If you would like to book a Blue Badge Guide, contact me to discuss your requirements.
As the highest guiding qualification in the UK, the Blue Badge amounts to a quality mark for guides. While guiding styles and personalities differ hugely, the badge shows that the guide has studied the Blue Badge course for their region, and has passed the written and practical examinations. You can be assured that they have a thorough background knowledge of English history, culture, architecture, literature and many other topics, along with very specific knowledge of the region they are qualified to guide in. It also means that they have been trained in guiding techniques – how to present information effectively for different kinds of tours, how to plan and organise a tour, how to research areas and locations, how to manage a group safely on a tour. Equally important, but often overlooked, is that the Blue Badge means the guide has full public liability insurance cover through their membership of professional associations. Other guides may indeed have insurance, but you have no way of knowing unless you specifically ask them to prove it. All in all, by hiring a Blue Badge guide you can be confident that you are in the best and safest possible hands to help you make the most of your trip, combining in-depth knowledge, practical expertise and the reassurance that comes from working with a highly qualified, accredited and insured professional.
There are no hidden costs, but there may be additional ones. If you book a Blue Badge Guide for a tour that involves staying away from home, you will be responsible for the cost of the guide’s accommodation, evening meals and soft drinks. You may also be required to pay the guide’s travel expenses to and from your meeting point, and you will need to pay for their entry ticket to any places that do not offer free entry to Blue Badge Guides.
However, your guide will agree all charges with you beforehand, so there will be no nasty surprises at the end of your tour.
I offer two types of tours: public and private. The public walking tours are run by me and a colleague, Michael, and take place in Birmingham on Saturdays, and anybody is welcome to join these. You will find details of times and prices at Midlands Discovery Tours. Michael and I also offer public ghost walks in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick and details of these can also be found at Midlands Discovery Tours.
Private walks are ones I have been booked for by a particular group or organisation, and these are limited to people that belong to that particular group.
Anyone can book a private tour – I have done tours for tourist groups, corporate incentive schemes, schools, birthday parties, business trips, office nights out, book clubs and music fans, to name just a few examples – so if this is something that would interest you, get in touch
Of course! You can book a Blue Badge Guide for as long or short a time as you like – there is no minimum or maximum time limit. There may be a minimum charge however – if you book a Blue Badge Guide for just a one hour tour, you are likely to pay a half-day rate.
As with all issues regarding pricing, the best advice is to contact the guide and talk to them about your booking.
The price for hiring a Blue Badge Guide varies from region to region, with London being the most expensive. It will also depend how long you require a guide for – booking a Blue Badge Guide for a 10 day tour will work out cheaper per day than booking for just one day. Tours in a language other than English are generally more expensive.
The best way to find out specific prices is to contact the guide, talk to them about what you want and let them give you their price.
The Green badge is the second highest level of guiding qualification and shows that a person is qualified to guide in one particular city. The Blue Badge is the highest level of guiding qualification which covers several counties.
A Green Badge Guide may hold a badge for more than one city, and a Blue Badge Guide may hold a badge for more than one region. The badge will state where the qualification is held for, for example the one shown is for the Heart of England region which covers Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.
In addition to the badges, guides can train to receive an endorsement, which is for a particular building or place. I have the 2012 Venues endorsement which covers the places used for the London Olympic games.
The Blue Badge is the highest level of qualification there is for guiding in the UK. It takes between one and two years of study to earn. Each badge covers one region, which includes several counties. For example, mine is for the Heart of England which covers the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.
The course covers guiding techniques for walking tours and coach tours, and how to research and design a tour as well as all the relevant knowledge. Guides are expected to be able to talk about national level topics such as history, education, politics, architecture and art, in addition to having specific local knowledge.
The assessment process is rigorous with 4 written exams, 4 practical exams and coursework. There is also an additional exam for anyone who wishes to guide in a language other than English. I took the language exam for German, so that is also covered by my qualification.
It’s small. It won’t take you long to look round – about 15 to 20 minutes is plenty – but if you are in the area, Nunney Castle is worth a look. It’s free to enter, so you don’t need to worry about wasting money on somewhere so small. The castle itself has a proper water-filled moat and if you look closely you’ll see lots of fish. In the summer there are beautiful blue damselflies skimming the surface too.
The village is picturesque with an old church, and there is a fabulous cake shop with a selection of cakes to tempt your tastebuds. All in all it’s a great place to stop for an afternoon tea.
For my ideas of places to visit, have a look at the photo albums on our Facebook page.