Family Life Local Review London Sculpture trails

Elephant trail at Spitalfields Market London

Elephant trail at Spitalfields Market London

We love a wander around London and the old East End is a real favourite old stomping ground of mine. It’s a great area to visit with kids and there’s lots to see and do. Old Spitalfields Market is a vibrant market full of independent traders, but you will also find some well known brands in the surrounding shops, as well as lots of places to eat and drink.

Our visit took place a few weeks ago but despite the restrictions we thought Old Spitalfields Market was still worth a visit. The market was open for takeaway food and drink and it was completely dog friendly too.

Elephant trail at Old Spitalfields Market

As fans of street art and public art, Old Spitalfields Market is a great place to explore. At the moment you will find a public sculpture trail called The Herd of Hope, which are a collection of 21 life-sized bronze elephants.

Leading the herd is the matriarch, symbolic of the mother and family each of the infant elephants, in the care of the Sheldrick Trust, lost when they became orphaned.

Elephant trail at Old Spitalfields Market

Each smaller elephant represents the real-life herd, from loyal Maisha through to brave Sattao. Despite the many life-threatening difficulties that they have faced, including poaching, human-wildlife conflict and natural disaster, the Trust have helped them survive.

Created by internationally acclaimed artists Gillie and Marc, the sculptures aim to raise funds and awareness for the Sheldrick Trust.

Elephant trail at Old Spitalfields Market

The kids had so much fun running around trying to find all the different elephants. They enjoyed reading about each one and what had happened to it. The elephants are dotted all around the market, both inside and outside. Thankfully on the day we visited the weather was gorgeous. We were able to buy some tasty food from Leon and eat it outside whilst people elephant watching.

Elephant trail at Spitalfields Market London

It was great to get some fresh air and see some art. We are so excited to step foot in museums and galleries again soon but for now, the Herd of Hope public sculpture trail has kept us going.

You can find the sculpture trail at Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London E1 6EW. The elephants will be in place for a year (so until December 2021).

You may be interested in these other posts about public art in London:

Scenes in the Square, Leicester Square

Walking with the Snowman, London Bridge City

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, York Road, Waterloo

Colourwalk around Notting Hill, London


  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 7:55 am

    This is absolutely lovely, it’s been well over a year since I’ve been anywhere near central London never mind to something as fun as this looks!

  • Reply
    Rhian Westbury
    April 15, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    These are so cool, and I love spitalfields market, I really hope that they’re still there next time I’m in London as I’d love to see them x

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    Hilary G
    June 27, 2023 at 8:43 am

    Confused about this trail. Found it under the heading OUTDOOR SCULPTURE TRAILS TO EXPLORE IN 2023 but checking out the information it says the elephants will only be there until December 2021. Assume they are no longer there?

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      July 6, 2023 at 12:34 pm

      We visited the sculpture trail back in 2021 so not sure they are there any more.

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