When you think of London most people think of the Royal Family, Big Ben, the Tube and other top tourist attractions. But have you ever stopped to think about street art? Me either, but as I found out when I took part in the Alternative London Tour it’s alive and kicking.
The tour owner Gary, lives and breathes this stuff. He knows who created the pieces, how long they have been up, the history of the artists (how much he knew about each artist blew me away) and so much more. I might have only developed a passing interest in street art from my alternative tour in Berlin but by the end of this tour I was in love with it. So much of it you wouldn’t even see until it was pointed out to you.
The tour runs through London’s East End covering the Spitalfields, Banglatown and Shoreditch areas. Over two hours you learn about paste ups, stencils and spray can’s which are all used to create some seriously stunning art work. Of course you will also learn the names of these artist’s like Stik, Mighty Mo, Ben Eine and Invader to mention just a few.
The best part about this tour is that it is always changing. Councils eventually find the works and paint over them or the weather does the nasty work instead, so the artists return to create new pieces. It is a shame really as some of these art works are just so good I’d prefer to see them each day rather than a plain old wall left painted in a patchwork of colors after the council has been.
In my mind, for a free walking tour where you leave a tip at the end I don’t think you can go wrong and encourage anybody coming to London this summer to check it out. And if all of that isn’t enough to convinced you to take this tour, then see below for some inspiration.