Tour Guiding in Tower Hamlets

Bow Roundabout - tour guiding in Tower Hamlets

Tour guiding in Tower Hamlets is growing: increasingly people are discovering that this borough – the real East End – has so much to offer the visitor. True, the bars, coffee shops and generally fashionable nature of the area are attracting visitors. However the area’s urban landscape and the real stories of communities growing and developing over centuries are finding new voices.

Tour Guiding in Tower Hamlets – the Courses

The following courses are offered via Idea Store Learning, Tower Hamlets Council’s adult education service. They constitute a venture designed to appeal both to aspiring AND experienced guides.

They give aspiring guides a low-level introduction to tour guiding, with particular reference to guiding in Tower Hamlets. To the experienced guide they give a thorough and immersive introduction to the original East End, as well as a chance to refresh guiding techniques.

PLEASE NOTE that the courses are subject to recruitment. If insufficient learners enrol, the courses will not go ahead. In that case, fees paid will be refunded.

The courses comprise two-hour sessions held on consecutive Thursday evenings during term time (there is a half-term break).

The Essentials

This ten-week course explores the basics of tour guiding and the story of the Tower Hamlets. It entails six classroom sessions, one outdoor tour, one indoor tour, and two visits to a local archive.

In Session Five each learner gives a four-minute presentation in class on a preassigned local topic.
In Session Ten groups of learners present in class a rudimentary, locally-based tour they have devised.

The course outline is HERE

The Essentials begins again in September 2020

Going Further

This ten-week course builds on The Essentials to develop the learner’s engagement with the practicalities of guiding within a specific area of Tower Hamlets. It entails classroom sessions and two outdoor sessions.

In Session Five each learner gives a report on the methodology of a hypothetical tour they have devised.
In Session Nine each gives a stop on an outdoor tour, demonstrating risk assessment, positioning, and the use of visual material.

The course outline is HERE

Going Further begins on 16 January 2020 – enrolment details are HERE

Workshop Techniques

This ten-week course applies the guiding techniques learned previously to the development of an outdoor guided in a workshop context. It entails classroom sessions, one session in the borough archives, and four outdoor sessions.

In Session Five each group reports back on progress made with the tour; any issues are discussed in class.
In Session Eight Group One give their outdoor tour, with Group Two giving theirs in Session Nine.

The course outline is HERE

Workshop Techniques begins on 23 April 2020 – enrolment details are HERE


The courses are complimented by a supplementary programme of weekend tours. These are NOT part of the course, but are intended to deepen learners’ experience of guiding. The tours will be available for learners and their companions at a discount price. Please contact me for further details.

Bromley Recreation Ground - tour guiding in Tower Hamlets


If you want to hear about developments as they happen, including future running of the course, please go to Facebook and ‘Like’ the newsletter page TH Walkshop (remember to activate notifications).

If you are not on Facebook, there is an occasional mailing list: please contact me and I will add you.


Photographs © Leigh Stanford 2014

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