London- a city full of history and culture. Theatres and galleries celebrate beloved treasures from around the world within their walls, renaissance masterpieces and Shakespearean classics. However curated exhibitions and rehearsed verse is not all London has to offer when it comes to the arts.
Street art (a 90’s phenomenon that grew from the graffiti style of the 80’s) holds a proud place as one of London’s more unique offerings. One of the most ‘pro-graffiti’ cities in the world, the “open-air” galleries of London’s East End and surrounds have become as much of an attraction as their more conventional brothers and sisters, such as the Tate or National Gallery. An art form that reaches out directly to the public, the London street art scene is ever-changing and evolving with many loyal supporters.
When travelling to London, a street art tour offers you the opportunity to connect with the creative heartbeat of the city and the minds of the locals. Not only visually appealing, street art provides a window into the moral, social and economic issues of the city- often expressed with a good dose of humour or irony. London tour providers offer many free and paid tour options; with so much to see and often little time to see it in, why not join in? Here we have our suggestions for the Best Street Art Tours in London.
The team from Street Art London work closely with active artists to keep up to date with the ever changing artworks that pop up citywide. Offering tours to the home of London Street Art–Shoreditch- as well as to the emerging areas of Hackney Wick and Dulwich, Street Art London runs tours every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. To book email [email protected].
One of my personal favourites, Alternative London operates out of a reclaimed double-decker bus in the heart of Shoreditch. By using actual artists and creative professionals as guides, Alternative London offers the traveller an inside scoop on the street art scene while also providing a historical look at the East End. Ranging from their original walking tour through to bike tours and street art workshops, they have something a little different to suit all tastes. Alternative London also caters for school/private groups. Tours run every day- to book have a look at their online schedule.
2hrs/4hrs; Pay what you like – £25 depending on individual tour.
Offered on a pay-what-you-like basis, the Free Tours by Foot London Graffiti and Street Art tour is great for the budget conscious. Through exploring Shoreditch and Whitechapel, find yourself face to face with works by Banksy while learning about the East End, it’s Street Art and it’s history. The tour runs every day except Wednesday and Friday; check their online schedule to find the next available date.
2.5hrs; Pay what you like.
Guided by a street art expert and acclaimed street art photographer, these vibrant Shoreditch walking tours are one of the most highly rated London activities on Tripadvisor. Offering walking street art tours, photography workshops and night time tours/workshops, Shoreditch Street Art Tours is a great option for the photography lovers amongst us and run daily. They also offer special group rates for 5 or more booking together, and discounts for children under 16. Book in advance online.
2hrs/3hrs; £10+ (age dependent).
- Create your own
If you’ve decided to go it alone why not skip the organised tours and use this handy Street Art guide, collated and published by TimeOut London – the experience may not be as in depth, but as you will inevitably find yourself lost at least once you may stumble upon something as yet unseen.
Written by Caitlin (A.K.A. The Indie Butterfly).