Leake Street is more than just tarmac and dust – it is a 300-metre long urban artery, feeding creativity to the South Bank of London. Specifically, it’s a series of arches running underneath Waterloo station, where graffiti and street art isn’t just allowed, but actively encouraged. 

Before 2008, the arched tunnel was an unremarkable covered link between York Road and Cab Road, with grey the dominating visual and dehydrated urine the prevailing smell. But in 2008, the site was chosen for an event called The Cans Festival which was organised by aerosol enigma, Banksy. This festival transformed the tunnel, and the ethos of the event – a celebration of street art – holds fast today. 

There are only a few rules: no booze, drugs or music, no offensive work, and artists are permitted to cover existing work with their own, meaning that no two visits to Leake Street Arches are ever the same. There are also regular workshops, where you can learn the ways to create your own graffiti artwork alongside the Arches’ artist in residence. Banksy, beware… 

For more information, go to: www.leakestreetarches.london/


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