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.

Marylebone Urban  Walkabout on Hecticophilia

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.

Notting Hill Urban Walkabout on Hecticophilia

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?

Kensington Chelsea Urban Walkabout on Hecticophilia

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.

They’re on Twitter at @UWalkaboutUK
and Facebook at @UrbanWalkaboutUK

Have you discovered any cool new places recently? Who is “that friend” who influences your weekend wanders?



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September 16, 2015

These look amazing - have ordered all and can't wait to read/drool over them! Thanks for sharing :) x

Natasha - Graphique Fantastique

September 16, 2015

Hey Natasha! So glad you liked them, especially since you're a designer yourself - thank you so much for commenting and for your vote too, I'm super grateful! Jesse x

September 16, 2015

These are so lovely. Hadn't seen them but have now just ordered them. Adore the illustrations.

Rosie xx

September 17, 2015

Hi Rosie, great to hear and I hope you will love them. Totally agree about the illustrations, they are a knockout. Thank you for commenting! x

Urban Walkabout
September 17, 2015

Hi Jesse,
Thanks so much for the lovely write up! Your blog is beautifully designed and really well written.
We're so happy you like the guides and are spreading the word to other like-minded folk - much appreciated!
Urban Walkabout x

September 17, 2015

Hi Keira, thank you for checking in and I'm so glad your team liked the feature. Thanks for the kind words about my blog as well and I was really happy to share! Looking forward to discover more great little places in London through Urban Walkabout. Jesse x

September 17, 2015

Thanks so much for sharing, I've ordered all of these and can't wait to get exploring! xx

September 17, 2015

Hey Angharad, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. It's my pleasure, I'm so glad you liked the post. Hopefully you'll find lots of little gems in the pocket guides for your city explorations! Jesse x

September 17, 2015

Thank you so much for all this kind words :)
Work with Urban Walkabout was so amazing.

September 17, 2015

Ambre! Can I just say I totally fell in love with all these knock-out women you designed? Great to discover your work through Urban Walkabout and I'm head over heels with everything that is on your tumblr. Thank you for stopping by! Jesse x

September 17, 2015

Thanks a lot !
Don't hesitate to follow on Facebook :

Best :)

Posh, Broke, & Bored
September 17, 2015

I love the Urban Walkabout guides! Being a lazy Londoner (read: never leaves her postcode without taking an Uber) I've only ever picked up the Shoreditch guides, and I'm always attracted to them for the cover illustrations. I think I'll make a point to collect more, from other London areas too - the gorgeous cover art will make a great display when framed together! x

Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

September 17, 2015

Hi Jasiminne, I knew you would like these! Especially since you're an illustrator too, it's no surprise they caught your eye :) Maybe these pocket companions are the perfect incentive to go on an adventure on foot, rather than hail a cab? I got the app yesterday and the design is not perfect but the user experience is simple and to the point so I recommend it until you get your hands on the other guides. Thank you for commenting, it's always a pleasure when you stop by x

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