Guiding during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic

Antony Robbins

Profile updated 21/10/21

Regional Qualification(s):

London

Language(s):

English

Phone Number(s):

+ 44 (0)7725 617883

Read more about me:

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Contact guide

Introduction:

This is what they said:

'Thank you so much. We really enjoyed it. Many thanks for such a lovely hour and a bit. Fiona, London & Partners, October 2021,

'I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say a very big thank you for making my birthday surprises that bit more special. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed ticking those history things off my bucket list. I shall now go back & watch some of my programs again now that I can relate to them better. I hope I get the privilege to enjoy your company once again at some point'. Christine, UK, October 2021.

'Thank you again for a fabulous tour! We learned SO much from you! We will be in touch in the future as we have many guests coming over in the next six months.' Patty, USA September 2021.

' I loved your lecture. I learned so much and I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation'.
Joyce, UK, August 2021.

'I went on Mr Londoner's virtual tour of lockdown London. I was genuinely impressed. Antony was exceptional and was able to show a different side of London that I didn’t think was possible through a camera. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wanted to see London from the comfort of their own home. I’m looking forward to going on more virtual trips around the world.' Jena, June 2021.

‘Antony Robbins is the coolest man on the planet.' David Grant MBE, BBC Radio London Saturday Breakfast Show, March 2021.

'I had such a wonderful time with Antony (an excellent guide in all respects).' Jim, Boston, Feb 2020.

'Antony was so engaging. He clearly loves his work and being a local lad there wasn't much he didn't know.' Frank, London, Jan 2020..

'The very best London tour guide.' Kim, Louisianna, Oct 2019.

'Antony Robbins - a tour guide who seemed to float through the city with a dazzling and contagious energy as if the music of the streets itself was pulling him along.
Alison, Travel and Leisure magazine, USA.
Read full article about my Soho Music Month tour here (keep scrolling down). https:// http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/music/abbey-road-50th-anniversary-music-tour-of-london, July 2019.

'I want to thank you for the time, dedication and great radio you have helped produce over the last few years as a contributor on the Saturday Breakfast Show.' Jamie, BBC Radio London, June 2019.

'Thank you for a memorable day in London. I just finished a brief review of my trip and I praised you without reservation.' Richard, Texas. May 2019.

'You were our first guide and you were delightful. Thank you again for taking the time and interest in our students - tomorrow's future.' Gail, Florida State University, April 2019.

'Amusing, informative and accessible. Antony managed a mixed bag of Brits, Aussies, Germans and Italians. His good humour and energy were infectious. His knowledge of this city is equally infectious. Can't wait to go on another of his tours.' Richard, London, April 2019.

'The client just texted to say they had an amazing time - you set the bar high for the rest of the trip.' Alec, London tour operator, April 2019.

'Fabulous tour. Antony was superb, entertaining, full of knowledge and a great guide.' Caroline, London, March 2019.

'Antony's an amazing, knowledgeable and enthusiastic person, sharing astonishing stories. Unforgetable experience. Antony added a touch of brilliant London humour to the city's history.' Luiz, London.

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I'm Antony, AKA Mr Londoner. I'm a writer, broadcaster and former director of the Museum of London.
http:// http://www.mrlondoner.com

I'm currently running a series of bespoke webinars and virtual tours. Subjects can range from fashion to architecture, from London at war to how the city will emerge post-pandemic. Call me on 00 44 (0)7725 617883 and we can shape an online tour to you exact needs.

As soon as lockdown lifts, I look forward to running my bicycle tours in a much calmer and more bike-friendly city. London has benefitted from a suite of new traffic-calming meaures in the past year. The air is fresher, the streets are safer and there are fewer people about. The perfect way to discover the secret city  is on two wheels.

Since going freelance in 2017, I combine my love of guiding with my career as a writer and broadcaster. I provide guiding, PR, branding and research services. I also offer personal shopping services working with some of London's best stores and independent retailers. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @meetmrlondoner.
Here are a few of my recent blogs about my tours.
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/magical-mystery-tour-musical-adventures-in-the-heart-of-bohemian-london/
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/tailors-of-the-unexpected/
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/churchill-in-four-hats/
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/a-walk-on-the-wildside-in-search-of-londons-dark-side/

I also enjoy a regular slot on BBC Radio London to discuss the capital's latest cultural offerings. Click here to see the lastest show on BBC Sounds. Pull the slider to 1.43:45 if you want to hear my slot – and get a sense of my tone of voice: https:// http://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07t5syk
I'm often invited as a London and cultural spokesperson by other media outlets.

While director of communications at the Museum of London (from 2009 to 2017) I re-branded what was then a tired and overlooked visitor attraction into something more contemporary, connected and relevant to the lives of modern Londoners.

My top tours:
I love guiding in the major sites - the ones on many people's bucket list. I lead tours in London's top visitor attractions, including Westminster Abbey; Tower of London; St Paul's Cathedral and the British Museum. As a museum professional I'm uniquely placed to provide unique insights into the work of London's leading museums and galleries. My favourites includes: Cabinet War Rooms; Museum of London; Tate Galleries; Victoria and Albert Museum; Science Museum; Wallace Collection; Soane Museum; Pitzhanger Manor; Imperial War Museum; Maritime Museum; National Army Museum; Soane Museum; Jewish Museum and the RAF Museum.

Opening up secret London is my greatest passion and I'm also the one and only guide for Londonist.com, which explores lost London and the hidden city, showcasing the very best of the contemporary metropolis. My exclusive Londonist tours - see the reviews here: http://bit.ly/2GeXeTE - open doors and offer a sideways take on the capital. They explore the secret histories of Soho (in 'Sex, Death and Shopping') and Bankside (in 'the Liberty of the Clink').

