London City Guides
Have you seen these lovely illustrated London city guides pop up across our urban villages? They definitely have caught my eye and in fact I’ve pretty much followed the Urban Walkabout trail like a treasure hunt through the city’s best shopping districts from Shoreditch to Bermondsey, Clerkenwell and Marylebone. So with today’s post, I wanted to share some of my findings on this great digital and print project and introduce you to the wonderful French artist whose work graces its covers: 26-year-old architect and illustrator Ambre Clavel.
The creative brainchild of Victoria Moxey, a publisher with a background in advertising and graphic design, Urban Walkabout is a series of pocket guides highlighting the best that a modern city like Sydney has to offer. With a wealth of local independent businesses across the arts, design, fashion and hospitality industries, Victoria saw a gap in the market for a curated, visual and free lifestyle resource for the discerning shoppers who love well-designed pieces and care about who made them. You’ve read my handpicked Seven Dials posts, you know that’s exactly me!
Over the last eight years, Urban Walkabout have gone from strength to strength and the guides now cover Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Newcastle, Canberra and since last year, London! The latter is the first international series and covers 10 urban villages so far: Shoreditch, Soho Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Notting Hill, Clerkenwell Farringdon, Islington King’s Cross, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury Holborn, Bermondsey Bankside, and Kensington Chelsea.
With slick photography, descriptive reviews and an illustrated map of each neighbourhood, this is the perfect pocket London city guide companion to your weekend wanders. It’s also a great way to discover original local retailers from fashion boutiques to spas and salons, art galleries, bookstores, cafés and restaurants. I’ve added some great local gems to my contact book through their recommended selections and I bet so will you.
If these guides are both useful and beautiful, that’s in no small part due to the gorgeous illustrations of Ambre Clavel. Inspired by photography, cartoons and her studies in Architecture, she freelances as an illustrator and her body of work features some stunning kick-ass urbanite women. Drawing from the worlds of fashion and film, she uses mixed media in her designs, first sketching her silhouettes in pencil and then colouring them in with bold watercolours. These covers truly capture the imagination and they’re the reason I was drawn to picking up the guides in the first place. Do you like them?
As you can tell, I’m an Urban Walkabout fan and I really think you will love them too. If you live in the UK, you can receive the existing print editions straight to your door for free. They also have an app (which I just downloaded today), a blog and a newsletter to help you keep up with all that’s hot and new in London.
They have shared some great September recommendations so far such as the upcoming Ceramics in the City at the Geffrye Museum, the guest chefs line-up at Carousel, and the Carnaby style night tomorrow (20% off!). So I want to say: keep an eye on them friends – I certainly will.
Have you discovered any cool new places recently? Who is “that friend” who influences your weekend wanders?