NEW – Our Course

Would you like to become a Clerkenwell & Islington Guide?

Applications for our next course starting January 2022 will be opening soon.

Course Overview

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 (operational name Islington Guided Walks) and become one of the Mayor of Islington’s official tour guides.
Our association (CIGA) has been providing a supportive network for fellow guides
and a platform for publicising your walks in the area for over 30 years. 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 and a number of other landmarks 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 and sometimes Sundays (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 Islington 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.

Bursaries are available. see for details.

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.
  • Karen Lansdown: Karen is  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.
  • Susan Hahn: Susan is a very experienced Clerkenwell & Islington Guide who has researched and developed many guided walks for the Islington Museum and other local institutions and landmarks on behalf of CIGA including the Charterhouse, the Union Chapel and the Cloudesley Charity.