Definitely the best tour I've been on. Not just in London either. Doug was a great guide. Highly recommended!
The Alternative London Tour
Old Spitalfields Market
Until Sat Dec 20
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Feb 4 2014
East London's 'alternative' side is revealed on this leftfield tour. Expect to be introduced to the history and culture of the Brick Lane 'Banglatown' and Shoreditch areas as well as current issues and street art. Booking essential via www.alternativeldn.co.uk
- Event phone:
07899 686 235
- Event website:
Walks and tours. Guided tours. Walking tours. Alternative nightlife. Things to do
Lively atmosphere. Local flavour. Quirky. Trendy
- Type of event:
The Alternative London Tour 2014
- Date Venue Time Price information
Accepts Time Out CardSee great offers available to all the Time Out Card holders
25 % off Street Art Tour and Workshop
Bookings can be made online here.
Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
- 5 star:91
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
The best tour in all of London the energy was infectious and it was fun and informative you have to experience it to believe it
East London is the ‘global epicentre of street art’ according to Alternative London‘s walk guide Josh Jeavons. The pay-what-you-want concept tour invites you to judge. Standing on the edge of the City of London this opener registered in my overstatement warning centre. But the reason I was there was because of a Brazilian who calls himself Cranio – although I hadn’t made the connection at this point. I passed the artist’s signature blue character on my way home from lunch in Hackney Wick one Sunday. He was hunched, wearing a Brazilian football shirt, sweating and balancing a football called Senna on his boot. It pulled me in – I liked it, but I couldn’t work it out. The geek in me wanted to know more, so I joined Josh’s throng. A two-hour journey started off through Old Spitalfields Market, towards Brick Lane and the mess of posters and graffiti which I’ve seen without acknowledging countless times before started to separate, like the magic eye posters of my student days. Josh started small, pointing out teeny tiny installations by Welshman Jonesy (not quite global) and a permission painting by Londoner Shok-1. His heart shaped X-ray illustration takes more time than I had to absorb, but I was captured for a moment, studying it against the faint backdrop of the Jamme Masjid mosque call to prayer. As we wound our way through the streets of Shoreditch the artwork got better, opening up a rebel faction that comes to this small part of the capital from places like Florence, Cape Town, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, South Carolina, New York, Portugal, Paris and São Paulo. We were even treated to an offering from our London-born guide himself. It wasn’t until I spotted another depiction of Cranio’s blue man – this time walking a cockerel, which is being ridden by a monkey – and got the chance to ask our expert about him, that I became a fan. I also realised how lucky I was to see his footballer in Hackney; when I went back for another look it was gone, making way for someone else’s spray can. I enjoy his raw political satire, even though I don’t fully get it. But that’s what art is for, isn’t it… triggering a reaction? And that’s what east London’s street art does on more levels than your average gallery. This mix of artists, both legal and illegal is outstanding. And free. The Tate Modern just got owned.
Alternative London provided a fantastic walking tour with bite-sized history nuggets and fresh insight into the evolution of street art. Much of the credit goes to the tour guide, Ben Slow, whose own interest in art fuelled each wall mural we saw with a wealth of intriguing information. Incredibly, there is apparently a cult of famous artists who travel from city to city to paint on these walls, even if it’s over someone else’s art work. If you love street art or simply want to enjoy quirky sights in London (look out for mushrooms on top of buildings) then this is the tour for you! Get a good glimps of it all before it gets tagged and painted over! For a more in-depth review, have a look at my blog: http://wp.me/p1LEwx-3p
Good for tourists and those who've never been to East London before. I personally didn't learn much - was hoping for more history, politics and local knowledge but it was mainly focussed on artistic technique. Tour guide was also rather arrogant and condescending and complained about Subway sandwich bars coming to East London but was quite happy to sip from his Costa coffee cup! It was a nice way to learn some more about street art though, and at least you can pay for how good you feel the tour was, so we did.
Doug did an amazing job on the tour, left us all with eyes more opened on street art and the development of artistic districts of london. I will recommend this to everyone who goes to london!