My additional specialisms include:
- Beyond the Tower - a deeper exploration of the Tower of London, discovering some of its lesser-known stories. This walking tour also explores the local neighbourhood, which is packed full of history from Roman times onward. The Tower of London is much calmer and quieter than usual at the moment. This is a great time to see it without the crowds;
- 'Secret history' tours of Mayfair and the West End, Soho and China Town, Bankside and the South Bank, Covent Garden and Seven Dials, Bloomsbury, the City of London; Shoreditch and Hoxton;
- 'Churchill in Four Hats' - Winston Churchill's London ... with a special sartorial focus as befits this most unlikely of style icons;
- 'Menswear and Making' (from tailoring and shoemaking to ceramics and jewellers);
- 'The Secret Shopper' - discover London's hidden shops from traditional tailors to skilled goldsmiths;
- 'London at War' - both world wars transformed London. Join me to find out exactly how;
- 'Greening the City' - the sustainable metropolis;
- 'Sounds and the City' - London in music - from Handel to Hendrix - from punk to rock and roll - from the Beatles to the Belle Stars;
- 'Transforming the Museum' - the role of a modern museum in a changing society;
- 'The Garden of England' - visits to the county of Kent to explore Canterbury and its glorious cathedral. Nearby is Winston Churchill's former home at Chartwell and the picture perfect moated stately home - Leeds Castle.

London placemaking:
My current focus is on what I like to call London placemaking. As a senior communications consultant I help some of the capital’s most vibrant neighbourhoods promote their offer, sharpen their messages and drive footfall.

Current clients and partners:
BBC Radio London; National Theatre; Bankside Hotel; Native Hotels; University of the Arts London; Goldsmiths College; Better Bankside; Museum of Soho; Shaftesbury PLC; Sister PR; Cheaney Shoes; Hearst Publishing; China Exchange; Kaplan College; University of East London; Joy Everley jewellers; MC Overalls; Joseph; Peckham Rye Tailors; The Good Life (adult learning centre); and London Tailored Tours.

I run a series of free Soho Music Month tours for my client, Soho landlord Shaftesbury PLC. The tours celebrate Soho's musical heritage from Beethoven to Bowie.
Read all about it here.
http://westendextra.com/article/mr-londoners-secrets
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/magical-mystery-tour-musical-adventures-in-the-heart-of-bohemian-london/

Virtual tours. Virtual tours in these days of Covid are increasingly popular. Using Zoom Professional, I can deliver a walking tour to private groups - from families and friends to companies and universities. Thes can all be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your living room wherever it is in the world. And I can focus on a neighourhood of your choice. I am now working with Netadventures.tv. This new company delivers broadcast qualitylive tours from the streets of London, using only fully-qualified Blue Badge guides. I can also run virtual tours for families, groups and businesses, depending on your needs.

Personal Interests:

Secret and lost London; shopping; fashion; museums and galleries; photography; London at war; military history; architecture; art and street art; music; conference and incentives; food and drink.
Virtual tours
Cycle tours
Military tours, WW2, Sir Winston Churchill
Architecture
Street Art
Menswear and Making
Music tours
Post-pandemic recovery
The Green City
Fashion
Green tourism, eco-tourism
Gardens and nature
Genealogy - family tree research

Special Interests:

Fashion

Fashion's a passion. I'm an expert on menswear and making and I particularly love to showcase quality products made in Britain. The three-piece suit, for example, was invented right here in London - developed from equestrian wear, which itself evolved from military uniform.

Let me talk you through that fascinating story as we tour round Savile Row, Piccadilly and Jermyn Street - once the spiritual home of Regency dandy Beau Brummell. The popularity of TV programmes like Peaky Blinders has increased interest in heritage clothing. I specialise in small and independent artisan brands, often located in unusual and off-the-beaten-track places. I can open the doors to bespoke family tailors (like Soho's Peckham Rye), specialist shoe makers (like Joseph Cheaney and Sons); heritage workwear brands (like M.C.Overalls or Private White VC) and fashion forward and international brands (like Ozwald Boeteng).

We also explore the influence on fashion of our royal family including Princess Diana, Meghan Markle - now the Duchess of Sussex - and of course Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. An unlikely fashion icon he may be, however Prince Charles represents a timeless style. Like generations of British Royals before him, Charles has championed a number of Savile Row's finest bespoke tailors.

There are some (relatively) new kids on the block, even in Savile Row. Oswald Boeteng brings and African twist to an age old craft. Shaun Gordon's exquistie hand-made ties are inspired by his dapper Jamaican uncle, who arrived in these shores in the 1960s to find a new life.

Making and craft is coming back to the capital. We could pay a visit to independent Soho jeweller Joy Everley and see the latest in gold and silver jewellery, much of which is made here in the capital. Or, instead, we could head to the Goodlife Centre in Bankside and see tradional skills like woodworking, framemaking, needlework being taught to a new generation.

Read all about my menswear tour here:
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/tailors-of-the-unexpected/

Shopping

The more I do this job, the more I understand how much people love shops and shopping. London has some of the best retailers in the world. Keeping ahead of the game however is tough in a digital post-pandemic age. London is is also world-famous for its markets, that's where I do my weekly (sometimes Daily) shop. Our markets have been a life-line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The capital's shopping offer can however be bewildering. I love the opportunity to share my passion for quality and luxury products and London craft. I can show you the very best shops in London. Join me in some of London's best cheese shops, wine merchants, bespoke tailors, hat makers, boot makers or vintage boutiques. My own specialism is menswear and making. The popularity of TV programmes like Peaky Blinders has increased interest in heritage clothing. I can talk you through that fascinating story as we tour round Savile Row, Piccadilly and Jermyn Street.

I love the big names like Gucci, Prada and Paul Smith. My true passion however is for small and independent artisan brands. I can open the doors to bespoke family tailors; specialist shoe makers (like Joseph Cheaney and Sons); heritage workwear brands (like M.C.Overalls, Private White VC or Thomas Farthing) and fashion forward brands (like Billionaire Boys Club). I have advised a number of private clients in my capacity as stylist and personal shopper.

Making and craft is coming back to the capital. We could pay a visit to independent Soho jeweller Joy Everley to see the latest in gold and silver jewellery, much of which is made here in the capital. One of my favourite shops is We Built This City - a new take on the tradional tourist shop. This one sells quality art and design from London makers.

