Glorious graffiti: why Shoreditch is essential for street art lovers


Let’s face it; a city as eclectic, electric and ever evolving as London boasts many must-visit districts and fashionable areas, naturally, but nowadays surely none more so than where Central meets East in Shoreditch. But just what’s at the heart of this most vibrant and essential of London destinations? What makes it one of the districts of London that any visitor – especially if they’ve chosen to stay nearby on a short-break in the UK capital – simply must pay a visit? Well, one word – art.

Effectively a rough triangle (formed by Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street) of down-at- heel but oh-so cool bars and pubs, indie fashion boutiques and dynamic, unique restaurants and eateries, this small area on the cusp of The City (so, very easy to reach if you’re staying at accommodation near Brewery Road, like the Montcalm Chiswell Street hotel) is famed for its trendy crowd and tech start-ups.


To say it’s happening is putting it mildly; what with marvellously monikered watering holes like Bull in a China Shop and Happiness Forgets, terrific shopping thanks to the unusual retail hub that’s Boxpark and even the interior design haven that’s Geffrye Museum, it’s an unmissable slice of throw-it- all-together.

  • Yet, as noted, what truly distinguishes Shoreditch, what separates it from all the other trendy hipster-ish districts about town, is the art to be found throughout. But it’s an art of a certain, specific, very distinct type; namely street art. And it’s to be found here, there and everywhere. Quite frankly, you can’t move in Shoreditch for street art. The popular and fascinating artform that’s grown out of graffiti adorns many of the area’s alleyways, railway and road bridge arches, brickwork walls and more. Some of it’s undoubtedly wacky, other pieces downright odd and others still undeniably beautiful. And the fact the area is relatively new as one of London’s must-visit locations means it’s always evolving, thus so is the street art. No question then, it’s one of the big, big draws of the district.
  • And, as if to underline the area’s credentials as a modern crow-puller of choice, is the fact that you can turn to your smartphone – specifically a clever little app, ‘Street Art London’ – to discover all the area’s very best graffiti-like beauty. Obviously, the app aims to bring alive the whole city around you while you’re out and about – but specifically in terms of the dynamic and vibrant street art that so colourfully illuminates many walls, bridge arches, cul-de- sacs and the like. And in no area more so than Shoreditch, which – as mentioned – is absolutely swimming in the stuff.

Thanks to its many maps and guidance information, it enables you to locate and discover examples of urban art wherever you are in the area – as well as to hunt down some of the most acclaimed; for instance, many of the works Banksy’s created down through the years. So you don’t forget to come armed with your smartphone as you enter unmissable Shoreditch!