Street art can be found almost everywhere in London, and it’s free for everyone to enjoy. Discover historical statues, contemporary sculpture, abstract art, modern murals and quirky installations dotted across the capital.
Street art in London
London has one of the biggest and best collections of uncommissioned street art in the world. Local and international artists have decorated the streets of London with a staggering array of creative works, from miniature bronze statues to painted murals several storeys high.
One of the most famous street artists to date is the anonymous Banksy, whose distinctive stencil artwork has regularly appeared in London for more than a decade. Some of the art makes a hard-hitting political point, while other works are extremely funny; often they are both. Due to his popularity, or unpopularity in some cases, many of the original Banksy pieces are no longer visible in London.
You can also go on the hunt for unique pieces of street art around North London, search for colourful artworks in Camden or admire the super-cool graffiti filling Leake Street Tunnel near Waterloo – a hidden gem for street art lovers.
When visiting Soho, don’t forget to look out for the seven noses of Soho by Rick Buckley which are concealed across the area. Then head over to Covent Garden, where you can also search for Tim Fishlock's little-known ear sculptures.
If you’re looking to find more street artists around London, check out the LDNGraffiti website.
Street art in Shoreditch
One of the best areas in London for discovering street art is Shoreditch, where artwork is known to change on almost a daily basis.
Join a Shoreditch Street Art Tour to stumble upon works by many of the best graffiti and stencil artists in the world, or combine your love of street art with East London food with during an Eating London Tour.
This vibrant part of East London is an ever-changing canvas for street art, filled with vibrant graffiti art, magnificent murals, painted shutters, cool stickers and many more varieties of urban art in London:
- Look out for the huge 30-foot (9.1-metre) bird and other intricate street artworks on Hanbury Street.
- Marvel at the stunning murals adorning the walls of Fashion Street.
- Spot monster sculptures hidden on rooftops along Grey Eagle Street.
- See famous works by the world-famous Banksy on Rivington Street.
- Take photographs of colourful pieces of art decorating Brick Lane.
Street art in Croydon
Head to Croydon to be amazed by some of the capital’s best street artists and a burgeoning public art scene.
Discover how RISEgallery supports London’s street art scene, encouraging top artists to fill Croydon with their work. This gallery, which has hosted work by big names such as Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Banksy, runs The Arts Quarter project – this sees the gallery as a mediator between artists and landowners, helping pubic areas to be devoted to street art and allowing new murals to appear on a daily basis:
- Stroll along St George’s Walk to see colourful art on the shops’ shutters.
- Find more compelling street art as you explore the neighbourhood, from Katharine Street to Park Street and High Street.
- Head to The Arcade and Surrey Street to see what local artists have been up to lately.
- Head to Queen’s Gardens, where there’s a wall for emerging graffiti and street artists to promote their work without permission.
Memorial street art in London
You can also find a moving collection of memorial street art across the capital, which pay tribute to some of London’s greatest music artists:
- Celebrate the life of Amy Winehouse in Camden, where you’ll find beautiful artworks by well-known artists including Pegasus, Bambi and Icarus.
- See the stunning memorial dedicated to music legend David Bowie in his hometown of Brixton.
- Admire the touching mural inspired by the musical genius of George Michael in Shoreditch.
- Visit the poignant tribute which pays respect to the iconic Prince in Turnpike Lane.
Public art in London
Public art is also free for visitors to view, but unlike street art, it has been officially commissioned and installed.
For 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 originally made for 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 in Trafalgar Square has become a display space for commissioned art, including Antony Gormley's One & Other where members of the public stood on the plinth for one hour at a time. Currently on display on the Fourth Plinth is Really Good by artist David Shrigley.
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, and often hosts exciting temporary exhibitions and events.
Follow The Line - a self-guided walk tour linking The O2 and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - to discover a selection of sculptures from artists such as Damien Hirst, Alex Chinneck, Gary Hume and Eduardo Paolozzi in East London.
Spitalfields is another area of London with a passion for public art, many of which reflect the history of the area. Kenny Hunter's I Goat stands 3.5 metres (11.4 feet) 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.
There are more than 60 artworks across the borough of Lewisham too, from the traditional to witty murals by Artmongers and popular pieces such as the Catford Cat. See the Lewisham Council website for the latest public artworks, including details of the artists, year of installation and commissioning bodies.
Fifteen of the best street artists to find in London
Here are just a few of the top street artists who currently have work on display in London:
Stik - One of the most recognisable street artists in the scene. His ‘Mother and Child’ piece in Acton, West London can be seen when coming in to land at Heathrow Airport and is said to be one of the largest pieces of uncommissioned art in London to date. @stikstudio
ROA - A Belgian artist who created The Crane, an icon of Brick Lane. His trademark black and white animals can be seen across the globe.
C215 – A French artist who produces highly detailed, multi layered, coloured portraits. @christianguemy
Phlegm – A London-based artist who has a whole world of characters, often on a huge scale. @phlegm_art
Space Invader - This Parisian mosaic artist is one of the most prolific street artists ever seen. His pixelated computer games characters invite "players" to collect points by finding his hidden works. @invaderwashere
Bambi – Anonymous London-based artist who creates striking art inspired by modern society and contemporary icons. @therealbambistreetartist
Jonesy - His magnificent works - which sell for thousands of pounds in galleries – sit out of peripheral vision on top of posts around East London, particularly along the canals. @jonesy_street_art
Ben Wilson - This North London pavement artist's work is probably the hardest to find. He turns discarded chewing gum into intricate works of art and has more than 400 pieces on the Millennium Bridge alone.
Sweet Toof – This London-based artist is well known for a vibrant collection of street art, which feature his trademark teeth surrounded by bright pink gums. @thesweettoof
Eine - He is the first living British artist in history to have his work hung in the White House after former Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave one of his pieces to President Obama as a state gift. @einesigns
Jimmy C – Painter of striking artworks and the iconic David Bowie mural, this Australian artist’s vibrant street art can be found in London and across the world. @akajimmyc
Conor Harrington – Irish artist who creates a sensational juxtaposition between fine art and street art with explosive large-scale pieces. @conorsaysboom
David Walker - One of the first British artists to create beautiful feminine portraiture with spray paint. @artofdavidwalker
El Mac – This artist freezes his spray-cans to lower the pressure and so creates a soft, misty effect to his flawless geometrically-lined pieces. @mac_arte
Vhils - Portuguese artist who takes the raw essence of the Greek word ‘graffito’ (from which the word graffiti was derived) meaning to scratch the surface. He plasters walls and uses a jackhammer to make three-dimensional works. @vhils