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We’ve seen some incredible street art on our travels but some of the best in the world can be found in and amongst the lanes and alleyways of Shoreditch in East London, our home city. Featuring globally recognised artists as well as local street painters, Shoreditch’s streets are awash with an awesome array of artwork in practically every type of space you can imagine. The beauty of the Shoreditch street art is that it changes every time we go, especially some of the more political and topical illustrations (Boris Johnson and Donald Trump both feature!)
So here is our pick of Shoreditch’s street art – a self guided tour with an easy to follow map and photography to show you what to expect. We should say from the get-go that this is a generalist approach to the street art and we definitely aren’t street art experts; moreover we simply want to provide a easy to follow visual guide to use when exploring Shoreditch and the areas immediately around Brick Lane.
Shoreditch street art map
Starting your Shoreditch street art adventure
This Shoreditch street art self guided tour starts and finishes at Shoreditch Overground station which is also only a five minute walk from Liverpool Street train/underground station.
King John Court / New Inn Yard
To start your Shoreditch self guided street art tour, head across the main road (Shoreditch High Street) to New Inn Yard to King John Court. This is where you’ll find the biggest street art mural both in Shoreditch and the UK, painted on several sides of one building, eight sections in all, each produced by a different pair of artists and all loosely based around the theme of ‘connectivity’ (as it is painted on the side of the Colt telecommunications building).
Running between King John Court and Holy Well Lane, you’ll find a little pedestrianised walkway that is right beside the CitizenM Shoreditch Hotel. The hoardings here (possibly temporary) are used as canvases by various street artists – on the day we visited early one Sunday morning, there was already a street artist at work, sketching out his composition and diligently and consistently checking it out against his sketch on his mobile phone.
Great Eastern Street
From Holywell Lane, head to Great Eastern Street in the direction you just came, towards Shoreditch Station. Here, look up and you’ll see two Tube carriages sitting on top of a roof above the ‘Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other’ mural – part of the Village Underground creative space, now used as office space and not accessible to the public.
On the other side of the road is a large canvas space that often changes – when we visited in June 2020, a new ‘Black Lives Matter’ street art piece had been installed.
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From Great Eastern Street, turn left back onto the A10 / Shoreditch High Street and walk a couple of minutes towards BoxPark. Once on Bethnal Green Road, head up Ebor Street to see the famous Graffiti Life Mural (LOVE in huge letters on the side of the building – by Ben Eine) – we visited during the later stages of the Covid 19 / coronavirus crisis so we were pleased to see the NHS nurse depicted on one of the walls.
At the top of Ebor Street, turn right on Redchurch Street and then left and down into Chance Street. It seems a lot of the street art changes here very regularly but the one standard fixture is the diagonal and vibrant mural by German Street artist MadC, although when we visited, other artists had started to encroach and cover the lower parts of Mad C’s mural.
Along Chance Street, turn left into Whitby Street – a quiet street where you’ll find the stunning ‘Portrait of a Woman’ and ‘Psyche’ by Jimmy C aka James Cochran (who played a key role in the development of the underground graffiti movement in Australia in the early 1990s). His style involves using small dots of colour to build up in a pattern to create an image.
Redchurch Street / Sclater Street
From Whitby Street, you can either head back up to Redchurch Street to see more street art – a bizarre mix of topical – e.g the adventures of Man-Bun in Old Street, to the commercial e.g. a huge mural promoting the Netflix action comedy ‘Spenser Confidential. Or head down and cross over to Sclater Street (possibly more graffiti than street art – creativity everywhere).
Sclater Street then arrives onto Brick Lane where’ll you see street art in every nook, cranny and side street. Unless you are after a bagel, we’ suggest you turn right on Brick Lane and check out the murals around the railway bridge (near Grimsby Street – the virus face mask piece) with a possible side tour to Bacon Street to see the below mural of Charlie Burns, known as the King of Bacon Street and where he used to reside until he passed away in 2012.
Code Street / Allen Gardens
From here, head South away from Bethnal Green Road and turn left into a little alleyway, immediately next to Kinkao Korean restaurant. Check out the back alleys immediately behind the first housing complex you see on your left – Gilbert Daniel House (but remember this is a residential area so don’t outstay your welcome).
From here, Allen Gardens has a plethora of street art in and around the railway sidings – head under the railway bridge and explore the alleyway to your right as this has lots of work.
After Allen Gardens, head across the park so Spital Street, then keep going until you hit Hanbury Street. As well as a rather retro workspace (like a UFO!), you’ll see several huge murals along here including the famous 40 ft Sacred Crane artwork by Belgian Street artist Roa and an epic mural by Mr Cenz of a beautiful woman.
Princelet Street / Seven Stars Yard
Back on Brick Lane, see more street art amongst the Georgian splendour of Princelet Street before heading to Seven Stars Yard, an assuming back street car park / loading area awash with topical artwork (Donald Trump was the ‘star’ of the show when we visited).
Our final stop is Fashion Street, which as you’d expect from the name, features several wonderful street art creations including a mural (hidden behind the Pho Village restaurant) by Australian street artist Mr C, who also created the famous Shakespeare mural near the Clink Museum on Southbank and Mr Cenz. Further down Fashion Street you’ll see artwork by Dreph of his former partner ‘Tracy’ and part of his ‘Are You Enough’ street art collection around London – we think his drawing of Myvanwy Evans in the aforementioned Seven Stars Yard has now sadly gone.
Fittingly (as we are writing this in June 2020 during the disaster that was coronavirus), the last street art mural we came across on Fashion Street was Boris Johnson as a clown – no further comment required.
Your Shoreditch street art guide here finishes here unless you also want to check out the railway tunnel next to Shoreditch station – given its sketchy location (especially at night), this is one that you may want to miss as competition is fierce in this area so most of the artwork is quite fleeting and often scrawled over by other graffiti artists.
Enjoyed this? Read our top 20 cities in the world for street, as compiled by ourselves and several other travel bloggers.
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