Shoreditch Street Art Tour: A Visual Essay

I recently discovered Shoreditch and fell in love with it straight away. The atmosphere here is different than in the London you discover as a tourist. Shoreditch is a multicultural neighborhood with charismatic community cafes, food from all over the world (apparently on Brick Lane you can find the best curry in London), quirky markets and also, it is London’s biggest street art scene.

When my friend Daniela suggested to do the street art tour on my weekend trip to London I thought it was a good idea. I don’t know anything about street art but I am always open to learning new things.


Before we arrived at the Tower Hill metro station, where the Strawberry Tours has the meeting point, we had to pass by “Molly Bakes” and buy one of their amazing freakshakes. You might have heard about this concept from Australia, and I have to tell you, ever since I’ve seen the pictures and found out that there is actually a place in London that does them, I dreamed of the day I would have one in front of me.

We took the overground train and got off at Dalston station, from where we walked towards the City of London for about 15 minutes. Even if it’s on a list with the best desserts in London, Molly Bakes it’s just a tiny cafe, with about 6 tables and a bunch of friendly staff that you can clearly see they love their job, as they dance and sing while they build up the shakes. It was very hard to decide what I wanted to go for, but in the end I chose the raspberry freakshake, with an Oreo brownie on top. It took about 10-15 minutes for the shakes to come, but we weren’t bothered about the wait. It was interesting to see them building them up. I have to mention that I am not really a fan of milkshakes, and I was looking forward more to the toppings than to the content of the jar itself. However, I was very pleasantly surprised when the massive shake arrived and I realized how good the sweetness of the cakes on top combined with the refreshing taste of the raspberry milkshake. I had in front of me a masterpiece of sweetness: marshmallow fluff covering the edges of the jar filled with milkshake, decorated with dried raspberries, a scoop of icecream on top finished with whipped cream, the brownie filled with Oreo biscuits above it and a giant fire-roasted marshmallow upon all.


It took us about an hour to manage finishing the shakes, after which we hurried towards Tower Hill, for the beginning of the tour. We got there right on time, at 3:30, and I was glad that we weren’t a very big number of people, which meant that we could get a better experience and ask more questions. The free walking tours work on a donation bases, at the end of the tour you pay as much as you think the experience was worth. I have done it in many cities of Europe and in fact, it is one of the first things I do when I am in a new place. It’s a great way of learning about the city you are in and also, if you are traveling alone, to meet new people whom you can hang out with after the tour.


One of the first things that I found out is that the London street art scene is pretty new compared with other cities, like New York for example. In London, street art started to become serious in the early 1990s, and most of the artists who put their work in Shoreditch are actually not English. While in the City of London street art is completely forbidden (but not herding a flock of sheep through the streets for example), in East London it is accepted. It’s not legal, but it depends of the owners of the buildings if they want to keep it there or not. Some of the pieces are commissioned, some are drawn over night. Another interesting fact is that the art is changing all the time. Unless a famous artist like Banksy for example creates a piece of art, there is always a possibility that it can get covered by another artist. This is why you never get to see the same street art in two different tours.

Read more about an extended street art tour in Shoreditch here.


I have also learned that there are a lot of different types of street art, not only graffiti-es or paintings. Street art can be made out of anything, from simple writings on the walls to wooden structures, ceramic plates and many others. Most of the street art today is divided into two categories: art and protest. Every one of us can interpret differently a piece of art so during the tour we were left to make our own opinions about each piece we saw.


There are a few famous street artists that have taken over the walls in Shoreditch, and I am going to tell you a little bit about the most important ones:

Zabou – She is a French artist based in London, proactive, who’s most recent work is a mural about Jack the Ripper. She chooses to integrate the surroundings with her artwork, and this is why she created a piece of art about the famous London murderer right on the building where one of his victims was killed.



Jimmy C – I was deeply impressed with the amount of work and vision that this artist has put in his art. He is using his own signature pointillist style of painting, “the drip paintings” – as he calls it. His pieces are made entirely out of points, that don’t look like much if you stand nearby. As soon as you take a few steps back, you see that the entire image changes and a acquires form and contrast.





Banksy – Everyone knows Banksy and the impact he has made over the British urban art scene. I have seen some of his famous works in Bristol and they were really good. At the Truman brewery, Banksy plays with other forms of street art than graffiti.


