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With artworks selling for millions at auction, there are few artists who create quite the buzz Banksy does when a new work is discovered. Up and down the country the world’s most famous street artist is beloved by local communities who appreciate both the peculiar British humour and the depth of meaning behind the works.

There’s no better way to discover Banksy’s artworks than with a campervan tour. So, grab our Motorhome Protect guide, get your campervan insurance sorted and take to the road for a spot of great British art appreciation.

Who is Banksy?

People love a good mystery and, in a nutshell, we really can’t say with any certainty who Banksy is. What we do know is Banksy creates politicised street art which has become so well known that you’re just as likely to see it in a high-end art gallery as you are on a brick wall. Everything else including Banksy’s real name and face are pure conjecture.

The earliest works attributed to Banksy appeared in Bristol in the 1990s, which has led people to believe the artist originates from the area and is over 40 years of age. Various sources have claimed ‘him’ to be ‘the son of a photocopier technician’ and having worked as a butcher before finding fame through art. But it’s impossible to confirm any of this information.

Indeed, a whole industry of journalists and art critics have grown up in an attempt to uncover the person behind the spray paint. Potential candidates include a member of the band Massive Attack, former Art Attack presenter Neil Buchanan and a previously unknown artist called Robin Gunningham.

Another possibility is that Banksy is actually a collective of people. This is due to the fact that the works are often very complex and too scattered across the world to be done by just one person.

For art and campervan fans, there was a tantalising video released recently during Banksy’s ‘A Great British Spraycation’ work. In a short film posted to Instagram the anonymous artist (or a collaborator) can be seen driving around Norfolk and Suffolk in an ageing camper as he paints his signature stencilled murals. Let’s hope he had campervan insurance just in case he ran into any problems out on the road!

Where to see Banksy street art in the UK

Before we get into the where and when, if you want to save yourself from any disappointment then you’ll want to plan ahead. As street art is subject to change at a moment’s notice, it’s good to check the info before you go. After all, you don’t want to run the risk of arriving and staring at a hole in a wall or a recently painted-over area.

We can heartily recommend the Inspiring City street art and graffiti website which is an invaluable aid to help you find his works in England. Another useful tip is to Google “where to find Banksy in ___” and fill the gap with the area you’re planning to visit. Who knows, Banksy might have recently paid a visit there and there’s a collection of new artwork for you to be the first to discover!

Banksy painting boy with coloured bricks

Bristol

Title: The Mild Mild West

Location: Stokes Croft

What’s it all about?

In Bristol’s Stokes Croft is one of Banksy’s earliest known works from the late 1990s. It shows a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at a squad of approaching riot police. Apparently, it was a response to police crackdowns on illegal raves at the time.

There are lots of Banksy works dotted around the city including the raunchy Well-Hung Lover painted on the side of a sexual health clinic. And the Vermeer-inspired Girl with the Pierced Eardrum to name just a few. Be aware some of these could disappear at any moment. For example, Aachoo!! which appeared in the Totterdown area in December 2020 was recently removed and auctioned off.

In Bristol, we recommend taking either a self-guided tour such as this one from the team at Visit Bristol or one of these from the Wanderer of the World travel blog. There are also some works by the artist in galleries here. You can see the brilliant Grim Reaper on display in Bristol’s M Shed and Paint-Pot Angel at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

If you’re taking your van into Bristol then remember that driving in such an urban area can get pretty hectic. Make sure you’ve got campervan insurance in place before heading onto the city roads. Check ahead to see if you’re liable for any emissions charges in the city, too.

Where to stay: Brook Lodge Farm Camping & Caravan Park is a unique rural camping experience within easy reach of the city and nestled just below the beautiful Mendip Hills.

Birmingham

Title: Christmas Reindeers

Location: Vyse Street

What’s it all about?

Christmas is supposed to be a time for giving, and in 2019 Banksy certainly gave the people of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter something to think about. Designed to highlight homelessness during the festive period, this pair of reindeers appear ready to launch into the sky. With a nearby bench standing in as Santa’s sleigh.

Unveiling the mural, Banksy shared a video of a homeless man called Ryan preparing to spend the night on the bench. Banksy remarked ‘God Bless Birmingham‘, as passers-by stopped to give Ryan a hot drink and chocolate bars without Ryan asking for anything.

Where to stay nearby: Just a few miles south of Birmingham you’ll find the very conveniently located, Chapel Lane Caravan and Motorhome Club campsite. After the traffic of Birmingham, it has a lovely countryside feel. Cadbury World is nearby if you’ve got children or big kids in tow!

