Get to know some of London’s best street art by taking a tour of these top locations.
1. Leake Street Tunnel
Not far from Waterloo Station, Leake Street Tunnel, AKA the Banksy Tunnel, has become a graffiti hotspot. In recent years almost every inch of the underpass has been covered in art. It played host to Femme Fierce in 2014, during which a group of female urban artists sets the Guiness World Record for largest spray paint mural by a group of artists. The 300 metre long pedestrian tunnel contains work by big names, like Bansky, but also lesser-known artists too. Leake Street Tunnel is also home to a number of cafes and entertainment venues, the perfect place to meet up with other street art enthusiasts.
Image Credit: @leakestreetarches
2. Rivington Street
Shoreditch is a borough bursting with street art, from wall art to stickers, paste ups to sculpture. Not far from Shoreditch High Street is Rivington Street, home to work by Banksy, Thierry Noir, and Stik. With the nightclub Cargo, the site of Banksy’s first exhibition, at one end and legendary arts venue The Foundry at the other, Rivington Street is a magnet for artists and art lovers alike. Must-see pieces are the monumental Scary mural by Ben Eine, which plays on the perceived public fear of graffiti, Policeman with Poodle, an early Banksy, and the giant mural by Stik that overlooks the site of the old Foundry building.
Image Credit: @banksy_collector
3. Brick Lane
The layers of history that surround Brick Lane have long made it a destination for graffiti artists. As well as established works by Phlegm, Stik, and ROA, groups of local artists keep the space evolving. Weekly additions of paste ups, sculptures, and murals offer an ever changing display. With many of the works celebrating the mix of cultures that can be found in Brick Lane, it’s the ideal location to get a flavour of contemporary London life.
Image Credit: @brick_lane_art
4. The Southbank Centre Skatepark
Beneath the Southbank Centre lies the Undercroft, a skatepark made famous in 2005 by the documentary Rollin’ Through the Decades. It’s been skated since the 1970s, and graffiti’d for almost as long. An attempt in 2008 to ‘clean up’ the skatepark with a mural by South African artist Robin Rhode did not deter street artists for long. A street art hotspot, the Undercroft offers a glimpse into one of London’s most vibrant subcultures.
Image Credit: @southbank.london
Brixton’s murals have been a feature of London’s street art scene since the 1970s. Brian Barnes and Dale McCrea’s Nuclear Dawn (1980-81) and Christine Thomas’s Big Splash (1985) have been drawing crowds for decades, while more recent additions, such as Jimmy C’s David Bowie (2013) have become focal points for remembrance, community, and celebration. Nearby the Stockwell Hall of Fame, a former sports pitch, plays host to one of the city’s premier legal painting locations. Here you’ll find a constantly changing display of established and up-and-coming artists.
Image Credit: @artontheunderground
6. The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square
Bring out your inner art critic by heading over to Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, which has been bringing contemporary art and debate to one of London’s busiest squares since 1998. The exhibits here touch on often complex and contentious contemporary issues. Featured artists have included big names such as Yinka Shonibare, Rachel Whiteread, and Hans Haacke. Located close to the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, the Fourth Plinth offers street art with an establishment twist.
Image Credit: @theowo.london