A Street Art Tour of Brick Lane in London
Any casual visitor to the city wanting to find a high quality selection of street art need look no further than Londons Brick Lane. It is the epicentre of street art in the city.
Artists from all over the world and the UK come here to paint, safe in the knowledge that they will get an appreciative audience and a wide appeal.
This tour is designed for the casual visitor who doesn’t have much time and just wants to catch a glimpse of some decent art without having to trapse through a whole load of unfamiliar areas.
Tour start – Aldgate East tube station (Hammersmith and City and District lines)
Tour End – Shoreditch High Street station (London Overground)
Tour length – 1-2 hours, dependant on how much pottering around you do.
On exiting Aldgate East station turn left along Whitechapel Road until you come to the junction with Osborne Road. Look across the road and you’ll see ‘White Church Lane’, this is your first port of call. Cross the road and wander to the end and back.
White Church Lane has attracted many artists of late ably assisted by the diligent work of Global Street Art who liase with local wall and shutter owners who give permission for their property to be painted. At the time of writing the street featured work from Alice Pasquini, Hunto, Anthony Lister, Malarky and Dan Kitchener amongst others. It’s only a short road too. Once you’ve done cross back over to Osborne Street and walk up towards Brick Lane which is just a continuation of the street.
Bear in mind that there is loads of street art on both Osborne Street and Brick Lane, you’ll see it dotted around all over the place. This route shows the best places to spot stuff only, the art itself will likely change over the months.
Next stop is Heneage Street where there is also a quaint little pub called the Pride of Spitalfields should the need for a pint arise. Walk down the street until you come to a little playground, look around and on the gable end of a row of buildings an impressive giant mural from Sheffield based artist Phlegm can be seen.
More art can be seen in Heneage Street so keep your eyes peeled before walking back up the road the way you came. Turn right at Brick Lane, past the Brick Lane mosque and head towards Princelet Street. There look to the left and within a doorway can be seen a work by Stik which depicts a burka clad Stik figure holding hands with a non burka wearing Stik figure. It is very sweet and is a highly regarded piece by the local community considering it’s diverse nature.
Incidentally Princelet Street is also the former centre of the Huguenots who settled in the East End from France in the 1700s. The houses here are from this era and are quite unusual and worthy of greater exploration. If you are interested in the history of this area then try this free Walking Tour of the East End of London which covers the history in a bit more detail.
But for now we head back to Brick lane until we reach Hanbury Street. Turn left and you get straight into the heart of Spitalfields, right takes you into the heart of Whitechapel. This street is awash with art particularly along it’s length towards Spitalfields. For this tour though we are only interested in the art to the immediate right. Look down towards Whitechapel and dominating the view will be the giant Crane by Belgian artist ROA. This is another well loved community piece as evidenced by the local uproar that went on when Tower Hamlets council tried to cover it over with a banner just before 2012s Olympic Games.
This spot really attracts the creme de la creme and many artists have painted this spot including the likes of Milo Tchais, Bom.K and Liliwen, Otto Schade, Louis Masai, Ben Slow and Dale Grimshaw.
Continue down Brick Lane past the Truman Brewery. This section gets particularly busy during the weekend because of it’s street food and markets during the day and it’s bars and curry houses at night. The Truman Brewery is an excellent place for a detour should you want to take one. The yard at the back of the building can be accessed via Brick Lane through a little alley and is usually very vibrant with plenty of street art.
Continue along Brick Lane until you come to the entrance to Pedley Street on the right. Its only an alley at this point leading towards a park, walk down to the park and back again and you’ll doubtless see a whole host of street art in this often painted spot.
Once back on Brick Lane turn right and continue towards Grimsby Street on the right. Walk along the length of the street until you come to the junction with Cheshire Street. Turn left and walk back towards Brick Lane. Lots of art can be spotted just by taking this small detour.
Upon returning to Brick Lane cross the road and head up Sclater Street. The spot has in the past been a real hub for street art but now has become a real target for the developers. You can still see some great spots though and directly in front of you will be an old looking warehouse building with lots of hidden gems on it. Beyond the warehouse Sclater Street carries on and the street is full of art. Have a wander along and then head back taking the little spur along Cygnet Street towards Bacon Street.
Walk around the back of the car park and the road will take you towards Bacon Street which works its way back towards Brick Lane. Bacon Street is again packed full of art on what is a relatively small section of street.
Once at Brick Lane turn left and walk to the main road junction with Bethnal Green Road. This section of the Lane is full of coffee bars and as such is a good place to find some refreshment. It’s also a good place to come when the shops are shut because a lot of the art here has been painted on shutters which only come down when the businesses have packed up for the day.
At the junction turn left and walk along Bethnal Green Road. It is likely that you’ll be able to spot some stret art on the other side of the road which marks the start of Redchurch Street (which is a tour in itself). Continue down and you’ll come to the junction of Sclater Street which is a busy spot as there is often another market here. Look across the road and you’ll see the giant ROA hedgehog poking out from Chance Street on the other side of the road.
The walk ends just beyond here at the Shoreditch High Street station which is just by the very cool Box Park one of Londons funkiest shopping centres. There you can get a coffee and explore the shops should you so wish.
So that’s it, a whistle stop your of Brick Lane certinaly the key spot to find quality street art in the city. If your interested in getting a guided version of this or any of the other tours, give me a shout using the form below.
Finally for some more great street art tours try the outdoor street art gallery of Dulwich, A Street Art Tour of Hackney Wick and Fish Island and A Street Art Tour of Shoreditch. You might also be interested in checking out some of the street art of Camden which is beginning to establish quite a vibrant scene.