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London has become a melting pot of creativity, with some of the most prominent and innovative art institutions in the world. If you’re worried you’ve seen it all after visiting the big galleries, don’t worry. There’s plenty more to discover.
If you’re hoping to avoid the crowds, the Montcalm London afternoon tea and our spa breaks London offer a more relaxing city experience. We’ve put together a list of the best places to see alternative art and avoid the crowds of tourists.
Shoreditch street art
If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground and staying up to date with contemporary art, you’ll already be well aware of the thriving street art movement that has been taking place in recent years. If you’re unaware of the movement, you’re in for a treat. There are plenty of places in London to see urban artwork but Shoreditch is the best place to start. As you explore the local streets, you’ll find all kinds of hidden graffiti masterpieces.
79 Beak St, Soho, London W1F 9SU
Located on the same street as everyone’s favourite fictional detective, this quirky art institution is a must-see if you’re in search of alternative art. The Riflemaker gets its name from the building itself which used to be a gun workshop. Instead of producing arms, the terrace building now aims to support new and alternative artists by providing exhibition spaces. The gallery gained a lot of acclaim after its creative living exhibition which used people as canvases to showcase tattoo artwork.
Portobello Road, London
If you didn’t get your fill of street art on your adventure around Shoreditch, this quirky gallery should be the next stop on your alternative art tour. Graffik is part of a global movement to showcase the very best of the street art movement. Graffiti is now a respected art form and the pieces at this gallery show just how creative the urban artists are.
The Crypt Gallery
Euston Road, London
If you’re sick of the same old musty art galleries, it doesn’t get much more alternative than this. The Crypt Gallery is based inside an underground graveyard which was used during the 19th century as a way to deal with overcrowding at above-ground graveyards. It was also used as a burial place during the two World Wars but it was renovated in 2002 and now serves as an exhibition space for artists from around London and the world.
The Old Police Station
Amersham Vale, London
You may have noticed a common theme with the locations of these alternative art galleries. This is another space that has been repurposed to allow artists to showcase their work. The building was previously an Edwardian police station but today is clad with neon lights and packed to the brim with the weirdest and most wonderful artwork you will ever see. It’s safe to say, you will never find art like this at the National Gallery.