If you want to commission a bespoke suit or dress, invest in a special piece of art or have your portrait painted or photographed, this shopping tour's just for you.

We could visit London's best department stores - my favourite's are Liberty and Selfridges. I am also an avid street art and watch collector. I can advise on the purchase of new and vintage watches. My favourite brands are Rolex, IWC and Patek Phillipe and I know all the best places to find rare time pieces.

If your passion is for vintage clothing, antiques or found objects I can help there too. I know all the best vintage shops and charity shops. I can can advise on styling an original outfit on a shoe-string or sourcing quirky and original objects for the home or garden.

Read all about my menswear tour here:
http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/tailors-of-the-unexpected/

London Areas in Depth

I love the quirky, the hidden and the lost. My tours open up the closed doors of the secret city. Here's a list of them here.

Britain Today

Covid 19 has changed the country forever. And issues like climate change, sustainable living and the future of our cities are now further up the polotical agenda. But some things stay the same.

I can offer socialy-distanced tours focusssed on these themes or virtual tours broadcast live via Zoom Professional.

Come with me to explore both contemporary culture and discover how the Britain of Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare has changed, especially in the late 20th and early 21st century. From human relationships and conflict to the pill and the bomb ... through to climate change and #MeToo ...

Along the way we'll discuss queer histories and (LGBTQ) gay rights, immigration and diversity, pandemics, crime and security and - naturally - Brexit. What are the biggest challenges facing Britain and how is the metropolis responding? What is the future of the monarchy and the royal family? Does the birth of new royal baby Archie help bring the nation together? These are just some of the topics I lecture on at the University of East London; Goldsmiths College and University College London.

Read my recent blog about Winston Churchill, who did so much to shape Britain today. http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/churchill-in-four-hats/

The American contribution to London life has been huge.Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Jimi Hendrix and Glenn Miller have all made their mark here. US visitors have shaped the way we eat, dress and dance. Join me on a one-day or half-day tour to explore the theme of Americans in London.

Military

The Canging of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is something of a must-see for first-time visitors to the city. But there's much more to see besides if military history and tradition's your things

Join me on visits to the Cabinet War Rooms and Winston Churchill Museum, National Army Museum, RAF Museum and the Guards Museum. As we reflect on the the 80th anniversary of the start of WW2, I'm currently exploring Winston Churchill's London. Churchill was a brilliant wartime leader, a workaholic and an unlikely style icon.

My father was an army officer during WW2. That's why military history remains a special and personal interest for me. I'm also fascinated by how London endured the conflicts of WW1 and WW2, the scars of which can still be seen today if you know where to look.

I lead a special WW2 Blitz tour, where we discover the realities of civilian life in London in an era of total war. The blitz shaped the London we know today. This is very personal for me because it's the story of my own family. My mother, aunt and grandparents lived through the nightly bombing of London. See some of the last bomb sites in the capital - testament to a conflict that is now slipping out of living memory. And handle some unlikey artefacts from the blitz era!

More recently my tours have focussed on the American contribution to the UK's military history - especially the sacrifice of the 28,000 US service personal who died while based in the British isles.

Many visitors enjoy the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. We can get pole position to see the drama of this key historic event and. We'll also learn about the Royal Family and their own special place in British military history. Find out about life in the London Blitz. Perhaps you'd like to join me to visit the Beefeaters (Yeoman Warders) at the Tower of London. To become a Beefeater requires at least 20 years of military service - with an unblemished record.

Read my blog about Sir Winston Churchill, whose eventful life touched so many parts of our city and takes in some of our most vibrant neighbourhoods. http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/churchill-in-four-hats/

Industrial Heritage

Join me to explore London's industrial heritage. Bankside, just over the river at London Bridge, has it all. It was the chaotic home of various 'smelly industries' from railways and boiler-making to tanneries, breweries and vinegar works. The neighbourhood is home to the 'Low Line'. Inspired by New York's High Line, this is Bankside's own industrial trail of railway viaducts and engineering works The popularity of TV programmes like Peaky Blinders has increased interest both in heritage clothing and our Victorian industrial infrastucture, which is still all around us. The city was instrumental to the industrial revolution and the lives of our greatest engineers, including Bazalgette; Brunel; Telford and Greathead - the Victorian engineer who helped devise the cutting-edge technology to tunnel out the London Underground.

Alternatively, explore the story of the Crossrail railway line - the largest (if somewhat delayed) engineering project in Europe. The digging required has produced some astounding archaeology along the way.

Our industrial heritage often sits side by side with our latest street art. If Banksy; Ben Eine; Jimmy C; Fanakapan; SR.X; Stik Zabou; Artista or JXC is your thing ... come along and we'll discover their work in Shoreditch and Hoxton in East London. We can do this on foot or as part of a bicyle tour.
Alternatively, we could look at London's 'post-industrial revolution' and explore the potential a carbon-neutral capital - and the challenges London faces in becoming a truly green city. How will London respond to the challenge of more electric vehicles and the eventual arrival of driverless cars?

Museums

As a former museum director, I know our best museums and galleries inside out. They include the British Museum; Tate Modern; Tate Britain; Museum of London; Victoria and Albert Museum; Imperial War Museum; Cabinet War Rooms and Winston Churchill Museum. Join me to learn all about how museums are changing. No longer stuffy places with things in glass cases, London's modern museums think much more about the needs of their audiences. They are are now places to learn, dance, eat, drink, flirt ... or discover life drawing for the first time.

Come with me for an in-depth exploration of the museum world's immersive approach to both their content and their audiences. Modern museums are also exploring the potential of technologies like artificial and augmented reality. These are evolving technologies: they have the potential to re-define how we think of a museum.

I enjoy a regular live broadcast slot on BBC Radio London, where I discuss London's museums, galleries and cultural attractions.

