Britain’s art scene is overflowing with creativity, making it easy to immerse yourself in graffiti-drenched cities that bring the country’s urban history to life. From industrial buildings transformed into cool artsy spaces, to international graffiti festivals in the home city of Banksy and artistic workshops, there’s plenty of opportunities to let your creative juices flow.
Pick up the paint for yourself with hands-on classes from top artists. Or for a look back, head to the likes of Bristol, Birmingham and Coventry to discover the long-lasting legacies of past graffiti festivals. Whatever takes your fancy, you’ll find bright pops of colour and vibrant works adorning many of Britain’s street corners.
Recognised for its eclectic creativity and flamboyance, Brighton continues to leave its mark on the street art scene. In a collaboration between street artist REQ and Enter Gallery, you can embark on a two-hour guided tour through the city’s eccentric art. From famed murals to wandering down the backstreets for hidden artistic gems, you’ll see another side to Brighton.
Hailed as Manchester’s hipster hotspot, the city’s Northern Quarter boasts street art that tells tales of its industrial past. Join Skyliner’s award-winning tour for an authentic urban experience that shines a light on the people and places behind the city’s unique art. Led by proud northerner Hayley Flynn, you’re sure to get a feel for local life and urban history.
If snapping Bristol’s street art has left you wanting to show off your creative flair, grab a spray can and give graffiti a go at one of Graft’s workshops. Create your own tag and learn about how the graffiti scene developed from its roots in the USA to the world stage. Or for a crash course in stencil art – made famous by Banksy – experience one of Where the Wall’s spray sessions.
To really immerse yourself in London’s art scene, an AlternativeLDN street tour and workshop has you covered. See the capital come alive with vibrant designs as you travel through the city’s East End, finishing at an in-house workshop where you’ll be left poised with a spray can and your imagination.
Hit London’s streets on two wheels on Tally Ho’s Landmarks and Gems tour and finish in Leake Street Tunnel – the place where Banksy once held the Cans Graffiti Festival. You’ll even get the chance to add a pop of colour to the artsy space with your very own spray paint.
In Edinburgh, look to Colinton Tunnel for a kaleidoscopic subway full of dazzling rainbows and a whole host of stories to discover. To see Scotland’s largest mural, hop on a bike for a two wheeled adventure along the city’s Union Canal using National Cycle Network’s Route 75.
Britain is bursting with annual events that transform industrial areas, hidden neighbourhoods and city centres into hip, creative spots. Often popping with cool designs, many of these festivals also welcome some of the art scene’s biggest names.
Home of graffiti icon Banksy, Bristol’s Bedminster district sees the annual UPFEST bring 400 artists to its urban landscape (canvas). Expect indie stalls, street food and creative workshops, alongside plenty of eye-catching art. Visit now to see street art from previous years, including local artist Cheba’s cosmic building, and Andrew Burns Colwill’s reflective pieces that shine a light on the environment, politics and society.
In Paint We Trust brought bold colours and unique stories to Coventry, in Warwickshire, as part of the city’s year as UK City of Culture 2021. Featuring local artists and international names, the legacy of the festival lives on in the West Midlands. Weave through Coventry’s streets to discover splashes of colour in some of its most unique places – such as Dreph’s poignant homage to Britain’s first black theatre manager, Ira Aldridge, on the city’s Belgrade Theatre.
Staying in the West Midlands, Birmingham’s quirky neighbourhood Digbeth boasts a number of colourful art pieces. Once an industrial hub, it has since hosted major street art and graffiti festivals City of Colour and High Vis Street Culture. Take time to wander through the area known as Birmingham’s creative quarter for graffiti-soaked buildings, indie shops and tasty street food.