Public and Street Art in London

London is home to some fantastic public and street art – and it's free to enjoy! Make London your own personal art gallery with our tips.

Step outside and appreciate London's public and street art. You'll discover historical statues, contemporary sculpture, murals, installations and more. And of course it's free for you to enjoy!

Street Art

The streets of London have been a canvas for guerrilla artist Banksy's work for more than 10 years. Cropping up on walls around the city, he stencils pictures of people and animals engaged in unexpected behaviour. Some of the art makes a hard-hitting political point, while other works are extremely funny; often they are both. You'll find a map of the locations for some of Banksy's works here

Other street artists to look out for include Eine, who paints huge and brightly coloured words and letters, and Stik, whose stick men can be found across Shoreditch and East London.

As new street art pops up (and disappears) all the time, the best way to see it is on a guided tour. On the Alternative London Walking Tour, the capital's longest-running street art tour, you'll see works by the likes of Banksy, ROA, Shepard Fairey, Jimmy C, Invader and Stik. The pay-what-you-like tour runs every day, with a special Street Art Tour & Workshop taking place on on Sundays, giving you the chance to create your own piece of spray-can art. Alternative London also runs a Street Art Bike Tour on Fridays, which travels through Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Hoxton, Hackney and Islington.

Other tour providers include Shoreditch Street Art Tours, which runs knowledgeable daily street-art tours (check the schedule for dates and times) plus Street Art Photography Workshops to show you how best to capture the art you see.

Public Art

Want to see some controversial modern art? Check out the Fourth Plinth. There are four plinths near the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. The first three have statues of George IV and two generals. The fourth was supposed to be home to a statue of a horse, but the money ran out in the 1840s and the plinth was left empty for more than 150 years.

Since 1999, the Fourth Plinth has become a display space for specially commissioned art, including Antony Gormley's One & Other where members of the public stood on the plinth for one hour each. Currently on display on the Fourth Plinth is Hahn/Cock, a giant blue bird sculpture by artist Katharina Fritsch.

If you are a sculpture fan, you'll love exploring public art in Canary Wharf. The shops and offices are surrounded by spaces full of statues and greenery. It's a modern area that manages to combine commerce with cultural charm. Look out for exciting temporary exhibitions and events.

Spitalfields is another area of London with a passion for public art. The art in Spitalfields reflects the history of the area. Kenny Hunter's I Goat stands 3.5 metres high, gazing over Bishop's Square. This unique sculpture represents the independence and non-conformity of the local people, while Lines of Communication by Craft + Pegg records London's civil war fortifications.

And there are more than 60 artworks across the borough of Lewisham, from the traditional to witty murals by Artmongers to popular pieces such as the Catford Cat. Public art commissions come and go; see the Lewisham Council website for the latest public artworks, including details of the artists, year of installation and commissioning bodies, as well as a downloadable public art map.

You can even buy art outdoors every Sunday at the Bayswater Road Artist's Gallery, where the works are displayed on the park railings, and at Spitalfields' regular Art Market.

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