The Guides

"London Walks puts you into the hands of an expert on the particular area and topic of a tour."    The New York Times

"Although the big companies tend to just shuttle vast hordes of people about, one major tour company does give you an in-depth, personalized insight to the city, offering a dizzying array of themed tours conducted by very qualified guides. The theatre tours, for example, are led by actors and actresses from the London stage, while the historical walks are done by historians not just some bloke who's read a couple of books."     London

"Seventy world-class guides include historians, archaeologists and professional actors, all of whom convey the richness, diversity and wonder of London with aplomb."     Visit London
 
"As its name implies, London Walks has no truck (literally) with those who would exhibit the city to visitors by cramming them on an open-top bus and driving around for a couple of hours, while someone with questionable microphone technique delivers scripted extracts from an A level history syllabus. For this firm, revealing London's secrets is a pedestrian affair. But only in the strictest sense of the phrase: each walking tour is led by a guide who, although they probably know the A level syllabus backwards, can bring their information to life with judicious use of gossip, scandal, offbeat detail and general oddity."       The Importance of Being Trivial

"London Walks guides do it best."    Old English saying

Adam
Adam, journalist, author and part-time musician, spends much of his time endeavouring to live up to his countryman J.M. Barrie's famous remark: "There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make." He writes theatre criticism for The Independent newspaper, and on everything from cocktails to travel for Time Out and other publications. And why not hear from the man himself – here's a vignette Adam penned about one of his walks. It's worth a click. As is this  – a bit of audio from his Apparitions, Alleyways & Ale walk. And here are a couple of tasters from the two chapters he's contributed to London Walks, London Stories. His chapter on Fleet Street – here's the extract – is a tour de force. But, hey, he's a journalist – Fleet Street is his patch! His chapter on Somewhere Else London is merely brilliant. It's here. Anything else? Yes, that Champagne of Blogs – the London Walks Blog – is Adam's creation. And he appears in the occasional film! This one, for example. 
Alan
Alan, the man with the green carnation, is ineffably "Wilde". A former croupier, he now rakes in choice nuggets on Oscar and the Naughty Nineties as the chief researcher and archivist of the Oscar Wilde Society. And to hear an Oscar-winning performance, click here
Alison

Alison is a lecturer for the London Blue Badge Course. A Dickens expert, she's a prize-winning* Blue Badge Guide herself. When she's not collecting Antiques! *"Prize winning" is putting it modestly: she won the BCP, one of the two top awards. To use an American analogy, it's the guiding equivalent of baseball's Triple Crown! Here's a soundbite from her St. Albans Explorer Day.

Andrew

Andrew is "the Queen Mum's favourite". Or, in the words of the Evening Standard, "a class act". A strikingly talented young actor – and budding historian – he received rave reviews for his one-man show, "George VI in Heaven".  Here's a soundbite from near the beginning of his Old Marylebone Pub Walk. You can tell from it that he's good company: laid back, friendly, fun, at ease with himself and his walkers and his handsome, historic old patch. Add to the mix the fact that he's completely in command of his material and you've got a great walk fronted by a very gifted young guide.

Andy R.
Andy R. crewed yachts in the Caribbean, was held at gunpoint in Haiti and delivered cars across the USA. He's a grizzled old actor/playwright with a wealth of experience, knowledge, stories and a deep love of his native city.
Angela

Angela is one special actress. "She's so good it's almost impossible to compliment her", as Frederic Raphael, the author of The Glittering Prizes, said of her performance in that award-winning series. A similarly smitten Clive James said of her "Helena in the Royal Shakespeare Company's All's Well That Ends Well: "You couldn't ask to hear the words better spoken". More! And here's the divine Ms. A - aka "The Voice" - in action on her Kensington Walk. 

Ann
Ann – quondam BBC journalist and current star Blue Badge Guide – knows everything there is to know about food: its history, where to buy it, how to cook it, how to enjoy it and, into the bargain, how to keep your figure! Of which she's an exemplar!! And al dente here's a "bite" – of the sound variety – from her wonderful Foodies' "kitchen". And here's another.
Anne-Marie
That face, that form, that dignity, that ease. Those powers of pleasing with that will to please. She's also a demmed good guide.
Barry
Barry is our "Renaissance man". He's a Consultant Public Health Physician, an Art Historian, and a professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide.


When it's 3 o'clock in New York it's 1938 in London
Bette Midler


 
Bette Midler
is not a London Walks guide. But we're working on it.

Brian

Brian, a professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide, won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year Award in 1994. His career has embraced the law, surveying, catering, dispatch riding and art - and the stage may be beckoning. Now, anyone for a soundbite? And if you'd like a completely independent take on Brian's guiding, well, read this Marylebone Journal review of his Old Marylebone walk.

