Graffiti greatness: London’s best street art tours

    Graffiti greatness London’s best street art tours

    Naturally, London is absolutely renowned for the grandeur and elegance of its architecture and monuments. Much of which oozes historical resonance, of course. Yet, many visitors to the UK capital aren’t so keen on history and the look of buildings themselves – some, it’s only fair to say to say, are much more interested in contemporary art and its expression *on buildings*.

    That’s to say, these travellers (whether travelling for pleasure or, say, primarily on business trips, booked into accommodation with a meeting conference room) will be only too happy to seek out London street art examples – especially in the East End. And the guides of the following tip-top walking tours will be only too happy to show off and inform them all about this unique form of urban art… 

    Alternative London Street Art Walking Tour

    This tour company has been around for a few years now. Having originally focused on the cultural and creative sphere of London’s East End area, they now offer quite a wide range of different tours. For instance, if you’re something of a history buff, their knowledge-focused tours may well appeal to you, through which you can discover the city’s wonderful array of street art, enabling you to learn about its evolution and its role in the local community.

    Alternatively, if you’re of an artistic bent, you may well be down for their Street Art Tour and Workshop. The day kicks-off with an opportunity to come face to face with some of the finest examples of the city’s urban art scene, before you’re led to a purpose-built street art workshop to try your hand at creating artworks yourself. Expert local artists – yes, that right, actual real ones! – will be on hand to guide you through the process, including stencil-making and the various spray-can techniques to be deployed. 

    Camden Street Art Tours

    As noted, the East End’s unquestionably identified with street art; yet, the London district boasting maybe the most pronounced identification with it is actually Camden, lying between the centre of town and its north-east. It was back in the 1980s when, in conjunction with a punk and rock music-inspired alt culture, street art became particularly prominent here. It’s to this fact and its thriving contemporary scene that this tour pays homage, by taking participants around the murals and art-filled alleys of Camden Town.

    Running for a couple of hours and focusing on in excess of 100 different examples of street art and graffiti, the tour’s particularly noted for its knowledgeable guide, who’ll fill tour participants with all sorts of fascinating facts and their minds with wonderfully, vivid, vibrant images. We’re talking here about learning all the street art rules, its codes, its artists and their motivations and much more.

    If you fancy a street art tour that’s quite intimate and even feels rather personal, then this one may be for you, not least because its organisers tend to be pretty flexible and prepared to fit a tour around your itinerary during a stay at, say, hotels near Earls Court Tube London. 

    Free Street Art and Graffiti Tour

    If you’re at all familiar with walking tours in London, it may not come as a surprise to learn that one of its most popular tour operators, Strawberry Tours, has got in on the street art act with this two-hour-long one, designed to appeal to London visitors on each and every travel budget. Because, yes, it’s free or, at least, only requests payment from participants if they wish to contribute.

    Maybe appealing most of all to those enjoying hotels special offers, the tour is guided by passionate young people with a deep appreciation of street art, running every day of the week apart from Mondays and Wednesdays. The tour guides people through Shoreditch/ Brick Lane artworks created by the likes of Zabou, Roa, Jim Vision and, of course, the enigmatic icon that’s Banksy. 

    London Graffiti and Street Art Tour

    As East End street art tours go, this one’s surely worth giving a go. Why? Because it actually focuses on five of the major urban art-favoured areas of East London – Whitechapel, Liverpool Street, The Old Jewish Quarter, Shoreditch and Brick Lane. And, in so doing then, it gives participants a great gander at many of the city’s most legendary examples of street art.

    That being said, the tour (run by the Free Tours by Foot people) might also be said to be a little unique, as its the guides like to lead their tour-goers into nooks and crannies where the uninitiated would surely never go looking for art; not just unknown alleyway but also the likes of carparks.

    As such, the art examples covered here are varied, to say the least, and as you might expect, the guides don’t just know the locales, they’re also highly knowledgeable about the art, the artists who create them and they ‘talk the talk’, too – they know their street art lingo. 

    Street Art London Tours

    Finally, here are a couple of excellent tours from the good folks at Street Art London, which come highly recommended for the depth and breadth of their subject. The major tour they run is all about the urban art of Shoreditch (among it, some of the biggest and most impressive murals in the area) and runs at mid-morning on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

    Alternatively, how does an equally impressive tour dedicated to the street art of Hackney Wick sound? This small district just slightly to the north of the traditional East End (and within easy reach of Park Grand Kensington) has, for the past few years, enjoyed a truly thriving street art scene, with murals springing up on derelict industrial buildings, among other places.

    As it goes, the Shoreditch tour is doubtless a good fit for first-timers yet to be exposed to London’s street art, while the Hackney Wick option may well suit those familiar with the city’s most famous urban art; those who are after something a little different that’ll inform and show them something they didn’t know – let alone had seen – before.