A Dickens Of A Christmas in London
More than anyone else, Charles Dickens invented the British Christmas with A Christmas Carol, his story about Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. It was first published in 1843 and has been adapted for stage and screen many times. No surprise then that there are four museums in the United Kingdom dedicated to Charles Dickens (including one in London), more than any other British writer.
Guide to Enjoying Christmas & New Year In London
London offers a variety of ways to keep you entertained over the festive season. Here are some of the best tips from Guide London to help you make the most of the capital over Christmas and New Year!
London Millennium Footbridge, also known as The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge
Officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge, this iconic pedestrian bridge gracefully spans the River Thames, connecting the Tate Modern Art Gallery to St. Paul’s Cathedral, two of London’s most recognizable landmarks. But to many Londoners, this bridge has another, more affectionate name – “The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge.” This moniker hints at the bridge’s unique history, a tale of design, engineering, and the resilience of a city that embraces its quirks.
5 Reasons To Visit London During The Christmas Holidays
Christmas is a magical time of year to be visiting London. There are spectacular decorations everywhere and people are generally in a festive mood. Here are some of our favourite seasonal experiences which are all great reasons to visit London during the Christmas holidays.
Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
For many Londoners, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting ceremony along with carol singing marks the start of the countdown to Christmas. The ceremony typically takes place on the first Thursday in December and is led by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, accompanied by a band and choir followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights.
History of Kensington Palace: from Jacobean Mansion to Royal Residence
Kensington Palace, nestled at the western edge of leafy Kensington Gardens, has been a royal home since 1689. Today, it is the London base of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the nerve centre of their operations. It is also home to the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent.
Posts in: APTG/Guide London
If you've got just two full days in London - what were you thinking? – and you want to tick off the big-ticket attractions, plan carefully and follow the sage advice of a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Better yet, hire one and have them show you what you would never see on your own on a tour of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London or even the not-so-simple-as-it-looks Changing of the Guard.Read more
London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides, members of Guide London/Association of Professional Tourist Guides are acting in the best interests of visitors and locals alike by restricting our work in line with the latest advice from Public Health England. Furthermore, most tourist attractions, including museums and galleries and many pubs and restaurants, are closed. This is because the UK government has advised against all inessential travel as they work to contain COVID-19 and minimise community spread.Read more
Association Of Professional Tourist Guides Welcomes 2021 London Blue Badge Tourist Guides At Mayfair Reception
Every year the Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG) welcomes those who are training to become London Blue Badge Tourist Guides into the profession. In order to gain the coveted Blue Badge – the recognised symbol of a professional guide in London – they have to finish a two-year course and pass a series of practical and written examinations set by the Institute of Tourist Guiding.Read more
This is the final article in a series written by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides, who used to be key workers in our capital city. Kathryn Hallam-Howard was a law enforcement officer for over thirty years, working in the West End, South London and at New Scotland Yard. She tells us about her work in the police before she became a guide.Read more
This is the fourth in a series of articles written by London Blue Badge guides who used to be key workers in the capital. Janet Robinson writes about her work as a nurse before she became a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide.Read more
This is part of a series of articles written by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides who used to be key workers in our capital city. Barry Walsh qualified as a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide in 2000 while working for Public Health England. He writes about his life as a guide and doctor.Read more
Guide London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are used to talking to groups, families and individuals in the open air and at sites like Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London where they are qualified to conduct tours. However, they have had to adjust to the new reality of life during COVID-19 and many have demonstrated their knowledge and skills on the Internet.Read more
London remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The city’s blue badge guides help to bring it to life and many have written or contributed to guidebooks. Here is a selection of their work:Read more
This is the second in a series of articles written by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides who used to be key workers in our capital city. Ray Sharman describes his work as a London black cab driver.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guides conduct many different types of tours, from individual families to large groups, and each type requires different skills to be successful. Here, Olga Romana shares her experiences of guiding student groups. I have worked with students my whole life!Read more
This is part of a series of articles written by London Blue Badge Guides who used to be key workers in our capital city. First up is Neil Parker, who worked for 30 years as a postman before becoming a tourist guide. I qualified as a London Blue Badge Guide in 2013 and now, as my mates from the post would say, ‘I’m paid to be me!’ At least I was until March 2020 when Covid-19 arrived. This got me thinking, what was life like for my mates in the post? So, after it reopened, I went to the pub to find out.Read more
Hello Internet! I'm excited to introduce myself to you as one of the newly hatched Blue Badge Tourist Guides! While I'd already been guiding for a number of years, it was only in 2020 that I finally qualified as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide...Read more
This has been an unbelievable year like no other. It has challenged all of us in so many ways. We’ve tried hard to ensure that life goes on, enjoying some of the simpler pleasures, like art and nature. But this has been a tricky time for art lovers and museum-goers around the globe. The United Kingdom is currently in a month-long lockdown, and the capital’s leading art galleries like Tate Britain and the National Gallery will close until early December.Read more
On Tuesday the 4th August, I was watching the news when suddenly the announcement “breaking news” from Beirut appeared on the screen. A huge explosion had destroyed most of the harbour and districts around it. I was shocked and horrified. Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by terrible images. But this one stayed in my mind and it was rekindled by a Zoom meeting with a Beirut family. I was petrified by their description. No hospitals, no homes, no schools in a country already torn apart by previous wars, the current pandemic and a gigantic financial crisis. At that moment I thought I had to do something.Read more
A virtual tour is so much more than an on-screen stroll… Professional tourist guides are using their imaginations to show so much more detail than when guiding on the street. What at first seemed an uphill mountain to climb…. creating tours for a small screen …. has developed into a quiet revolution – and a creative one.Read more
Over these past few months, many of us in the United Kingdom have been feeling particularly grateful for our National Health Service (NHS). The phrase national treasure has perhaps never seemed more appropriate. Founded in 1948, the NHS is a publicly funded and largely free system providing health-care to Britons from cradle to grave. It has touched all of our lives at some point - a cherished part of British life. Many will remember the celebratory tribute paid to the NHS and its incredible staff as a highlight of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.Read more
In these uncertain times, people considering taking a guided tour in London and beyond may understandably have concerns about their health and safety. But with the UK's professionally qualified and highly trained Blue Badge Tourist Guides, you will be in extremely capable hands.Read more
Lockdown has been pretty devastating for London Blue Badge Tourist Guides, as you can imagine. However, rather than sitting at home polishing up our shining badges waiting for the clients who were never going to arrive, we decided to bring London to the world.Read more
Building on the success of its live broadcast series showcasing London’s culture, history and tourist attractions, Guide London which represents the membership of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides has launched a new London Virtual Tour.Read more
Guide London has successfully launched a live broadcast series during the COVID-19 lockdown. Streaming live via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at 4 pm London / 11 am New York time, the series features many of the 600+ Blue Badge Tourist Guides who are members of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides. Topics covered include British culture, history, Monarchy, and then the lighter side of London.Read more
When fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Brian Harlock told me he was signing up to sail around the world I thought, hmm, nice. I imagined a luxury yacht, lazing around in the sunshine on calm waters, comfortable cabins and hot water (and of course a decent stock of chilled wine!). A few days before he set off on his adventure I visited him on board his boat Mission Performance and realised this trip was going to be anything but luxurious and felt an impending sense of fear and trepidation.Read more