Canal Guides

Aileen, Andrew, Mike G., Peter, Richard, Roger and Sara all have many years" experience of the inland waterways and have explored them extensively by narrowboat (and, in Roger's case, canoe). They're all active members of the Inland Waterways Association, which works in partnership with us to provide the towpath walks in the London Walks programme.

Caroline

Caroline is an art historian, journalist, and professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide. London Walks prides itself on cherry picking the best of the Blue Badges and Caroline's a case in point. She was the art historian/guide chosen by Her Majesty's Government to give the "First Ladies" a tour during the recent summit. Enough said?

Chris

Chris is a classicist, weaver, and  another professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide working right at the top of her form. She's very bright and a little bit mischievous. Shake – don't stir - those ingredients and what you get is a lot of fun. Anything else? Yes, this: she could anthem for England with that voice of hers.  Lend an ear – here – and you'll, er, see what I mean. Okay, if see is what you want, click here. Which is by way of saying, Chris is the guide who features in the wonderful little video trailer of our Bath Tour.

Corinna

orinna is a treasurably barking – and ferociously intelligent – Cambridge bluestocking. She's the only well known Royal National Theatre actress who's also a psychrolute!* Most recently she starred in the hit West End play, Copenhagen. She's been known to throw in a song or two on her walks but she leaves her cello at home. Anything else? Yes, she's also a professionally qualified London Guide. *Every single morning of the year. With the ducks. In a Hampstead pond.

 "When I die London will be engraved on my heart."

David

David – the Seigneur of this favoured realm – broods over words, breeds enthusiasms and is "unmanageable". A balterer, literary historian, university lecturer, journalist, and lifelong thanatophobe, he's also the London Walks "pen" – he writes "the famous white leaflet", let alone the document you're reading (this website). Or, for that matter, the "piece" you're listening to! In short, this is what I sound like – chewy dipthongs and all. Here I'm reading the first couple of grafs of my Old Kensington chapter in our book. And here's a taste of my Old Hampstead Village chapter. Both of which, needless to say, were inspired by and draw on the walks that I guide in those two magical London neighbourhoods. And here's Katy reading from my Thames chapter, which opens the book. It draws on – indeed, was inspired by – my Along the Thames Pub Walk.

David R.
Fun, quirky, knowledgeable, "Rats" is a City Finance Director who's seen the light and become a guide.
Delianne's
a (white) witch. The broom's a scarlet Jaguar convertible. The badge is blue, the hair's blonde, the nails are ruby, coat and boots are red, style's Goth, personality's big, IQ's Mensa, fun quotient's huge.
Desirée

Desirée; is drop dead glamorous. A former top fashion model and cult film actress, her world overlapped with Princess Diana's. Comes the walk, comes the guide!

Donald

Donald "is internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper". Britain's most distinguished crime historian, he is the author of the pre-eminent book on the Ripper, the best-selling The Complete Jack the Ripper. ("Donald Rumbelow's The Complete Jack the Ripper remains the definitive book on the subject" The Sunday Times.) The former Curator of The City of London Police Crime Museum and a two time Chairman of the Crime Writers Association, he is a Freeman of the City of London and a professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide. For good measure, he's genial and twinkling! And if you'd like to hear him in action on his Sunday night (or Monday night or Tuesday night or alternate Friday nights) Ripper Walk, click here. And here. It gets better. Which is by way of saying, a click here will take you to a very special little video trailer of Don's Jack the Ripper Walk!

Ed

Ed fairly coruscates with London lore and expertise, let alone contacts and "connections". He's the author of London: Exploring the Hidden Metropolis, The London Compendium, A Literary Guide to London, East End Chronicles and West End Chronicles. How "in the know" - let alone irreverant - is he? Well, how does a 10-year-track record at the scurrilous satirical rag Private Eye grab you? His Literary Guide to London has been described as a “mine of information . . .this book is a must for literary enthusiasts”. He has also worked for the Radio Times and Mojo, the rock ‘n’ roll magazine, and co-wrote Fodor’s Rock ‘n’ roll Traveler USA and Rock ‘n’ roll Traveler USA Great Britain and Ireland.

Fedora
Fedora, an actress, is blonde, bubbly, Blue-Badged and as bright as her blinding sweaters.
Fiona

Fiona, a descendant of John of Gaunt, is an actress who also teaches juggling, circus skills and escapology (she made a famous break from the London Dungeon).

