Why is the Blue Badge accreditation important?

‘In September 2009 I decided to qualify for the highest guide industry standard, namely the Blue Badge accreditation. I enrolled on a two year course which comprised not only lectures but also practical training on how to guide in groups or for the individual.

Blue Badge guides are required to pass eight rigorous exams on sites such as Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the British Museum and the National Gallery. A huge amount of London history is taught as well as the history of the main tourist sites outside London in the south of England. It is a highly intensive course which demands significant time and much academic study. As a result, only Blue Badge guides are allowed to guide in the royal palaces such as Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. Likewise, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral stipulate that only Blue Badge guides may guide in their precincts.

To test the language competence of the Blue Badge guides who wish to guide in a language other than their mother tongue, the Institute of Tourist Guiding sets a language competence test to ensure the highest levels of fluency in their guides. I have passed my French competence test and am therefore permitted to guide in the royal palaces as a French speaking guide.’