28 May—27 August 2024

Historical Walk: Pirates and Prejudice

This walk explores Bristol’s dockside haunts of smugglers and slavers, pirates and privateers.

Devised and delivered by Bristol Radical History Group and the Long John Silver Trust, it aims to shatter some of the myths around Bristol’s literary and piratical past.

The history of real-life buccaneers such as Blackbeard and William Dampier will be discussed; so too local connections to fictitious characters such as the world-famous anti-hero Long John Silver.

Participants will discover ways in which Bristol is associated with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Jonathan Swift’s famous riposte, Gulliver’s Travels, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Walk locations include the Gibb, the quay that diarist Samuel Pepys visited in 1668 – and where, according to popular lore, pirates were executed – and the site of Woodes Rogers’ house in Queen Square – Bristol’s most prolific privateer.

On entering King Street, the guide will retell the story of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, making links between some of the people and places in the book with real-life Bristol locations, such as the Llandoger Trow, Welsh Back, the Hole-in-the-Wall, Merchant’s Quay, Redcliffe Caves, the Ostrich, Bathurst Basin and Merchants Landing. Stevenson’s swashbuckling tale will be set to the backdrop of Bristol’s ancient hostelries and quaysides.

Image: Historian and walk guide Mark Steeds as Long John Silver with Captain Flint, the parrot (aka Dumpling).

Read more about the Pirates and Prejudice walk on our blog.

Upcoming dates

  • Tuesday 28 May, 11am
  • Tuesday 30 July, 11am
  • Tuesday 6 August, 11am
  • Tuesday 13 August, 11am
  • Tuesday 20 August, 11am
  • Tuesday 27 August, 11am


M Shed – Narrow Quay – Queen Square – King Street – Welsh Back – The Grove – Merchant’s Quay

Additional information
 Volunteer guides will meet you 5-10 minutes before the walk is due to begin. There will be breaks at key locations where the volunteers will point out sites of key interest and talk about their significance. The majority of the tour is suitable for wheelchairs but some areas may be difficult to navigate.

Suitable clothing
Although the routes are not strenuous, please be aware that surfaces may be uneven and could be slippery when wet. We strongly recommend that you dress appropriately for the weather with warm/waterproof clothing and comfortable footwear.

For your safety
Please take care when crossing busy roads and always use the designated crossings where indicated. Please be aware of other road users and pedestrians, particularly by leaving space on pavements for people to cross safely.