Here are some of the walks that I have devised and lead:
Slavery and the City: London has done a pretty good job of disassociating itself from the triangular trade, but it had the monopoly for some time. Prepare for your blood to be chilled by tales of man’s inhumanity to man, then warmed by the compassion, empathy and commitment of a loose group of individuals who managed to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire two hundred years ago.
Viva Vauxhall!: Vauxhall is so much more than a transport hub and multi-lane pedestrian nightmare. Think Lily Savage, pleasure gardens, James Bond, community spirit, hymns ancient and modern. Throw in a garden designed with the help of Dan Pearson, mosaics hidden in railway arches, alpacas, and cake, yes lots of cake. Or Welsh rarebit and real tea served in cosy-covered teapots. Yum!
Denmark Hill and Camberwell: Called ‘the Belgravia of South London’ by The Builder magazine, Denmark Hill, once home to John Ruskin, is close to central London and manages to retain a whiff of the countryside away from busily commercial Camberwell Green. Most of this walk is behind the scenes, The Denmark Hill and Camberwell you might have suspected existed, but had not yet explored. More than one person has consulted the estate agents after finishing this walk. There are pubs galore, including one celebrated for its Sunday lunch, so afterwards why not make a meal of it.
C the City: This is a fun new walk. If it begins with C you might see it on this walk and hear the stories about why it is here; cheese, camels, Churchill, cranes…See if you can spot them before I say them. And bring a camera if you have one. We had a lot of fun, and quite a bit of competitiveness, with this one earlier in the year. At the start and end of the walk there are also opportunities to ‘see’ the City from higher up.
It’s a cracker!
Fair Maids, Feminists and Philanthropists: I love this walk. Originally entitled Unsung Women, I created it several years ago for Southwark Council to celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s much too good to keep to a once a year slot. It is set in North Southwark, going from Blacfriars Bridge Road to Borough via Bankside. You’ll have heard of some of the women I imagine, but others, no less remarkable, such as Janet Johnson whose pioneering work with children is still having an impact half a century after her death, seem to slipped through the cracks of history. Come along to learn about and celebrate them. We’ll be near Gordon Ramsey’s new gaff, but as he is not the right gender for this walk, he won’t get more than a mention. Let’s hear it for the girls!
The Kennington Walk, aka Princes and Paupers: This walk around lovely Kennington that takes in a rare spirit door, Rural Economy, Charlie Chaplin and the worst disaster of the Blitz in Lambeth. There’s an Indian restaurant that is patronised by MPs of all parties, and it finishes conveniently close to a friendly pub that serves food. We get to spend time in a park, walk through a Farmers’ Market, find out where Pierce Brosnan started his acting career, and shiver to tales of public executions. What more could you want?
The London Wall Walk: A City walk where make our way from east to west, keeping inside the boundaries of the old City walls, built around 200 AD as a sign of the settlement’s prosperity. That’s a lot of history and this walk is like taking a cross section of time; glimpses of the layers, including blackened earth left by Boudicca, from the Romans onwards. Think of the City is time capsule. Although much has changed, the echoes of past people and events can be heard if you know how to listen.
Roaming Down By the River: This City walk, aka Fish ‘n’ Ships, is one of my favourites, and the first one London Walks accepted from me for their repertory slot. So the river is the Thames, the reason why London is here, and an important port since Roman times. I can’t promise any fishing, but you may see cormorants diving for their dinners. We weave east from our starting point, taking in churches and pubs, finding quiet corners in this commercial Square Mile, enjoying the historical and the contemporary City.
Walworth, Old and New: I’m on home turf here. This is the Walworth Walk. Distinct from the Lambeth one. More fun I’d say, but I could be biased. @ThisisWalworth tweeted “just when u think u know all there is to know about #walworth #se17, along comes @GuidedbyIsobel”. Bring your cash to enjoy the artists’ Open Studios for the public alks. Terence Conran raves about it, and Keith Richards came here for a bespoke guitar. There’s a café or a pub for lunch. Unless you fancy Thai food, in which case, I’ll give you directions. In summer the public walk ties in with Open Gardens Weekend, so why not make day of it and enjoy our green spaces on the edge of the city.
Terra Incognita aka Walking the Elephant: One of the most unloved places in London, the Elephant and Castle deserves more than a shuddered glance from from the inside of a car or bus. This is your chance to see why the area inspires such loyalty, and affection in its populace. Away from the notoriously busy junctions, the Elephant walks to a different rhythm. Georgian terraces, a nightclub that is a global phenomenom, the Cinema Museum, and great coffee courtesy of the thriving Latin American community will remind you what Sunday mornings are all about.
All of these appear on the London Walks programme. Should you wish to arrange for a private walk and have found me through London Walks, you should apply to them. If however, you have found this page through other means, apply directly to me.
Contact me via this page for further clarification.
I am happy to create bespoke walks across the capital, just contact me with an idea of what you want and we can take it from there. As a Blue Badge Guide, I am qualified to lead tours at London’s top venues including Westminster Abbey, Tower of London and St Paul’s. I have worked with artists on special projects, and created treasure trails for team building events.I enjoy a challenge!
In the Pipeline
New walks in the pipeline include Look Up London! A City safari with photographers in mind; Nunhead: the Dead Centre of South London; and Sustainable Bankside: Southwark in the 21st Century; Georgian Bloomsbury.