From Tracey Emin’s famously romantic train station neon sign to the latest piece to take to the Fourth Plinth, London’s streets are bursting with public art completely free to view.
Pop on your walking shoes, explore the city and take in some of our favourites this weekend…
I Want My Time With You by Tracey Emin
As one of Britain’s most celebrated artists, Tracey Emin, was asked to create her largest work to date to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Pancras International station and the 250th anniversary of the RA. I Want My Time With You, part of Emin’s iconic neon light series, sits proudly beneath the famous clock of the London station, suspended by the breathtaking Victorian glass roof and stretched 20 metres across.
There’s something so romantic about train stations – lovers waving each other off, reuniting on platforms – and Emin’s work brings out your inner dreamer. It will have you stopping and staring for a few moments at least amidst the bustle of one of London’s busiest spots.
See it at
St Pancras International, Euston Road, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QP
Les Jumeaux by Camille Walala
Camille Walala’s Les Jumeaux, meaning “Twins” is art so ingrained in its surroundings you can literally walk right over it.
The French artist, known for her colourful, graphic murals, has been commissioned to transform two pedestrian crossings in White City with seven murals in her signature striking primary colours.
The eye-catching installation is part of on-going regeneration plans for the area and demonstrates “the power that colour and pattern have in placemaking, transforming urban spaces and having a profound emotive impact on those occupying them.” On a more basic level, it offers Instagram ops a plenty.
See it at
White City Underground Station, Wood Lane, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 7RH
The Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square
Since 1998 the Fourth Plinth that sits in the north west corner of iconic Trafalgar Square has played host to a piece of artwork commissioned by an influential artist. From David Shrigley’s Really Good giant bronze thumbs up to Katharina Fritsch’s huge blue cockerel, each and every work to be unveiled becomes a talking point.
Right now, it’s artist Heather Phillipson who has taken up home on the plinth with her work, The End. The 13th Fourth Plinth commission is the tallest to date, measuring 9.4m and weighing nine tonnes. It showcases a satisfyingly sizeable dollop of whipped cream, cherry perched on top, as well as a surreal drone and a fly sculpture clinging to it.
Phillipson has said she came up with the idea in 2016, an unnerving year of politics which saw the EU referendum and Donald Trump winning the US presidential election.
See it at
The Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5NJ
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Hackney Peace Carnival Mural by Ray Walker
The Hackney Peace Carnival Mural has been towering over Dalston Lane since it was created by Ray Walker back in 1985, but it wasn’t until recent years and when Dalston became a hub of hipster activity and the Overground station opened directly opposite, that it got the airtime it deserved.
The vibrant mural is based on the 1983 Hackney Peace Carnival and carries heavy political undertones, depicting the procession that went through Dalston Lane in the same year. Trade union banners can be seen being waved and a giant puppet figure representing the USSR and USA’s nuclear squabble is carried by men wearing skeleton masks. While a brass band brings the painting to life.
See it at
Hackney Peace Carnival Mural, 15 Dalston Lane E8
ROOM in Mayfair by Antony Gormley
Interested in art you can bed down in for the night? Head to Mayfair’s five-star Beaumont hotel where you’ll find Antony Gormley’s ROOM in Mayfair – he’s best known for his iconic Angel of the North.
ROOM is unique in that it is a semi-abstract sculpture that houses an actual hotel suite inside it, towering over the entrance front of The Beaumont on Brown Hart Gardens.
The cave-like space isn’t for everyone and is meant to take its occupants into a “different state of consciousness, to enjoy at the very least a quiet, meditative pause, a prelude to a good night’s sleep and the chance to withdraw, for a while, from the busy world outside.”
It also costs over £1,000 per night – a hefty price tag even for London for a room with literally no view. If you’re in the area however, it’s worth popping by to view the imposing robotic-like structure from the hotel’s facade.
See it at
The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London W1K 6TF
Sculpture in the City
Now in its 9th year, Sculpture in the City is a little like the Serpentine Pavillion or the Fourth Plinth in that it offers Londoners an ever-changing rota of inspiring artworks to be seen in the open air. This one in particular takes place every summer in the City of London’s Square Mile and this year offers 19 artworks dotted across the iconic financial district.
This year’s works include; Bridging Home by Do Ho Suh – a traditional Hanok-style Korean house adorned with a bamboo garden, that appears to have ‘fallen’ onto the bridge at an angle near Liverpool Street Station; Patrick Tuttofuoco’s The Source – a neon light sculpture depicting the artist’s hands as he mimes some words conveyed using a sign language liberally inspired by those of youth subcultures. It can be seen suspended from the top of the famous Leadenhall Market. As well as Dutch/Light (for Agneta Block) by Jyll Bradley – an artwork pavilion activated by light which takes its structure from early glasshouse technology and brings a bolt of neon colour to the otherwise financial grey tones of the area.
See Sculpture in the City across the Square Mile.
My World and Your World by Eva Rothschild’s
Take a break from the shops and restaurants of Kings Cross’s Coal Drops Yard to take in this jaw-dropping piece by Eva Rothschild. Just behind the shopping district you’ll find Lewis Cubitt Park and Rothschild’s My World and Your World sculpture standing at a colossal 16 metres high.
The ambitious piece has been described as everything from an inverted tree to a lightning bolt to a giant spider but whatever it is, it’s the perfect spot to immersive yourself in some public art while exploring London’s green spaces, meet friends for coffee, or have a picnic right there in the middle of it all.