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Last updated 19/12/2012
Mobile: 0044 (0)7939 076 514
Year qualified: 2008 - Driver Guide
Native language: English
Biography: "The Best Blue Badge Guide in England" says John Murray of Oregon, USA. "It is evident to us that John Blakey's aim is to exceed the expectations of his customers."
As well as driver-guiding, John also leads walking tours around London, for London Walks, who recently won 'Best Tourist Experience' at the Visit London awards, and the top award at the National version too - the tourism 'oscars'! He was also featured in Country Life magazine, in a piece entitled 'Badge of Honour'.
A professional guide, John is also a writer and television and film actor with a 20 year career - so he likes to concentrate on the great stories and characters associated with any particular place.
'Bring it to life, is my motto. Everywhere has a history and history is made of real flesh and blood people of all shapes and personalities both noble and ignoble. Wars, love affairs, treachery, sacrifice, avarice, ego, greatness - it's all here and I like to make sure my clients are taken to the heart of it - whatever their interest might be, and WHEREVER it might be. London, Oxford, The Cotswolds, Canterbury, Windsor Castle, Bath, Stonehenge, Hampton Court, Stratford, The Tower of London, The British Museum, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral... If I can inform AND entertain - I love to make people laugh - I've done my job.'
Katey Hartwell, named Top Travel Specialist for 11 years, 2000 - 2010 by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, says:
“When I first met John Blakey, I knew he was an incredibly nice man. After my first tour with him, I realized that he is an amazing guide. He can really tell a story. He makes the sites and the history come alive. As a former actor, his talents certainly lend themselves to his profession - he's one of the UK's top Blue Badge guides. If you are a couple, or a family with young children or teens, you will all enjoy spending your time with John in London and/or around the English countryside.
I have been in the business now for more than 30 years, and have spent a lot of time sourcing guides for clients. At the end of the day, I find that is what people most remember about their trip - their time with a wonderful guide. John is perfect. You will be wowed.”
One happy client says, "A thousand thank yous John, for all your insight and experience. We had such an enlightening and unforgettable time. We could never begin to peel as much skin off of London if we were not guided by such a wise and eloquent companion. You made London come alive for us, and I will never forget these days." Janet Dahl, Chicago
Region for which accredited: London
London sites for which accredited: British Library, British Museum, City of London, East London, Greenwich, Hampton Court Palace, National Gallery, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey
Sites outside London for which accredited: Bath, Oxford, Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge, Stratford-upon-Avon, Winchester Cathedral, Windsor Castle
Special interests: But it's not all ancient history... the London of today is bursting with fascinating things and John can show you places that you might not find yourself.
'It's the extraordinary out of the way places - pubs, shops, restaurants, parks, architectural gems - that capture the imagination. And London is full of them!'
John is also a ripperoligist! He has studied the phenomenon that is Jack The Ripper and lead walks around his hunting ground.
'I'm also fully licensed and insured to carry passengers in my Land Rover Freelander, so if you are staying in London, I can take you to lots of places outside London, like The Cotswolds, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Bath, Stratford, Oxford, Warwick Castle, Winchester, Cambridge...' The list goes on!
And if you would like to pop over to Paris ( it only takes just over two hours from central London to the centre of Paris by Eurostar train) John can help there too as he knows Paris well. He can recommend where to stay, eat and show you the sights too.
'It's easy to either visit Paris for a day trip, or to stay overnight. It's so different to London and is a great city to walk - most of the greatest sights are best seen on foot.'
"John - My group just loved you. I have entertained them with several Blue Badge Guides over the last couple of years and you are now definitely their No. 1 favourite. You really must do another walk for me later on." Angela Hughes Tours
Walking tours: 1. Jack The Ripper - London 1888. Jack is hunting. Come on... you know you want to... 2 hours of Murderously gruesome detail. Not for the Squeamish.
2. Westminster - Public and Private. The Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St James' Palace - all the big stuff AND some beautiful streets where the important people live!
3. The River, The Romans, Fire and Blitz - The Tower of London, where the Romans first set up shop, a river boat trip AND Westminster!
"John, I just thought I'd let you know that my client was most impressed with you. His comment was that he would certainly use you again, and that he would recommend you to anyone travelling to London (very high praise from someone who used to work in travel!). Again, thank you for taking care of my clients, and I am getting ready to recommend you to some other very good clients who plan to visit London next March-April '11." Susanne Knowles, The Travel Authority, USA.
Extended tours: As well as Paris, why not tour the UK?
- The Cotswolds. Stay in ancient hotels, tour the achingly beautiful countryside and eat in wonderful old pubs. Walking tours can be arranged as well as touring in the car.
- Secret Dorset. Stunning unspoiled rolling hills, beautiful moors and the only natural World Heritage Site, The Jurassic Coast. Stay in lovely old hotels, visit beautiful Manor Houses, gardens and beaches. Great walking country and the area is renowned for great food. This is where John grew up, so he knows it like the back of his hand. We can also stray into other counties too. 3 to 5 day stays recommended.
'I can arrange accommodation everywhere from top spa hotels, flagstone floored Inns, to quaint B & B's. The UK countryside has SO much to offer, and if you have an itinerary of your own, then I can tailor a tour especially for you.'
Countries offered: France