Arnolfini art gallery Bristol harbour side
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Arnolfini is a contemporary arts organisation in Bristol that attracts half a million visits a year.

In a fantastic waterside location at the heart of Bristol’s harbourside, Arnolfini is one of Europe’s leading centres for the contemporary arts, presenting innovative, experimental work in the visual arts, performance, dance, film, music and events, accompanied by a programme of educational activities. Five exhibition spaces, a theatre/cinema auditorium, Reading Room and Light/Dark Studios are housed in the Grade II listed, fully accessible building. The converted warehouse also contains one of the country’s best arts bookshops as well a café bar.

Arnolfini is open six days a week with free admission to the building, exhibitions as well as a stylish, lively café bar.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

11am - 6pm, Tues - Sun and Bank Holiday Mondays
Closed Mondays

Tues 11am-6pm
Wed-Sat 11am-8pm
Sun 11am - 7pm

Cafe Bar:
Mon 10am - 6pm
Tues - Sat 10am - 9pm
Sun 10am - 7pm

Reading Room:
11pm - 6pm, Tues - Sun

Closed: Mondays (except Bank Holidays)

Admission charges

Admission to the exhibitions is free.

In the visual art programme Arnolfini presents international developments and emerging trends through one-person and group exhibitions, commissions and projects. The programme draws attention to important British artists at an early stage of their career and presents timely exhibitions by major international artists.

The live art and dance programme, with its mix of highly visual, often provocative and non-narrative productions, offers one of the most exciting perspectives on contemporary performance and dance in the UK. Arnolfini is committed to commissioning new work to enable artists to develop their practice and to experiment.

In Arnolfini's cinema you'll find a distinctive programme of independent film, featuring a range of cinema including themed seasons, artists films, special festivals, film/music events and arthouse titles.

The learning and interaction programme continues to develop projects with partners old and new, supporting teachers and groups to get the most out of our activities. Arnolfini also programmes and hosts a range of talks, events, courses and local festivals.

Arnolfini celebrated its 50th birthday in 2011. It was established in 1961 by Jeremy and Annabel Rees above a bookshop on the Triangle in central Bristol. Its policy then is still relevant today: "to seek out challenging, often controversial and sometimes relatively unknown artists and performers and to provide a vital showcase for their work." Arnolfini's move to Narrow Quay in 1975 proved a catalyst in attracting other businesses to the then neglected dockside; the revitalised waterfront is now a focal point for Bristol's social and cultural life.

Collection details

Photography, Performing Arts, Music, Fine Art, Film and Media, Design

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Richard Long: TIME AND SPACE

  • 31 July — 15 November 2015 *on now

A major new solo exhibition celebrating Bristol-based artist Richard Long, including several new works and recreations of previous works that have been made for this exhibition.

TIME AND SPACE is a new exhibition by Richard Long. Part of the programme celebrating Bristol’s year as European Green Capital, the project looks particularly at the area where Long grew up and still lives as the start and end point for many if his early walks and text works. The exhibition focuses on the artists’ personal relationship to place and local materials, and how the ideas and language developed through his early career were key in the development of ideas that the artist now realises across the world.

TIME AND SPACE includes sculpture, drawing, photography and text works that date from 1967 to the present. The exhibition features a number of important early works, which are key to understanding the significance of Bristol and the South West in Richard Long’s practice, including an early sculpture, Ireland (1967), which will be remade in the galleries. The exhibition will include two major new works: a large sculpture made from Cornish slate and a wall work made with mud collected from the River Avon. Also included will be a selection of new mud fingerprint drawings on driftwood collected by the artist, as well as a selection of photo works and installed vinyl text works.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Family Storytelling

  • 13 October 2015 From 10:30am
  • 20 October 2015
  • 27 October 2015

Join us for storytelling fun with stories read by local children's authors or our friendly volunteers.Meet in the Café Bar at 10.30am and follow us to our storytelling space where you'll listen to stories from beautiful books by local authors or carefully selected from Arnolfini Shop.Most suitable for ages 2-4 years.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Bedtime Stories

  • 24 October 2015 From 11:30am, From 2:30pm
  • 25 October 2015 From 11:30am, From 2:30pm

It’s bedtime and a little girl is getting ready for sleep. Her mum starts to tell her a bedtime story but work pressures take her away. Our young heroine decides to rescue her mother with the help of her imaginary friend, going on an adventurous journey through unknown and magical places….