Just been on this tour today and afterwards at home wanted to find out more about all the street artists we were introduced to. Our guide Josh was great. He was funny, interactive and very genuinely knowledgeable about the area and art. It was about 1 and a half hrs, but time went by quickly and the walking pace was just right. There was a big crowd, so book online to guarantee a place.
Without a doubt the best tour I've been on here in London. Guide was funny, interactive, and brilliant in terms of transitions and opinions. I'm here in the UK as a college student from a school in the US and I've been on a lot of boring tours through different places. This was anything but dull.
Amazing! Different styles and influences. The guide Josh is very dynamic and well-informed about history and artistic details. I would also highlight the work of Brazilian graffiti artist Cranio!
SUCH AN AMAZING TOUR!! STRONGLY SUGGEST TO EVERYONE AND SPECIALLY JOSH, THE GUIDE, WHO KNOWS PERFECTLY HOW TO SHOW THE BEST PLACES AND STORIES OF BRICK LANE AND SHOREDITCH! VERY GLAD!
I 100% recommend this tour! Our guide Doug was really dynamic and clearly passionate about street art, and made the tour fun as well as really interesting. It sounds like the tour will change quite a lot because street art is so temporary, so I think I'll be going back in a few months!
Even in the rain the tour was great. Well educated, entertaining and attractive tour guide, Doug, showed us great pieces of art.
Did the tour last week, definitely recommendable! Lots of street art plus a local guide knowing those guys who created those fantastic pieces personally and though could give us lots of interesting background info. I can't say nothing but: Doug, well done :)
I went on the Street Art tour on Tuesday evening, thought it was absolutely amazing. Much more interesting than going to a gallery as it was so interactive and inspiring. As an Art teacher this was really eye opening, and has inspired me to get the students I work with more involved with the beauty of street art. Highly recommend this tour to anyone. I know I will be going on another Alternative London tour when I have the time!
Really well worth doing with an excellent, engaged and interesting tour guide - picking out sights that we'd walked past thousands of times without spotting - made for a really good day out.
The tour was fantastic. The art in East London is amazing, and the guide did an excellent job talking about it. This is probably the best thing I have seen in London!
I did the 'Alternative London Walking Tour' and it was exactly what i wanted! A great little window into the street art world. Our tour guide Doug was very knowledgeable and friendly, a perfect mix of factual information and opinions on what we were viewing. The fact that he seemed to genuinely enjoy what he was doing, the enthusiasm and knowledge he showed for the art and artists made it impossible not to engage and enjoy it. I love the fact that you could go on this tour on a monthly basis and not get bored due to the ever changing nature of what the tour's about. I would highly recommend it to anyone as you get to see a little of London off the beaten track. I love the fact that it's a pay what you think tour too, so as not to exclude anyone from the opportunity to see some truly great stuff. I can not recommend this company enough!
I took my friend from the States on this alternative tour of East London, she thoroughly enjoyed it and having lived here all my life I found out some really cool and interesting facts also. Doug was our tour guide and did a great job and knew his stuff.. Defo recommend this to locals and tourists.
Knowledgeable guides, interesting spots, GREAT sights to see en route - a perfect way to get a snapshot of another side of London. Thanks, Ben! Emily
I wouldn't walk around the East end of London in the freezing cold for nothing; until today. This tour is brilliant, funny, insightful and entertaining. Our guide Ben through frequent mini rants explained the difficult but necessary relationship between the city and the street. Go!
Myself and a friend tailed on to Doug's group a few days ago and it was well worth the waking around. As a visitor to this marvelous city I feel I've learnt much more not only about street art, but an underlying battle that is forever going on between cultural London (East) and capital London (Central). Doug was a star. Not only was he giving great insights to the murals around east London but he was also able to share true stories and historical relevance about the spots too. The tour ended in the darkness of a Saturday evening which added I feel to the tour. A must do whilst in London. And for Doug as a guide, A+
What a fabulous afternoon-a fascinating tour of a part of London that I knew little about. One word-BRILLIANT
I really enjoyed this walking tour. There was a good mix of content, both on street art and the history of east London. The guide, Doug, is clearly passionate about the area and culture. I'll definitely be recommending it to anyone, whether they're new to London or not.