Music

London has given the world some of the most famous music of all time.
I've been running the official Soho Music Month tours for the past two years. Come and explore the London world of the Beatles; Jimi Hendrix; Mick Jagger and the Stones; the Who - and Paul McCartney and the Beatles. Or perhaps instead your taste is for the Jam; the Clash; Madness or the Sex Pistols. More contemporary offerings include an exploration of the Soho of rap and hip-hop. Perhaps Professor Green or Tinchy Stryder is more your thing. I can tell that story too.

Fashion goes hand-in-hand with music. See where Jimi Hendrix bought his famous cavalry jacket and where Boy George dressed London's beautiful people in the New Romantic era of the 1980s. Join me to discover the stomping grounds of Siouxie Soux; Steve Strange; Spandau Ballet and Depeche Mode.

Read all about it here.
http://westendextra.com/article/mr-londoners-secrets

http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/magical-mystery-tour-musical-adventures-in-the-heart-of-bohemian-london/

Castles & Palaces

Discover our brilliant castles, palaces and royal residences - and some of the dark history behind them. Learn about the role played by Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St James' Palace - today our most senior royal palace. Explore the grim history of the spooky Tower of London and learn about our lost palaces like Nonesuch and Richmond.

Discover the lives of our royals from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II. Find out exactly how that most ancient of institutions - the royal family - is changing with new blood. It began in our own times with the altogether more human approach of the then Lady Diana Spencer. Diana's legacy of course is her family. William and Harry and their wives and children. The former Catherine Middleton and Meghan Markle are now royal duchesses. They inject fresh new vigour, style and informality into British public life ... and are changing the face of the royals forever.

Join me in Blenheum Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Read my recent blog about our greatest PM of all time. http://tomw43.sg-host.com/blogs/churchill-in-four-hats/

We can also head out of London for the day, to visit Kent. It's here we can explore one of the most picture-perfect stately homes in England - Leeds Castle.

Conferences & Incentives

I often work with conference or corporate visitors. London's history is a rich seam to mine. And my specialist tours on topics inclding street art; food and drink; fashion; royalty and rock and roll.

I'm a regular speaker on the conference circuit and a senior commentator on culture. Topics I cover include the role in contemporary society of museums and galleries. I also explore the worlds of communications, public affairs and digital engagement.

This year - unknown to many - London was awarded national park status. I frequently speak on the the future of 'the green city'.

Environment

Discover the countryside in the heart of the city by bike. The delight of a cycle tour is that we can truly explore the environment and touch on several things.

We could see London's most celebrated sites like Big Ben and the Tower of London. We could watch the Guard Change at Buckingham Palace or exploring the heart of Westminster.

In the same trip we can travel along car-free routes and explore London's secret spaces - canals, reservoirs, nature reserves and lost rivers.

All are precious havens for wildlife - creatures both great and small. Join me for a tour on one of my Brompton fold-up cycles. These sturdy and well-designed little bikes are easy and fun to ride. They are made in London, of course.

My bikes are clean and regularly serviced and cycle helmets can be supplied. These tours give a chance to get off the beaten track and offer stark contrasts and how we look at the city.

On my bicycle tour,, we explore the greener options for city life post Covid-19 as we seek to tackle even bigger issues, like climate change.

I can show you what Londoners and London local authorities are trying to do to live greener lives. This includes greater provision for cycle use and the move away from petrol and diesel to electric cars. We can visit vegetable allotments and learn from Londonesr who 'grow their own'. You'd be surprised how many Londoners have a compost heap ... or keep chickens.

My Green City tours explore these options and examine some of the policy-thinking behind new concepts, such as the 15-minute city.

As soon as lockdown lifts, I look forward to running my bicycle tours in a much calmer and more bike-friendly city. London has benefitted from a suite of new traffic-calming meaures in the past year. The air is fresher, the streets are safer and there are fewer people about. The perfect way to discover the secret city  is on two wheels.

Walking Tours

Walking is the best way to get around. All of my tours can be delivered on foot, on a bike or in the comfort of a black cab.

But, to my mind, walking is by far the best way to get around. I love exploring Bankside; Soho; Notting Hill; the City; Shoreditch; Hoxton; Camden Town and Covent Garden on foot.

Film tours are especially popular. See where the Death Eaters attacked London in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Join me to find out where Bridget Jones lives. Alternatively, let's uncover some of the key locations used in the Crown and Downton Abbey.

Virtual tours in these days of Covid are increasingly popular. Using Zoom Professional, I can deliver a walking tour to private groups - from families and friends to companies and universities. Thes can all be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your living room wherever it is in the world. And I can focus on a neighourhood of your choice.

Subjects can also cover wider areas,cutting across geographic boundaries.This might include fashion; WW2 or the life of Winston Churchill. Increasingly, I'm asked to help people trace their UK ancestry. I can run a practical talk on that topic too.

Walking in the footsteps of your own ancestors is a brilliant way to better understand your own family tree.

Literature

Join me to discover the world of London's literary giants. Charles Dickens has associations across the City and a museum dedicated to his legacy in Bloomsbury - a district famous for its writers and thinkers. He's buried in Westminster Abbey.

Also buried in the Abbey is Aphra Benn, our first celebrated female poet and father of the English language Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales start their journey from the Tabard Inn in Southwark. Southwark's historic pubs and coaching inns retain their unique atmosphere to this day. We can also explore the world of doctor-turned-romantic-poet John Keats; Oscar Wilde; Graham Green; Joseph Conrad and many more ... including modern day writers like Lemn Sissay.
Harry Potter author Joanne Rowling, better known as Jk Rowling, was inspred by Dickens. Many of the ecenes in Harry Potter are set in Dickenian-style byways' Let's go and find Diagon Alley together.

William Shakespeare found fortune and fame in London and we can explore the site of his former home and three of his theatres. Shakespeare's brother, Edmund, is buried in an elaborate tomb in Southwark Cathedral, probbaly funded by the Bard himself.

Royalty

My guests are great fans of the Netflix hit 'The Crown'.

Come with me and see where the Buckingham Palace shots were filmed (spoiler alert: not in Buckingham Palace but almost next door to it).

