Street art tours in London
The street art scene in London is really thriving. Certain areas in London are covered in graffiti art – art that people find immersive, relatable and inclusive in a very distinctive way. Street art tours in London mean that you can explore the city on foot while soaking up some of London’s most exciting graffiti art and street art culture. As well as the skill that’s apparent in these pieces of art found on the streets, these kinds of artworks are very often a vehicle for social, moral and political messages. And, very often, they’ll also come with a sense of humour. Artists like Banksy have paved the way for the popularity of street art in European cities, especially in London. This is reflected in the number of street art tours in London that you’ll find.
Here are just some of the best street art tours in London we’ve found – some of which are completely free of charge, so there’s no reason not to get yourself out there with your flatmates to explore the city with a guided street art tour. And, never forget to ask if they do a student deal to help keep the costs down.
Our favourite street art tours in London
Unexpected London Street Art Tour
On this tour, you’ll be taken to the most artistic corners of London. These tours are known for running their guided tours in smaller, more intimate groups, which allows you to get to know each other and make some friends on the way. Or, you can book a tour specifically for your own group. Unexpected London offers lots of tours that focus on different subjects all across the city – but they’re best known for their street art tours which also cover a lot of history and information on architecture too. Their street art tours last about three hours long and go into quite a lot of detail about the work – who created it, their processes and what the work is said to be about or trying to communicate.
Alternative London tours
Alternative London walking tours are found in Shoreditch, probably the heart of London’s street heart scene. They’re one of the walking tour providers we found that are really well-established, and this shows with the slickness of the tours and the level of detail the guides tend to go into. You’ll find them in an old London double-decker bus, and they run their street art tours in London every day. The guides here really know what they’re talking about. Many of them are artists themselves, so you feel like they’re genuinely passionate about the art.
Alternative London has something a bit special to offer with its street art tour that includes a workshop too. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a street artist, you can start off with the usual exploring of the East End street art but then find yourself in their purpose-built street art workshop studio in Shoreditch to learn how to make excellent graffiti art yourself. This, too, is led by local artists and creatives, so you’re in good hands. They take you through the process of making stencils for spray painting and how to use your spray cans properly to make your very own graffiti artwork.
Alternative London tours start at about £12 per person.
Free Tours by Foot
This is another Shoreditch-based tour provider, but they also operate tours in Whitechapel, Brick Lane, Liverpool Steet and The Old Jewish Quarter. It’s of the most popular street art tours in London, probably because of their name. Yes, they are completely free of charge. They operate on a pay-what-you-want basis, so you can take their tours for free. But, giving your guide a little something will be greatly appreciated. They will understand you are a student so it doesn’t need to be much. Free Tours By Foot will show you street art classics by Banksy and other world-famous street art in the city, all while learning about the history of the East End. Their street art tours take about two and a half hours to do and they run every day apart from Wednesdays.
Camden Street Art Tours
Along with Shoreditch, Camden is another area of London that’s famous for its thriving street art scene, with huge colourful murals lining the streets. There’s a longstanding history of graffiti art that dates back to the 80s when street art first exploded onto the streets in the UK. Your Camden Street Art Tour guide shows you over 100 pieces of street art in about two hours, so this one is probably the best option for really packing a lot in. They tell you all about the codes of conduct that street artists find themselves having to stick to, and the kinds of best practice rules that they have to abide by to continue doing what they do. And, like Alternative London’s tours, these guys also offer graffiti workshops, so you can put any new-found inspiration into action and get making your own graffiti art alongside your tour.
Street Art London Tours
Street Art London Tours probably has the best selection of street art tours in London. They have three to choose from. You might have guessed that Shoreditch is one of them (which run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). But as well as Shoreditch, they have two lesser-known street art area tours – Dulwich and Hackney Wick.
In 2013, Dulwich hosted a huge Street Art Festival, and so this area is still covered in some of the most interesting and experimental graffiti art found in the city, all left over from that event. On the Dulwich tour, you’ll be shown murals by world-famous street artists like Pablo Delgado, MadC, RUN and Conor Harrington. It’s not always all about Banksy, and you’ll discover that on any of these street art tours in London.
In Hackney Wick, there is also a thriving street art community. On this tour, you’ll be shown artworks by graffiti artists like Faith 47, Paul Insect and Sweet Toof along with many more you may or may not have heard of. All three of their tours last approximately two hours long.
These tours are £15 per person.
Your own self-guided walking tour
If you want to take things into your own hands, you could create your very own street art tour in London. You have the flexibility of doing it whenever it suits you and with as many friends as you like (or by yourself). Plus, you won’t need to spend a penny. You mightn’t learn as much as you would with a guide, and you might find yourself getting a little lost along the way, but that should be part of the fun. Plus, in areas like Shoreditch or Camden, where it seems like there is street art in every alleyway, you might even stumble across something that the organised tours don’t know about. There are lots of street art guides for London online. We recommend TimeOut London’s selection, as they’re thorough, varied and also kept up to date.