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 virtual tours of London.
“We are excited about offering virtual tours of London and think it will appeal to families and groups whose trips to London are on pause due to the COVID-19 lockdown. And similar to our in-person tours, these are private, so clients can customise their London Virtual Tour based on their interest” says Danny Parlour, Chair of Association of Professional Tourist Guides.
Conducted via Zoom by London’s qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guides, the virtual tours of London will include vivid storytelling and incorporate a range of digital assets including photos, videos, and Google Maps/Street View to create a dynamic and engaging virtual experience.
Some ideas for a London Virtual Tour offered up by the association’s 600+ Blue Badge Tourist Guides includes:
- Lovely London, a highlights tour of the whole city – ideal for those who have never been before, and want an overview as to what makes London one of the best cities in the world.
- Complete Classics – Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, St Paul’s cathedral – be amazed by the stories of these historic buildings.
- A Shakespeare Saunter – retrace the bard’s steps without moving a muscle! In a virtual tour, you can skip all over the city to the theatres and drinking dens that Will and his mates knew.
- Glorious Galleries – some of the best art galleries in the world are in London – the Tate Modern, National Gallery, Tate Britain. Explore with an expert guide while at home.
- Legal London – find out from an expert just what it takes to get to wear those famous wigs, and discover how London’s legal history influenced the world.
- Marvellous Museums – London prides itself on having a variety of world-class free museums. Choose from a highlights tour of the British Museum, British Library, Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and more!
- A Windsor Wander – without contending with any traffic at all, we take you to Windsor Castle, home to Her Majesty the Queen, and a 1000-year-old castle filled with secrets, stories and wonders.
- Keen Kids – looking to keep the kids entertained? We’ve got you. Our guides are used to working with families and can tailor any tour to make sure your young ones are engaged throughout.
- And many more! Just ask a guide for your dream tour.
To get its members up to speed for offering virtual tours of London, the Association of Professional Tourist Guides put together a virtual tours training program. Pepe Martinez a qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guide and accredited Institute of Tourist Guiding trainer helping to lead the virtual tours project says, “London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are the best of the best – the Savile Row of guiding, and so it important for us to maintain our high standards in this new medium.” The half-day training provides attendees insight on virtual office setup, technology and best practices to ensure that all virtual tours given by London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are engaging and dynamic and not just a presentation to screen. Guides also have to present a virtual tour before they are put in the mix for website leads.
Working with outside digital agency Moxee Marketing, Guide London plans to eventually add a virtual tour option for each of its existing 45+ London tours. “Our members look forward to welcoming visitors back to London and showcasing the best of what the city has to offer, but COVID-19 has changed tourism forever. So we have to move with the times and provide clients with the best touring experience, whether in-person or online” says Danny Parlour, Chair of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides.
Blue Badge Tourist Guide Simon Whitehouse demoing a London Virtual Tour of The National Gallery.
Blue Badge Tourist Guide Katherine Alcock demoing a London Virtual Tour of attractions along Whitehall.
Blue Badge Tourist Guide Nick Salmond demoing a London Virtual Tour of Westminster Abbey.