We can visit HMS Belfast, which stood in for the Royal Yacht Britannia. Ely Cathedral stood in for Westminster Abbey in the production. The good news is that we can visit the real Westminster Abbey and see where Her Majesty was actually crowned in 1953.
Many of the additional key scenes were filmed in Martimime Greenwich, just south east of the city - a pleasant trip along the River.
'Victoria', 'Downtown Abbey' and Peaky Blinders were also partly shot here in London.
If you love the fashions of these shows, I can show you where to buy the suits; shoes; dresses and hats to help you achieve that timeless British style.

Do join me on one of my Royal insider shopping trips to discover why we have Prince of Wales checks ... and why we keep the very bottom button of a waistcoat (vest) always undone. This is all about timeless style rather than fickle fashion.

Antiques

I love all manner of quirky antiques and vintage ephemera.

I'm also an avid historic watch collector. London’s a great place for antique watches if you want to treat someone really special at Christmas (yourself, for example).

We all know about Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe. They are all great brands but I can help you track down something a little more unusual, like, perhaps, a London-made JW Benson pocket or wristwatch. There are some rare treats to be found in London's antique watch stores and this is good time to buy if you're purchasing in US dollars or euros.

Other

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I've teamed up with a new start-up called Virtual Trips. We deliver my 'secret city' adventures as virtual tours of London's neighbourhoods - to audiences around the world.
These are live broadcasts - actual tours - where I guide in real time from London's top neighbourhoods. (as opposed to a power point from my kitchen table).

The tour is conducted in front of a live audience all enjoying the journey from the comfort and safet of living rooms around the globe.

Until we've found a vaccine against the Corona virus, I'll continue my virtual tours. This way people from across the globe can enjoy the capital's hidden histories and secret histories from a safe distance.

I also provide private virtual tours delivered on Zoom and Zoom Professional. I can cover all the topics, specialisms, attractions and geographic areas I'd cover in a normal tour. Recen talks have covered fashion and menswear; the Blitz and Battle of Britain; the Great Fire of London; Jim Hendrix in London and virtual tours of Soho; Chelsea; Islington, Bankside and Smithfield.

Call me on 00 44 (0)7725 617883 to find out more.

Countryside

As a London guide, I'm qualified to run specialist tours in the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-on-Avon; Oxford; Canterbury; Stonehenge; Dover and the Cotswolds. Join me on a visit to Kent - 'the Garden of England.' Kent is home to the most picture-perfect stately home in England, Leeds Castle.

Churches & Cathedrals

Join me to discover churches and cathedrals - as well as mosques; temples; synagogues and gurdwaras. St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey are London's most famous places of worship.
Less well-known is the beautiful synagogie at Bevis Marks, in the City of London. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – a masterpiece of exquisite Indian design and workmanship - is breathtaking and well worth a viist out to Neasden, in north west London.
Or we could head further afield and see the cathedrals at Salisbury or Canterbury. Both are unique, both are beautiful and both can be reached on an easy day trip from London.

Architecture

Join me on my architectural tour of London. We can visit the tallest building in the UK, the Shard of glass, designed by Renzo Piano.
Alternitively we can explore the City of London's 'Easter Cluster' or skyscrapers by architects including Richard Rogers' Lloyds Building; Norman Foster's 'Gherkin' or Rafael Vinoly's 'Walkie-Talkie'. Perhaps you want to explore the new thinking around the 15-minute city? We can also visit new community and retail hubs, including Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross - the brainchild of Thomas Heatherwick.

Ethnic Britain

London is a truly world city. It has shaped the world and been shaped by it. The Black Lives Matter campaign has bought into focus the contributions of communities from across the globe.
Join me to celebrate the contemporary world of Indian restauranters; Ghanian tailors; Jamaican tie-makers; Nigerian artists; Chinese doctors and Pakistani authors.

Art/Paintings & Sculpture

Join me on a tour around the British Museum or National Gallery. I've been visiting these places since I was a small child. I love them now as much as I did then.

As a former museum director myself (I was communications director of the Museum of London for eight years) I know London's very best museums inside out.

I like some of the hidden gems best of all. These are the museums and galleries that mosy tourists tend to miss. They include the Sir John Soane Museum; the Wallace Collection and the Estoric Collection of Italian Futurist Art.

If on the other hand, if you fancy being outdoors, we can go on my London sculpture trail by foot or by bike. It's always an adventure!

Decorative Arts/Arts & Crafts

I can show you some of the very latest work of London-based designers. To see the best of international design and craft, we could visit the Conran Shop or perhaps arrange to see artists and makers at work in their own studios.

London is home to the largest design museum in the World - the V&A - otherwise known as the Victoria and Albert Museum. It's home to incredible textiles, beautiful furniture and a stunning collection of cast iron.

It's home to the incredible Cast Court, which comprises of facsimile casts of items from antiquity including Trajan's Column and Michelangelo's David.

The V&A also has the best and biggest fashion collection in the UK.

If you're inspired to have a London tailor recreate a 1940s suit or a 1950s dress, that you've seen in the V&A, I can help there too. I have an excellent little black book of specialist contacts.

Business & Finance

I'm the son of a London stockbroker so this is a personal journal for me..

London is a city on built on trade. Today our financial district, the Square Mile, occupies the original footprint of Roman London, or Londinium.

The Romans traded in everything from wine and furs to earthenware, glassware and weoponry. The City grew and grew. Its trades became represented by might guilds, which still exert power and influence today through their property portfolios (they own some of the planet's most desirable real estate).

Today the City's trade is rather different. London is the world's leading Forex (Foreign Exchange) trading market. Insurance too is a major employer in the City of London - the home of the Lloyds insurance market. Fin tech, which grows and grows, is also huge, with a rival centre on the City of London's eastern fringes.

Join me for a day exploring London's development as a businesses centre over the past 2,000 years. We'll look at the role the British navy played in developing an empire and trading worldwide. We'll discover the legacy of the mighty East India Company, leran about the 1980s Big Bang transformed the City and handle some Roman artefacts into the bargain.

