YOUR GATEWAY TO THE BEST EXPERIENCES IN LONDON AND BEYOND!
Left to right: Guy, Liz, Vivien, Gina and Sue
We started out qualifying as City of London Guides, gaining a deep love for this historic heart of old London. Spurred on, we all gained the gold-standard London Blue Badge Tourist Guide qualification.
In addition, we have all gone on to be accredited in using our knowledge for informative and fun Virtual Tours, as a taster for future trips, or just as something different to do. They're also perfect for clubs and educational groups.
We all lead tours in all of the major London sites - for all sorts of people, from individuals to families; special interest groups, and even corporate well-being walks or events.
Here's another thought: why not give a tour - real or virtual - as a gift?
The wisest decision I ever made was to qualify as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, combining my love of history, culture and meeting new people. I now have the best job in the best city in the world - London!
After university, where I studied Geography, I followed a career in the civil service and in professional and research organisations
A large part of my life has been spent abroad - in Africa and Asia as a child, and later with my young family, in Singapore and Japan. I loved the opportunity to learn about different ways of life and now, settled back in London, I enjoy welcoming visitors to my home city.
Whether you are a first time or a regular visitor I can create a customised tour for you so that you really get the most out of your trip here.
I hope to see you soon!
A few years ago I made the decision to chuck in my job with a well-known retailer and study to become a Blue Badge guide. I've never looked back.
With a love of history, theatre and London it's been the perfect move. From taking you around the ancient wonders of the British Museum to showing you the haunts of famous rock stars, my love of all things in the past is enormously varied. On the way, expect a bit of performance - as an amateur actor I've performed in over 30 productions, from Shakespeare to pantomime.
One of my favourite areas to guide is in the City of London, especially as I'm a liveryman of the Vintners' Company, one of the City's medieval guilds. As a Freeman of the City, I can tell you about its ancient traditions, which includes herding sheep across London Bridge, a right which I have exercised.
I LOVE London and its culture, history, art, literature and architecture and I can't wait to share it all with you.
I specialise in arranging bespoke tours for a wide range of clients and will put together an experience which is perfectly tailored to ensure your time here is fun, interesting and unforgettable whether it's knowing where to go for the best view of the Changing of the Guard, taking you on an exhilarating boat trip on the Thames, an in-depth tour of the British Museum or advice on the best shows and restaurants in Town.
My background is in merchant banking and education, and qualifications include an honours degree in English and Classical History and a post-graduate degree in Communication.
I'm proud to be a Freeman of the City of London and in 2019 I was honoured to be named Take Walks Guide of the Year.
Guiding is my passion - sharing my passion with you is what my guiding is all about.
My life-long history obsession led me to qualify as a professional guide, but London has so much more to offer, from magnificent architecture to secret alleyways; from the Crown Jewel.s to specialist shops; the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard ceremony to the elegance of afternoon tea, and sights to photograph and memories to cherish - London has everything! I am the proud holder of four specialist London guiding qualifications having studied every aspect in depth.
In a previous life I co-founded an international intellectual rights company which I took 'public,' achieving a full London Stock Exchange listing, and is now owned by Spielberg's DreamWorks. I worked with British royalty and was nominated for Businesswoman of the Year.
I am also a dog-loving, countryside-walking, and books on London collecting, tea-drinking, theatre-going, knitting obsessive.
I love guiding in the most exciting city in the world! I consult you in advance so we can find a way to pack in everything on your wish-list, and tailor a tour to your passions. Whether you're a newbie to town, or a seasoned visitor to London seeking new sights, I'll devise a tour for just for you.
Tour guiding is an expression of my younger self, with my M.A, in English & Art History from the University of St Andrews, I'm equally at home in a gallery, the historic City alleyways, on the Mall watching the spectacle of the Household Cavalry trot resplendently past, or taking a trip out to beautiful Bath, Oxford or Stratford upon Avon. A tour in the multicultural megalopolis that is London or a day in the beautiful English countryside both promise wonderful experiences and memories!
