It’s been a few weeks since I posted here on Picturing England. I’ve had a lot going on, and then my hard disk died. Excuses excuses. Anyway, I’m back with a big post this week – Dismaland!


In case you’ve been living in a cave and have no idea what I’m talking about, Dismaland, the ‘Bemusement Park’, is street artist Banksy’s latest brainchild. Using the site of the Tropicana, a derelict lido in Weston-super-Mare, Banksy has created and curated a “family theme park unsuitable for children” (there were children there, but I don’t think anyone under about 10 should have been allowed in!). This is Disneyland gone wrong, very, very wrong. With a fairytale castle as its centre piece (by Block9), dismal staff who are rude and don’t smile (wait, that could be just about anywhere in England!) and art in the form of paintings, sculptures, installations and movies, Dismaland is quite an experience.

Getting tickets was hard. They were released in weekly batches and snapped up almost instantly, but I managed to get one. It was a grey day when I arrived in Weston-super-Mare, which seemed appropriate for what I was about to see. Weston itself is a little bit dismal to be honest. I like it for its tackiness and cheap seaside attractions, but Dismaland fitted in worryingly well. After visiting Dismaland I walked along the seafront past the pier and felt like I could have still been in the exhibition.

The work of over 50 artists from around the world was exhibited at Dismaland, with pieces by Banksy headlining, of course. I couldn’t possibly mention all the artists I saw and liked, but a few of my favourite pieces were Jimmy Cauty‘s Model Village, which was absolutely stunning, Damien Hirst‘s unicorn, and Scott Hove‘s terrifying cake art.

Here, have some pictures…

Fairytale Castle by Block9 @ Dismaland

Fairytale Castle by Block9

Enjoying the Cindarella coach crash @ Dismaland

They did this clever thing where they superimposed people on to the image of the Cinderella coach crash and made it look like we were enjoying the horrific scene. Here I am!

Banksy @ Dismaland


Banksy @ Dismaland


Banksy @ Dismaland


Banksy @ Dismaland


Banksy @ Dismaland



Dismal staff


Donald’s seen better days…

Darren Cullen @ Dismaland

Darren Cullen’s Pocket Money Loans

Geodome @ Dismaland

If you are not outraged you are not paying attention




Freaky mascots wandered the park…


Hook a duck from the muck

Damien Hirst @ Dismaland

Damien Hirst’s unicorn (I kid you not, a woman with a child in front of me in this exhibition was pointing at each freakish thing and going “ooh look, it’s a unicorn” to the little child. This is not a happy unicorn. This is no My Little Pony!)

Scott Hove @ Dismaland

Scott Hove’s terrifying cake art

Jeff Gillette @ Dismaland

Jeff Gillette – love this art!

Jessica Harrison's tattooed ladies @ Dismaland

Jessica Harrison’s tattooed ladies

Banksy @ Dismaland

Banksy – poor Mickey Mouse!

Jimmy Cauty's Model Village @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty’s Model Village

Jimmy Cauty's Model Village @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty’s Model Village

Jimmy Cauty's Model Village @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty’s Model Village

Jimmy Cauty & Lush @ Dismaland

Jimmy Cauty & Lush

Exit through the gift shop @ Dismaland

Exit through the gift shop, of course

And if that wasn’t enough, you can view all of my pictures here on Flickr.

It’s too late to get tickets now, but you can still turn up on the day and queue to get in to Dismaland. I highly recommend it – this is one not to miss! Find out more here: dismaland.co.uk.

3 Comments on “Dismaland”

  1. jenn says:

    It looks like you managed to avoid the crowds. It was horrendous when I visited and impossible to get photos without people in them. Also thru some exhibitions like the model village, the staff kept telling us to rush and not take photos as there were so many people. I also didn’t see the banksy artwork with the shower and kids. Where was it?


    • Haikugirl says:

      Yeah, I was really lucky with the crowds. I guess going on a weekday helped. It’s a shame you got rushed through some parts, although I wonder if that was partly the staff being dismal?!

      The Banksy artwork with the kids was just near the remote control boats full of refugees.

      Love your pictures! I see the mermaid was still there when you went. She was gone by the time I went – I wonder if she was damaged in the storms? Interesting to see your comments about taking kids to the exhibition. I felt the same and was very surprised to see so many young kids (i.e. under 10 or so) there with parents. One poor girl in the queue even thought she was actually going to Disneyland! (>_<)

      • jennsie says:

        I think the crowds were so big when I went as it was on the first weekend that it was open to the public, so there were queues for the art gallery and the inside visits with waiting times for 30 minutes or so to get to see some of the exhibits (the gallery, the model village, the goth tent, the kiosk for loans, and the cinderella), so the staff were genuinely trying to get everyone through. I got a morning ticket, but I don’t think the timing mattered as people just queued up to be let in. We missed out slot as we were still queueing, and I’m sure those in front of us had much later tickets…we looked over the wall a bit later and it was empty so they just let everyone in regardless of the time slots. The first in the non-ticket queue must have been there very early as there was a big queue and they looked like they’d camped out… and were told they’d have to wait until 3:00 before they were let in.

        I missed the Banksy kids artwork; I wonder if it was there when I went.

        I saw someone else’s photos posted this week, and the mermaid was there…maybe they just got around to posting their photos? It was one of my favourites, so it’s a shame you didn’t see it.

        Yes, I don’t think it was the place for kids at all. I don’t think they’d understand it, and I think some of them must have had nightmares after seeing some of that. Some of it was really disturbing. I’m surprised that parents decided that it would be a place to bring their kids. There were so many prams too, which was awkward to get around as it was so busy and also rainy on part of the day we went. I just don’t think it’s something that children would understand or really appreciate. I thought that I would see a couple, but I didn’t expect to see so many!

        Nice photos too!! It was one of the must-see events for the year.

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