Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Tours in 2016!

I'm so excited about 2016! I've come up with loads of really fun and entertaining tours! Here's just a small preview of some of the tours I have planned for next year! The tours will be starting in February!
Doctor Who's London: The Doctor spends a lot of time in London, though the show is actually filmed in Wales. This tour takes you on a trip around some of the the London locations from the TV show. We might even see a TARDIS or two!
Date to be determined
The Camden Railway Pub Crawl: There are several lovely and historic pubs along the railway going through Camden. This pub crawl takes you through history from a Victorian Gin House to a local Camden Town Brewery.
Date to be determined, but will probably be on a bank holiday weekend.

The Famous Castle Pubs of Camden: In Victorian times Camden built four (or five depending on who you talk to) castle pubs...only three of them still exsist as pubs.
Date to be determined, but will probably be on a bank holiday weekend.

 The Crazy Cat Lady Tour of London (gentlemen also welcome): On Valentine's Day, I will be giving a tour of cats of London! From Dick Whittington's cat to Nelson the pub cat.
Date: Feb 14th, 2016 at 5pm.
Hair of the Dog: A dog friendly pub crawl
Dogs like walking tours too!
Dates to be determined, if the first one goes well I will be doing multiple ones.

Keep checking back on the website to see when the tours will be taking place!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

London A-Z: B is for Borough Market

When I'm not doing walking tours, I work for a bakery, Bread Ahead. Bread Ahead's main bakery is in Borough Market next to London Bridge station. I've lived in London for fifteen years and until I started working at Bread Ahead I never really went there...I know, crazy! But it is south of the river and I'm a die hard north London girl. Borough Market has been around London Bridge, in some form, for almost 1,000 years!
Borough Market has dozens of stalls selling artisan foods like cheese, bread and meat. There are also fruit and veg stalls. There's a street food market next to Southwark Cathedral. I could go on and on about the amazing variety of stalls underneath the railways arches...but you really have to go there and see for yourself.
There are a range of pubs around the market, some of them hundreds of years old, where you can have a pintor two after a day shopping in the market.
I recommend:
Bread Ahead -for sour dough bread and donuts
Turnips - for fruit and veg
Fish! - for fish n chips

Boot & Flogger
Gladstone Arms
The Royal Oak

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Reading List

Over the next couple months, I will be doing a lot of reading for the tours I'm planning to do next year.
Hopefully, I can get through most, if not all of them! I'd like to try & read one a week.
Nairn's London by Ian Nairn
The London Compendium by Ed Glinert 
London Calling by Barry Miles
Capital Crimes by Max Decharne 
Underword London by Catherine Arnold
City of Sin by Catherine Arnold

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Londonphilia Tours update...

Over six months ago I decided to try and expand my walking tour business, Rock n Roll Camden Walking Tours, into Londonphilia and do other tours, not music related, around London. The last couple months have been a bit stressful for me, I left one job where I was unhappy for another one where I am happy. Getting your footing in a new job can take some time, and with the coming holiday season, I work in retail, I will be very busy at my 'proper' job.
I also realised that I need more time to research and write the tours I'd like to do. I am going to be doing Londonphilia tours but I won't be doing any tours until 2016. I will continue to blog about London and my favorite things about London!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Londonmusica: Pulp - Bar Italia

Even though Pulp are from Sheffield, a lot of their songs, especially on Different Class, are about London. This song is about a little all hours cafe on Frith Street in Soho, where all the 'broken people go'. It's where all the indie kids would go after a night out in Soho for a last coffee before the night bus home...or to someone else's home.
Of course, my Britpop loving friends and I had to go there for a late night coffee when we first came over to London on vacation...which was ironic for me because I don't drink coffee.
Bar Italia has been owned by the Polledri family since 1949.
Bar Italia was awarded the 2010 London Lifestyle Award for London Coffee Shop of the Year.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Literary Footprints

The lovely people at Footprints of London are doing their annual Literary Festival from October 8th till the 25th. Over forty literary themed walking tours covering authors like; Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Geroge Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Pepys...and many more interesting topics.
Last night I went to the launch night at the Hoop & Grapes in Farringdon. Dr. Matthew Green the author of London: A Travel Guide Through Time gave an eductional and entertaining talk. His book is about what you would see, hear and experience if you travelled back in time, like a time traveller, to different periods of London...the time of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, Medieval city life, the plague, the coffee houses, the reign of Queen Victoria and during the Blitz.
Dr. Green talked about London during Shakespeare's time...gruesome bear and bull baiting pits, the theatres and the tabacco house...which out numbered the pubs. It was a fun talk that got the room, filled mostly with other tour guides talking about which time period they would travel to, if they could.
There's so many intersting walks happening over the next two weeks, I can't decide which one to go on! I might have to get the season pass!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Londonfilmia - Attack The Block

