Kirker Tour Leaders

Valentina Harris

Tour Leader

Valentina is a noted chef, author and broadcaster on the subject of Italian cuisine. She has published more than 30 books including Risotto! Risotto!, Italian Regional Cookery and Food and Cooking of Milan and Bologna.

Andrew Taylor

Tour Leader

Andrew Taylor graduated from the University of St Andrew's in 1989 with a degree in Church History. He has a further degree in Classical Studies and a Masters in the History of Art.

Dr Alex Koller

Tour Leader

Dr Alex Koller was born and schooled in Vienna. He studied Art History and Slavonic studies at the Universities of Vienna and Salzburg and then went on to obtain his PhD at Magdalene College, Cambridge (1998). Since then he has led cultural tours throughout Europe and the Far East.

Tim Clarke

Tour Lecturer

Tim was co-founder of the UK's leading wine tours company, which he ran for nearly 30 years leading numerous tours to wine regions worldwide. Having sold the company some years ago, Tim has been busy with other projects, including making a delicious passito wine on the Greek island of Samos.

Andrew Allen

Tour Leader

Andrew Allen read History of Art at the University of East Anglia and undertook his postgraduate study at the University of Essex taking his MA in early Italian painting.

Stephen Nelson

Tour Leader

Stephen Nelson is an artist who divides his time between London and Italy. He has exhibited at many galleries internationally, including the Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea gallery in Palermo, and he has been selected for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

Louisa Warman

Tour Leader

Louisa first visited Venice briefly in 1995 on a gap year, only to fall deeply in love with the city's art, culture and ambience. Graduating from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, she went on to take a Master's in the History of Art, Venice and Rome, at the University of Warwick, partly held in La Serenissima.

Juliet Rix

Tour Leader

Juliet Rix is an award-winning journalist working for British national newspapers, magazines, and online media as well as the BBC. Juliet is a regular traveller to destinations throughout Europe with a special interest in Italy and the islands of Malta and Gozo.

Louisa Pearson

Tour Leader

Louisa Pearson is a popular tour manager and wine guide, having previously worked for Grahams in Oporto, at Torres winery near Barcelona, and Arblaster and Clarke Wine Tours where she led many wine tours for the Sunday Times and Laithwaites.

Oliver Condy

Tour Leader

Oliver has an MA in organ performance studies from Cardiff University where he studied under the renowned Bach scholar Peter Williams. He also has a Premier Prix from the Conservatoire at Rueil Malmaison, Paris. Following his MA, Oliver worked at Classic FM Magazine for five years, before leaving in 2004 to become the editor of BBC Music Magazine.

Robin Wallis

Tour leader

Robin Wallis studied Modern Languages at Downing College, Cambridge and International Relations at the London School of Economics.

Caroline Howard

Tour leader

Caroline Howard studied History of Art at Edinburgh University and now lives in Rome.

Christopher Monckton

Tour Leader

Christopher was a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford where he developed a passion for both performing and teaching.

Hugh MacDonald-Buchanan

Tour Leader

Hugh Macdonald-Buchanan has long had an interest in the battlefields of The Western Front and has led many tours there for clients from all over the world.

Andrew Biggs

Tour leader

Andrew Biggs read Music and the History of Art at Leeds University. He has led cultural tours throughout the world for over twenty years.

Jane McNamara

Tour leader

Jane has had a long association with Kirker Holidays and over the last decade she has escorted several exclusive Kirker music festivals in the UK and at sea, as well as tours in Europe.

Charlie Hall

Tour Leader

Charlie Hall has known Italy intimately since 1965 when his father set up the excellent John Hall Venice course for gap year students who wish to become enlightened by many aspects of Venetian and Italian culture.

Kirsty Fergusson

Tour leader

Kirsty Fergusson exchanged a career in academia (she is a PhD specialising in French philosopher-novelists) for a life in gardening. Trained at Capel Manor, she was head gardener at Mapperton in Dorset during the early nineties, where a series of fortunate encounters opened the door to garden writing. 

Patrick Bade

Tour Leader

Patrick Bade taught for the University of Glasgow MA programme at Christie's Education in London. He had worked at Christie's since 1981, where he also gave courses on the history of opera.

Elaine Padmore

Tour lecturer

Elaine Padmore is best known as the Director of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, a post she held with great distinction between 2000 and 2011. She began her career as a BBC producer and was Director of Opera there for many years.

Ger van den Munckhof

Tour Leader

After studying at the University of Wageningen, near the Dutch city of Arnhem, Ger began his career as a consultant, before working as a guide and tour leader both in his native Netherlands and abroad.

Simon Monckton

Tour Leader

Simon Monckton studied Theology at Durham University. He is particularly interested in the influence of religion on great Mediaeval cathedrals and how this differed throughout Europe. Simon has led tours to destinations all over the world and has taken cultural tours to all regions of Spain on many occasions.

Graeme Coles

Tour Leader

Graeme Coles has worked in the hospitality industry all his life, working in hotels both overseas and in the UK. It was whilst managing a hotel in Lewes, close to the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, that he developed a keen interest in opera and classical music.

Declan Hamilton

Tour Leader

Declan Hamilton has been leading music tours for many years. He studied singing at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music, and sang major roles in a number of operas both as a student and professional.

Roger Butler

Tour Lecturer

Landscape architect, writer, photographer and lecturer, Roger Butler has a particular interest in the unique history, architecture and traditions of Britain’s canal network.

Jonathan Ray

Tour Leader

Jonathan Ray is the Drinks Editor for The Spectator magazine, drinks columnist of The Field and Spear’s Magazine, contributing editor of Boat International and author of several books on wine and spirits including All About Wine, Bloodlines & Grapevines, Drink More Fizz! and That’s the Spirit!.

Alex Wilkins

Tour Lecturer

Alex Wilkins is a news reporter focused on space, physics and artificial intelligence.

Martin Griffiths

Tour Lecturer

Martin Griffiths is a senior lecturer in space science at the University of South Wales.

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