Feeling a little overwhelmed by walking in the mighty hectic English capital? If only you could dodge all those disoriented tourists, rushed city workers, mindless flocks of students and enjoy London as you’d like it to be...
Well, you can! Think about your likes and, with a little guidance, you can find out where London is hiding the secret gems that entice you. Find them, and London will instantly become the perfect place for you!
Or you could just join an interest-specific walking tour. Walking tours are always a great way to discover new cities and learn about history and quirky facts, modern and past cultural habits, and get a general grasp on the outs and abouts. London tours are gaining popularity among city dwellers and visitors alike, for being fun sociable events, led by knowledgeable charismatic guides, who’ll help create a team atmosphere as you walk by old Victorian houses or in the sketchy neighborhoods of Jack the Reaper along with complete strangers who you’ll probably end up going for a drink and a good laugh right after.
There are literally dozens of walking and cycling tours to join, all following different routes, that you should choose depending on your interests: you can find anything you like, from historical paths, to film-inspired tours, or innovative little expedition to discover the current sub-cultural movements which are shaking up Londoners’ daily life; which is precisely what intrigued us this week!
Street art tour in East London
Take a trip down the graffiti lane in the East London’s most creative neighborhood of Hackney. Here, the secrets of the ever-changing dynamic street art scene will be disclosed in front of your eyes as you walk by some of the most popular graffiti, commented by expert guides - who are street artists themselves – and that will be able to fill you in with the latest facts and trends on street-art culture in the whole Europe.
The tour aims to discover the history of what today has become one of the most hip vibrant areas of London, home to the Bangladesh community for decades, where a new conjunction of young artists, local dwellers and newcomers from all over the world are giving origin to a truly international community with a somewhat common philosophy and shared values; an area which has only recently undergone some important cultural renovation, becoming the homeland for a generation of pioneering young artists in London.
The tour normally is run along the iconic street of Brick Lane and the vintage Spitalfields area, where the most iconic graffiti and street art works are to be seen. So if you want to pose by an original Banksy rather than buying a copy at the market or if you want to make your own street art souvenir you couldn’t be joining a better tour really! As a matter of fact, the tour will not only guide you through the most renown, controversial, historical and secret street art works in London, but it will also offer you the chance to join a workshop where you’ll get to play around with tools and special equipment and harness your artistic potential .
Also, by the end of the tour, you will learn how to identify the most recurrent features of renowned street-artists. So you will be able to showcase your artistic knowledge and recognize Sweet Toofs’s throw-ups on the streets, spot Malarky’s flamboyant graffiti, spot a Roa’s and a Jimmy C’s all over the world, and learn how to spot new, hidden corners anywhere on the street that could have been marked by some discrete art, because street artists are constantly in search of new ways of expression and would never spare a free brick. Not a free curb.
Good street art 2-hour tours can be a good choice to start with. This tour departs from Old Street tube station on Tuesdays mornings for £12. An extended 4-hour tour is also available for bookings on weekends for £15 only – with more street art on display in the borough of Hackney. Cheaper and economical alternative can also be booked. These tours are mostly funded on donation, where at the end of it you’re welcome to tip as much you think the tour is worth. The latter starts from Spitalfields Market, every week day at 12 pm and 3 pm. Plus Tuesdays at 7pm. and Saturdays at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm.
East End Street Art and Pub Tour
Wait until the darkness come upon the flamboyant graffiti and wonder around the same alleys with the creatures of the night, in some of east London’s best pubs. From historical Victorian pubs, to edgy minimalist cafes, nearly every corner of east end London grants you a warm cozy shelter. On the tour, you will stop by 4 of them, to rest your legs and to restore your spirits.
There are a number of pub-crawling events and pub walking tours in London. One can even book a tour that combines the 2.5 hour street-art tour with 4 well-deserved breaks at local pubs where you’ll be able to consume a beer, cider or a soft drink of your choice in each one of them. The fee for such tours is £20 and is inclusive of all 4 drinks – well, not bad for a day full of art and joy, innit?