This isn't just one of my favorite films set in London, it's one of my favorite films of the last five years! I love this movie so much. It's a well made low budget 'cult' film about an area of London not really portrayed in film and about a group of boys who start out as thugs and end up being heroes. Its funny and scary which is really hard to pull off.
Attack The Block is a Sc-Fi/Horror movie set on a south London estate...after a gang of local boys mug their neighbor something falls from the sky and they kill it. Turns out that something was an alien and now the other aliens are coming after the they try and protect the block.
It's produced by the same people who did Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and directed by Joe Cornish from the Adam & Joe Show. Oh and one of it's young stars is Joe Boyega, who is starring in the new Star Wars movie 'The Force Awakens'!
The American distributors were concerned about the London slang used in the film. Some websites have 'translated' some of the slang used in the film...which is ridiculous...I'm pretty sure most people understand what 'bruv' means. But whenever it's on TV, my friends and I just end up posting 'allow it' and 'believe' on Facebook to each other.
After watching this movie, you too will be chanting 'MOSES! MOSES! MOSES!'

Friday, 25 September 2015

London A to Z: My favorite things in London in Alphabetical order

A is for Angel
I used to work in Angel, or The Angel, or Angel Islington (even though there's no other area of London called Angel). I worked at Borders bookstore for 18 months before it went bankrupt and closed on Christmas Eve. So, I've spent a lot of time in the area. There are a lot of good bars and pubs around Angel:

The Lexington - American style food, beer and whiskey. A pub quiz every Monday, but make sure you go when my friends aren't playing cuz they win...a lot. Gigs and club nights upstairs.

The Mucky Pub - A cozy little pub on a back street. Great jukebox. Weekly pub quizzes and DJs. A pool table out the back. Great selection of real ale.

The King's Head - Theatre pub on Upper Street. It has a small theatre up stairs that puts on plays. There's live music downstairs sometimes. Great place for one last drink is you're out and about in Angel.

Slim Jim's - American style bar with a great selection of cocktails, music and bras hanging from the
ceiling. Right next to the King's Head.

There's also an amzing amout of restaurants in Angel, basically from Angel station all the way along Upper Street to Highbury/Islington station there are restaurants of every type; from greasy cafes to fancy French bistros.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Londontelly - Spaced

The cast of Spaced
Obviously, a lot of TV shows are filmed in London too. From Sherlock Holmes to Doctor Who...every genre of television has used London as its inspiration and backdrop.
My favorite TV show set in London is the comedy Spaced. It written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson and directed by Edgar Wright, who went on to big screen fame with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End...(my personal favorite of his is Scott Pilgrim Vs The World).
I will live here some day
Spaced is about two strangers, Tim and Daisy, who pretend to be a couple to get a flat in North London. The house is Spaced is located in Tuffnell Park, I used to live around the corner from it and visit it when I had a bad day. Their landlady is hard drinking, chain smoking Marsha, who's daughter Amber we never actually see, we just hear her coming and going. In the basement lives eccentric artist Brian. Tim's best friend Mike, Simon Pegg's real life best friend Nick Frost, and Daisy's best friend Twist fill out the cast...and then Colin the dog joins later.
Spaced should be required viewing for anyone moving to London. It is chock full of pop culture references and one episode was the inspiration for Shaun of the Dead. It is a surreal mish mash of music, television, film and comic book references and then a bit of real life. And that's what makes it a classic, not the references...which are amazing by the way...but that we could still relate to what they were going through. Unemployment, break ups, make ups, job hunting, ex-partners, parties, nights out in Camden, raves, losing your dog, fighting with friends, falling in love, pubs, Star Wars & zombies...basically, life in London.
Skip To The End making of Spaced documentary

Monday, 21 September 2015

Londonmusica - Songs About London

Parklife by Blur released 22 August 1994
Along with the movie blogs on Londonphilia I will be posting weekly videos about London. With Blur being my favorite band, of course I had to start with one of their many songs about London. The songs was inspired by Hyde Park as Damon said at Blur's 2009 Hyde Park show; "I came up with the idea for this song in this park. I was living on Kensington Church Street, and I used to come into the park at the other end, and I used to, you know, watch people, and pigeons...", enter Phil Daniels.
The video was directed by Pedro Romhanyi and filmed on the Greenwich Peninsula.
It won Best British Single and Best Video at the 1995 Brit Awards.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Londonfilmia - About A Boy

Choosing the first film to write about for the Londonphilia website was really hard. I didn't want to pick anything too mainstream and what you'd expect. On the other hand I didn't want to be too obscure. Also, I'm a horror movie fan and didn't want to scare you away by writing about one of them...might save the horror movies for October.
I decided on "About A Boy" because not only is it a great movie, it's also a great book by Nick Hornby. It's one of those movies that you always watch when you come across it on t.v. Ironically, it was directed by a pair of American brothers, Paul and Chris Weitz, at the time more famous for the "American Pie" movie.
It's a great London film because it's not overly in your face London. Most of it was filmed in North London...Regent's Park, Clerkenwell and Kentish Town and a bit in Notting Hill and Waterloo.
This is the movie where Hugh Grant stopped playing the floppy haired bumbling Brit and started playing the short haired kind of a jerk Brit. Also the boy, Marcus, was played by a very young Nicholas Hoult...who has grown into a very attractive man.
Another reason it's a great London film is because it perfectly sums up life in London. How your 'family' and friends are not always the people you expect or want but they are usually the people you need.
It also has a brilliant soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Londonfilmia - London in film

