Royal West of England Academy

Queens Road, Clifton, West End, Bristol, BS8 1PX

Tel: +44 (0)117 973 5129

Add Royal West of England Academy to your Itinerary

Royal West of England Academy exterior

About

The RWA is a unique and historic art gallery located in a spectacular Grade II* listed building in the heart of Bristol.

Since its renovation and re-opening in May 2022, the building is more accessible and welcoming than ever before. In its first year, the RWA welcomed over 150,000 visitors to its galleries, café, drawing school and family room. The venue aims to continue bringing world-class art to Bristol for visitors to enjoy, in one of the most beautiful exhibition spaces in the country.

The mission is to welcome everyone from all walks of life to enjoy art – either by doing or looking or both. Part of our program of events involves nurturing artists at all stages of their careers. The flagship art gallery here in South West England, they champion the arts, by having a wide and varied program of exhibitions and events that explore the breadth of artistic talent that exists locally, nationally, and globally, and in both a historic and contemporary context.

The story of the RWA: Bristol’s first gallery

Café
Enjoy a break during your visit or drop in as you pass by. Spicer + Cole serves a range of ethically sourced, fresh food and drink, open throughout the day serving breakfast, light lunches, cakes, and the best coffee. There’s plenty of room inside and on the fully accessible forecourt.

Shop
Find an exciting memento of your visit in the small but beautifully curated shop. It stocks a wide range of products, inspired by the RWA’s rich collections and current exhibitions. There are art-inspired gifts for both kids and adults ranging from cards to puzzles, posters of past and current exhibitions, art books plus an exclusive range from artist makers.

Family Room
Designed for families of all ages, there are lots of drawing materials, giant interactive artwork, dressing up, puzzles, a chill-out reading area, and a puppet theatre.

Drawing School
The RWA Drawing School hosts a wide variety of art workshops and courses for all creative abilities in the Drawing Studio and on Zoom. Take a look at course program here.

Accessibility

RWA believes that art is for all and have made it part of their mission to engage with and support communities who can’t always easily access art and art activities. Here are some of the accessible activities they offer: 

Baby Tours – from newborn to 1-year-olds, we lay out mats, blankets and toys so that you and your baby can enjoy some arty time in the main galleries with the reassuring knowledge that it’s ok for your baby to make baby noises!

Scribble and Sketch – family activities that take place on Saturdays at different locations across the city, including RWA.

Junior Drawing School – fun half-term and Summer Holiday activities led by professional artists, for school-aged children at the RWA. 

Happy Families Holiday Workshops – these sensory, explorative workshops are specifically designed for families with children with SEN+D. Taking place on Mondays when the galleries are closed to the general public, families can come and explore and play with an experienced facilitator in a quiet, calm, and welcoming space.

Tuesday Teatime Tours – for older people, especially those living with dementia and their companions to come and enjoy the RWA spaces and artwork with an experienced facilitator.

Free activity Trail and Happy Packs (sensory bags) – both are available to all to enjoy during their visit (ask at the front desk). 

Described Tours and BSL Tours – these tours, led by experienced facilitators, explore the work in current exhibitions.

Accessible Facilities

Accessible Parking Spot - there is one accessible parking space at the RWA. This can be booked in advance of your visit by calling 0117 973 5129 or emailing info@rwa.org.uk and is subject to availability.

Welcome Area - As you enter the building, you will find the Welcome Desk to your right. Here, staff and volunteers will be happy to assist you. There is a BSL welcome video at the Welcome Desk. At the desk, there are also lockers to leave any bags or coats. The lockers are a pound each and need a coin to use. You can also pick up a sensory bag to borrow for your visit.

Lift - Fully accessible lift, capable of taking four wheelchairs, available for your use.  The lift gives access from the ground floor to the lower ground floor and the first-floor galleries.

Getting around - the listed building is fully wheelchair accessible, with level access to the Shop and Cafe on the ground floor, and lift access to all Galleries and to our accessible Changing Places Facility on the lower floor. A manually operated wheelchair is also available to borrow during your visit. There is bench seating in each of the galleries, and folding stools are available to borrow.

