Street art has long become a familiar, innovative and increasingly welcome staple on London’s streets thanks to the likes of Stik, D*Face, and of course, Banksy. Due to the ever-changing nature of graffiti, there are always new works springing up across the capital, making London a hotspot for those looking to discover these urban gems. Here are five London neighbourhoods that are home to the best street art in the city.
Alongside being a bar and pop-up store haven, Shoreditch also lays claim to some of the best street art in London. Graffiti heavy-hitters such as ROA, Sweet Toof and Ben Eine have made their mark on the East London hub. There’s plenty to be found on Princelet Street, most notably Stik’s ‘stick-like’ figures, while Buxton Street is layered with wheat pastes and sculptures from street artists throughout the years, including artist Orrible’s signature stencil work. For a comprehensive tour of Shoreditch’s best street art, allow Shoreditch Street Art Tours to be your guide, with tours headed up by photographer and street art aficionado Dave Stuart.
Brick Lane is one of London’s cultural centres; from the international food market to al-fresco bars, the vintage shopping destination is also peppered with all kinds of stunning street art. Perhaps the best-known work in the area is Banksy’s 2008 French Maid, however fresh exciting work can be found around almost every corner. Brick Lane’s street art was created with the help of Global Street Art – an organisation that has commissioned over 850 legal murals. In a courtyard just near the disused Seven Stars bar, a number of celebrated street artists can be found, including visual artist Dreph who celebrates inspirational Black women through huge portraits.
An edgy bustling spot, it’s little wonder that Camden is ripe with works from some of the world’s very best visual artists. In an alleyway just off Camden High Street, you’ll find street art from the likes of Gregos, Senor X and Vanesa Longchamp, while on the walk towards Chalk Farm tube station, you can spot vibrant murals from the likes of Mr Cenz, Gnasher and Kobra. One of the most popular artists in the area is Bambi who, like her counterpart Banksy, has kept her identity a well-hidden secret. She first appeared on the radar with her stencil portrait of the famous singer Amy Winehouse on a Camden door. Due to the popularity of Camden’s street art scene, local tours are now offered by Camden Street Tours in collaboration with Global Street Art, during which more than 100 artworks can be viewed.
South London’s Brixton is also another popular destination for street art enthusiasts. The area gained popularity for the Save Brixton Arches Campaign, where street artists united for the cause and demonstrated their support by leaving their artworks on the walls of Brixton. Some of the work in Brixton dates back to the late 1970s and 1980s, such as the murals in Brixton station and the Nuclear Dawn mural on the side of a Victorian maisonette block. Another notable work is a mural of David Bowie on Tunstall Road, created by Jimmy C in 2013. To get a taste of the area’s street art scene, just a short walk along Brixton Hill is needed to see what the South London spot has to offer by way of colourful murals and stunning tableaus.
Deep in the underbelly of the arts venue Southbank Centre, there’s an underground hub for London’s skate community known as the Undercroft – a spot that quickly became popular with graffiti artists. The walls of the skatepark have since been donated by the Centre to street artists, and now run in collaboration with Global Street Art. Alongside Southbank Centre itself, there’s also Leake Street Tunnel, just behind Waterloo station, which is a legal graffiti spot and has featured painting events run by Banksy, such as Cans Festival. The murals have been endangered in the past, but have now become a celebrated part of the area and it remains an ideal location for graffiti-viewing.