In recent years, graffiti has been rechristened ‘street art’ thanks to high profile artists including Banksy, JR and Blek le Rat. Even Theresa May agrees with its rebranding. London’s street art is easy to catch up with via a number of walking tours running across the capital that delve into the history and culture of the scene, and the stories of the artists themselves. Here’s a guide to the best street art in the city…
East London is undoubtedly the home of London street art, with Shoreditch at its heart. And while much graffiti comes and goes, some of the area’s most prolific artists, from Shepard Fairey to Banksy, often return to the same spots. For a taste of the area’s finest, visit Brushfield Street, Hanbury Street, Fashion Street, Great Eastern Street, and Brick Lane. And visit Rivington Street to see pieces by Stik, Thierry Noir and David Walker – topped with two pieces by Banksy; Guard Dog and His Master’s Voice.
Brixton is a hotspot for street art. While it’s not quite as abundant as it is in East London, there is still plenty to keep you occupied. Head there for the David Bowie mural alone, which sits in central Brixton and has turned into a shrine to the star since his death, with floral tributes permanently stacked up. Brixton Skate Park is home to a varied and regularly updated collection of street art. The area became notorious for its role in the Save Brixton Arches Campaign, when street artists united to save the area’s small businesses from being demolished.
Join the Brixton tour for a rundown of the area’s culture, including a walk around the area’s best street art.
Next door to Brixton, visit the Hall of Fame outdoor art gallery at the Stockwell Park Estate – a basketball court repurposed as a place where graffiti artists gather to paint every week. And if you find yourself in London’s south-east, visit Leake Street tunnel, just by Waterloo station, for a hidden haven of street art. The authorised graffiti area is covered head-to-toe, making for an interesting underground walk.
Come out of Camden Underground and you’ll instantly spot street art surreptitiously dotted around. Walk down Camden Road for various depictions of Amy Winehouse, and down to Camden Lock for an array of art to feast on. Kentish Town Road is another local graffiti hotspot. Try the Camden Street Art tour in an attempt to cram it all in.
There’s also the Ferdinand housing estate in Chalk Farm, which is home to 900 residents and another legal showcase of the area’s best talent that attracts many well-known street artists.