Birds & Animals

London is full of wildlife. I've especially come to realise that during the lockdown. We have bird species as diverse as birds of prey to ring-necked parakeets. If you're really lucky, we might spot both.

I also run a tour called 'Dogs of London' that explores the capital's relationship with man's best friend.

We can explore the city with our very own wolf pack, in the company of a professional dog walker. If you don't fancy being quite so hands-on, we can explore London's dog-related history, from the hidden pets' cemetery in Hyde Park to the naming of districts like Houndsditch and the Isle of Dogs.

Photography

In the earlier part of my career I was a professional photographer and communications specialist for the UK government, taking pictures of high-profile figures including Princess Diana, celebrities and government ministers.

I still take photographs using Leica and Nikon equipment. I run photo tours (using bicycles to reach some little-known locations) to help you capture the light and take better photos, whether you use a film camera or a smart phone to produce compelling photographs you'll treasure for the rest of your life.

Maritime Britain

London is a city built on maritime trade, conquest, empire and indeed slavery.

This is a fascinating story but one not without its darker aspects.

The Museum of London Docklands in the city's east End tells the story of London's role promoting, profiting and later abolishing slavery. The statue of Steven Milligan - a slaver outside the museum - was recently (and legally) removed in light of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

London has some brilliant ships to visit. Join me on the WW2-era HMS Belfast, one of the first ships to take part in the Normandy Landings of 1944. Alternatively, we could head on board the Cutty Sark, a 19th century tea clipper, now berthed in Greenwich.

Regional Tours

There are many great day trips we can do together from London comfortably in a day. They include visits to Canterbury and Salisbury Cathedrals; the Stratford of Willliam Shakespeare; Warwick and Leeds Castle; Blenheim Palace - the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and the wartime PM's home at Chartwell, in Kent.

Another great day out is a trip back in time to Bronze and Iron Age Britain, with a visit to Stonehenge, in Wiltshire.

Other

I'm one of relatively few London guides who run bicycle tours around London.

My cycle tours take in London's lost rivers, hidden canals and the city's greener fringes of marshland and water meadows.

Join me on a hire bike or one of my own Brompton bicycles to explore the city in a green and sustainable way that few tourists ever get to enjoy.

Street Art

London's street art is world famous. Join me to see the latest works in the city's most vibrant districts.

Edgy Shoreditch is in the heart of London's East and is as famous for its street art as it is for its resident hipsters. On the other side of the river are the Leake Street tunnels. Here young spray artists pursue their calling with an almost religious devotion

These formerly impoverished districts are now desirable places to live and also hot beds of creativity. It's here you'll find great street art alongside cutting-edge fashion and design, bustling markets and mouth-watering food.

London's local authorities don't quite know what to do about street art. Should they prosecute those committing 'grafitti' with fines and banning orders? Or should they protect the works of established artists like Banksy and others behind sheets of protective perspex?

Our Victorian industrial heritage and street art frequently go together. My tours often feature railway viaducts or industrial sites. It's here we'll find the works of Banksy; Ben Eine; Jimmy C; Fanakapan; Stik, Zabou or JXC.

On the other side of the river are the Leake Street Tunnels. Running under Waterloo Station, this is where street art, far from being a forbidden actively, is positively encouraged. A visit here usually involves seeing artists at work with their stencils and their sprays.

Every year Leake Street hosts its very own 'Cans Festival'. This both showcases the work of upcoming artists and puts this gritty but fascinating area more conspicuously on the map.

History & Prehistory

I used to be one of the directors of the Museum of London. This museum tells the story our city from 10,000 years BC to the present-day, and indeed beyond.

I can take you through the evolution of our country's history from pre-history to our very own times.

We can get to grips with the stone, bronze and iron ages at Stonehenge and I can show you the site of the very first human settlements in London.

If you're confused by the order of Romans, Vikings, Normans and Georgians I can help you there too. History tours can be delivered on foot or by bike. For larger groups or to head further afield we can use an electric cab or hire a coach for up to 36 people, depending on your needs.

Food & Drink

My food and drink tours are an introduction to the very best in artisan food and natural produce.

Borough Market attracts some of the best producers from about 60 miles around. We can visit some of the most forward-thinking businesses in the area to sample, cheeses, beer, wine, coffee, cured meats and much more besides.

I can arrange specialist cookery or knife-skill classes with my food and drink partners. They include the bakers at Bread Ahead and the events team at specialist cookshop Divertimenti, with branches in Marylebone and Knightsbrige.

There's much more of our focus on where our food comes from and how its produced, something that's had a spotlight shone on it by the pandemic.

Countryside

We can escape the city for the day for the rolling English countryside. We can head to Kent, the 'Garden of England' famous for growing quality hops for brewing and producing fine fruit, including all the strawberries sold during the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. We can visit Kent's picture-perfect Leeds Castle, visit the White Cliffs of Dover or step in Winston Churchill's footsteps, at his former home at Chartwell. Canterbury Cathedral is beautiful and a tour of its usually calm and tranquil interior never disappoints. If you love Cathedrals we could also visit Salisbury, in Wiltshire. Nearby is the UK's most famous pre-historic monument the UNESCO-listed Stonehenge, set in acres of glorious English countryside.

Ghosts, Murders & Mysteries

Ghost stories have always walked among us and Smithfield isone of London's most haunted neighbourhood. The City of London is also full of ghosts.
Dominated by its ancient meat market, this hidden corner of the City was London’s execution site. Hundreds of 16th century martyrs died here, put to death by Henry VIII and, later, his Catholic daughter ‘Bloody’ Mary. William Wallace (Braveheart) was was put to death here. Smithfiled can also lay claim to a 14th century plague pit, London’s most sensational 18th century haunting and a zeppelin raid in WW1, which has left its mark to this day. Not to mention where Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes jumped to his death, allegedly.

International Links

I have an international view and have spent much of my career working at a sesnior level in international development.

