London’s street art scene has come a long way over the past two decades, evolving from a form of vandalism to a celebrated public art. The city is now home to a diverse range of street art, from subterranean tunnels buzzing with artists to large-scale murals brightening up the skyline.
Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just looking for something new to explore, London’s graffiti scene is a joy to discover. With the first London Mural Festival taking place in September 2020, the city is now filled with works from the world’s leading artists. But even away from the festival, there are plenty of spots to explore. So, let’s dive into the best places to find street art in London.
- London’s street art scene has evolved from vandalism to celebrated public art.
- The city is home to a diverse range of street art, from subterranean tunnels to large-scale murals.
- The first London Mural Festival took place in September 2020, but there are plenty of spots to explore even away from the festival.
Where to Find the Best Street Art in London
London is a hub for street art, with a plethora of locations showcasing works by international artists as well as local talent. Here are some of the best spots to explore:
Shoreditch is the best-known street art hub in London for a reason. It is a place where you can see a deluge of jaw-dropping pieces by international artists as well as local talent. Spend any amount of time in Shoreditch and you’ll find works by artists like Mr Cenz, Dreph, Dale Grimshaw, Oko, and Zabou. You could spend days traversing Shoreditch’s streets in search of murals and still wouldn’t find them all. To make the most of your time, follow a step-by-step Shoreditch street art tour complete with a map to help you discover the best spots in the area.
Leake Street Tunnel
Leake Street Tunnel was one of the early spotlights for London’s burgeoning graffiti scene, and it’s still one of the best places to scope out street art today. The fun all started way back in 2007 when Banksy held a graffiti festival down in the tunnel and invited all his super-talented street artist mates to come and adorn what had been a grim thoroughfare. It’s now London’s largest legal wall, meaning anyone can rock up with their sprays and ideas and turn them into a reality. The unregulated nature means that the quality of the final pieces varies but also pretty much guarantees that you will get to see a new piece (or ten) going up during your visit. Plan your visit to Leake Street Tunnel to make the most of your experience.
Camden’s reputation as one of the London neighborhoods not afraid to do things differently extends to the wealth of street art you find dotted around the area. Things are a little more spread out than in Shoreditch, but it’s there if you know where to look. Hawley Mews, Castlehaven Road, Miller Street, and the back of Electric Ballroom are good places to start. Check out a Camden Street Art Guide for more tips and information.
Croydon has come out hitting hard as one of the hubs of London’s graffiti scene. Fifteen years ago, the idea that Croydon would be one of the champions for the best street art in London would have felt preposterous. Well, the joke’s on everyone because that is exactly what it has done, in no small part thanks to the work of Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison whose former Rise Gallery and KZM Studios firmly put Croydon on the street art map. You’ll currently find works by Dotmasters, Glaucomo Run, Dan Kitchener, David Hollier, Otto Shade, and Phlegm, and you get to appreciate them without the crowds of Insta-posing masses you encounter in other areas. Last year, Croydon’s street art scene culminated in a Banksy pop up that saw wannabe viewers forming a queue around the block to grab a look. Who knows what the rest of this year will promise.
Brixton’s graffiti offering goes far beyond the mural of David Bowie (looking slightly startled) as Ziggy Stardust. While there are some cool pieces by Mr Cenz and Dreph, you’re also guaranteed to come across pieces by artists you’ve never heard of too. The murals are scattered down residential roads, on railway bridges, on hidden walls and finding them is half of the adventure.
Walthamstow has developed quite the street art world. Where other neighborhoods have boring advertising boards, Walthamstow has murals by ATM, Roa, and Phlegm – much, much better. The pieces are quite spread out (though there are hubs on St James Street and Wood Street) so get on some comfy walking shoes to explore.
Hackney Wick was one of the beacons of London’s street art scene for decades – that Banksy used to live there says everything you need to know. These days, the developers (and the ensuing debate around gentrification) have muffled that creativity, but there are still great pieces to be found, particularly on Bream Street, Old Ford Lock, and Hertford Union Lock.
Brick Lane isn’t all just about curry and vintage shops. Even a quick stroll down this busy road turns out some great pieces. You’ll be spotting a lot of stuff from the artists that are big on the Shoreditch scene, as well as some other smaller names and other pieces that are just the work of up-and-comers playing around. Be sure to check out what’s going on around the Old Truman Brewery. It’s a spot that pulls in a lot of
The Best Street Art Tours of London
- 2-hour tour of Shoreditch
- Half-day tour with workshop