The concrete city found on the south side of the river has worked as a huge canvas for graffiti artists for decades. With some of the biggest legal writing spots in the UK, it’s easy to find work by the next Banksy, or even a piece by the man himself. Consult our guide on the best spots to see street art in the area.
This urban underground haven known as The Undercroft was made famous by the documentary ‘Rollin’ Through The Decades’, which examined the park’s love-hate relationship with South Bank developers. The spot has always been extremely popular with graffiti artists and is constantly being recovered in new work. Over a decade ago, the South African artist Robin Rhode was commissioned to clean up the area with a sleek new paint job to coincide with his exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, but it only lasted a few days before being retagged. Nowadays you’re more likely to see patient tourists waiting to Instagram artists and skateboarders than actually spot any work being made.
Leake Street Tunnel
This huge tunnel behind Waterloo station might be a bit of a nightmare to find but it’s well worth the trip. The 200-metre-long site is a legal graffiti spot and has led to painting events run by Banksy, as well as Cans Festival. The environment is constantly changing, which means you will undoubtedly encounter something new every time you venture down the road.
Bridges naturally attract graffiti writers, but this railway line has enjoyed an official lick of paint by Stik, known for large-scale images of friendly, minimally etched people. Using a bright yellow backdrop to lighten up the concrete, the artist painted a whole crowd of his trademark stick people before inviting amateurs to customise them as they saw fit.
Over the years, this multi-disciplinary arts centre has commissioned numerous artists to produce large-scale works across the building’s many walls, walkways and concrete staircases – often to coincide with cultural festivals. Recent iterations have included two fighting squirrels by ROA, creepy figures by Phlegm and beautiful typography by Bread Collective, with plenty more expected with the reopening of the Hayward Gallery in 2018.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London, UK +44 20 3879 9555
Banksy Print Gallery
Nowadays it’s pretty difficult to spot an original work by the godfather of graffiti, as new pieces are usually defaced or carved off walls to be sold at auction in record time. However you can still see authentic works by the artist in a new dedicated print gallery on the South Bank. It is run by Lazarides gallery, which has worked with the elusive icon for years. However if you really want to hunt for an urban original head off past London Bridge to Tooley Street, when an original unassuming Banksy rat still remains.
Banksy Print Gallery, 22 Upper Ground, London, UK +44 20 7620 4382