Mr Cenz – He focuses on female faces and creates abstract compositions in his unique style. He is a commissioned artist and he is actually a professional graffiti artist who owns his own company. He has a unique style of creating layers and shapes that form colorful pieces of art.




Roa – He is a Belgian muralist who likes to draw animals by painting a while shape and then filling it with black and gray lines, creating an image. The piece below was created in 4 hours, as an example.


Cityzen Kane – He is a sculptor rather than a painter and he makes his pieces using clay, in 3D. His famous piece of art Portal, which has been created when his son killed himself, has been vandalized recently but because he is an important artist, his work has been restored. Unfortunately, the original colors could not be kept and neither the glitter he adds to the sculptures so that they shimmer in the sunlight.


Invader – A fan of the Space Invaders game, he has started to add the tiny characters to over 40 cities around the world, since 1998. He even sent one into space. His work centers around the idea of increased surveillance, knowing that in London for example, the only place where you are not watched by a CCTV camera is in your own home.


There are a lot of other artists and a lot of pieces that caught my attention. I didn’t even notice when the two hours passed and we had to say good bye to the guide, somewhere near the Truman brewery, where we actually spent the rest of the afternoon, over a pizza and a beer.




















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Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.


  1. truly amazing post I must say! I personally love the artwork! thnx to the pictures, they helped a lot. 🙂 After reading this I really look forward to going on a street art tour, although it is a new idea for me.. 🙂

  2. Many of those pieces are stunning! It’s crazy that another artist could come along and paint over (or whatever the chosen medium) another’s piece. I guess it keeps it interesting! I really love the paintings of the female faces.

  3. I live in London and I can’t believe I’ve never been to Shoreditch to see those gorgeous street art. By the way, your milkshake looks so delicious – it’s more like a meal than a snack though! 🙂

  4. I absolutely love street art. It’s so expressive and emotive and you can really see the individuality! Love London for things like this 🙂

  5. This is great! I love looking at paintings and murals, they express the artist’s emotions and it’s as if you are talking to them through their work. Hope I can visit this place soon. We have a place almost like this in Philippines as well, in BGC but the one that you have there has a lot of paintings and murals.

  6. Those street artwork are truly instagram worthy shots. I remember fashion bloggers posing with street arts like this and giving their photos the edge because of the background. How I wish I was as talented as those who made those craft!

  7. I love street art, Banksy always been my favorite artist due to his uniqueness! I couldn’t imagine there are so many different artists that can also create street artworks that are simply masterpieces! It is an eye-opening post for me! Pinned it!

  8. Oh my… this is awesome. I love all the arworks. I am definitely coming over here and check them out personally. Thanks.

  9. Oh my word, that freakashake! I had never heard of them before but oh my goodness, so much to do, so little time. Lol, the rest of the tour also looked great.

  10. You know what, I really love Westerners street art because they are really work of art. Here in the Philippines you can rarely find those legit street art, most are vandalism! Just so sad. That’s why I’m excited to visit the west someday 🙂

  11. I don’t really appreciate street ‘art’. But looking at some of the above image I am thinking to change my view point. some of them are pretty good.

  12. Love it Joanna, I’ll definitely take a walk around Shoreditch next time I’m in London – I usually just stay in the centre.

  13. the arts on walls concept, as for me, is awesome. You know, if murals are illegal I’d prefer this done by those who just can’t help themselves paint the walls rather than those vandals instead. In the Philippines, you can see some murals but just like in Shoreditch, you can’t see the same art as most are covered by other artists too. I just that this type of painting will be observed rather than vandalizing.

  14. I’m so happy about you sharing this. I am an art enthusiast and really happy about this. In PHL, it’s not much of a thing but lately people have been appreciating art more. How I wish people here would create more street art.

  15. There is nothing like this sort of art were I stay in Edinburgh, our street art work is basically kids that have scribbled there name , these artists are so talented I would love to go on a tour like this art is so magically I hadn’t ever heard of freakashakes till I read your post that one looks amazing xx

  16. I hope I can go one of this street art tours once! They are amazing. Unfortunately in the tiny Maltese Island I live in don’t find a lot of street art so I will definetely have to travel for the experience. But we have an english restaurant named Shoreditch 🙂 Never been there, but planning to check it out. Hopefully I will find street art connection in the venue, so I can grab a feeling of it before my first real street art tour 😉
    Very interesting post & pictures!

  17. The street art is so vibrant and fascinating, brings out the angst and the ecstasy of the unknown artists. I also loved the milkshake, looks so ravishing!