Cromer

Title: Luxury Rentals Only

Location: East Beach

What’s it all about?

Wandering along the East Beach in Cromer you’ll come across this piece on the side of a shingle lined sea defence wall. It shows a shell-wearing hermit crab holding up a sign saying ‘Luxury Rentals Only’ with a stack of empty shells behind him. Whilst a family of shell-less hermit crabs stare up despairingly at the sign. It’s been seen as a statement on the refugee crisis but also on the impact of second home ownership in such areas.

To protect it from damage and erosion, the artwork, which sits below the high water mark, has been coated with a protective product by the local council.

Just like works of art, your campervan needs to be protected against weather damage among many other dangers. With so many of us still opting for UK travel destinations over foreign holidays, it's more important than ever to protect your home on wheels with campervan insurance. It’s such a privilege to have the ability to pack up and take off whenever you like, so don’t waste it by having a lack of cover.

Where to stay nearby: If you want to pay a visit to Cromer and the surrounding area, there are few better places to base yourself than the Green Man Inn. Found just outside the wonderfully-named village of Little Snoring, this idyllic campsite is attached to a 19th Century inn. If that’s not enough to tempt you, it’s also just a short drive from Cromer beach and its heritage seaside pier and a number of nature reserves.

While you’re here, if you fancy reconnecting with the distant past then this is also a great place to begin the 37-mile Walsingham Way pilgrimage route. Exploring Britain’s Pilgrim Routes is easily done with a campervan. For more on this, read our recent Motorhome Protect guide to these ancient travel trips.

Great Yarmouth

Title: Go Big or Go Home

Location: Merrivale Model Village, Beach Parade

What’s it all about?

Banksy is well known for pulling off ‘stunts’ when unveiling new works, and one of our favourites has to be this tagging of the Merrivale Model village in Great Yarmouth. Part of Banksy’s ‘Great British Staycation’ from 2021, the artist mischievously placed a copycat model house in the village but with a typically subversive message. On one side the house is tagged with the name ‘Banksy’ in red paint. While on the other side is written ‘Go Big or Go Home’. At a time when tourist attractions like this need all the support they can get, it was a real coup to get Banksy to visit!

This piece along with others in Lowestoft and Gorleston are seen as satirising the idea of “staycations.” A popular alternative to traditional holidays in the wake of COVID-19 and restrictions placed on international travel following Brexit. Another great piece to spot in Great Yarmouth is the Bus Shelter Dancers on Admiralty Road.

If you’re planning on a staycation this year, make sure you have campervan insurance to protect your van and its contents.

Where to stay nearby: Getting up close and personal with Mother Nature is a big reason why people buy a campervan in the first place. And there are few better places to explore all she has to offer than the Norfolk Broads. Where boating, fishing, nature reserves and historic villages all clamour for your attention. Set in beautiful woodland, Haven’s Wild Duck Holiday Park near Great Yarmouth offers everything you need for a leisurely family holiday.

Gorleston

Title: Tourist Grabber

Location: Lower Prom, Gorleston

What’s it all about?

Ranked among the world’s top attractions according to Tripadvisor, there’s plenty to woo visitors to Gorleston beach. But while there’s windsurfing, surfing and paddle boarding aplenty here there’s also great art, too. You’ll find this piece in a little beach shelter just at the start of the entrance onto Gorleston’s lower promenade.

A bench is situated between two pillars and in between Banksy has playfully positioned a spray painted mechanical claw. Unpleasant memories for anyone who’s spent an hour or two in beachside arcades looking to win a cuddly toy from one of these notoriously difficult games. Grrrr!

Where to stay nearby: Rose Farm Touring Park is a tranquil camping site, perfect for long or short getaways. It’s in a great location for exploring the Norfolk Broads and stunning beaches.

Lowestoft

Title: Dumpster Diving Seagull

Location: Denmark Road, Lowestoft

What’s it all about?

For anyone enjoying a portion of salty chips or an ice cream at the seaside, dive bombing seagulls are a particular hazard. In this work, Banksy has painted a giant seagull on to a wall. A nearby skip looks to have been filled with chips made of wall insulation into which the greedy seagull is trying to dive. Despite some people making off with the chips this piece has remained in situ.

Unfortunately, that’s more than can be said for the Crowbar Girl that appeared at the same time on the side of the old Lowestoft Electrical Store. It’s been ripped from the wall and sold to a private buyer for a possibly seven-figure sum.

