It is possible to walk along Brick Lane, go into a shop or two, try some street food or a bagel and leave wondering what the fuss is all about.
You could spend most of a day here, branching off the main street and enjoying the free art exhibition which embraces everything from colossal wall murals to tiny wall installations. To come away with a true appreciation of the work, its well worth while joining one of the daily walking tours in the area. There are also plenty of websites with detailed information on the main pieces if you want to do a bit of homework beforehand. But of course, the greatest pleasure is found in just wandering and finding your own personal favourites – don’t forget to take plenty of photos because this is an ever changing canvas and you will experience a different landscape on your next visit.
The street art can be enjoyed at any time. Sunday is market day and can be very busy with tourists, food traders and musicians thronging the street. The area is easily accessible by tube or bus.
(Stik’s ‘A Couple Hold Hands in the Street’ was listed number 17 in a 2017 Guardian poll on the Nation’s Favourite Piece of Art).
(This piece was my favourite on this visit)
(Stik again on Grimsby Street)
(ROA’s Crane has been in Hanbury Street since 2010)
(Banksy’s Pink Car is now behind perplex)
(Don’t forget to look down as well as up!)
There is always something new to be seen – some pieces are only up for a few hours before being covered!
Lots of shutter work can only be seen when businesses are closed.
Its usually the big murals that get all the attention but the area is also known for paste ups – an art form usually created by the artist in his studio which allows for more detail.
While you’re there – other things to see and do:
Since its establishment in 1743, Brick Lane Jamme Masjid served as a Huguenot Church, a Methodist Chapel and a Jewish Synagogue before reopening as a mosque in 1976 where it now serves the local Bangladeshi Community. The stainless steel minaret contrasts sharply with the dark brown brick of the building
The Truman Brewery was once one of the largest in the city and now houses markets and exhibitions
Shopping: The independent shops and markets are perfect for browsing but you won’t resist buying something as you wander from one to the other.
Food: We didn’t have time to visit one of the famous Brick Road Curry Houses but we did manage another local institution! Don’t be put off by the crowds outside Beigel Bake. The staff have their business down to a fine art and queues move along surprisingly quickly. (the spelling is Yiddish – there was a large Jewish community in the area in the late 19th century. While it has moved on, the East European Jewish style bagel remains).