Free Walks – Local London Guiding Day








Saved! – 50 Years of Conservation

On Saturday 7th October 2017 the Local London Guiding Associations are marking 50 years since the formation of the first Conservation Areas with a day of free guided walks highlighting some fascinating examples of local urban heritage.

Clerkenwell & Islington Guides will be leading a walk called  A Green Piece of Islington:   Explore the fascinating history of tranquil Canonbury – see a house that was listed before it was built, discover one of London’s hidden rivers and learn some curious facts about street furniture and road markings.

The walks will set out every hour on the hour, 10am – 4pm, from outside The Union Chapel, Compton, Upper Street, N1 2UN.

The Union Chapel is 2 minutes walk from Highbury & Islington Station.

No need to book.



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Charterhouse Tours

Clerkenwell & Islington Guides’ Association (CIGA) are now leading tours at The Charterhouse.

The Charterhouse is situated in the south of the borough close to Smithfield meat market.

It’s rich history dates back to 1348 when the site was a burial ground for victims of the Black Death. In the course of it’s long history it has been a monastery, a fine Tudor mansion, a school for boys and, from 1611 right up to the present day, an almshouse.

Whilst the chapel and fascinating new museum at the Charterhouse are open to the public a guided tour takes visitors to many other areas of the complex and reveals tranquil courtyards, ancient cloisters and grand Tudor interiors.

CIGA guides lead the 2:45pm tour everyday except Mondays. Click here to book. 


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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.

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Charterhouse Square Summer Fair

On Saturday 1st July 2017, enjoy an afternoon of festivities and merriment at the annual Charterhouse Square Summer Fair. The fair is open from 12 noon until 4:30pm and this year, as well as food and activities for all ages, visitors will be able to appreciate the new landscaping in the square.

You can also take the opportunity to visit the recently opened Charterhouse Museum or join a guided tour of the historic Charterhouse buildings.

The standard tours at 2:45pm are led by CIGA guides.

Click here to book a Charterhouse tour.





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Fundraising Walks for the MS Trust

On Thursday 25th May 2017 CIGA is joining forces with many fellow London tour guides as part of 20 in 20. This is an event which aims to raise £20.000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust in 20 hours by offering a continuous programme of over 45 guided tours throughout one day. Visit for the full programme and to book a tour.

The tours that CIGA guides are leading on May 25th are Cool Clerkenwell at 3pm and an Exclusive St John’s Gate and Clerkenwell Tour at 5pm.

Please take part to help make this very special day a success.

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CityRead London 2017

April is Cityread London month when libraries all across London aim to get communities together through the power of reading. This year’s book is Prophecy by S. J. Parris, a gripping Elizabethan spy thriller set in London 1583.

CIGA has teamed up with Islington Libraries to bring the period to life with free guided
walks highlighting Elizabethan Islington, generously funded by Islington Libraries.

The two walks quickly “sold out” so CIGA guides Rob Smith and Philip Nelkon are planning additional Elizabethan Islington walks at our usual ticket price. Watch out for the new dates in the Our Walks section. 

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Free Walks – Local London Guiding Day

London’s five Guiding Associations (Clerkenwell & Islington, City of London, Westminster, Camden and Greenwich) are joining together to present free walks in their areas on Saturday 8th October 2016.

islingtonllgdThe theme this year is “Art for All”

Clerkenwell and Islington Guiding Association (CIGA) are the official tour guides for Clerkenwell & Islington and this year their free Art in the Community walks will be exploring the wealth of public art in EC1, the Islington postcode area with an intriguing history.

Public art of all kinds has put an indelible stamp on EC1. Starting at Old Street roundabout, the tour will visit to Bunhill Fields, the burial ground for non-conformists and the inspiration for the annual “Rise of the Non-Conformist” street art festival in Whitecross Street. In the surrounding streets the tour highlights street art by well known street artists such as Teddy Baden and artworks created collaboratively with the local community. Other highlights include a wonky church and a building with a sculpted facade which supports partially-sighted children.

Join these walks to discover artworks found in the urban fabric of its streets and buildings; from mosaics and murals to poetry and sculpture.

Free walks take place every hour, on the hour, on Saturday 8th October 2016 from 10am to 4pm.   Meet at Old Street Station – exit subway 2 – by Eat Cafe

For more information about our CIGA’s Local London Guiding Day EC1 Walks please contact FionaTweedie

For more information about all CIGA walks see

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Charity Weekend – Reading, Revels & Royalty

Clerkenwell and Islington Guides are marking the Queen’s official birthday with a weekend of walks across the Borough.  
Walks take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday  10th – 12th June from Angel, Farringdon, Highbury, Old Street and Upper Holloway
Each walk costs are £10 and proceeds will go to The Reading Agency, the Islington-based charity that supports reading and literacy for children and adults.
To book your place go to
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Islington Women: the lives, the loves, the legacy – Saturday 10 October 2015

Picture of Women through Time handout

Women through Time

Come and join Clerkenwell & Islington Guides on Local London Guiding Day for this walk celebrating this years theme “Women through Time” .  Free walks take place every hour, on the hour, on Saturday 10th October 2015 from 10am to 4pm.  Meet outside Angel Station.

Come on this walk if you want to know:

  • which actor donated a £2million film-set to Islington;
  • who became ‘the emigrants’ friend’;
  • which queen was a winner at Cruft’s;
  • and who was so successful with her male impersonations that many believed that she was a actually man!

See the Women through Time (PDF) flyer for more details of walks run by other guiding associations in the City of London, the City of Westminster, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and the Borough of Camden.

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Angel Canal Festival, Sunday 6 September

Clerkenwell and Islington Guides will have a stall at this year’s Angel Canal Festival, as well as providing commentary on the free canal boat trips around the basin. Starts at 11am and finishes at 5pm. Come and say hello!
This annual one-day festival is based around the City Road Lock, Basin and towpath alongside the Regents Canal, also local streets and a park, in Islington. As well as the boat trips, there are rides, races, displays, Punch and Judy, food stalls, Arsenal’s ‘Penalty shoot-out’ competition and lots more.

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