Where to stay nearby: Despite the loss of Crowbar Girl there are still plenty of reasons to base yourself near Lowestoft. Sitting in perfect rural isolation on the banks of the River Waveney is the award-winning Waveney River Centre.

London

Title: Shop Til You Drop

Location: Bruton Lane, West End

What’s it all about?

Looming over the street from two storeys above, this work shows a woman with a full shopping trolley mid-fall from the top of a large office building. Banksy’s aim was to highlight the dangers we face from rampant consumerism. Because of its uniquely difficult placement it’s managed to survive relatively unscathed!

After Bristol, Banksy has undoubtedly spent most time in and around London. Unfortunately, many pieces have been painted over or otherwise destroyed. For a list of all those that are still currently viewable throughout the city this Time Out guide is really useful. Make sure to keep an eye out for Banksy’s signature rats, found in different walls around the city.

Where to stay nearby: Despite being just a 35-minute drive from central London, Abbey Wood Caravan Club Site has a wonderful green oasis-like feel to it. Book early, because it’s a popular place particularly among European visitors. Also, depending on your vehicle’s emissions, age and weight you might need to pay your London Low Emission Zone charge. If you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the authorities, it’s important to keep on top of paperwork such as your annual campervan insurance renewal.

Reading

Title: Escape from Reading Gaol

Location: HM Prison Reading, Berkshire

What’s it all about?

Stencilled onto the outside of the former prison, this artwork shows a man in prison scrubs seemingly escaping down a continuous sheet of knotted paper. Weighted down at the end by an old-fashioned typewriter. It’s believed to be a reference to Oscar Wilde’s ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ which he famously wrote after being jailed here on charges of gross indecency.

The latest rumours suggest that Banksy is seeking to save the Grade 2 listed building from developers so it can be converted into an arts centre.

Where to stay nearby: Set among stunning mature woodland Wellington Country Park is the perfect destination for both family holidays and quiet breaks.

Brighton

Title: Kissing Coppers

Location: Trafalgar Street

What’s it all about?

Two British bobbies having a good old-fashioned snog at the side of the Prince Albert Pub in Brighton. One of Banksy’s best-known images, the one you can still see in Brighton today is a copy of the original. Although owing to repeated acts of vandalism it’s still well protected behind perspex.

Where to stay nearby: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Brighton Caravan Club site is perfectly located for a Brighton break.

St Leonards

Title: Tesco Sandcastles

Location: St Leonards seafront

What’s it all about?

A child in a hat and sunglasses sits happily building sandcastles on the seafront. But each of the sandcastles has the name Tesco marked out in pebbles on its front. This mural can be found on the back of steps leading down to the beach. However, while the mural has been a big draw for tourists visiting the Hastings area since 2010, it’s looking decidedly worse for wear nowadays. Many residents are calling for it to be protected before it’s lost forever.

Where to stay nearby: St Leonards Farm Caravan & Camping Park is a great low-key campsite with friendly staff and owners.

Heading further afield

While the majority of Banksy’s street art is to be found in England, that’s not to say you won’t find considerable amounts further afield. If you’re happy to take your campervan on a European road trip, then Paris is another place with a large concentration of Banksy art.

One of the most poignant can be found at Porte de la Chapelle in the 18th arrondissement. It’s of a young girl spray painting a pink wallpaper pattern over a swastika. The work has been interpreted as a comment on anti-immigrant policies and the rise of the far right.

If you want to find where all the Paris Banksys are then this website has a great map and photos. Although make sure you check your campervan insurance before leaving for Europe.

If you’re looking for an even longer trip, you might want to consider a trip to Palestine. Here you’ll find some of his most iconic designs, such as The Armoured Dove and Girl Frisking a Soldier.

Campervan insurance for your art-loving tours

Whether you love or loathe Banksy’s art, if you want to have a relaxing and successful campervan tour, you’ll need to remember a few pre-trip essentials. At the top of which needs to be campervan insurance.

The team at Motorhome Protect works hard to make sure your campervan is covered in any eventuality. Cover from our panel of leading insurers can come with a range of benefits including:

  • Cover for up to 365 days a year which can include foreign use
  • Cover for your campervan whilst you’re converting it
  • Discounts if you’re a member of a campervan club
  • Unlimited EU cover
  • Up to £3,500 of cover for your camping personal effects
  • Value up to £120,000

Get a campervan insurance quote from Motorhome Protect today.