Sue Hillman had a successful career in a senior position at the BBC, and then redundancy paid her a visit. Instead of moping around, she set about creating ‘It’s Your London’, where she designs and organizes the perfect trip for foreign visitors.
Sue will take you to the famous sights like Big Ben and the Tower of London—but her extensive knowledge of our wonderful city will ensure you get to see places in London you never knew about, and frankly many Londoners probably don’t either.
I met Sue in her lovely home in the famous Notting Hill, and she told me how she set up ‘It’s Your London’, her love for our wonderful city, and some of the fascinating stories from her travels. I’m Steve Lazarus and this is Your London Legacy.
“I’ve always been exploring London, as much as I love to explore the world as well—I see London as another world in itself (and of course the best city in the world).”[18:15]
A typical tour may consist of what Sue calls “First-Timers” who want all the big sites, and then there’s people who have been before and have more particular interests. She does note that a good number of people are interested in Harry Potter—hinting that the book series is well ingrained into how people perceive London’s culture across the world. Sue is constantly exploring new areas that are changing and developing as times go on and different cultures take root.
She just recently saw dragon boats racing at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, just again highlighting that you can experience a wide swath of cultures all in this melting pot of a city.
We talked about our police and how they’re not armed, and she said—“Well why not?” You have to be careful because obviously people coming from a different culture, you have to put your point of view without seeming to criticize theirs.”
Sue has seen London change first hand as most Londoners have. One theme she sees repeated when she takes people out on their tours is the old mixed with the new. Everywhere you go you get that juxtaposition—unlike somewhere like Paris that has been unchanged visually, whereas London is jumbled up and dynamic. This is, of course, in large part due to the destruction London has faced over the years like fires, bombings, and even recent events like terror attacks have reshaped some of the bridges and other landmarks as well.
When asked for a couple of hidden gems in London, Sue will say she’s drawn to places like St. Katherine’s Dock where you can be outside at a marina with amazing, sleek boats like the Gloriana there on the water.
Another spot would be the National Gallery, which most of her tourists are stunned that you can walk in there for free. This lets Sue go in just for a little bit and maybe enjoy a single room or exhibit when she has some free time, instead of paying and feeling like she has to see everything on offer. She loves seeing street art as well and how it changes as different artists paint over each other in the ever-changing way London itself continues to evolve.