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Helping you find a career as a Tour Guide

As a tour guide you will guide tourists around some of the UK’s most appealing attractions. You will organise, plan and lead trips to museums, galleries and sites of historical interest. You may be required to speak a second language and will need a good knowledge of the location you guide tourists through.

Many tour guides work in a freelance capacity but all have to be registered with a local tourism regulation board.


What does a Tour Guide do?
Tour guides will typically be assigned to one (or a small number) attraction, and will lead groups of tourists or visitors around the attraction, allowing them to get the best experience. This might involve:

  • Guiding and entertain tourists

  • Developing specialised knowledge of your routes

  • Making bookings e.g. hotels and car hire

  • Welcoming holiday makers

  • Checking tickets

  • Researching locations

  • Advertising your tour ideas

Skills & interests required for a Tour Guide
Tour guides need to be charismatic and confident, able to describe the history of a particular attraction or monument. They also need to be entertaining - the best tour guides tend not to deliver dry lectures, but have interactive elements to their tours. It can also be really helpful if you speak a foreign language (or two!) when dealing with groups from overseas. Tour guides need to be aware of any risks involved in their tours and therefore be in a position to keep their customers safe.
- Event Planning
- Health and safety
- Organisation
- Public Speaking
- Research skills
- Self-Confidence
- Self-motivation
What hours does a Tour Guide typically do?
Your work hours and work base depend entirely on your employer and the location you operate in. You could be running a historical castle tour for example, which would likely be a morning and afternoon activity, while another tour guide might run a historic pub crawl, which would take place in the evening. The nature of your tour, as well as your employer, dictates your hours.

If you work in a freelance capacity you may have busy and quiet periods and seasonal demand will affect this.
What environment is a Tour Guide based in?
Depending on your knowledge and language skills, being a tour guide can take you anywhere! You may be employed at a particular historical or cultural site, or based in the centre of a city. You will mostly be working outdoors.
How much does a Tour Guide travel?
You may have the opportunity to travel to historic sites around the country (and, potentially, overseas), although often you will be based from one particular location.
How much does a Tour Guide get paid?
A starting salary for a tour guide is around £12,000 to £20,000 per annum. More experience can see this grow but the industry is not a high paying one. Many tour guides also work another job because tour guiding work is often secured in the form of a temporary contract due to seasonal demand.
Perks & benefits
Travelling and working in beautiful and historic environments is a sizeable benefit for tour guides. Your office could be a beach, a castle or an amazing historical site.
What qualifications does a Tour Guide need?
Depending on your location, the tourists you typically guide, and your employer, you may need language skills and studying languages will always be beneficial four tour operations roles. Equally knowledge of the geography and history of the area in question is necessary but you may be able to gain and demonstrate this without formal qualifications.
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