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.

No academic qualifications are required for the course but the ability to communicate clearly in English, both verbally and in writing, is essential.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

Susan Hahn is a very experienced Clerkenwell and Islington guide, who has researched and developed many guided walks for the Islington Museum and other local institutions and landmarks on behalf of CIGA including the Charterhouse, the Union Chapel and the Cloudesley Charity.

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.


This course is currently closed. The next available course will run in January 2022 and bookings will open in summer 2021.

If you are interested in this course, please fill out our enquiry form and we’ll be in touch when bookings re-open.


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

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