I love exploring the connections getween people. I especially delving deep into family histories and helping visitors from across the globe connect with their British ancestors.

Family history and geneology is a growing area and now the subject of popular TV programmes like 'Who do you think you are?'

Discovering your family tree is a labour of love, but a deeply rewarding one. I work with ProGen, the research wing of family tree website

Ancestry.com. I also research at the UK Public Records Office, based near the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. I have special access, also, to the London Metropolitan Archives and know the archive of the Museum of London well too.

Perhaps your ancestors were based in Britain during WWII as part of the USAAF (Today known as the USAF). Maybe they flew bombers in the 8th Airforce - or perhaps they took part in the D-Day landings, the 6 June 1944 invasion of Normandy?

I can help you get to know what life was like for your ancestors before they left our shores. Many Londoners left for a new life far away from home. There are some brilliant stories to be unearthed. #Family History #Findmypast #Ancestry

Other

Americans in London

Thousands of Americans and Canadians call London home. South Kensington is particularly popular with our US cousins. The American Ambassador's house in Regent's Park is one of the finest in London and the ambassadorial garden is the second-largest in the City. Only Buckingham Palace is larger.

We can discover the stomping grounds of founding father Benjamin Franklin; Moby Dick writer Herman Melville; President and wartime leader Eisenhower and 60s phenomenon Jimi Hendrix. All called London home at some point in their lives.

Join me in the American Chapel in St Paul's Cathedral. Here we remember the 285,000 souls who died on active duty, while based in Britain. Many of these were killed during United States Army Airforce raids over occupied Europe. Others died during the Normandy Landings and other operations.

Perhaps your family stop goes further back - to the Daughters of 1812, or earlier, to the Great Migration 1620-40 or even the Maylfower and the Founding Fathers?

We can connect all of these American stories across the decades in a private tour in an electric London cab, on London buses, on foot or by bicycle.

Other

Webinars and virtual tours

I'm currently running a series of bespoke webinars and virtual tours. Subjects can range from fashion to architecture, from London at war to how the city will emerge post-pandemic.

Gardens

London is a city with lungs. In addition to its parks and wild spaces it's home to some great gardens. Its famous formal gardens include Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace. If wilder places are your thing, there are nature reserves in Hackney; Barnes; Kings Cross; Chiswick; Highbury and many more places in between. Wimbledon Common in the south-west and Hampstead Heath in north London are huge wild spaces, as are Hackney marshes and the network of reservoirs in north east London. The city's so-called 'Magnificant Seven' cemeteries are wonderful habitats for wildlife and rare fauna, as are disused railway lines, like the High Line, which runs north from Finsbury Park. I'm a keen gardener myself, growing plants and veg on my North London roof terrace.

Genealogy

I love delving deep into family histories and helping visitors from across the globe connect with their British ancestors.

Family history and geneology is a growing area and now the subject of popular TV programmes like 'Who do you think you are?'

Discovering your family tree is a labour of love, but a deeply rewarding one. I work with ProGen, the research wing of family tree website Ancestry.com. I also research at the UK Public Records Office, based on the banks of the River Thames, near the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. I have special access, also, to the London Metropolitan Archives and know the archive of the Museum of London well too.

Perhaps your ancestors were based in Britain during WWII as part of the USAAF (Today known as the USAF). Maybe they flew bombers in the 8th Airforce - or perhaps they took part in the D-Day landings, the 6 June 1944 invasion of Normandy?

I can help you get to know what life was like for your ancestors before they left our shores. Many Londoners left for a new life far away from home. There are some brilliant stories to be unearthed. #Family History #Findmypast #Ancestry

Art/Paintings & Sculpture

London's art galleries are wonderful. Join me to explore the national art collection at the National Gallery, where we can discover Italian and Northern European Renaissance masters including Paolo Ucello, Leonardo da Vinci and Boteccelli. The Gallery also houses the early Impressionists, like Seurat and Manet and the work of great British artists like JWM Turner, John Constable and George Stubbs. Van Gogh's famous 'Sunflowers' can be seen here as well as 'The Ambassadors' by Hans Holbein. All this wonderful art can be viewed for free. The Tate Modern runs an ever-changing programme of exhibitions in the former Bankside Power Station. People love to visit the famous Seagram Murals by Mark Rothko here. Tat Britain houses British art and includes may works by William Blake. It also houses the Turner Bequest.
The Briish Museum is the world's oldest, Come here to see the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles and the mummies of Ancient Egypt.

Folklore & Traditions

London is a City based on folklore. Gog and Magog are Old Testament figures later celebrated in the City of London. The City has many unusual folkore traditions from Swan Upping to replacing the quill feather on the effigy of John Stow in the Chuch of Mary's Undershaft. The Crossbones Graveyard in Bankside is a medieval burial ground built on unconsecrated ground. But it's also an example of 20th century folklore. It's the shrine to the outcast dead. Here counter-culture poets, writers, DJs, outsiders and local people are remembered in a candlelit vigal on the 23rd of every month.
London is full of ghosts and ghosts stories. Join me to explore the ghosts of Clerkenwell - the sensational Cock Lane ghost of the 17th century was a major news event, eventually involving the intestes of high-society and even Royalty. Rahere was a medieval politician, apothecary, court jester and mover-and-shaker. He founded St Bartholomew's Hospital. He is buried in St Bartholomew the Great and, legend has it, that his ghost re-appears every July.

Archaeology

I used to work at the Museum of London, which had its own Archaeology Service. Join me to see some of the incredible archaeology unearthed by my colleagues. The discoveries include huge sections of Roman wall revealed after the bombing of the Second World War. They also include the atmospheric Crossbones Graveyard, a medieval burial ground investigated by the Museum of London Archaeology Service.
The City of London was the Roman centre established as Londinium following the Roman arrival in 47 AD. There is still plenty of evidence of those Roman invaders?