On Friday 26 February 2016, Guide London which represents the members of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides visited Westminster City Hall. Chair Steven Szymanski and Branch Councillors Ruth Polling and Dolly Collins and Guidelines editor Tina Engström were delighted to be invited to Westminster City Hall to meet the Lord Mayor Christabel Flight and Councillors Jacqui Wilkinson and Nickie Aiken.Read more
On Sunday, 30 August we gathered with tears in our eyes and hankies at the ready to wave off our friend, colleague and now officially super-hero, Brian Harlock, on the greatest adventure of his life – the 10th Clipper Round the World Race. Over the next 11 months he will sail as part of the crew (The Warriors as they are known) on board Mission Performance, one of twelve 23-metre yachts, on a route that covers 9 countries, stops at 14 ports, covers 6 continents, and involves 6 ocean crossings and 40,000 nautical miles. During this time they are likely to get through 561,600 tea bags and 10,200 loaves of bread (baked on board by the crew) and they will use over 1,000 wet wipes per week! Those of you who visited him on board before he sailed will understand the importance of the wet wipes!Read more
Windsor Tourist Guides Ltd, run by Guide London/Association for Professional Tourist Guides member Amanda Bryett, has won “Best Overall Walking Tour in Britain” awarded by CIE Tours International. The company who run round Britain coach tours, mainly for the American market, ask their clients to rate every aspect of their tour. The Windsor town walk achieved a client satisfaction rating of 93.5%.Read more
28 successful candidates from the 2013-2015 London Blue Badge Course were presented with their badges by the Reverend David Stanton, Canon of Westminster at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey on Thursday 16 April.Read more
It's that time of year again…A group of eager new faces came to meet us at the Unite offices for the annual New Guides Seminar and Reception on 18 March. This year was different as there is also a Mandarin course running in parallel so we had 40 trainees in total.Read more
Following a report from Blue Badge Tourist Guide Victoria Herriott that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had convened a Committee on Tourism, the Association of Professional Tourist Guide (APTG) was invited to give evidence at a meeting on 27 January. This was the result of intensive lobbying by Unite-sponsored MPs following the acceptance of the motion on the Revised Professional Qualifications Directive at conference.Read more
Guide London is the public/brand name for the Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG) and last December, about 125 of its 500 Blue Badge Tourist Guide members came to the University Women's Club for the annual Christmas Party. We started with a cocktail reception, quaffing Cranberry Gin Fizzes and White Chocolate Martinis, chatting and catching up with everyone's news. Then we enjoyed a turkey and salmon buffet meal, followed by Eton Mess and Fruit Salad.Read more
The Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG) member and Blue Badge Tourist Guide Amanda Bryett who runs Windsor Tourist Guides Ltd was a finalist at the Beautiful South Awards 2014 held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton in December and won a Bronze award for Outstanding Customer Service. As a finalist Amanda now goes forward to the national VisitEngland awards 2015.Read more
As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, finding a lavatory in London when you have a group of people desperate for some facilities and with no change to hand can be a bit difficult at times. So, let us join the campaign and ensure that everyone knows about World Toilet Day – 19 November! And let us campaign for more free toilets.Read more
The Association of Professional Tourist Guides (APTG), the parent company for Guide London has partnered with World Travel Market for their upcoming travel and tourism conference being held at EXCEL - London on Monday, 3rd November to Thursday, 6th November.Read more
Guide London speaks to some of the recent beneficiaries of the charity Go Make It Happen a registered charity, which aims to support young people who want to work in and build careers in the tourism profession.Read more
27 successful candidates from the 2012-2014 London Blue Badge Course, pictured below were presented with their badges by Yvonne Leach, the President of the Institute of Tourist Guiding, at a ceremony at the Founding Museum on 9 April.Read more
On Thursday 20 March, 25 trainees attended the Association of Professional Tourist Guide (APTG) New Guides' Reception organised by Sarah Speller. 23 Trainees had been on a "How many ways are there to do a the Guard Change?" walk with Owen Joseph in the afternoon.Read more
Guide London speaks to Ruth Polling, who received the London Blue Badge Tourist Guide of the Year Award (Katrine Prince Memorial Prize) at the Blue Badge presentation ceremony at the Foundling Museum on 9 April.Read more