Bedtime Stories encourages us to take time out from our busy lives and explore the importance of the connection between carers and children, achieving a work-life balance and managing priorities within the family. Suitable for everyone aged 3 years and up, the show is a transporting and highly immersive experience, that combines awe-inspiring aerial feats with storytelling, physical theatre, dance and stunning projections. Upon entering the theatre space, audiences are invited to relax and feel at home in the environment of a child's bedroom and view the show from the comfort of family beds, tucked up and surrounded by cushions, teddies and blankets.

Upswing are one of the leading circus-theatre companies in the UK. We like to turn the world upside down while mixing aerial-theatre with dance, music and stunning visuals. Bedtime Stories premiered at Stratford Circus earlier this year to universally high praise and critical acclaim:

“..This is one of the most endearing pieces of theatre I have ever had the privilege to enjoy. Acrobalance and aerial skills are seamlessly woven into the fabric of the production, alongside fabulous projection mapped animations.” The Circus Diaries

“?Bedtime Stories?is a production of colour, comfort and awe striking imagery, that develops a sense of inner childishness.” Theatre Full Stop “Breathtaking, magical, unique….” “I didn’t expect to be moved to tears at a children’s show…” Audience members.

Alongside these 4 performances at the Albany, Upswing is offering an accompanying family circus workshop in which children and carers/parents work in close partnership to raise eachother off the ground! Tickets for the show cost £13 (£9 concessions) and If both the show and workshop are booked as a package, tickets are £15 (£10 concessions).

Bedtime Stories is produced by Upswing in partnership with Stratford Circus with the support of Appetite Stoke, Creative Black Country, the Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust, the Leche Trust, the Albany , the Hangar Arts Trust and Jacksons Lane. Supported by the Point, Eastleigh.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£13 (£9 Concessions)

Family Halloween Storytelling Boat Trip

  • 31 October 2015 From 2:30pm

Dress up as your favourite ghost or ghoul and join storyteller Michael Loader for a spooky storytelling river tour to our Floating Ballast Seed Garden. Watch out for terrifying tendrils, vicious vines and carnivorous creepers!For more creepy activities drop into Arnolfini's Light and Dark Studios between 1pm-5pm to create your own costumes, backgrounds and props to make our spooky film Attack of the Giant Plants! Please meet in Arnolfini foyer 10 minutes before departure time.Waterproofs and sensible shoes recommended. Access:The Floating Garden is only accessible by boat. Access to the boat from Arnofini is via steps. Access to the garden is via ramp. The garden also has steps leading to different levels.Ticket required.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Bristol Family Arts Festival Finale: My Green City

  • 31 October 2015 From 1pm

A host of Bristol arts and cultural organisations come together under the same roof to bring families a fantastic afternoon of green themed creative activities to celebrate this year's Bristol Family Arts Festival.Try your hand at animation, make a spooky plant costume or prop, take a storytelling boat trip, or help us to design ways to feed the future city.Drop in and see what fantastic creations you can make. Most suitable for ages 5+ but all ages are welcome to have a go.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Family Film Screening

  • 31 October 2015 From 11am

Come and relax in our Dark Studio, as Arnolfini takes you on an adventure through film to explore a theme or idea from our exhibition or events programme.Films are rated U and are suitable for all ages unless otherwise stated.Doors open at 10:45am to collect tickets and choose your seat.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

16 Narrow Quay
City of Bristol



Box office and general enquiries

Education and group visits

Hires and hospitality


Box office and general enquiries

0117 917 2300

Kate Robinson- Hires and hospitality

0117 917 2313


Box office and general enquiries

0117 917 2303

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.