Lecture Subjects

I am an experienced speaker and lecturer. I have delivered talks in person and online for Oxford Brookes University; UCL; University of Chicago; East London University and Goldsmiths College.
Contemporary topics I cover include: the British Constitution; UK Etiquette; Museums and culture; Urban planning; Architecure; Museum management; Post-pandemic recovery; Green London; street art and fashion. History topics include London at War and the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill; the archaeology of London and Menswear and Making.
I now lecture on the future of the City of London following the pandemic. Will we ever return to those glass and steel skyscrapers?

Stately Homes & Country Houses

I love the UK's stately homes and write about them regularly. London has some treats. They include Kenwood House and Kenton House in North London and, on the other side of the city, the Red House, the home of William Morris, in Bexleyheath, in south east London. Outside London, we could visit Leeds Castle, with its history of American connections going back centuries. Another favourite is the country home of Sir Winston Churchill, Chartwell. Also popular with my guests is Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born. Hampton Court Palace is my personal favourite. It tells a dramatic tale of Tudor and Stuart England. It's right on the river, just outside London, and blissfully free of the crowds.

Decorative Arts/Arts & Crafts

London has some fantastic decorative arts collections. The V&A Museum is the largest collection of design in the world. It's full of glorious textiles; ceramics; paintings, prints and drawings; sculpture and more. It's also home to the world's most important fashion collections. London is a city of makers. We can discover gold and silversmiths at work, as well as jewllers and textile designers. William Morris was a leading light of the arts and crafts movement. He has left his footprint in all of London's four corners. See his former home, the Red House, in Bexleyheath or head over to north London to see the museum dedicated to his memory in Walthamstow.

If you want to own a piece of unique design, I can introduce you to the delights of the Conran Shop or the Aram Store. Each of these high-end retailers sells the work of established designers as well as up-coming talents.

Gay Tours

London is a brilliantly diverse city. LGBTQ people from across the globe have changed the way we think about our city. Events like Pride have become a regular part of the calendar - and are enjoyed by all, gay or straight. Join me to see Maggie Hambling's memorial to Oscar Wilde or perhaps we could head to to Bankside, where the Drag Queen was invented on the Elizabethan stage. A night in the Vauxhall Tavern - London's most famous gay pub - is always fun. It runs a programme of plays, events and talks too. The brilliant players who comprise 'Duckie' are good friends of mine. They often tread the boards at the Vauxhall Tavern.
Gay areas of London in historic times included, perhaps surprisingly, the City of London and the area around St Paul's and Moorgate in particular.

Regional Tours

With my London Blue Badge, I can also lead tours outside the city, as day trips out of Capital. The top attractions include Windsor Castle; Stonehenge; Canterbury; Winston Churchill's home at Chartwell; Stratford-Upon-Avon; Salisbury; Oxford; Dover and the picture-perfect historic villages of the Cotswolds.

Environment

The pandemic has changed the way we think and live. It has put a spotlight on mental health and also on the environment. In London, the 33 boroughs that make up Greater London have made their own responses to the crisis in our environment, to global warming, to pollution and improving air-quality. Thsi has ranged from creating school streets and low-traffoc neighbourhoods to tree planting and I now run post-pandemic cycle tours to re-wilding public spaces. Join me to explore how London is responding to the key issue of our days - and how this compares with efforts in other cities, like New York, Paris and Amsterdam.
The City of London has some of the capital's very best pocket parks. These are tiny but provide a refuge for nature wildlife - from ferns and grasses to a rare pipistrelle bat.

Ethnic Britain

The UK is an incredidly diverse nation and London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. I've recently run a series of tours around the lives of some of the earliest black Britain's in Miranda Kauffman's 2017 book 'Black Tudors'. People of colour have shaped every aspect of British life, especially in the fields of literature, politics, fashion, sport and music. Jimi Hendrix lived and died in London and his story is incredible. Join me to explore the Mayfair home he shared with his English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, and his former stomping grounds in Soho.
But let's bring the story up to date. I can also introduce you to the founders of some brilliant black businesses like Janet's List, which sells artisan products made by women of colour and Shaun Gordon - a wonderfully talented tie maker. Shaun's also the most elegant man in London.

Agriculture

You would be surprised to see the way land is used in and around London - fruit and vegetable allotments, wild foraging and even fishing in our rivers and canals. In the East End of London wine is made from grapes grown in southern England. Outside greater London, we can see how sheep are grazed on open pastures, including around precious monuments, like Stonehenge. En-route to Dover and on the outskirts of Canterbury, we can see hops growing and vast apple and cherry orchards. Fruit and hops have been produced here in 'The Garden of England' for thousands of years.

Politics & Government

I began my early career in the Home Office and Ministry of Defence, as a press officer.

London Areas in Depth

One of the most frequently requested of my tours is of the City of London. This is our financial district and the original Londinium, established by the Romans, following their arrival in 47AD. The City of London - called the Square Mile by Londoners - is full of surprises. This financial powerhouse is home to banking, insurance and fin-tech. It's also famous for ancient churches, glorious architecture and its 'pocket parks'. These may be tiny but they're havens for flora and fauna. The City is proud, and fiercely protective, of its traditions, its independence, its Lord Moyor and its very own police force.

Fashion

Bond is back - finally - and James Bond is an icon on style. James Bond's London is a fascinating place to discover. With Daniel Craig's final mission as 007 in 'No Time to Die', we take a fresh look at the London locations of the  Bond films from the 1960s to the present day.

My tours explore the places frequented by Bond author Ian Fleming and that inspired his writing. Then we look at the actual film locations. These range rom the very earliest Bond movies, including 'Dr No', to later offerings, such as 'Spectre'.
My tours also explore the world of other spies, both real and fictional. We can discover the grim and gritty 1960s London of Michael Caine's Harry Palmer in the Ipcress File. Or, how about  the Fab Soho of Austin Powers in 'Goldmember' and the 'Spy who Shagged Me'?
Bond, Harry Palmer and Austin Powers have all inspired a fashion moment so we explore the link between menswear, fashion and espionage, to bring our story full-circle.

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Virtual Tours

Driver Guide:

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