Alternative London, a graffiti and street art tour provider in East London, prides itself as showcasing a London that is off the beaten path.
Founded in 2010 by East End resident and activist Gary Means, the company was the first to offer tours of London’s street art and quickly recieved attention for its exploration of artwork that, by its very nature, is ever-changing and clandestine.
The year after its formation it was named as the ‘Top Thing to Do in London’ by Trip Advisor and has since never been out of the publications top ten list. It has also featured in Guardian Travel’s ‘Top Guided Tours in the World’ and Lonely Planet’s 50th Anniversary Edition.
Alternative London also has a purpose-built street art and graffiti workshop studio, where people can learn spray painting using a variety of stencil techniques.
As well as celebrating the local creative scene, tours explore the background and social context of street art and graffiti.
In particular, Alternative London emphasises the issue of gentrification and the capital’s shifting landscape. The borough of Tower Hamlets has recently been named as one of the most gentrified in London.
Alternative London is also part of the East End Trades Guild, acting with them as a voice for cultural tourism and small businesses in response to over-development in the area.