street art

Top Northern Cities for Street Art

by TransPennine Express

The north of England is a creative place. Our bands and musicians rule the world, our actors grace the finest stages, and our artists always make a statement. So it’s no surprise to see the buildings and walls of the UK adorned with some of the finest and most creative street art found anywhere in the world. And now the world’s seeing it too through the power of Instagram. By tracking street art, TransPennine Express revealed the top cities in the north of the UK and the pieces and artists that are getting the Insta-love.

Top Northern Cities for Street Art By Amount of Street Art Instagram Posts


The hashtags #citynamestreetart and #streetartcityname for each city was used to find the total amount of street art Instagram posts.


The home of York Minster, ancient city walls, tiny streets and the Vikings. Whilst the city may be famous for its historical past, York’s street art is all about bold vibrant colours and a bit of protest. Top of the pile is the daring Cloak on Fire, whilst the rest of the colour and political agenda is provided by Static’s Art of Protest Mural, Olly Howe and Ben Allen’s Art of Protest Mural, Hazard’s Spark York Mural and Let it Reign.


Manchester’s street art capital is the city’s hipster hangout, the Northern Quarter. Sometimes used as a backdrop for NYC in the movies, the NQ is packed with old red brick warehouses complete with external fire escapes, quirky bars and plenty of street art. For a city that’s made loads of pop culture waves itself it’s easy to see this influence throughout the area’s artwork. The younger of Burnage’s most famous sons, Liam Gallagher, takes joint top spot in the Instagram (and cool) stakes along with the amazing Tyger.


Liverpool is a fiercely proud northern city. Whether shown through their support for their football teams, their musicians, their famous sons and daughters (and the adopted ones too), it’s no surprise to see the city’s street art reflecting this big old love-in. Top of the pile in Liverpool is For all Liverpool’s Liver Birds by Paul Curtis, while Liverpool’s own John Lennon is of course in the mix along with the iconic image of Abbey Road. And we can’t forget the football as adopted sons Jurgen Klopp and Mo Salah also make the top 10.


Instagram is awash with colourful and quirky pieces from all over Leeds. Top of the list is Graphical House, followed in second place by the Metalgear Rising Mural on Aire Street. The quirky Washing Machine by Ralph Replete at Brewery Wharf comes in third, with the rest of the list being made up of a mix of birds on buildings, block colours and Winifred the elephant.


Bright colours, Yorkshire grit, and a little intimacy. That’s what the street art scene in Sheffield is all about. Top of the list of the most Instagrammed in the city, Now Then, Then Now by Rob Lee brings some vibrancy to Howard Street, which can be contrasted with the Heritage Mural, by Jo Peel, on the Howard Pub on the same street. Street artist Phlegm nods to the city’s industrial heritage with two pieces in the top five, while the intimacy is shown through the likes of The Snog and the Conversation.