Fiona H.
Fiona H. conducts our Thames beachcombing walks. An Inter-tidal Aracheologist (and Archaeological illustrator), she's a leading authority on the Thames foreshore. (She's also excavated in many near Eastern and central European countries. Given papers all over the world...well, you get the idea.) And she's a Super Mum - six children! In her "spare" time she spins.
Freddie
Freddie. Ah, yes, Freddie. Man and boy he's lived, breathed and battled the London theatre. And come through it to tell the tale – when he's not directing. From front of house farce to backstage badinage via acting atrocities to operatic outrageousness, Freddie's experience of the West End theatre scene, past, present and beyond is nonpareil. Anything else? Yes. Freddie's his nom de guerre. Ah, yes, Freddie.
Gillian

Gillian is a linguist and professionally qualifed - and prize-winning - Blue Badge Guide. And she can out-Fred the nimblest Astaire on the dance floor!

Graham

Graham is a boulevardier and a bon vivant. The Pride of Piccadilly, he's beloved of barmaids, ballet dancers, and bookmakers from Mayfair to Mile End. Into the bargain, he's the doyen of London's walking tour guides! Given that "pedigree" is it any wonder his Mayfair and Ghost Walks have become classics of the capital's walking tour scene? Go here to hear!

Harry

Harry is a Cockney, a Scouser, a character - how could he be otherwise? - and a professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide.

Hilary

Hilary, OBE, is a Historian, Soroptimist, and a professionally qualified Blue Badge  and City of London Guide Let alone a Supermum! Into the bargain, she's unquenchably cheerful. With her very English eye for the idiosyncratic and her sense of humour – to say nothing of her sense of history and her command of the material – she's a star turn. And hey, where else but London Walks are you going to be guided by an OBE!

Isobel

Isobel is an artist, journalist, linguist, prize-winning Blue Badge Guide and London Walks' token aristocrat. One of her ancestors introduced the waltz to this country.

Jan
Geordie ski champion. To walk with Jan is to go off piste in an avalanche. Brilliant. And beautiful.
Jane

Jane, a well known actress - from Shakespeare at the Old Vic to Midsommer Murders on the box - is an authority on the seafaring novels of Patrick O'Brien.

Jane D.
Jane is from Bloomsbury, where Virginia Woolf's circle lived in squares and loved in triangles. She keeps up the tradition by living in a square and as a professionally qualified Clerkenwell & Islington, City of Westminster and City of London Guide, loving the triangle she tills. Living at the foot of Centre Point she's the fixed point of the London compass: London encircles Jane! There's more: she's another award-winning London Walks guide.
Joanne
Joanne is a practicing criminal defence lawyer who escapes from prison and court cells whenever possible to lead walking tours and run in the London Marathon. Ask her about her Olympics connection.
Jolyon
Jolyon is our Doctor Who specialist. And I mean specialist. The author of Was Conceived in a Dalek, he's a serious student of Doctor Who and his world. Let alone a major aficionado (cheerfully admits to "35 years of obsession" with DW). Potent combination, that. He's a big league actor – and a big talent. Jolyon's credits range from the National Theatre to the West End to comedy venues (writing it and performing it – yes, he's done his time as a stand-up) to being a Dame-sel in Dis-stress in Pantoland (every Christmas season since the century began [well, practically] he's donned a frock and caused no end of theatrical mayhem as a Pantomime Dame). And was ever comic actor better named? I mean Jolyon combines Jolly and Joy.
 
Judith

Judith, a Canadian, is a well known artist and lecturer on the History of London.

Judy

Judy, winner of the London Tourist Board's prestigious Guide of the Year Award, is a professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide.

Karen

Karen recently earned the ultimate accolade! She's in the starting lineup of Travel & Leisure's All Star team: The World's Greatest Tour Guides. She's a star turn – which is why she's the "go to London guide" for every major media concern. A reformed actress and occasional journalist – Independent Magazine's Cultural Heritage Correspondent – she won the prestigeous (and coveted) Blue Badge Guide of the Year Award for her year. She's the co-creator of the hugely successful Royal Wedding Unveiled Walk. And – this hardly needs saying – her walks are vivid and entertaining. Here's a little video of Karen in action on her Old Westminster walk.

Katy
Katy, aka Bloodline, is our juv lead. She's young, gifted and beautiful. Let alone to the manner born. And if you want to see Katy in action, well, a click here takes you to the little video trailer film maker Jon Klein's made of her Village in Piccdilly Walk.
Kim

Kim, who has worked in the House of Commons and the European Parliament, is another 24-carat Blue Badge Guide: she won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award in 2001.

