Honest, funny and sometimes tough to watch, iconic E4 drama Skins followed three generations of sixth-formers at fictional Roundview College. Over six seasons, Skins attracted a loyal fanbase with its uncompromising portrayal of the joys and pains of teen life. Its cast of brilliant young unknown actors, several of whom have gone on to stardom, added extra authenticity.
Skins is set in Bristol, and the series often explored the seamy side of life in the historic south-western port. Filmed all over the city, the action took place in some of Bristol’s best-loved places. Locals and visitors alike enjoy touring the locations to relive the adventures of the Skins gang.
Here are just some of the Bristol locations Skins fans came to know and love over six seasons.
Most of the Roundview College scenes for Skins were filmed at John Cabot Academy in the Kingswood area of Bristol. Originally a City Technical College, John Cabot opened its doors in 1993. Unlike Roundview, which is sixth-form only, John Cabot – named after the 15th-century explorer – caters for students from years 7 to 13.
A Bristol institution, American-style diner Rocotillos sadly closed for business early in 2021. The Queen’s Road branch was the backdrop for some of the series’ most emotional moments, such as the first kiss between Sid and Cassie in season one.
As one of the prime hang-out spots for Bristol’s student population, College Green is a Skins mainstay. This wedge-shaped urban park in the historic city centre is bordered by Bristol Cathedral on one side and City Hall on another. It’s a popular location for political protests and demonstrations, but on an average day you’ll find groups of young people studying, socialising or soaking up the sun – or rain.
We first meet skater boy Freddie in season three when he pulls off a perilous – and geographically impossible – feat by skateboarding down one of Bristol’s busiest streets. On the edge of the old city near College Green, Park Street is a natural haunt for the Skins gang and appears in some less dramatic scenes throughout the series.
With its panoramic view over the city, Brandon Hill is the scene of some of the most intense moments in the story of the first Skins generation. It features heavily in the ending of season one when the cast burst into song and perform classic Cat Stevens hit Wild World.
Skins filming locations: Vauxhall Bridge
Visit Bristol’s Floating Harbour and you’ll see the old German cargo ship Thekla. Built in 1958, Thekla was repurposed as a gallery, cabaret venue and performing arts centre in the 1980s. These days, Thekla is one of Bristol’s nightlife hotspots. It appears in season three as the site of a wild party that takes a fatal turn.