Ln, Bristol BS1 1EA | Generally 10am-6pm (can vary slightly depending on artists’ schedules)

In the old part of the city you’ll find Centrespace Studios & Gallery; the building was originally occupied by a collective of artists from various disciplnes and practices in the 1970s, and it has been running as a co-operative since 1987 to offer studio space, workshops, events and a gallery exhibiton space.

This essentially means we can’t tell you what to expect from Centrespace - you’ll have to check it out for yourself! There are around 30 studio and workspaces in the building, occupied by various artists who are in charge of running their own exhibitons (you can see who is exhibiting at the moment here) and sales. There are often also pop-up shops selling jewellery and other items. 

It is generally free to visit Centrespace; occasionally artists might ticket events such as the opening night of an exhibition.

Click here for the website