Debut for Westminster Guide

I did something last Wednesday that I had spent a year in training for but had never actually carried out, owing to being too busy on other projects. However, it proved to be both an enjoyable and fulfilling experience leading a group of oil company executives on a tour of the Victoria/St. James’s area of Westminster.

We began at the St. James’ Court hotel in Buckingham Gate and spoke about the Emmanuel Hospital that had stood on the site for three hundred years until it was cleared to make way for the hotel, with the founding family’s Coat of Arms still represented on the gates of the hotel. One of my guests for the walk happened to be from Japan and his colleagues seemed a bit stunned as I spoke a bit of Japanese to him as we begun our tour. It was a bit of a bonus for me too as I have been getting less and less practice with the lack of Japanese tourists in London. I think due to the unfavourable exchange rate for Japanese people. Of course in reverse it is a great opportunity for us to go to Japan as it’s very affordable for us right now.

Our walk took in some of London’s most iconic tourist spots like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Cathedral and the Abbey. Not often walking guides’ most favoured stops, as some seem to think “leave it to the bus tours”! However, I think it would be daft to ignore them as you walk past provided that you can spin an interesting anecdote along with a bit of the history.

Westminster Cathedral

Our stroll around the St. James’s and Victoria area in this case, was scheduled for one and a half hours and I’m pleased to say that we were able to keep to the schedule.

The Sanctuary SW1

The Sanctuary SW1

Descriptions of the buildings and surrounds were accompanied by some anecdotes about characters associated with them, hopefully a bit of humour and salacious tales of outrage and intrigue thrown in too.

Mindful of my guests needing to be at their restaurant tables for 7.30pm we arrived on time with a few minutes to speak about the restaurant and its predecessors before my smiling guests went off to enjoy their meals.

Having been asked to stand in for a colleague at rather short notice, I surprised myself by actually quite enjoying the experience. So much so that I have decided to include a few walks in our tour schedules now, so look out for some announcements in that regard.