Spike Island is running its annual open event from 28 April - 1 May, so we asked Jane Faram from the arts space why it's worth popping along...

Sarah Wilton Spike Island

Like exploring interesting buildings? Or finding out how (and why) artists do what they do? Don’t miss Spike Island Open over the early May bank holiday weekend. It’s a chance to look behind closed doors at Spike Island, a former tea packing factory, now home to hundreds of artists and creative businesses. Here are just five gems to tempt you there…

  1. Meet artists in their workspaces

A rare opportunity to wander around this 80,000 sq ft building and look inside over 70 artists’ studios, which are filled with a broad variety of art and of course, friendly artists who are happy to tell you about their ideas.

  1. Make art for yourself

Learn through having a go – make your own print in Spike Print Studio, try plasticine animation in Calling the Shots HQ, or throw a clay vessel with artist Sarah Wilton.

Calling the Shots Spike Island

  1. All aboard a Bristol Ferry Boat!

Artist Helen Grant has made a special artwork Spring Break which you can enjoy on the ferry boat named ‘Emily’ – and we can’t think of a nicer way to travel over to Spike Island Open than on the ferry. Hop off/on at the SS Great Britain stop (SSGB also have special events running this weekend including The Ragged Victorians.)

  1. More than a feast for the eyes

Sweet and savoury treats (from grilled cheese to delicious donuts) are a definite highlight of Spike Island Open – a showcase of some of Bristol’s best street food traders. Pop-up kitchens this year include Gopal’s Curry Shack, Big O Donut Co, Raclette Raclette, Outpost Coffee, and Spike Island Café who offer a tasty organic menu and beers on tap.

  1. Ideas to fly with

Spike Island Open aims to inspire you to try something new or see things differently – you could join a conversation with the artists in the gallery or leaf through a Do Book (designed by Spike Island tenant Ratiotype.) Especially don’t miss Aardman animator and creative thinker Gavin Strange when he talks about the book he wrote, Do Fly.

Spike Island Open


Spike Island
Arts Centre
Spike Island

A unique centre devoted to the production and exhibition of the contemporary visual arts, as well as a great café space