Our Training Course

Tour Guiding Course – Clerkenwell & Islington 2020

Now Open for Applications

Award to best performers on course 2018

All our guides have taken the Clerkenwell & Islington Tour Guide course.

The next course at the University of Westminster begins in 9th January 2020 and will run until 16th July 2020.

Click here to apply. The deadline for applications is Monday 4th November 2019.

You can also find out more about the course at our Meet the Guides session on Thursday 17th October 2019. Click here to find out more and book your place.

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  (which operates under the name Islington Guided Walks) and become one of the Mayor of Islington’s official tour guides. Our association which celebrated its 30th birthday in 2018, provides a supportive network of fellow guides and a platform for publicising your walks in the area. Membership 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 approximately 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 £5.

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, Camden 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 and Billingsgate Roman Bath House in the City of London.

If you have any questions about the course which are not answered above  or via the link for applications please submit on the form below.