Previously, I worked in an international advertising agency O&M, and taught English for several years. Home is an a converted Edwardian post office with my mad dog and husband, with visits from our three young adult kids, when we eat well, drink better and plot our own exciting escapes around the world! I look forward to meeting you!
Your peace of mind
How long in advance should I book?
Everything in life is better with proper preparation. We take pride in tailoring our tours to YOUR needs. However, as experienced guides, many visitors ask for fairly standard 'Eye-opener' tours, which we give regularly and need no extra research. The summer months are our busiest, but we work all year round. We are happy to refer work amongst ourselves should we be busy, confident that we will be recommending only the best!
If you're making a last minute trip, it's always worth asking though, and one of us may be available to make your day memorable!
What will it cost?
(less than with a tour operator!)
We work on a half day (2-4 hours) or full day basis (up to 8 hours.) Our fees are based on the suggested scale of charges by our professional organisations, the Institute of Tourist Guiding and the British Guild of Tourist Guides.
We take payment by bank transfer or Paypal - just check with your guide. A deposit will be required to secure your booking.
And we all charge exactly the same.
No hidden extras
Our fees include all planning and research for a tour beforehand in discussion with you, and our guiding for the specified period.
Entrance fees to paid-for sites and your travel and refreshments costs are not included, but we can advise you of these in advance.
Many tours are on foot around central London, or we can use public transport - by Tube, bus or riverboat, or we can hop into one of the famous London black cabs.
For day trips out of town, we can use the rail network, or hire a private chauffeur and luxury vehicle.
What am I committing to?
Those all important T's and C's
The London Guides is an online platform for five London Blue Badge Tourist Guides to promote their tours. Once you have made contact with your chosen guide and agreed a schedule and itinerary for your day out, a deposit will be required.
Your guide will make sure you receive all terms and conditions up front. (And yes, they're shorter than Magna Carta!) A deposit is required to secure your tour, and cancellation charges may apply.
'Outstanding! Vivien is amazing and our tour with her was a highlight of our first trip to London. Vivien is not only incredibly knowledgeable, she is also funny, personable and very easy to talk to. Our only regret is not booking a tour with her every day of our holiday. Thank you, Vivien!'
Rachel S, USA
'Thank you for a most interesting morning today.
We really enjoyed our trip around the city and appreciated your deep knowledge of the area, enthusiasm for the subject and the fact that we could hear every word that you said! A most satisfying way to spend Sunday morning.'
C Beaver, UK
'We've been travelling in Europe with guides in each country, and Sue was the first one to smile and make us laugh! We had such a great end to our trip with all the stories and sights she shared with us. A great end to our vacation, Thank you so much!'
Small tour group, USA.
'An absolute triumph! Everyone loved you and the tour was just incredible. We all so appreciated your wonderful enthusiasm and your detailed and fascinating knowledge. We are all in awe! What a truly memorable special day you gave us all. Thank you again so very much.'
Gaye M., Gloucestershire UK
'Gina is a delightful, knowledgeable, professional guide and it was a joy to be in her company. I throughly enjoyed every moment with her and she made the history of London and Windsor come alive'
Debbie and Roy, USA
‘Gina is amazing. Friendly, hugely knowledgeable and entertaining. Thanks for a truly memorable morning’.
Carey, Hampton UK
'Guy was amazing! He was so informative and really showed us all the ins and outs of the Abbey and the Changing of the Guard! I loved his 'ruler of Rulers' and all of his tidbits of information. I'd give him 6 stars if I could.'
'Guy gave us a really fascinating tour and some members thought it the best visit they had been on.'
Foreign & Commonwealth Association UK
'On my first ever visit to London, I had a private 8 hour tour with Liz. I contacted her in advance and asked her to show me 'what an American should see on one day in London.' She did a superb job and is incredibly knowledgable about London'
Halena, Minnesota USA
'Liz was an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and engaging! We enjoyed learning about the history of the bridges and the different aims of each lighting installation. Looking forward to doing another tour soon!'
Oliver T, London