Would You Like to be a Clerkenwell & Islington Guide?

The class of 2017 receive their badges and certificates from the Mayor of Islington


The next Clerkenwell & Islington Tour Guiding course at the University of Westminster begins on Thursday 11th January 2018.

See below for information about the course.

You can also find out more by attending our “Meet the Guides” Taster and Q&A session on Thursday 23rd November 2017 at 6:30pm. The session consists of a guided walk starting at Farringdon station and ending at the Crown pub at Clerkenwell Green, where you can talk to guides about the course and guiding opportunities in Clerkenwell & Islington. To book a place click here.

Click here if you would like to register your interest in applying for the course.

Tour Guiding Course – Clerkenwell & Islington

Course Overview

Course start date: Thursday 11 January 2018

Meet the Guides – Taster and Q&A session: Thursday 23 November 2017 6:30pm.       Click here to book a place.

Application deadline: December 2017

Interviews will take place: December 2017

The award winning Clerkenwell & Islington Tour Guiding course is designed to enable students to gain a professional qualification in tour guiding whilst discovering the rich and varied history and heritage of Clerkenwell & Islington.

This accredited course will equip you to plan and give professional walking tours throughout the area. From its great Medieval monastic houses and handsome Georgian squares to its long-standing reputation as a centre for radical thought, lively entertainment and health-giving waters Clerkenwell and Islington is an endlessly fascinating place for guides and their clients.

Once you have qualified you will be invited to join the Clerkenwell & Islington Guides’ Association (CIGA) and become one of the Mayor of Islington’s official tour guides. CIGA, which recently celebrated its 30th birthday, provides a supportive network of fellow guides and a platform for publicising your walks in the area. Membership of CIGA also enables you to apply to become a guide at The Charterhouse in Smithfield, St John’s Gate in Clerkenwell and Canonbury Tower in Islington and enables you to take visitors to see The Clerks’ Well – after which Clerkenwell is named.

Course Content

This part-time course combines classroom based learning with practical guiding ‘walkshops’ on the streets of Clerkenwell and Islington and at an indoor landmark.

The classroom-based sessions take place on Thursdays 6:30 – 8:30pm during term time at the University of Westminster Marylebone Campus, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. They consist of lectures on the the history of Clerkenwell & Islington and activities to support you in developing or improving your skills as a guide.

The practical sessions take place every other Saturday (generally in the morning). For these sessions you take part in a guided walk with you and your fellow students as guides. You will each be allocated landmarks to research and then have a chance to practise your growing guiding skills with a short presentation to your fellow students and tutor at the relevant ‘stop’.

There will also be opportunities to take part in a number of optional visits. Some optional visits may incur an additional charge of no more than £8.

Your progress and suitability for qualification as an accredited Clerkenwell & Islington tour guide is assessed at four points during the 28 week course. The assessment consists of 2 written assignments, one practical guiding exam at an indoor landmark and one practical guiding exam on the streets of Clerkenwell and Islington.

Who is the Course for?

The course is suitable both for people who are new to tour guiding and for experienced tour guides who want to develop their knowledge and skills further. It is aimed at anyone interested in leading guided walks whether it is just for friends, family and workmates or for the general public and corporate clients.

Course Requirements

In your application you will need to demonstrate:

  • your commitment and potential to become a professional guide

  • that you have basic writing and research skills that will allow you to complete the course

As part of the application process, you are required to submit a covering letter of no more than one A4 side of paper, explaining why you have chosen to apply for this course.

If your initial application is successful, we will invite you for an informal interview, where you will give a short talk in English on a given landmark or point of interest that you will have researched in advance of the interview date.

Our Tutors

The course tutors are all qualified guides with lots of experience of guiding and teaching guiding skills:

John Finn: John has been a Local London Guide for 15 years, as a City of London, Westminster and Clerkenwell & Islington Guide. He has taught on tour guiding courses for seven years, and also London history courses for the City of London and Birkbeck College. He has worked for the Museum of London and the London Metropolitan Archive, and is one of the team of guides at St Pancras station.

Jane Duffield: Formerly a teacher, Jane has now clocked up fifteen years guiding experience working with London’s longest standing walking tour company. She is also an in-house guide at Mansion House, Charterhouse and St Bartholomew’s Hospital and holds the City of London, Westminster, Clerkenwell & Islington and Blue Badge Guiding Badges.

Karen Lansdown: Karen is also a former teacher. In addition, she has had a career as a costume designer specialising in historic costume. She is co-founder of Lansdown’s London and is an official City of London and Clerkenwell & Islington guide. She guides regularly at St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, The Charterhouse, Smithfield and the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London.