Accessible toilets - located on the ground floor (in the café) and lower ground floor, as well as a full Changing Places facility and baby-change facility on the lower ground floor.

Changing Places facilities – a fully equipped Changing Places toilet facility is located on the lower ground floor, including changing table, hoist and wet room. Accessed with a Radar Key (use your own or ask at the front desk).

Quiet Room - The Youngwood Room is a calm, quiet environment should you need time out during your visit. there are beanbags, comfy chairs and audio for white noise or music if required. There is a dark tent and weighted blanket to aid calming and soothing.

Information for Visually Impaired Visitors - RWA offers large print copies of our gallery interpretation texts, the current RWA brochure and the Spicer and Cole Café Menu. RWA also offer described tours for our visually impaired visitors.

Buggy and Mobility Scooter Parking - There is a designated area to leave buggies within the Cafe and padlocks are available at the Welcome Desk.

RWA wheelchair – we have one spare wheelchair available for anyone to borrow during their visit (ask at the Welcome desk)
Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are welcome.

The RWA is a proud Dementia Aware Organisation (Gold Award). Many staff members, including all the Visitor Experience team, have been trained by the Dementia Friends so that the RWA can better care for and support visitors who are living with dementia and their companions. They also run Tuesday Teatime Tours, where they invite older people, especially those living with dementia and their companions, to join for a tour of current exhibitions, followed by tea and cake. An experienced facilitator will encourage reminiscence, creative conversation and a closer look at some pieces from the exhibition.

Book Tickets

Opening Times

Opening times (from May 2024) (1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024)
DayTimes
MondayClosed*
Tuesday10:0017:00*
Wednesday10:0020:00*
Thursday10:0017:00*
Friday10:0017:00*
Saturday10:0017:00*
Sunday10:0017:00*
Bank HolidayOpen
Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change

Awards

  • Regional and MiscellaneousWTTC Safe Travels WTTC Safe Travels 2021
  • Regional and MiscellaneousGold Award A PROUD DEMENTIA AWARE ORGANISATION Gold Award A PROUD DEMENTIA AWARE ORGANISATION 2023
  • AA AwardsMuseum + Heritage Awards Shortlisted Museum + Heritage Awards Shortlisted 2023

Further Information

Other

  • Gift Shop

Accessibility

  • Accessible to Wheelchair Users
  • All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors
  • Changing Places Toilet
  • Facilities for Visually Impaired Visitors
  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors
  • Ramp to main entrance
  • Toilets for Disabled Visitors

Children & Infants

  • Facilities for children

Establishment Features

  • Cater for groups
  • Event venue

Key Features

  • Celebrity connection
  • Film or TV location
  • Indoor Attraction
  • Of historic, literary or architectural interest

Parking & Transport

  • On Bus Route

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars
    • Excellent
      53
    • Very Good
      33
    • Average
      6
    • Poor
      3
    • Terrible
      1

    Recent Reviews:

    • Cromwell32
      England, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      Family
      Good but could be better.
      3 of 5 stars
      Tuesday, 25th October 2022
      This was a good way to spend a couple of hours when the weather was awful. A good variety of art - even some I would have been able to afford, which was a first for me! I thought the entry price was... Read full review
    • shelleysC9973GH
      Very good
      5 of 5 stars
      Friday, 24th November 2023
      This Gallery has a very eclectic & good range of traditional & modern Art & sculpture. The Annual Pass (currently £15) is v good value (meaning each Exhibition costs about £5, with unlimited... Read full review
    • JJJBrighton
      Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      Couples
      Best thing is the Spicer + Cole cafe (5⭐️)
      2 of 5 stars
      Saturday, 23rd March 2024
      Poor value for money and indifferent staff. The ticket price of £9.90 is high compared to other art galleries. All modern art in a small number of rooms. Staff on the ticket desk and more especially... Read full review

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