Job type

Tour guide

£18k - £30k

Typical salary

28 – 50

Hours per week

Tour guides show visitors around places of interest like cities, historic buildings, and art galleries.

More info

  • Guide tourists around places of interest including cities, tourist attractions, historic buildings and galleries
  • You'll need an interest in history, a good memory and be good at explaining things in an interesting way
  • You could work for yourself as a freelancer or work for a company


  • Show groups or individual tourists and visitors around a place or a particular attraction (this could be in your local area or further afield)
  • Escort groups around sites
  • Give information about history, purpose, architecture or other points of interest, and you could 


Work in one place or accompany groups on driving or walking tours that travel from place to place.

Some tour guides are employed by companies and tour operators and some work on a self-employed basis. If you're self-employed, your rate of pay will depend on your location and the type of guiding you're doing. Freelance Blue Badge tourist guides, driver guides, and those with additional languages may earn more.

Your working hours will vary through the year. You could work long hours during the peak season and are likely to work at weekends and some evenings. You'd usually spend most of your working time on the move, and may work indoors or outdoors.

You'll need

There are no set requirements, but you'll need excellent communication skills, the ability to present information in an interesting way, a good memory for facts, figures and events, and organisational skills for planning tours.

This role would suit you if you are a people person and have an interest in history, travel, or architecture.

Experience of dealing with the public and giving presentations could be useful, and additional languages may also help.

For some roles you may need a specific tour guide qualification. You can do 3 levels of training to get a tour guide badge. These include Level 2 (white badge), Level 3 (green badge), and Level 4 (blue badge).

You can apply to local tourist guide associations for training, or major tourist attractions that run their own schemes.

Guide London offers blue badge training, which usually takes around 18 months, and some heritage organisations, like York Minster, have their own training courses.

Alternatively you could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in cultural heritage operations before applying to become a tour guide.


With experience you could work for a tour operator as a regional tour supervisor or manager.