Lance
Lance Pierson is an actor and professional poetry performer who aims to bring words to life. His repertoire extends from John Cleese to William Cowper and Stanley Holloway to Shakespeare. He was told recently that he has one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Lance is not known to argue with his critics.
Lesley

Lesley is a gifted young Irish actress - and "a lass unparalleled". Here's what the Divine Ms. M.sounds like. It's a "bite" from her Jack the Ripper walk. Warning: don't listen if you're squeamish! But seriously, her delivery here - poised, bell-clear, paced to perfection - is yet another reminder of why London Walks fronts so many of its walks with professional actors. Amateurs always overcook it - they rant and rave and bluster and shout. It's like having a cheese grater taken to your ear. No thanks.  

Margaret

Margaret, a former international journalist and editor, is a lecturer at the Victoria & Albert Museum and a top flight Blue Badge Guide (and the possessor of the lovliest Scots accent you'll ever hear).

Mary

Mary ("Poppins") is "practically perfect." A classically trained dancer and an actress (West End credits include Gone With the Wind, a long stint at the Royal National Theatre and Noises Off), she's also a trapeze artiste, a professionally qualified, award-winning Blue Badge and City of London Guide and the boss. She is one of those English roses upon whom it is unsafe to try any oompus-boompus. You can hear her here.

Michael

Michael, is the foremost authority on the Regent's Canal, the author of a masterly book on the subject, and a Trustee of London's Canal Museum.

Molly

Molly guides at the British Museum and lectures on Art, Archaeology, and London History. An Art Historian, she is a Freeman of the City of London and a top flight professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide. And by all means have a listen - here's a soundbite from "the Moll's" Ripper Walk. More...

Nick

Nick, a swashbuckling National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, West End stage and silver screen actor (and Jack the Ripper on television!), is an authority on Indian cookery and a professionally qualified Greenwich Guide. When he's not yachting across the Atlantic. And as Julie from Philadelphia would put it, "he's a real mensch". He's the real deal, a seriously big talent - check out his clip reel. It's here And here's some audio. It's Nick guiding in the Painted Hall on his Greenwich Walk. Listen to it and you'll understand why he's the complete package - the modulation and range and timbre of his voice, the timing, the engagement with his audience, the mastery of his subject, the selection and ordering of detail, the humour. A textbook example of how it should be done, it's a fusion of hard work and two all-important gifts: a first-rate mind and a great voice. Some corroboration anyone?  How about this? "Dear Mr. Day, My wife Viva and I were guided by you on New Years day. We had a wonderful time. You are an exceptional guide...My wife had seen the episode of Foyle's War shown on your web site but did not recognize you in person. She loved that episode and your portayal therein.Thank You again for THE BEST tour we have ever taken both for entertainment and education. We look foward to seeing you on film and in the theatre. Best Wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year". Richard E. R. & Viva E. R., M.D. And here's an encore. Nick wrote the Greenwich chapter in our book. Treat yourself. Allow him to read a bit of it to you. The quality of his prose and his wonderful voice all rolled up into one!

Oliver
Voice (and timing and presence) to die for. Londoner born and bred. Westminster Abbey choirster. West End musical theatre actor. Ergo the song bursts. Anything else (apart from the new baby)? For sure: we're dialling up quick blasts on his trumpet!
Pepe
Pepe is our east London street art expert. He's a collector. He's tack-sharp, savvy and connected. Anything else? Yes, he's an award-winning* Blue Badge Guide. *A big one – the guiding equivalent of baseball's Triple Crown!
Peter G

Peter G. Now about Peter G. – here's the gen. Like those other great Londoners Shakespeare, Dr. Johnson and Dickens, Peter does not hail from the metropolis. Yes, that northerner friendliness is to the manor born – cuz Peter's a Nelson, Lancashire lad! Well, was. He's all Londoner now, having coom doon a good few years ago to study at the Drama Centre. After an intermittently average acting career he has fallen literally on his feet with "the wonderful London Walks" (his phrase, but everybody, the smellfeasts excepted of course, would agree with him). Guiding the public through the streets of London combines his three great loves: architecture, history and showing off.

Rex
Richard

Richard - the man with the honeyed voice and the distinctive red hat - has three careers. He's an actor, a professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide, and he restores old houses. Urbane, witty, and charming - he's the perfect host. He brings authority, panache, and an insider's savvy to his walks. And if you like our Day Trips from London, you owe Richard a debt of thanks, because he's the one who's masterminded that wonderful strand of our programme. And if you'd like to hear that honeyed voice in action on an Explorer Day, simply click here: it's Richard in full flow on his Stonehenge & Salisbury Day Trip.

