By now it’s not a secret anymore that I absolutely adore London. And when you adore a city, you tend to go more often. Basic logic! So after a few visits, you sort of end up running out of highlights to see. But thank my lucky stars that London still has a lot of lesser known sights that are also pretty damn amazing and probably deserve a bit more credit.
It was only a few days after we had booked our end of May weekend to London that a friend of mine was also visiting this vibrant city and posting some amazing street art pictures. I was immediately intrigued and hence found my purpose for my trip; street art hunting.
The first spot I was heading for, was the Leake Street Tunnel. This graffiti tunnel can be found about fifteen minutes walking from the Big Ben. You just cross the Westminster Bridge, then go the first street to the left and a bit further you can hardly miss the signs to the tunnel.
A couple of artists were working on pieces as I entered the tunnel, but mostly it were tourists wandering the place. I especially loved the ceiling pieces, but the entire tunnel itself as a whole is just a feast for the eyes.
The second day, I headed to the East End of London, to the district Shoreditch. This entire place is filled with the most amazing pieces right there for everyone to see.
From the center of London, I took the subway – better know as hell when temperatures are nearing 30 degrees C outside – to ‘Liverpool Street’. From there it’s a fifteen minute walk to the art heart of Shoreditch.
I chose that subway station instead of ‘Old Street’ as it takes you past the Old Spitalfields Market. In this covered market, which has been serving as a market site for over 300 years, you can find little stalls where local artists and designers are selling all kinds of things from canvas art, to antiques, to jewelry etc etc. Just an amazing place to stroll through and browse the crafts. It kind of reminded me of Camden Town, but then a bit more charming. In the market hall itself and around the place there are also many quaint, little coffee shops and bars so a savory or sweet break is also an option there.
Moving back to the street art now. I didn’t really have an itinerary to explore Shoreditch, but the main places to go to see the graffiti and other art are Redchurch Street, Brick Lane and all its surrounding streets. So I just wandered those streets, deciding at each intersection based on what captured my attention the most. I feel like that’s the only way to go about exploring a place like that.
The most interesting thing about Shoreditch in my opinion is that it’s still alive. The pieces you see today might not be there anymore tomorrow as they could have been covered by new art. It makes you appreciate it that much more, especially the pieces you find yourself staring at for the longest time, hoping they’ll always be there.
And if you’re tired of the art or just need a break from it; Shoreditch is also well known for its street food. So fill those tummies and be a happy traveler!
It was only a two-day getaway, so that’s all I managed to squeeze in between shopping and food breaks with my favorite girls.
But there is a possibility that I’m returning to London alone later this year. There is a piece of theater coming out mid October that I’d love to see but it’ll be a bitch to get tickets for. So if I managed to score tickets and I am going back, I might continue this hunt for art. Or if anyone has other London sights that are worth a visit; shoot!