About me and my London life

This site is all about London. It’s also about my work here as a licensed tourist guide and a little about my London life. This city is always on the move and endlessly fascinating.  It leaves its mark on all who live or visit here.  Often in a surprising way. 

I hope to provide useful insights into London life as a local.  But also with my knowledge of London as a tourist destination.  I remain a tourist and an explorer in London and learn new things about it every day.

I’ve always lived here and probably always will.  When I was a child my father, a native Londoner, my German mother and I spent many Sunday afternoons wandering around Chelsea, Mayfair, and Kensington. We would gaze into the windows of grand Georgian and Victorian houses, where famous writers and artists, great scientists and statesmen, aristocrats and eccentrics lived.  I would shiver with excitement and pride in discovering our great city.

At the end of the day, we would take the bus back home to the other side of town, where ordinary people lived, and nothing much seemed to happen.

 Still, the seed was planted.

After leaving school I trained to be an English teacher although didn’t take up this career. I loved teaching but hated schools.  I’ve earned a living in various different ways including:  secretary, aromatherapist, reflexologist, astrologer, teacher, shop assistant and administrator. 

In 2005 I qualified as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide to London.  This is the highest tourist guiding qualification in the UK. It was much harder to get than my degree.

Now,  tourist guiding is my full-time occupation.  I don’t work every day, though.  I’m freelance and get hired by the job. London is a huge magnet for tourists but still the work is seasonal.  In June, July and August I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  From November to February (apart from Christmas) I catch up with my hobbies and some sleep.

I live with my partner, Roman, and two rare and beautiful Korat cats in a house in south-east London, 10 miles from the centre.  In my spare time I love to walk, run, read, practise yoga, cook and play badminton.  And take advantage of everything that London has to offer: the museums, art galleries, theatres, cinemas, the strange and seductive sights and sounds that lure you in…

Katreya Somerville