We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Prue, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Prue lives in New Zealand, and submitted the following report about East End London. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English
Reasons to Visit East End London
There are many great galleries around the world, but London, England offers one of the most astonishing. Welcome to a walk through the street art of East End London.
You need to look down, around, and up to see work from some of the world’s finest street artists. Much is legal, often invited or commissioned, some is illegal, and some advertises upcoming shows.
Most of what I saw will be gone when you visit: painted over, removed by local councils, and, in some cases, the buildings themselves will be gone as Shoreditch regenerates. But, there will always be something new to see.
Three of the most famous street artists are Banksy, King Robbo, and Invader.
Banksy’s girl with a balloon was cut out of the wall and sold at auction for £700,000. Two still sit in Shoreditch, covered by clear shields. He does a limited edition once a year and when flipped on, their value soars.
King Robbo once destroyed about a third of Banksy’s work. After Robbo’s sudden death, Banksy restored his Camden Robbo mural, adding a flame above.
Invader has evaded cameras many times in what is the most monitored city in the world.
Gregos is a true face of street art – it’s his face, made from 3D moulds and 3D printing.
Australian James Cochran, better known as Jimmy C, paints astonishing pieces, including Cosmic Mind in Shoreditch.
Eine is known for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters, work that featured on a Louis Vuitton scarf which retailed for £475. Chilean architect and painter Otto Schade uses a computer, laser cutter, and a 150-piece stencil. Portuguese Vhils produces relief images, something artists were doing in churches 700 years ago, although not with a power drill. Insa has an obsession with stiletto heels. From Wolverhampton, we have The Toasters, their image being…a toaster. C215 produces very complex stencils, mostly of close-up portraits of those society forgets – the homeless, street kids, and the elderly. There’s Welsh Phlegm with his miniature books, rarely seen in public places, more often found in abandoned buildings. There are a few women – Alice from Brazil and the unknown Faith47 who produces large works on buildings. Swoon specializes in life-size prints and paper cut-outs of human figures.
We finished with Banksy at Cargo and it’s fitting he has the last word. “Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.”
For more on London read Affordable London: 32+ Free and Low-Cost Tips.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)