As the latest Covid guidelines hit the news, tour guides in the UK are bracing themselves for another quiet Christmas. We had hoped for an increase in interest during the holidays but this is now looking much less likely.
Gosh, we have had to be resilient bunch! We have adapted to the pandemic in so many different ways. We have taken our tours online, we have brushed up on information in our various areas of expertise and we have delved into new fields that we had fairly average knowledge of previously.
I can now not only identify Baroque, Gothic, Norman, and Neo-classical buildings but I can tell you all about their identifying features, with detail as to how they evolved, who was the pre-eminent architect for each and where you can find crowning examples around London and throughout England. I can even take you inside many of these far-flung buildings and explain their idiosyncracies.
I have spread my wings from London and researched outlying areas in further depth. I have visited stately homes, Cotswold villages and places of pilgrimage further afield, from Diana’s tomb at Althorp to Lindisfarne in Northumbria. I also know outlying areas of London in-depth… Richmond, Wimbledon etc.... there is so much to see and do around the capital!
This summer and autumn we saw a few of our beloved tourists returning to our shores and it was a joy to return to our ‘day-job’. What I have realised is that I love my work. I love being effusive, entertaining, adaptable and most of all I love being with people.
A great guide is not only capable of explaining the scenery, buildings and history of the surroundings but also someone who can impart all this very clearly and with enthusiasm and passion. A great guide can judge their audience and adapt to give just the right level of information and inject humour where appropriate. A great guide is someone who can switch in a moment to explaining something completely different to what was first expected and not lose their stride.
I know that the pandemic has tested us, has left us bereft at times, but your Blue Badge Tourist Guides will come back stronger. Those of us who have stuck with the profession through thick and thin will be there for our visitors, be they students, families, tourist groups or just fascinated individuals who love to learn and be guided.
We look forward to seeing you once again in 2022!