In our annual spotlight looking at guided tours, Brenda Watkinson and Abbe Bates highlight some of the opportunities available for groups to book tours with experts or to explore ‘behind the scenes’.Throughout Britain, Blue and Green Badge Tourist Guides offer tours of destinations and buildings that will give your members invaluable insights into the background and history of an area. Guides cover many interesting themes reflecting an individual passion they may have – or they can work with you to create a tour tailored to your group’s interests.
Coventry – City of Culture
There’s growing interest in Coventry – the next UK City of Culture has much to offer groups, even before work to get it ready for the limelight in 2021 starts.
Henry VI, William Shakespeare, the Cathedral and Music Museum are just some of the interesting tour ideas awaiting you in a city with more to reveal than that famously naked medieval countess!
Roger Bailey is a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and Coventry is his home town so he is well able to tailor a visit to the city for your group, as well as guiding throughout the Heart of England.
His specialisms include Oxford, Leicester, The Cotswolds and Stratford upon Avon, where he can take you on tours following the life of William Shakespeare from the cradle to the grave.
Canterbury & Beyond is a new company of five Blue Badge Tourist Guides based in the Southeast, who want to enhance visitor experiences by offering tours away from the more obvious destinations.
Living locally and with great enthusiasm for the area, each guide is flexible and client focused, and is able to tailor tours to suit particular interests.
Taking in the great variety that Kent has to offer from seaside resorts and medieval towns, castles and stately homes to gardens and vineyards, the team want to share these ideas for visits with groups and perhaps include a country pub lunch too!
Chichester Tour Guides was established in 2012 when a group of qualified tourist guides joined forces to offer regular walking tours around the historic city of Chichester.
The group has developed to include both coach and walking tours in the South East with special interest tours as diverse as ‘The Romans beneath your feet’ and ‘Herons, Peregrines and Golden Cockerels’.
New tours are being added all the time – or the guides can create a tour to meet the interests of a particular group.
Yorkshire Blue Badge Tourist Guides can offer panoramic coach tours of dramatic countryside or site-guided tours of the county’s many stately homes and ruined monasteries.
Other ideas include beautiful gardens and TV locations from the Victoria TV series to Harry Potter.
Hire a Yorkshire Blue Badge Tourist Guide for walks around a city, town or through countryside, and you will be guaranteed a knowledgeable, entertaining, friendly guide dedicated to providing a great day out.
Delve into the past in Wales
Wales has a rich industrial, mining and cultural heritage, and its many legends, stories, and music are revealed during a tour with one of the country’s Official Green and Blue Badge Tourist Guides.
Their knowledge and interpretations can assist your group to see and understand a destination in more depth, and they can help you explore behind the scenes whether at one of the country’s many castles, by encouraging the brave to descend into slate caverns or by explaining the intricacies of a sheep dog trial.
As World War One centenary commemorations draw to a respectful end, there are several sites associated with the Great War that are less well known but can be included in the guided tours led by World War One Walks.
These include the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley near Southampton and the Remount Depot in Swaythling, Hampshire and more heritage can be found at Stow Maries Airfield near Maldon in Essex.
How to find a guide
britainsbestguides.org will help you locate a guide in a town or area you are planning to visit.
Designed to make it easy to find a trained tourist guide, the site’s comprehensive search function will allow you to search by several categories including region, language, date, times and special interest.
You can also search by tour by clicking on a region of the country and then selecting from a further choice of options.