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What is a Blue Badge tour guide?

Posted on February 1, 2018 at 10:35 am

Being a professional tour guide is a stimulating, varied and tremendously fun job. However, there are tour guides and then there are Blue Badge tour guides. A Blue Badge tour guide has been through a demanding two year training course and has been subjected to a barrage of no less than eleven written and practical exams in order to win the coveted Blue Badge.

Blue Badge tour guides are highly trained professionals and will provide customers with entertaining and informative guided tours. The point is that Blue Badge tour guides learn a vast amount of material including, history, architecture, art, culture as well as obviously knowing the area in which they operate, in my case London. But it's not just about the material. Professional guides need to be engaging and each tour needs to be appropriate to the client and this is what sets Blue Badge guides apart. 

Blue Badge guides are regulated by the Institute of Tourist Guiding, www.itg.org.uk , and they set the standards to which all guides must adhere in order to qualify for and maintain ownership of the Blue Badge. It’s probably the most highly regarded tourist guiding qualification in the world. It's status is such that Blue Badge holders are the only guides who are approved and permitted to guide in three of London's top tourist attractions, namely, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.

But, Blue Badge guides pride themselves on continuing to learn ever more about their subjects which are very broad indeed. All guides engage in programmes of continuous professional development. Blue Badge guides can provide interesting tours on most Museums, Art Galleries and other tourist sites and attractions. Blue Badge tour guides provide bespoke walking tours on a whole raft of thematic subjects. Everything from Roman London to Shakespeare and Dickens and not forgetting the ever in demand film location tours featuring the ubiquitous Harry Potter!

Additionally, some Blue Badge guides are also fully licensed Driver Guides which provides tours to places outside London. In fact there is a network of Blue Badge Driver Guides covering the entire country. London Driver Guides will provide tours to great sites such as Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford, Windsor, Hampton Court and various cathedral cities. There are very few places that Blue Badge driver guides won't go to.

In addition to the Institute of Tourist Guiding there are two other professional guiding associations that support and promote Blue Badge guides. These are the British Guild of Tourist Guides, www.britainsbestguides.org, and the Association of Professional Tour Guides, www.guidelondon.org.uk. If you are looking for a Blue Badge tour guide in London or wider these are good places to start. They provide lots of information on great ideas for tours, top blogs and of course, list individual guides who are available to take your own tour.

The Blue Badge tour guiding qualification provides potential clients with an assurance that they are going to get the best quality tours delivered by professionally trained guides of the very highest calibre. Why would you settle for second best?

Richard Ing is a London Blue Badge tour guide and driver guide, www.ingtours.co.uk .


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