Paul Box Hearts

Image credit: Paul Box

An explosion of hearts has taken over all corners of Bristol’s city centre. The aim? To invite you back to explore the heart of the city and bring #BristolTogether again in a safe and responsible way. 

Six trails, containing a total of 1,000 rainbow coloured hearts painted by Upfest crew members, guide you around the city centre to and from an incredible 20-metre wide spectacle in the atrium of Cabot Circus. There is also a smaller 6-metre wide installation in Quakers Friars.

This latest initiative is a continuation of the #BristolTogether campaign, created by the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) and Cabot Circus, and is called ‘Follow your Heart’.

Starting at either Cabot Circus or at a burst of hearts, follow the trails to or from different corners of the city centre whilst taking in landmarks, stopping for a bite to eat and browsing the wide variety of shops.

Follow your heart trail map

Image: Follow your heart trail map

The Red Trail

Spanning Old Market to Cabot Circus, the Red Trail takes you through an area packed with history in what was once a thriving market and for centuries the main road from Bristol to London. Now, Old Market is home to some of Bristol's most historic buildings, 60 listed ones to be precise, allowing you to see architecture from all periods nestled side-by-side. It’s also known for strong connections to the LGBT community and as being a friendly gay village.

The Pink Trail

Starting by Bristol Bridge and snaking through Castle Park, Broadmead and into Cabot Circus, the Pink Trail allows you to take in both Bristol history and some seriously good shops! Bristol Bridge is where it all started; the name of the city comes from the Saxon  ‘Brigstowe’ meaning place of the bridge. A stone bridge has been here since the 13th century.

Castle Park surrounds the ruins of St Peter’s Church, which was damaged in the Bristol Blitz and preserved as a war memorial. The River Avon runs along one side of the park, where you can see the new Finzel’s Reach development of bars and restaurants. On the other side is Bristol Shopping Quarter. Including Broadmead, The Galleries, The Arcade, Cabot Circus and Quakers Friars, this huge shopping area is home to high street favourites, designer names and independent retailers, great restaurants, cinemas and bars.

The Green Trail

Meandering from Bristol Shopping Quarter through Old City and to the Harbourside, the Green Trail takes in lots of city sites. Just along the trail is the historic St Nicholas Market. Trading since 1743, today it’s home to an eclectic array of traders and a famously diverse food offering - pick up a takeaway dish to fuel your walk.

Lined with trees, historic buildings and cobbled streets, the picturesque Queen Square is a real oasis in heart of the city. If you’re feeling a little more lively and looking to grab a refreshing pint, wander over to the iconic King Street, where you’ll find an amazing selection of venues serving cask and keg beers, some even brewed on the street! Bristol Old Vic Theatre, the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, can also be found on this street.

As you head closer to the water, make a special stop at Arnolfini for a burst of hearts!

The Orange Trail

One of the smaller routes, the Orange Trail leads you to The Full Moon at Stokes Croft. North of the centre, Stokes Croft is home to some of the city’s best street art – including Banksy’s Mild Mild West at The Canteen. The bohemian vibe has given the area its ‘Cultural Quarter’ nickname and you can find some fantastic food and drink venues here too.

The Purple Trail

Passing Park Street, the City Centre and into Bristol Shopping Quarter, the Purple Trail is one of the longer routes. Follow the hearts along the sweeping lawns of College Green, surrounded by the seriously impressive Bristol Cathedral and City Hall at the foot of Park Street - where you’ll find takeaway treats to tuck into al fresco, as well as independent shops, brilliant bars and Banksy’s famous Well Hung Lover mural. The area around Frog Lane and Frogmore street is also home to a number of friendly LGBT bars.

Bristol has a reputation for action, particularly when faced with inequality, dating back hundreds of years. This was thrown into the global spotlight this year when, on Sunday 7 June 2020, citizens took matters into their own hands and toppled the controversial statue of Edward Colston. While not condoning any criminal actions, this was a hugely symbolic and powerful event in the city’s history. It had been erected in the city for around 125 years and was a focus of debate for many years, with numerous petitions calling for its removal. After being pulled down and rolled into the harbour, the plinth now stands empty. See for yourself during the city centre part of this trail.

In the Old City, discover medieval Bristol at St John on the Wall. A ‘hidden church’, it was one of five churches built into the old city wall in the 12th century and is now the only one that remains. It acted as both part of the city’s defences, and as places for travellers to offer prayers before a journey. Displaying the diversity of Bristol, nearby to this historic marvel is the city’s ‘Little Chinatown’. Named as such by the Chinese community, this food hall building on Nelson Street is home to a Cantonese Southeast Asian food bar, Hong Kong-style tea restaurant, a Chinese supermarket and five karaoke rooms!

The Blue Trail

During the Blue Trail, be sure to pop into Bristol Bus Station to see the ‘Cheers Drive’ sign. Originally an installation at this year’s inaugural Bristol Light Festival, it was gifted to the station as a ‘Thank you’ to Key Workers during the pandemic.  

Follow the hearts - Paul Box

Image credit: Paul Box

The hearts will be in place for three weeks, so there is lots of time to visit, and to rediscover all that the city centre has to offer once again.

The launch of the #BristolTogether campaign saw 374 socially-distanced hearts painted in Queen Square, Castle Park and College Green to encourage safe-use of the city centre’s most-loved green spaces and to promote the city as a safe and welcoming place to all. These trails are a continuation of the theme as we move into the autumn.

The #BristolTogether campaign is led by Bristol City Centre BID, alongside Visit Bristol, Business West and Broadmead BID, in partnership with the One City Economy Board and Bristol City Council. The campaign is also supported by the European Regional Development Fund through HM Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

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