  18. This got me feeling like I was in an Art galleria… amazing artworks here, I felt like I was there in person with all the images in my hands.

  19. Street art is very beautiful and interesting although I have seen antagonistic approach towards it as well from some members of the society. Nevertheless, the photographs are beautiful. In fact very recently, I went on a street art and sculpture walk across Manchester. Would share a post soon.

  20. If you liked your street art tour, you’d have to come and do that too in Rome. It’s in peoples’ hearts here: the young and the elderly, everyone supports it. And it’s amazing, all over the city.

  21. I’ve never been to Shoreditch, but that freakshake looks absolutely amazing! Love the artwork too, although I don’t usually keep an eye out for it, I will do from now on when I visit a city!

  22. This is taking graffiti to a whole new level. Though i would love to see graffitis that represent the different scenarios or specialities of the place. That’d be more amazing.

  23. Some amazing works of art. Looks like a beautiful street art tour. I love when communities put things like this one. Experiencing different things and arts is always a good thing.

  24. I have taken photos with many of these murals, namely Otto Schade, Mr Cenz, Jimmy C and Kane. Its fascinating to see how their art has such a great backstory and it shows that their art is dimensional.

  25. Gosh I honestly didn’t realise how much a big thing street art is. We don’t have a lot of it in Cardiff (that I know of anyway). Amazing what people can actually do on a wall x

  26. Woah! There’s so much creativity. I love the wall arts. They look amazing! Thanks forbtaking time to introduce us sone of the artists behind them. Everyone seems to have genre/personality on their artwork.

  27. You can’t deny how beautiful and stunning the street art is! Everything full of life and color and they also have their own messages and stories to tell. It would be nice to do a photowalk in place as beautiful as this!

  28. I love street arts and we have so many in the downtown of our Tampa bay area in Central Florida! Glad to know that you got a chance to see the different perspective of Shoreditch and all those eye-catching murals not only look amazing but also have brightened the scruffy walls and are spreading the positive aura around!

  29. Wow! I would love to see street arts like that. So amazing! I have never been to London, but if given the chance I surey wouldn’t missed going to Shoreditch.

  30. I’m a frustrated creative and this is such a wonderful blog post to stumble upon. You know, I have no idea how to appreciate this kind of art but wow, just wow. I just realized how street artists are so amazing in their own ways!

  31. Wow!! This is a very excellent post! I really love paintings. OMG! I think I will include this to my list on my trip to London next year!!

  32. Art painting is one way that an Artist express their thoughts and ideas. The good thing about it is, they’re all available.

    Thumbs up to those mentioned Artists. This is really awesome and help inspire others to do the same.

  33. It always amazes me how people can translate their feelings into art, it’s mesmerizing and inspiring just to see. I can understand why you didn’t notice that 2 hours have passed, I’d have felt the same, it’s interesting to just stare at a piece of art, a sculpture or a painting and just put yourself in the moment and try and understand where the artist was coming from.. I definitely would love to visit Shoreditch someday. 🙂

  34. This is so cool! In the Philippines, street art is not such a big deal but I’ve been seeing some projects which includes street art. Some of the graffiti here are just merely words with names or whatever which makes the wall look dirty but these pictures are amazing, I’d love to see them personally one day. 🙂

  35. Some of these artist have painted in Los Angeles, where I live! It’s so amazing to see someone express themselves through art. I love how colorful each painting is. I also enjoy admiring how much time and dedication each piece took to complete.

    xoxo, Candice

  36. I love streetart. I saw many when I was in Berlin. Some were great. Others were mediocre. These captions you’ve highlighted are simply amazing. Thanks for sharing. I visited London on a long weekend but I didn’t manage to do this tour due to limited time. Will definitely prioritize this one on my next visit.

  37. These paintings are really unique. Here is a lot of creativity. There are some very talented artists around this area… Incredible talented people! I love street art. <3

  38. The art is SO cool! I want to go visit this place for myself. And can I just talk about that DECADENT milkshake you had?! Now I’m craving something sweet and tasty….!

  39. You categorized them so well, thanks for that! I truly enjoyed this post as a designer myself. Jimmy C’s drip paintings are simply stunning! I’m so glad to have seen your post!

  40. Wow, you really have a good skills on capturing the good angle on each artwork, This is true art, I love all the paintings I can’t get over with, I kept on staring each picture. Hahaha. Really I can’t get over with it. Awesome, thank you so much for all of these.

