Victoria Gardens

25 Victoria Embankment

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A Genius Tour

Flying Machine

Busting the myths and boosting creative confidence

A Genius Tour follows in the footsteps of luminaries who have been struck by genius while walking London’s streets. They range from literary greats like WB Yeats, Virginia Woolf and Chiang Yee to the engineer Joseph Bazalgette, the painter JMW Turner and an anonymous bus conductor. We investigate why their revelation came when it did and upturn the standard assumptions about the Eureka! moment. We test the latest theories about the creative process by trying a playful experiment, sleuthing for ideas in the cityscape around us. We end with a trail of failure, and a battle between two great painters, to learn how to navigate better the dark side of the creative process and raise our creative confidence. Along the way we make discoveries in one of the city’s best-known landscapes that surprise even seasoned Londoners.

A Genius Tour is devised and led by guest Dotmaker Cathy Haynes. Cathy is a London-based artist and curator. She originally created this walk for The School of Life (under the title ‘A Eureka Tour’). To find out more about Cathy, see

Listen to Cathy introduce A Genius Tour.

What to expect

This walking tour takes us to the London streets where great visionaries have had significant flashes of insight to find out why and how inspiration really works. We hear stories of creative struggle, triumph and failure. We look with fresh eyes at the creative triggers to be found in the city’s backstreets and national monuments. And we gain perspectives and strategies to boost our own creative confidence.

Tour goers will:
– be shown a hidden side to the area around Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square.
– gain fuel for the imagination, a boost to creative confidence and strategies to negotiate the creative process better.
– discuss ideas and collaborate with new people to make a playful but enlightening experiment.

Joining Details

Meet: Friday 15 May, 7pm by the Embankment Cafe INSIDE Embankment Gardens. End: In Trafalgar Square, close to Charing Cross and Leicester Square stations. Walk takes two hours (approx).

Suitable for: Adults and children aged 16 and over. The walk is about two miles through central London over uneven terrain and approximately 25 steps without a lift.

Tickets: £18 adults (full price), £15 over 65s and full-time students with proof of status. Price includes a brain-boosting snack. Gift vouchers also available.

Booking essential: Max 16 people per group. Book here.