Stéphanie Kuypers of Talk of the Town London - a dynamic tour company whose entertaining and informative guides bring London to life - talks travel
What do you like to do on holiday?
Explore! I love getting lost, turning down tiny streets, hiking, finding hidden gems and walking the unbeaten path.
Where did you last go?
New Zealand which justified every word of the hype. The Land of the Long White Cloud is absolutely breathtaking.
Do you know where you’re going this year?
Yes I am off to Tuscany in September and plan on squeezing in another jaunt to Paris too. If I'm lucky, I’ll also enjoy a week in my beloved Austria and perhaps a weekend in Barcelona or Prague.
Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why? That’s an impossible question! But I can narrow it down to four... Japan because of the food, Austria because this is where I spent happy childhood years, Edinburgh because of it’s creativity and Paris, because... well, it's Paris!
Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been? Peru is high on the list as is most of South America. And I want to do a proper road trip through the US, stopping in tiny towns and learning the many different facets of the country. Oh - and I really want to visit Prague, as I love that old European charm.
In your own city (London), what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides? Food markets, like Borough! Temple Church is another personal favourite and St. Dunstan's makes for a wonderful summer reading spot. Markets aside, I’d suggest following in the footsteps of a great writer like Charles Dickens and discovering his favourite spots.
How do you plan your trips? Recommendations from insiders are very important to me and often more useful than guidebooks. That said, I do always buy a guidebook because I like having a hard copy - something I can scribble my notes in and highlight. I’ll also check travel websites to make sure information is up to date and accurate.
How often do you go away? About three times a year. If I don't go SOMEWHERE every few months, I start to feel a little claustrophobic.
Who do you travel with? Likeminded friends - very important! You should be mostly on the same page as your travelling companions re what you want to see and do or else be prepared to allow each other the freedom of going off on your own. Travelling with just one other person is great, but a group of four or five can also be fun.
Where do you see tourism in your city, in 10 years? I think people are getting becoming more eager to see things that are off the beaten track, especially things that are hard to find/know about. I believe that in the future tourism will be more self-guided or revolve around smaller groups doing niche tours. Also thanks to the rise of apps et al, tourism will start to cater more for people who want to go off on their own, or help to connect travellers with guides that can give an intimate tour tailored to whatever a traveller wants to discover.
The plug Stéphanie Kuypers is the co-founder of Talk of the Town London: discover the capital with locals who are keen to share their love of London, knowledge and expertise in an entertaining fashion. For the full low-down on Talk of the Town’s tours – which can be scheduled to suit different palettes, pockets, schedules and group size – click here