Course summary

Gain a professional tour guide qualification while discovering the rich and varied history and heritage of Clerkenwell and Islington with this award-winning London tour guiding course.

This accredited course will teach you how to become a tour guide. The course will equip you with the skills to plan and give professional walking tours throughout great medieval monastic houses and handsome Georgian squares, which the area is famous for.

Once you have qualified you will be invited to join the Clerkenwell & Islington Guides Association (CIGA) (which operates under the name Islington Guided Walks) and become one of the Mayor of Islington's official tour guides.

Who is this 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 for the general public, corporate clients, or just for friends, family and workmates.

In your application you will need to demonstrate:

  • your commitment and potential to become a professional guide
  • basic writing and research skills that will allow you to complete the course

You will need to submit a personal statement of no more than one A4 side, explaining why you have chosen to apply for this course. Application deadline is 4 November 2019.

If your application is successful, we will invite you for an informal interview, where you will do a short talk on a selected area or point of interest. We will allocate topics in advance, so you will have time to do your research about it. Interviews will take place on 21 and 22 November 2019.

Course structure

This part-time tourism course combines classroom-based learning with practical guiding ‘walkshops' on the streets of Clerkenwell and Islington, and at an indoor landmark.

With its long-standing reputation for radical thought, lively entertainment and health-giving waters, and its modern role as a centre for creativity and arts, Clerkenwell and Islington is an endlessly fascinating place for guides and their clients.

The classroom-based sessions will take place on Thursdays and consist of lectures on the history of Clerkenwell and Islington as well as activities to support your development and improve your guiding skills.

The practical sessions generally take place every other Saturday (generally in the morning) but in the run up to practical exams some sessions will take place on Sundays.. You take part in guided walks with your tutor or, more often, with the students as guides. Each of you will be allocated a landmark to research and then have a chance to practice your 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 of which may incur a small additional charge).


Your progress and suitability for qualification as an accredited Clerkenwell and Islington tour guide is assessed at four points during the course.

The assessment consists of two written assignments, one practical guiding exam at an indoor landmark and one practical guiding exam on the streets of Clerkenwell and Islington.

Meet the Guides event

If you'd like to find out more about this course, a group of guides from Clerkenwell & Islington Guides' Association are holding a free event on 17 October. They will take participants on a walk to show their favourite parts of Clerkenwell followed by a chance to ask questions and socialise. Find out more about the Meet the Guides event.

Our tutors

The course tutors are all qualified guides with lots of experience of guiding and teaching guiding skills.

John Finn has been a City of London, Westminster and Clerkenwell & Islington Guide for 15 years, and has worked for the Museum of London and the London Metropolitan Archive. With his profound teaching experience, John definitely will tell you all key facts and share some practical trips during the course. 

Jane Duffield has now clocked up 15 years guiding experience: she works with London's longest-standing walking tour company and performs as an in-house guide at Mansion House, Charterhouse and St Bartholomew's Hospital. Jane holds the City of London, Westminster, Camden, Clerkenwell & Islington and Blue Badge Guiding Badges, and so she can teach you how to reach these heights in your tour guiding career.


Karen Lansdown is not only an official City of London and Clerkenwell & Islington guide but also the co-founder of Lansdown's London, a tour guiding company. She guides regularly at St John's Gate, Clerkenwell, The Charterhouse, Smithfield and the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London. Her walks benefit from her previous careers as a designer of historic costume and a teacher.


Start date


Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings

Day and time

Thursdays 6.30-8.30pm and Saturday mornings


28 weeks




This course is taught at our Marylebone Campus in central London, within easy walking distance of Regent's Park and Marylebone High Street.

Location map

 Accessibility: Together with AccessAble, we have created online Disabled Access Guides for our buildings.