The Blue Badge
Specified area: Traditionally a Tourist Board Area
Professional Blue Badge Tourist Guides began to
be trained in London after World War II in response to a demand for
visitors wanting bomb site tours. Needless to say, the range of
what we show people and the kind of work we do has increased
somewhat since then!
Undoubtedly, some of the work that guides get asked to do around
the country is traditional tourist guiding e.g.
city tours by coach, guiding around cathedrals, castles and other
heritage sites. There is also firm support for walking
tours, not only from visitors but also locals.
Many guides are experts in a field e.g. will
specialise in guiding art galleries or work primarily for groups
like NADFAS. Some guides are architects and will
concentrate on architectural tours. Some are
antiques experts and will be engaged by visitors
with a similar interest.
Another area where there is a lot of expertise (and enthusiasm) is
in sport. Wimbledon Tennis Club uses Blue Badge
guides for their award winning tours. The NFL American football
fixture played at Wembley in 2007 and used Blue Badge guides to
help look after the teams, their supporters and all the media.
There are also over 250 multi-lingual guides who have taken a
course specialising in the Olympic Games in order to be able to
show visitors what is happening in London and around the country
for the 2012 Games.
Prestigious museums and sites of national interest will only use
Blue Badge tourist guides for their visitors e.g. London Blue Badge
guides do the highlights tours for the
British Museum and Parliament
An increasing number of Blue Badge guides are licensed
driver guides offering personalised
chauffeur-driven guiding. Their work can vary from antiques tours
in the Cotswolds, to looking after foreign journalists and film
Blue Badge tourist guides are frequently used by Destination
Management Companies or DMCs to work with their corporate
clients on large programmes. Sometimes this work will
involve guiding excursions, but often it requires
guides to take on the role of a knowledgeable local
Many guides are fluent in more than one language. Indeed, many
guides are not native English speakers and work in their own mother
tongue e.g. Russian, Japanese or Mandarin.
Apart from guiding, some Blue Badge guides work directly for large
companies, creating and operating programmes for
conferences, incentive tours and training seminars. Others are
involved in training and not only guide training,
but for example, teaching presentational skills to
personnel in industry. Some run their own lecture
Some guides also run their own tour agencies
offering specialist tours for, say, property investors or to
Billingsgate for Japanese fishermen - the possibilities are
endless. All Blue Badge Tourist Guides are
self-employed and can be contacted directly