Tourist guide

Alternative titles for this job include Tour guide, Blue Badge guide

Tourist guides show visitors around places of interest like cities, historic buildings and art galleries.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

28 to 30 seasonal

You could work

freelance / self-employed flexibly

How to become a Tourist guide

You can get into this job through:

  • specialist courses run by private training organisations

Other routes

You'll need one of three levels of badge to work as a guide. You can get the badges by applying directly to local tourist guide associations or major tourist attractions that run their own training schemes.

The 3 levels of qualification are:

  • level 2 - white badge
  • level 3 - green badge
  • level 4 - blue badge

Contact your local tourist guide association to find out if they offer training courses for these qualifications. Guide London offers blue badge training, which usually takes around 18 months.

Some organisations, like York Minster, have their own training courses.

More information

Career tips

An outgoing and friendly personality, plus being able to speak a second or third language, will give you an advantage when applying for jobs. Experience dealing with the public and giving presentations will also help. 

Further information

The Institute of Tourist Guiding can help you decide which badge you’ll need.

You may be able to get help with training costs with a professional and career development loan.

If you're aged between 18 and 30, you may be able to get some financial help from Go Make It Happen.

The British Guild of Tourist Guides runs a bursary scheme and has more information for blue badge tourist guides.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working in one place like a castle or historic house
  • escorting groups around a site, giving information about its history, purpose and architecture
  • accompanying groups on day tours to a number of interesting places or sites

Working environment

Your working environment may be you'll travel often and outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

With experience you could work for a tour operator as a regional tour supervisor or manager.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Tourist guide right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Tourism Management (International Tourism) Foundation Degree (Level 5)

  • Provider: Nottingham College
  • Start date: 01 October 2019
  • Location: Nottingham

Travel & Tourism BTEC Level 3 (Tourism & Aviation)

  • Provider: Shipley College
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Shipley

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No