City Hall launches cultural map of the capital

19 March 2019


City Hall launches cultural map of the capital to protect and support London’s venues


  • For the first time ever, London’s huge variety of cultural infrastructure from pubs and music venues to recording studios and local libraries will be available online for free
  • Newly launched open-source map and Cultural Infrastructure Plan will protect and grow London’s cultural venues
  • Hackney and Camden vying for highest number of grassroots music venues while Westminster is borough with the most pubs
  • New online toolkit will be launched alongside the map with resources to help create new artist studios, dance rehearsal spaces, music studios and theatres

City Hall has launched a new interactive online map which captures the capital’s cultural riches for the first time.


The new map has collated London’s cultural facilities and locations, from pubs and LGBT+ venues, to music recording studios, community centres and local libraries – now available online for everyone one to use.


Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, is asking Londoners, local authorities and cultural organisations to work with City Hall to create the fullest possible picture of the capital’s cultural infrastructure with the new map.


It has been published as part of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan, which is designed to protect and champion the capital’s cultural riches. The map and data has been released today alongside an online toolkit with resources to help local authorities, property developers, businesses and cultural institutions protect and grow the culture on offer in London. 


In order to cement London’s place as an international cultural capital and protect these important spaces, the new Cultural Infrastructure Plan will show where London’s cultural infrastructure is located, highlight any gaps or risk areas, and enable business, local authorities and cultural leaders to support and develop London’s cultural venues. Now City Hall is asking Londoners, Councils and cultural institutions to contribute to the online map in order fully to capture the city’s cultural gems.


Culture plays a vital role in the capital’s economic success, making the city a place where people want to live, work and do business. The creative sector generates £52bn for London every year and is responsible for one in six jobs in the capital. Culture is the reason that four out of five tourists visit the city. However, there has been a worrying decline in London’s cultural spaces, with the numbers of LGBT+ venues and grassroots music venues stabilising in the last year following a decade of steep decline.


The Cultural Infrastructure Map paints a rich picture of culture across the city, from central London to outer-boroughs. The map currently reveals London has:

  • 240 artists’ workspace buildings
  • 71 skate parks
  • 3,530 pubs
  • 52 LGBT+ night-time venues, 94 grassroots music venues and 263 theatres
  • 86 music rehearsal studios, 112 theatre rehearsal studios and 291 dance rehearsal studios
  • 165 museums and galleries, with an additional 317 commercial and private galleries
  • 903 community centres and 345 libraries
  • 19,174 listed buildings but also 660 heritage at risk sites
  • 319 buildings used for jewellery design and manufacturing and 5 large scale media productions studios


The map captures the current cultural highlights and clusters across the city, showing that:

  • Enfield has the highest number of local libraries
  • Lambeth has the highest number of skate parks
  • Camden has the highest number of theatre rehearsal studios
  • Camden has the highest number of community centres
  • Westminster has the most pubs and the City of London has the biggest concentration of pubs
  • Westminster also has the highest number of LGBT+ night time venues
  • Hackney has the most grassroots music venues, followed closely by Camden  
  • Outside of central London, Richmond has the highest number of museums and public galleries
  • Tower Hamlets has the highest number of fashion and design manufacturing businesses
  • Hackney has the highest number of creative workspaces and of artists workspaces
  • Hackney also has the highest number of music recording studios
  • Ealing plays an important role in providing prop and costume hire outside central London
  • Brent has a high concentration of music businesses, such as labels
  • Croydon has the highest number of monuments outside of central London


Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons, said: “Culture has always been London’s DNA, it is the story of our city and gives London its character and authenticity. Yet, while we’re all used to seeing big cities plan their future needs when it comes to trains, roads and hospitals, it’s never been the same for culture. Now thanks to this map, we have a live, fine grained picture of the city’s cultural assets, giving us for the first time, a snapshot of the true riches and clusters in the capital. From local facilities like arts centres, libraries, community centres and pubs, to LGBT+ venues and musical theatres – these spaces play a vital role in bringing our communities together. That’s why it’s so important that we protect our creative communities and help Londoners access the wide range of culture on their own doorstep. By doing this we will ensure that London remains the thriving, creative and innovative city we all love.”


Arike Oke, Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives, said: "London's cultural spaces, such as Black Cultural Archives, make history tangible. These are sites of celebration and struggle, of the stories that make London unique. It's more important than ever for Londoners and visitors to our city to be able to make those connections between the present, the past and the future."


Chief Executive of artsdepot, Tracy Cooper, said: “We are proud to play a part in London’s rich and varied cultural ecology, welcoming over 162,000 people to our venue each year to share experiences and explore their creativity. In addition to our diverse programme of performances, events and participation opportunities for people of all ages, we support performance makers from across the capital and beyond with our artist development programme, and we’re committed to inspiring the next generation of artists; last year 11,912 children and young people took part in creative learning and performance opportunities at artsdepot.”


City Hall is committed to protecting and improving the city’s cultural venues and the new Cultural Infrastructure Plan outlines an action plan to ensure London remains an exciting and vibrant city 24-hours a day.


The action plan includes establishing the first ever Culture at Risk Office, which has already supported 350 cultural spaces across the capital at risk of closure, and creating the most pro-culture planning framework the capital has ever seen. The Mayor’s draft London Plan includes a requirement for developers to ensure existing venues, clubs and pubs still have a home in new developments, and includes the Agent of Change principle, which helps protect venues by putting the onus on developers to meet the cost of soundproofing and noise-reduction measures.


Last year City Hall launched the city’s first-ever Creative Enterprise Zones which will create more than 3,500 jobs and 40,000 square meters of new affordable creative workspace. In addition, this year London has also seen the launch of the Creative Land Trust, an independent organisation which will secure 1,000 affordable creative workspaces in five years for artists in the capital.


Notes to editors

The view the map, visit is


To read the Cultural Infrastructure Plan:


About the Cultural Infrastructure Plan  


The Cultural Infrastructure Plan asks local authorities, property developers, businesses and cultural institutions to work with City Hall to retain and create new cultural facilities. 


The Cultural Infrastructure Toolbox provides resources to support the plan including the Cultural Infrastructure Map. The map provides the best snapshot of information that gathered to date. It will continue to evolve, adding new categories and information as it becomes available. City Hall is asking Londoners, local authorities and cultural organisations to share information about cultural places and spaces to ensure the map stays up to date and can capture the full range of cultural spaces spread across all corners of the city.


The data is downloadable from the map and is open source. The map brings together brand-new data compiled by the Greater London Authority, along with existing data such as listed buildings.


The toolkit is available here:

Share this page