GUIDED HISTORY WALKS


Unless otherwise stated, walks run for 2 hours or slightly longer and cover 2 – 2.5 miles.
Group size usually a maximum of 15.
Cost £15 per person for 2+ hours; shorter walks at a reduced rate. Please book through Eventbrite.

COVID-19 UPDATE: AUGUST
Pandemic restrictions were lifted on July 19th, but walks are for a maximum of 15 attendees only, and I will still remind you that some may prefer to stay socially distanced.
More walks will be scheduled later in August. Do browse through the possibilities below and maybe book a private tour for a small group of friends/family?
I am also listing some upcoming walks in Hackney led by fellow guide Sean Gubbins of Walk Hackney – see calendar.


Medieval to modern – the monasteries of Clerkenwell and their legacy today

In medieval times Clerkenwell was an area of fields on the outskirts of the City of London, dominated by monastic institutions. The monasteries were all closed in the 1530s when Henry VIII broke with the Church of Rome but their buildings remained. Some were demolished but others were repurposed and rebuilt over the years; many of them still play a philanthropic and caring role today.

Starts and ends near Farringdon Station, book here for next walk on September 29th


Canonbury and Central Islington Highlights

This walk winds either side of Upper Street and explores the coming of the railways, a 16C manor house, a 17C water course, theatres and music halls, two churches, cattle sheds, agriculture, literary figures, pretty Georgian terraces and squares, an art gallery, at least three romances and more.

Starts at Highbury and Islington station, ends at the Angel.


Historic Finsbury

Now part of the borough of Islington, this area and adjacent Clerkenwell formed the old Borough of Finsbury until 1965. Finsbury was originally the religious parish of St. Luke’s just outside the City walls. This walk explores several centuries of history including archery fields, Elizabethan theatre, a noted artillery regiment, a plague pit, the birthplace of Methodism and a radical early metropolitan council.

Starts at Barbican station, ends near Old Street station.


Clerkenwell Squares

For a built-up urban area, Clerkenwell has a perhaps surprising number of green spaces, many of them named as ‘squares’, but not always square in shape. Some are ancient open spaces dating back centuries, particularly in the south of the area closer to the City. Here, monastic house were founded from the 12th century onwards, including St. John’s Priory and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Many other garden squares closer to Pentonville are the result of tremendous residential building, by three main landowners, from 1800 onwards. This walk tracks north through Clerkenwell, looking at both types of squares and their histories.

Starts at Barbican tube station, ends at the Angel.


A watery wander around the Angel Islington

A circular walk from Angel tube, exploring lost and hidden rivers, springs and wells; a manmade canal and reservoirs; the New River – an astonishing early 17C waterworks scheme; risqué pleasure gardens; a famous theatre; Georgian and Victorian squares and streets; an eccentric estate owner; a lost cricket ground; and all ending in a historic market.

Starts and ends near the Angel station.


Clerkenwell Crime and Punishment

The Clerkenwell area lies just outside the old City, originally the location of the monastic houses from the late 1100s. The Industrial Revolution led to a massive increase in population as people came looking for work, and in turn the area became overcrowded, crime-ridden and squalid. As it lay outside the City’s direct jurisdiction (part of Middlesex), the area attracted radicals, rebels and criminals. The local system of magistrates, judges and parishes in turn built prisons, courthouses and workhouses.

Starts and ends at Farringdon station.


‘Beating the Bounds’ I – the border between Islington & Hackney around Dalston and De Beauvoir

‘Beating the Bounds’ to mark and confirm the borders between parishes is an ancient tradition, where the border was literally paced out, agreed and marked with stones each year. This is the first of a series of planned walks exploring the borders of today’s Islington Borough, looking at how this has evolved over the centuries due to a mix of changing land ownership, parish church catchments, significance of early settlements and roads, and natural features such as springs and ponds.

This walk between Islington and Hackney boroughs follows the lines of Balls Pond Road and Southgate Road. There’s a wealth of interest on either side of the border, including a leper hospital, almshouses, inns of pleasure and ill repute, pretty 19C residential roads, market gardens, a livestock market, vanished churches, factories and a manor house.

Starts and ends in De Beauvoir Square (5 minutes from Haggerston Overground).


‘Beating’ the Bounds II – Islington & Hackney Border south from the Regent’s Canal to the City

Continuing our exploration of the Islington and Hackney border, walking from De Beauvoir and the Regent’s canal to Finsbury, Shoreditch and the edge of the City in Moorfields. A varied mix of City Livery Company history, ironworks, canal basins, WWII devastation, the lost hospitals quarter, a natural swimming pool and a mediaeval well.

Starts at the Rosemary Branch by the canal and ends near Old St Station.


Cloudesley – from fields and livestock to genteel living

The Cloudesley Estate in Barnsbury originated from a bequest of two fields in 1517 from Richard Cloudesley to the Parish of Islington. After three centuries of agricultural use, the residential estate was developed from 1820 onwards. This walk highlights the social and cultural history of the first half of the 19C in Islington and is enlivened by histories of those who were buried in the crypt of Holy Trinity church. You will meet the great and good of the parish, hear of a huge fraud and scandal, learn of residents who travelled the world and those closer to home.

Starts and ends in Cloudesley Square (5 minutes from Angel tube).


Payment and refunds
Payment in advance via Eventbrite secures your booking.
Cancellations up to 48 hours in advance are refunded (minus Eventbrite booking fee); within 48 hours of the tour, no refund. Walks will go ahead whatever the weather, please be prepared to dress accordingly.