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Inma Ferrer, tourist information officer at City Information Centre
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a tourist information officer

James FitzGerald

…according to Inma Ferrer, 50.

There’s only one proper tourist office left in central London

‘I manage the City Information Centre, run by the City of London Corporation. All staff here speak at least three languages. It’s the last of its kind in central London. Originally we only covered the Square Mile, but now we cover all of London and the country too – so I get questions about Stonehenge and the Cotswolds.’

Even locals can feel lost in the city

‘Of course we mostly help tourists. But we actually get a lot of Londoners too – people who feel overwhelmed by all the information on the internet and want some human advice. I’ve even given tips on the city’s best rooftop bars.’

The London police have won an Olympic gold medal

‘There’s a lot of incredible history people aren’t familiar with. Take the City of London Police Museum. Many Londoners don’t know it’s there, but it’s free to visit and full of interesting artefacts, including a gold medal won at the 1920 Olympics by a tug-of-war team made up entirely of London police!’

Long before gin, Londoners made wine

‘One of my favourite secret London green spaces is Cleary Gardens, where you’ll find birds, insects and grapevines. In medieval times they used to make wine in this area. Sadly the grapes are just ornamental now.’

People think The Beatles lived on Liverpool Street

‘There has been a bit of confusion over the name. People also ask if they can find the University of Oxford near Oxford Street. I’ve also been asked where to find Sherlock Holmes’s grave, and for directions to St Paul’s – which doesn’t sound that silly, but it’s literally next door!'

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