One of the great things about London is that it has so many facets. History, big-business, entrepreneurs, literature and theatre, shopping and so much much more including modern culture and that includes street art. A few years ago I blogged before on Whitechapel Street Art itself a perhaps unexpected side to an area known for its famous serial killers and gangs of times gone by and lively restaurant scene today.
Somewhere al together different is the Leake Street Tunnel. It’s only 5 minutes from the Houses of Parliament and very easy to get to, especially from Waterloo Station as it is actually underneath the platforms.
This 300 metre tunnel is the largest legal wall for street art in London and has been a bastion of London’s street art scene since 2008. Before then it was a dark and dingy tunnel until the famous Banksy decided to spend a weekend brightening up the place with his Cans Festival.
He invited the biggest and brightest names on the international street art scene to come down and put up a piece of work in the tunnel and within days it was transformed into colourful and rather cool place it is today where artists can showcase their work.
As with other places on London, all work here is only ever temporary which means that your favourite art can vanish at a moments notice but the plus side of this is that no two visits are ever the same and I’ve never been there and seen artists in action creating new pieces.
Despite it being right in the heart of the action, just 2 minutes walk from the London Eye, for some reason it is all but unvisited which means you can enjoy the art and the vibe without those sometimes annoying Instagrammers trying to strike a pose as can happen at more high profile locations, not naming any names… Shoreditch.
If you don’t like slightly lonely tunnels then you might not want to go there on your own after dark particularly as the end if blocked off but it’s not something I would particularly worry about especially as there are some amazing bars and restaurants built into the railway arches down the sides.
The Leake Street tunnel actually features on my latest London Walking Tour with Ye Olde England Tours. It takes us from London Bridge to Lambeth Bridge (and a bit across the river back to Big Ben) so I have imaginatively called it The Lambeth Walk.