Waterloo station’s 300-metre tunnel has become one of the city’s go-to spots for street art, featuring prolific graffiti writing that usually violates public property but here it’s accepted and encouraged.
Without them, this would just be another dark and dirty walkway; thanks to artists working here it has come alive with color, political commentary, humor and unique design elements.
What is the Graffiti Tunnel?
Graffiti Tunnel is an extraordinary art walk located beneath Waterloo Station that draws both Londoners and tourists to marvel at its eye-catching graffiti art that covers its walls – showcasing political statements, humor, and unique designs that are sure to awe visitors who visit it.
FFUR first brought global attention to the graffiti tunnel in 2008 when he hosted his secret Cans Festival there, inviting some of the best street artists from all around the world – such as Vexta, C215 and Blek Le Rat (recognized as Banksy’s primary inspiration) to display their artwork there. Since then, this space has evolved into a vibrant street art hub.
Today, the graffiti tunnel serves as a hub for both local and international street artists who come here to express themselves creatively in a completely legal space. Since it is legal space, paintings and graffiti may change frequently. Visitation to this unique exhibit can be fun for both children and adults; just make sure that comfortable shoes are worn as there will be lots of walking involved and it may become muddy quickly!
Graffiti Tunnel, situated in central London, is easily accessible from many of London’s top attractions like London Eye and Westminster Palace. Waterloo Station is nearby and several bus lines stop near it as well. Open daily from sunrise until dusk for free entry; donations are accepted upon entering.
The Artistic Heritage
London boasts an acclaimed street art scene. While graffiti remains illegal, areas like Shoreditch and Camden have become well known for large murals commissioned by businesses or local councils; these spaces showcase some of London’s top artists while providing visitors with an alternative perspective into London culture beyond high-culture venues and restaurants.
Under Waterloo Station is an art gallery transformed by FFUR into the Graffiti Tunnel – an ever-evolving exhibition space. First opened to visitors during FFUR’s Cans Festival 2008, when previously owned by Eurostar it had been a disused space with grimy brick walls and trains; with FFUR inviting some of the biggest names in street art to descend and transform this disused space with bright artworks that is sure to dazzle any visitor who passes by it. The resultant collection of colourful art will certainly surprise and delight any visitor who comes through its path!
Graffiti Tunnel is open to the public and a popular spot among both visitors and locals. Take pictures while appreciating the artwork; just be wary that it can be slippery; wear shoes when exploring this space! You can also book a tour through experts who can explain more about its history.
I’ve been going to this attraction for years and often bring friends when they visit London. It is truly captivating and shows just how talented Londoners are; not all graffiti is bad; some brings color, humor and unique designs to otherwise dull and dark areas – you must visit this treasure to appreciate its true potential!
The graffiti tunnel, more commonly known as FFUR Tunnel, is an explosion of vibrant colours and urban artwork. From political expression to humorous pieces, its walls feature murals sure to capture your attention. As it’s an official graffiti zone where artists are allowed to paint freely without fear of arrest – each visit to this unique space brings with it new visuals covering over older ones!
FFUR first used the 300 metre tunnel beneath Waterloo station as an art canvas during his Cans Festival of 2008. His aim was to transform “a dark forgotten filth pit into a visual oasis”.
Since its creation in 1988, London’s underground tunnel has become one of its most beloved graffiti spots. Now filled with murals created by local and international street artists who are encouraged to leave their mark here; from psychedelic fractals and pop culture-influenced motifs to more conventional political messages or swear words – artists leave their mark here!
Alongside art, the tunnel also hosts various businesses and cafes within its Victorian archway units. Notable examples include Banh Bao Brothers – serving bold Vietnamese cuisine – and Draughts Waterloo, which encourages patrons to put down their phones and engage in competitive socialising instead.
London offers no shortage of graffiti hubs (Shoreditch, Camden and Brixton Street Art being just three examples), but none compare to London’s Graffiti Tunnel for its history and impressive selection of works by both local and international artists.
The Community Impact
Leake Street Tunnel had long been neglected until 2008 when world-renowned street artist Banksy decided to host an international spray can art festival there. Banksy invited artists from around the globe – such as Blek Le Rat – who would eventually create what became one of London’s premier graffiti galleries.
Due to the overwhelming success of the event, local council agreed to designate the tunnel as legal space for street artists who wish to paint freely without fear of arrest – the only location within city limits where artists may create without limitations or restrictions.
With each piece of art added onto an older one, the tunnel walls are continually evolving into an ever-evolving canvas with the power to inspire, educate and entertain visitors from around the globe. Works include everything from political statements and whimsical cartoons to breathtaking portraits worthy of any alternative art gallery.
As well as paintings, artists also create sculptures and installation pieces. There are even interactive pieces where visitors can touch and play with the works! Although the tunnel may get quite busy during peak times, it remains an incredible experience that you won’t find elsewhere.
Though London boasts several other street art hotspots like Shoreditch, Camden and Walthamstow – each renowned for their own variety of street art – the Graffiti Tunnel stands out as a unique destination to visit. Here you will enjoy discovering established as well as emerging artists while walking below one of its most iconic train stations in an amazing experience!
What started as a bus tunnel has since been transformed into an eye-catching urban art gallery. As the only place in the UK where graffiti artists are allowed to paint without needing permits, street art has emerged as an increasingly daring form of protest against capitalism, war and politics; much of which has been created by Banksy himself.
Banksy decided to host an incredible street art festival at Leake Street Tunnel in 2008. He invited some of the biggest names from graffiti culture – including stencil art pioneer Blek Le Rat – to come down and leave their mark, creating an astounding canvas that quickly became one of London’s best-known street art spots.
Since its inauguration, the graffiti area has evolved into an exciting and engaging visitor destination. Constantly evolving and adding fresh visuals over time, new artists keep returning with unique visions to transform this tunnel into their personal canvas.
Though quality varies considerably from tunnel to tunnel, you will still find stunning designs within. It makes an excellent place for taking photographs that show how different artists have contributed their talents over time and see how the space has changed as a result of them.
Graffiti Tunnel offers an ideal place to get away from the tourist and poser crowds that throng popular street art hubs like Shoreditch or Brick Lane. Simply exit Waterloo Station, head down York Road and turn left into Leake Street; that way you can quickly arrive at this unique graffiti site!