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

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

Cafe Bar:
From 10am every day

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

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.
Grayson Perry Matching Pair

Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!

  • 26 September — 24 December 2017 *on now

Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! tackles one of the artist’s primary concerns: how contemporary art can best address a diverse cross section of society. On show for the first time outside of London, the exhibition is central to the autumn season at Arnolfini and a programme of events inspired by Perry’s irreverent take on contemporary culture.

In the exhibition, Perry continues to explore many of the themes and concerns that recur in his practice, drawing from his own childhood and life as a transvestite, as well as wider social issues and his abiding interest in his audience. The works in the exhibition examine masculinity, class, politics, sex, religion, popularity and art, as well as contemporary issues such as Brexit and ‘Divided Britain’.

Working in a variety of traditional media including ceramics, cast iron, bronze, printmaking, and tapestry, Perry is best known for his ability to combine delicately crafted objects with scenes of contemporary life.

The exhibition at Arnolfini will present over 25 of Perry’s latest works, including Matching Pair (above). This new work was created after Perry invited the British public, through social media, to contribute ideas, images and phrases that were then used to cover two enormous pots: one for Remainers and one for the Brexiteers.

The crowd-sourced work accompanied a Channel 4 documentary, Grayson Perry: Divided Britain, which followed Perry as he visited pro-Brexit and pro-Remain parts of the country.

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.
Beacons Icons Dykons

Late: Beacons, Icons and Dykons present Angora Nights

  • 27 — 28 October 2017 7pm-1am

Beacons Icons and Dykons celebrates legendary American filmmaker Ed Wood. Wood made low-budget science fiction, comedy, and horror films in the 1950s.

His biopic Ed Wood, portrays the life of the ambitious but troubled movie director, as he tries his best to fulfil his dream, despite lack of support. Directed by Tim Burton.

The screening will be opened with a performance from lead Provocateur Tom Marshman. After the screening, Tom will lead a discussion about the film, masculinity and where to pick up that elusive angora sweater!

Join us for the opening performance, the screening, and a fun-fuelled after party in Arnolfini's Cafe Bar hosted by Don't Tell Your Mother.


7-9pm: Screening and performance
9-9.30pm: Discussion
9.30pm-12am: DTYM After Party in the Cafe Bar

Beacons, Icons and Dykons is an ode to gay and queer cinema. A film is screened alongside performances, talks and a diverse range of entertainment inspired by the themes and heroes. From Dolly Parton to Diana Ross, John Walters and Kenneth Anger, we're honouring them all, one by one. Beacons, Icons and Dykons is curated by performance maker Tom Marshman

Don't Tell Your Mother is an LGBT+ Friends night in the mild, mild west...Bristol! listed as LGBT+ Friends because EVERYONE is long as you like a good boogie and smile lots. Expect glitter, pop bangers, sequins, delicious disco, glitter, rude R'n'B and all-around glamour.

This event has been programmed to accompany Grayson Perry's exhibition at Arnolfini.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


16 Narrow Quay


£5 full price, £3 concessions


Meera Syal

Headlong and The Guardian present Brexit Shorts

  • 9 November 2017 7-9pm

The Brexit vote was the single most significant event in UK politics since WW2. What does Brexit mean to you?

Headlong and the Guardian have joined forces to explore the temperature of the country. In a series of short films, leading theatre voices reveal individual stories in a divided Britain.

The films feature Kristin Scott Thomas, Penelope Wilton, Meera Syal, Steffan Rhodri, Bronagh Gallagher, Dean Fagan, Nasser Memarzia, Scott Reid and Joanna Scanlan.

Following the screening there will be a discussion led by Guardian stage editor Chris Wiegand, talking about the development of the project.

This event has been programmed in collaboration with The Guardian, to accompany Grayson Perry's exhibition at Arnolfini.

A screening of short films followed by a conversation led by Guardian journalist Chris Wiegand.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


Full price £6, concession £4


Nikesh Shukla ShamPhat photography

Nikesh Shukla in Conversation

  • 16 November 2017 7-8:30pm

Throughout Grayson Perry's exhibition, we are delighted to welcome Nikesh Shukla as writer-in-residence.

During the autumn, Nikesh will be producing new work, exploring themes around Brexit, British values and the idea of a nationalism that celebrates all of us, especially in a city like Bristol, built on the legacy of slavery.

Join us for a reading of the work followed by a conversation between Nikesh and invited guests.

About Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh Shukla's debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010.

Alongside his second novel, Meatspace, Nikesh has written for The Guardian, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Vice and BBC2, LitHub, Guernica and BBC Radio 4.

Nikesh is also the editor the bestselling essay collection, The Good Immigrant which won the reader's choice at the Books Are My Bag Awards.

Nikesh was one of Foreign Policy magazine's 100 Global Thinkers and The Bookseller's 100 most influential people in publishing in 2016.


Full price £5, concession £3



Late: Thorny with Lone Taxidermist

  • 1 — 2 December 2017 8pm-2am

This December Thorny are raiding the ground floor of Arnolfini with an entourage of the most politically relevant and necessary artists they know right now.

As the doors to Grayson Perry's acclaimed exhibition close for the evening, join Thorny as they reclaim space in the centre of Bristol with an army of protesting performers, who are redefining what it means to be an outsider in 2017.

To ignite their love-fueled provocative party for the underrepresented, they’re summoning anti-gender drag artists, raucous femme wrestlers, unapologetic speakers and plastic elastic dance disruptors. Act now, be ready.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


Full price £10, concession £8


16 Narrow Quay
City of Bristol



General enquiries and Box Office

Education and group visits

Hires and hospitality


General enquiries and Box Office

0117 917 2300

Kate Robinson- Hires and hospitality

0117 917 2313

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.