London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

A Perfect Weekend

If only every weekend was like the weekend just gone. London seemed to be on a high and I certainly was having found out on Saturday morning that I had qualified as a City of Westminster Walking Tour Guide.

19 and 20 September this year were the dates for Open House Weekend when 700 buildings across the capital are open for free access to the public.

Over the weekend I learned so much, saw some fantastic architecture and amazing interiors and met many interesting and friendly people.

I spent Saturday afternoon volunteering as a steward at Marlborough House in Pall Mall. It was very hot in there (and I was dressed for winter – it was cold when I left home in the morning) but I had a wonderful time. I had some interesting conversations, I people-watched and I enjoyed the interior of a fantastic historical building. It is certainly worth putting on your list to visit next year even just to sit in the enormous garden normally hidden and private.

Every building I went to I got chatting with people. I’ve been invited to bring a group back for a tour to the Royal Society in Carlton House Terrace, I’ve had tea at the RSA (incidentally open to the public for a wedding fair on 11 October when you will have another chance to tour the house), I’ve sat on the steps of the Lansdowne Club waiting for a tour telling a couple all about Harry Gordon Selfridge and his escapades after his wife died and I even bumped into one of our examiners and had a friendly chat with her. It might have been different had I failed though!

Sunday evening there was a party for volunteers at the German Gymnasium next to St Pancras station. This was an amazing space and I still have to read up about its history. At the party I bumped into the Chairman of the guiding association I am about to join and 2 people I have met before through other clubs. By the end of the weekend I had several email addresses of people interested in coming on my walks.

Am off to Yorkshire tomorrow morning and hope this weekend will be equally as rewarding.

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