My boyfriend and I went on this tour yesterday, led by Doug, and it was brill. We just fancied doing something a bit different and this was interesting, informative, and eye-opening. I'm definitely telling all my friends to go on it and will be paying more attention to what's around me when I'm wandering about London in the future. Would highly recommend.
My husband, brother and I went on this tour in Sept and thought it was great! We would thoroughly recommend it as it is something really quite different. Josh took us round the Spittalfield area including Brick Lane and showed us all the different types of street art. He was a great guide and very enthusiastic. Lasted about 2 hours and we enjoyed the area so must we stayed on for hours exploring Spittalfield market, the vintage shops in the area, one or two of the pubs and had a meal at one of the many restaurants on Brick Lane. Thank you for a great tour!
Ok, so I found out about the tour via TimeOut. You know anything that comes from that publication is probably legit. The tour was run very smoothly. Our tour guide, Doug, was freakin amazing, not to menton sexy as hell. He was extremely knowledgeable about not only the street art itself, but the community and the background of it, as well as a little bit about the history of London. He has met several of the artists and knows many of the stories behind their works. The tour was long enough to feel like you could take something from it, but short enough that you didn't get bored. He really shows you the little quirks and ins and outs of the area, that even someone who has lived in London their entire life would never see. If you do happen to get bored with the tour (which you won't) you can always just pay attention to his beautiful face. I really think this is a must do or anybody who is in London. It opens your eyes to a whole other world that you normally wouldn't know existed, but can also cater to those who were already fans of street art.
Incredible, Fun, Historical, Benical and even more. It's easy to understand why Alternative London tour won the certificate of excellence. Ben is full of energy and gives it, together with his knowledge to all who want to listen. We Loved it and we'll do it for sure again. THANK YOU
Fantastic tour! Would recommend everybody who wants to convert to streetart fan. Check out my blog post for more detail http://wp.me/p2JtYE-2U
Had a great tour on Saturday with Doug. We were really lucky that there was a lot of street art being done on Saturday, even popping into a free gallery exhibition too. Doug really knows the area well, and his street art knowledge was great. Definite passion from him and it went really well.
I booked this tour as a surprise for my husbands b'day, I wanted to do something different. What an amazing time we had. Our 4 hour long bike tour went in a flash. Even though we know London quite well we were still blown away by creativity and all the other little hidden things you would never found out yourself, in that part of London. Our guide Gary was very interesting, informative, full of local knowledge. He runs a tour at an easy pace, through safe roads and we even stopped for drinks. This tour is not only about street art, it is also about history and quirkiness of East London. Its done by creative people who are passionate about this part of town. I would highly recommend. I know where I will be sending my future visitors.
Just amazing! Incredible! Ben was so engaging, knowledgable, funny, interesting... And no -- this is not his mum! Get booked on this tour, it's the best thing I've done during 6 weeks in London.
If you want to see a different side a London, this is the right tour for you. It takes you to all the different parts of East London while learning about street art and the history. Ben, our guide, was passionate about the street art and I think he made us see it in a new light. Walking through the streets of London will never be the same again.
Erm, it's a bit awkward because I was a little bit in love with our tour guide Ben as soon as he showed me his pink clipboard, but essentially this is clever, informative and beautiful tour showcasing the best of East London in a fun way. I've been wanting to do this tour for an age, I don't know why I waited so long.
Doug, the guide is as passionate and creative as the street artists we discover through the visit. A real arty and alternative East London tour! (Moreover, the Doud has really cool t-shirt)
Amazing, opens one's eyes to some hidden gems of the world of the strre art - especially for those unfamiliar with East London. Doug is great (he didn't pay me to say that!) (and as we know now "loves himself").
Great tour! Thanks to Doug we had a lovely two hour walk through one of the most interestings places I have been so far. Highly recommended! ;)
A tour of London like no other. Interesting, exciting and well alternative. Josh was really fun guide.