London is one of the most filmed cities in the world. Every genre of film has been set and or filmed in
London. It has been the back drop for James Bond films, Disney films, Alfred Hitchcock films, Charles Dickens adaptations, Sherlock Holmes films...the list goes on and on. Each week I will be writing about one of those films. Some of these movies will be very well known; "Shakepeare in Love", "Love, Actually", "An American Werewolf in London", "101 Dalmations (animated and live action)...etc. Others will be less well known..."Creep", "Peeping Tom", "Absolute Beginners", "This Year's Love"...etc.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

London Calling w/ Music Heritage UK & Rock n Roll Camden Walking Tour

Besides Londonphilia, I do a popular tour about Camden Town's music history, Rock n Roll Camden Walking Tour...a lot of which is about Britpop.
Several months ago, I was approached by Music Heritage UK to be interviewed about the Britpop scene in Camden. I took them around to some of the local venues and pubs...and basically did what I always do at the pub, I talked about Britpop.
Here's the finished product, which I'm very proud of and quite excited about.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Disappearing Soho Tour

Soho has always been an ever-changing area of London since the 17th century...but since the 1980's it has been changing at a faster rate then most people like.
Last year I did a tour of Soho based around David Bowie, as I did the tour I realised that most of the venues I was talking about had disappeared. Many of the  historic venues had been closed or are being demolished and replaced with luxury flats or chain restaurants.
This tour will help celebrate and memorialise these legendary venues...including: Madame Jojo's, The Marquee, The 12 Bar, The Intrepid Fox, The Astoria, Billy's...and Denmark Street.
One pound from every ticket will be donated to Save Soho.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Historic Samuel Smith Pub Crawl

There are over thirty Sam Smith's pubs in London.
This tour will take you to six of them...including:

*one of the oldest pubs in London
*one of the most beautiful Victorian pubs in London
*one of the most bohemian pubs in London, a pub that Charles Dickens drank at and mentions in The Tale of Two Cities.

Obviously, this tour is 18 and over only!

Price: Only £10, so you have more money to spend on beer, though Sam Smith's are quite cheap for London.
Days & Time: The fourth Saturday of each month at 5pm, starting on July 25th, and running until November 28th, 2015.
The meeting spot is outside Goodge Street Tube Station on the Northern Line.

We will be going to a total of six pubs.
We recommend only having a half pint at each pub, eating something before the pub crawl and remember to pace yourself. Don't ruin everyone's good time by getting too drunk and acting in a disgraceful manner.

We are your guides not your babysitters.

If you are interested in coming on this fun and informative pub crawl please contact me at

Monday, 15 June 2015

Disappearing Soho

Soho in London is one of the most interesting, creative, bohemian parts of the city. It started off as a
hunting ground and then became the Red Light District and is now the home of the UK film industry.
Everyone from Oscar Wilde to Dylan Thomas to David Bowie to Elton John have lived, worked and played here.
Sadly, some of the venues that these influential people used have been lost to regeneration.
This tour will take you around Soho pointing out and telling the history of these lost venues...including:
Madame Jojo's
The Intrepid Fox
The Marquee (all three located in Soho)
The Astoria
Central Saint Martins
The 12 Bar and soon to be lost Denmark Street.
Also included is a brief history of Soho.

This tour will be on the third Saturday of each month starting on July 18th until November 21st, 2015.
Please meet me in Soho Square at the Tudor style building in the center of the square.
The price is £10 per person. £1 from the ticket price will be donated to Save Soho.

If you are interested in coming on this tour please email me, Alison, at

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Coming soon...Sister Suffragettes Tour!

We're clearly soldiers in petticoats
And dauntless crusaders for woman's votes
Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they're rather stupid!

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sign in grateful chorus
"Well done, Sister Suffragette!"

From Kensington to Billingsgate
One hears the restless cries!
From ev'ry corner of the land:
"Womankind, arise!"
Political equality and equal rights with men!
Take heart! For Missus Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!

No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We're fighting for our rights, militantly!
Never you fear!

So, cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sign in grateful chorus
"Well done! Well done!
Well done Sister Suffragette!"

Friday, 27 February 2015

Coming Soon!

I run the popular Rock n Roll Camden Walking Tour in Camden Town. Now I don't just love Camden...I love London
I want to share my passion for all things London with people. This is where all the tours, that aren't to do with Rock n Roll or Camden, will be located!