Iya London

IYA London Walks

Iya London unearths and shares London’s overlooked stories, past and present, through guided walks, talks and research. 

Iya London brings the joy of learning about London, while walking together in its streets, to new audiences.

Spring schedule

White City's Hidden History

Distance – 2.9km/1.8 miles – 2 hours

Learn how a Hungarian impresario created a 140-acre pleasure ground for exhibitions, entertainment and the 1908 Olympics. Its name was the Great White City.

We’ll also explore the UK’s first public Japanese garden, the memorial to the Olympics and visit Television Centre with its iconic architecture.

1st June

30th June

20th July

Old Oak to White City: a history of 20th century public housing

Distance – 3.6 km/2.9 miles – 2¼ hours

Telling the story of public housing in London in the 20th century, this walk explores an extraordinary range of homes from cottage estates influenced by the garden city movement, to Peabody flats channelling Hampton Court, to a hexagonal modernist block inspired by the Giants’ Causeway.

2nd June

29th June

21st July

Monarchy and Empire in South Kensington (for The Great Exhibition Road Festival)

Distance – 1.1 km/0.7 mile – 45 minutes

This free short walk explores the history and politics behind the development of this groundbreaking arts and science quarter, told through its architecture.

We’ll view the extraordinary buildings surrounding Exhibition Road. Together we’ll decode their symbols and discover how they were designed to assert the power of Western ideas and technology, as well as the growing power of the British Empire and its monarchy.

No need to book. Just turn up on the day!

15th June

16th June

Reviews

Excellent
Based on 38 reviews
Lorraine Price
Lorraine Price
5 March 2024
I thoroughly enjoyed the White City walk. I had been inspired to find out more about the area following an article in the local newspaper which I had cut out many years ago. During the tour Joanna imparted so much information about the history of the area and the impact of recent developments and changes. She was able to answer any questions fielded. We even had people from Chicago on the tour where the great White City exhibition had been held in America.
Ah Young Shin
Ah Young Shin
28 February 2024
The walk was incredibly helpful and informative. It lasted for about 2 hours but it went by pretty quickly because I enjoyed it so much. Very much looking forward to other walks hosted by Joanna in the future!
girl_offline
girl_offline
28 February 2024
Joanna's walk was incredible informative, clear and interesting. A friend and I were conducting some research on the area for a project and Joanna answered all questions and had an incredibly in-depth understanding of White City's history spanning from before 1908 to the present day. The photographs she showed at different points of the walk were also very helpful in visualising the past and connecting to the present. Overall, a really important and enjoyable way to learn more about an interesting place with a very warm and friendly guide.
Janet Deboo
Janet Deboo
22 February 2024
Joanna is an engaging and thoughtful host whose walks are always enjoyable and provide new insights into areas of London on our doorstep and yet we only know them by driving through. I learnt a huge amount about both the architecture and social history of West London on Joanna's recent Social Housing walk. Highly recommended!
Hugo C-Stanley
Hugo C-Stanley
2 February 2024
I highly recommend - I did the Old Oak Estate to White City walk last Saturday and really enjoyed it. Joanna’s blend of archival research with visual sources and architectural elements brought the history of public housing to life. The focus on early 20th c. cottage estates will be particularly interesting if you, like me, are more familiar with the story and architecture of postwar public housing.
Ray Weekes
Ray Weekes
31 January 2024
I thoroughly enjoyed Joanna’s Old Oak Estate to White City walk. She is very knowledgeable and informative, had obviously done extensive research about the architectural and social history of the different housing estates. I would definitely recommend Joanna as an excellent guide on this or any of her other walks.
Invisible Palace
Invisible Palace
30 January 2024
The White City walk was completely absorbing, Joanna strikes the perfect balance of using visual sources and historical research, with time to simply enjoy the moment in striking locations. So thoughtfully put together and with every consideration for walk participants.
Binaifer Nowrojee
Binaifer Nowrojee
28 January 2024
What a great walking tour. Fascinating slice of London’s history stretching back over 100 years to a Hungarian impresario who secured the area for a grand exposition in the age of empire, an Olympic stadium, and the BBC broadcasting building that brought us television. These stories are buried under Westfield mall and the new housing developments coming up in the area.
Elizabeth Hodgkin
Elizabeth Hodgkin
24 January 2024
I love going on walks, and do it too little. I went on two Iya walks, the White City walk and the Acton and Hammersmith walk, following the development of council housing. Each was fascinating in itself. In the White City, an area I knew little about, setting its building in a historical context I was also ignorant of - a Hungarian entrepreneur and a 1908 Exhibition - so much painted in this amazing whiteness, constructing the TV centre, tube station, and everything around; placed in a historical context by street names and names of housing blocks. In the other walk we saw the development of council house building, seeing the changing ideas of the planners and the lives of the occupiers. The walks have made me certainly more aware of the importance of local history in architecture and the naming of streets and buildings.
Dareen Majdalawi
Dareen Majdalawi
7 January 2024
A great tour of white city, as someone new to the area it was lovely to learn about its history! Thanks Joanna!

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