Richard Walker
has a "past". He's sailed across the Pacific in a two-man boat. He's explored the Himalayas. He's an author. He's carved out a successful acting career.* He's True Grit. True North. True to the compass of his beyond perfect surname. Let alone the spun gold of his nickname: Kontiki. He's a brilliant guide. *You'll have seen him in any number of "London" programmes, from London's Burning to The Bill, etc.
Richard P

"the Pied Piper of Beatlemania", is the author of The Beatles' London, a consultant on the Hard Day's Night DVD, holder of the Beatles Brain of Britain title and owner of the Beatles Coffee Shop. So much for the understatement! As actor David Jansen* put it, "[Richard] is a Beatles genius". Part and parcel of all that are Richard's "connections" - they're to die for. He knows them all - all the "players" from the Beatles saga. One could go on. I'm thinking of his collection of Beatles gear...but really, the thing is to "go on" the walk. Here's an Abbey Road "grab".       *David Jansen was the child actor who appeared in A Hard Day's Night.

Richard III

Richard III, scion of a Lord Mayor of London,  is a writer, actor, director and stand-up comic. And the only London Walks guide to have addressed the United Nations!  

Richard IV

Richard IV is an actor, swordsman and an expert on early detective fiction.  Here's a little taster from his Sherlock Holmes walk. Velvety voiced and perfect timing, he makes for some awfully handsome listening! No surprise to learn that he's narrated numerous documentaries and audiobooks.

Robert
Robert is allowed to drive sheep across London Bridge. An Oxford graduate, he's an actor, museum director, author and holder of the Freedom. Let alone the first person since Brunel to organise an underwater fair. He's got the keys.
Ruth
is a professionally qualified City of London guide.  She has worked as an actress for the National Theatre and in the West End and her dulcet tones are often heard reading for the BBC on radio and audio.
Shaughan

Shaughan is a distinguished - and stylish - actor (his stage roles range from Frank-n-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show to Sherlock Holmes; his many television credits include Poirot and Miss Marple). A professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide and the possessor of a fine baritone voice, he usually spices his walks with a song or two. You can hear him  here - it's a grab from his Little Venice walk.

Simon

Simon is James Bond material. He's tall, dark, and easier on the eyes than Pierce Brosnan. Let alone brainier. This is an actor who's tri-lingual, who's lived in Asia and South America, and, for good measure, is a top flight professionally qualified London Blue Badge, Southeast England and Cambridge Guide. And he's also a very nice guy. And as a guide - well, they don't come any better.And believe me, it's not just us saying that - take a look at this! But it is Simon saying this:   It's a soundbite: Simon raising the curtain on his Ripper walk.

Stephanie

Stephanie, a splendidly droll ex-Elephant Keeper, was in Shakespeare in Love! She's a professionally qualified Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, City of London, and Blue Badge Guide. And in case you're wondering...

Stéphanie
Française, mais londonienne d'adoption, je suis professeur de français langues étrangères. Ma grande spécialité? Les crêpes! Mais je ne vous dis pas d'où je viens en France...
Stephen

Stephen Noonan is a young actor who's going to be heard from. Indeed, he's already been heard from - you don't get tapped by Woody Allen unless you've got a lot of presence, a big talent! Stephen's recent roles have included Odysseus, Nelson, Michelangelo and Satan. The role of God - in Art as in Life - has so far eluded him. More...

Steve

Steve. Hmmm. Steve. When you see him from a distance you think he's a roadie for a heavy metal band. And then he starts guiding and it's ka-boom: he's Jumping Jack Flash. Which is by way of saying, all that business about him being London Walks' fizziest guide - I'll let you in on a secret - that's a piece of English understatement. Anything else? Yes, lots. He's a dashing actor, a playwright, a song writer, and a musician. And, most important of all, the father of wee twin lads!

Sue

Sue, a Freeman of the City of London and a water-colourist, is an expert on the Fleet River and a professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide. She wrote the Life in the Mediaeval City chapter in our book Here she is - stylishly as always - reading a bit of it. And  here's a "bite" from her Ancient London walk.

Tom

Tom is a barrister, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Examiner for the Blue Badge Guides Course, travel writer and another creme de la creme professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide (he's the Chairman of the Guild of Guides Association). Follically challenged but motorcycling virile, his graceful wit, classic elegance of mind, infectious giggle, and gentle and generous heart make him the delight of all who know him. Here's a soundbite. It's from his Wednesday afternoon tour, The London Walk - St. Paul's to the Tower of London. And while you're at it, check this out.

Being a Londoner...

“I think being a Londoner is the greatest thing that happened to me without any effort on my part.” Michael Caine