  41. Art is unlimited and the creativity of these artists is unbelievable. I would spend hours also only to indulge myself for such these great art displays. Thanks for sharing another part of London than the usual that tourist like myself know about.

  42. I definitely won’t miss this charming little neighborhood on my nect trip to London. I’m a huge fan of street art (just yesterday i was on Banksy’s exhibition in Amsterdam). Milkshake looks like a must too ?

  43. wow these are wonderful murals.. you can clearly tell how much effort and artistry were inputted just to come up with such eye catching paintings on the wall..
    I hope I can find a lot here in my place too instead of those ugly graffiti

  44. Wow, I have visited London a few years ago and a I had no idea about this street. This is truly gorgeous with magnificent talent. I will be going to London and will definitely visit Shoreditch

  45. Everything’s a visual treat. It gives Shoreditch a distinct character I am fond of street art myself – felt like I was in heaven when I saw this street in Tokyo with tons of these. I’m definitely going to Shoreditch when I get the chance in one of my future trips.

  46. Wow, its pretty much impossible to pick a favorite, you have so many great pictures of the street art. The walking tour definitely sounds like something I would enjoy, will look into it for the future.

  47. These looks great especially the coughmilkshaecough. Shoreditch street art looks really good. I love how you captured the details of the pictures as well. Hoping to get there one day 😀

  48. I love would love to try that freakyshake. Anyway, there is a lot of artwork to digest here. I personally liked Jimmy C’s street art as his style reminds me of Claude Monet. Thanks for this visual treat and sharing about Shoreditch.

  49. Joanna,

    So that was a massive milkshake and I think it is extraordinary. No matter how unique it is, or how good it tastes, boy o boy, the work of art is STUNNING!

    I scrolled up and down a few times, you know, not to pick one I like but to simply admire at beautiful creations. ABSOLUTE BEAUTIFUL!

  50. Wow! Creativity juices are all over London. I adroe all of the photos! The artworks screams a lot of passion and so much work is put into them. 🙂 Definitely a must see place in London! It reminds me of BGC here in Taguig. Street art on buildings and on walls are steaming and popping up like mushrooms as well.

  51. The quality of the art is stunning! And, that you can just walk around and see it, and no one else defaces it. So impressive! I love all the photos of it, too.

  52. I love the street art of Shoreditch! It’s undeniably one of the trendiest areas of London, and a lot of trendy, bohemian types to gravitate there to soak up its alternative atmosphere, and for the curry of course (sadly, the curry houses have become overrun with annoying touts now). Some great shots of the street art you have here – Banksy is obviously the one most people will know, but it’s great that you’ve spotlighted some of the less well-known artists. The Jack the Ripper stuff is morbidly fascinating! 🙂

  53. Amazing post i love street art and all that artwork is just fantastic, ive never been on a tour but have seen banksys work in London.

  54. Wow. I love the fact that you went around and took pictures of this beautiful art work. I know a lot of people hate grafitti, but I am actually a fan when it is well done like this. London has so many great examples. I once had to walk to work for over two hours due to tube strikes and the graffiti in Hackney and Shoreditch was just incredible

  55. I love street art no matter in which city 🙂 Just came back from Penang island in Malaysia where made murals hunting 😀 This island is famous for street art 🙂 If you will have chance – visit it 🙂

  56. I am going to be staying in the Shoreditch area in the fall for my trip to London. I can’t wait to see all the London street scenes.

  57. I am fond of street art and we have Ybor City in Tampa, Florida where we have some amazing murals and graffiti’s from the local artists. I loved the work of Jimmy C and that drip painting is fascinating!

  58. I’m a huge fan of street art. During most of this year, I’ve traveled to various cities to capture what the cities had to offer. Right now, DC is my favorite. I’d love to check out what Lisbon has to offer.

  59. I’ll be touring Shoreditch in November with a local and I really can’t wait! I’ve been longing to see this part of London and my camera is ready for a feast over there. Thanks for all the tips!

  60. These murals are fantastic. I never got to Shoreditch when I lived in the UK and it looks like I missed some incredible street art. I particularly love the red typewriter as to me that is nostalgic. I saw Brick Lane which was similar, but I like the art in your pictures better.

  61. You have an amazing collection of street art in this. I too love taking these kind of pics but all my collections put together will not be even half of this. Thanks so much for the little bit of info on each of this.

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