Tourist guide

tour guide

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would show visitors around places of historic, artistic or cultural interest. You’d explain facts, tell interesting stories and answer questions about the place and its people.

Some tour guides work in one place while others accompany groups on tours to a number of places or sites.

The places where you might do tours could include:

  • Towns and cities
  • Historic buildings
  • Gardens
  • Religious sites
  • Museums
  • Art galleries

You would escort groups around the site or area and, from memory, talk clearly about its history, purpose, architecture or other points of interest. You’d keep your audience interested and help them understand why the place is significant.

Guided tours could include:

  • Sightseeing tours
  • Tours for special interest groups
  • Themed walks

You could also work as a driver guide, taking small groups of tourists to places of interest in a car or minibus.

As well as helping with people’s enquiries you’d need to be aware of health and safety.

Working conditions

Hours

Tourist guiding is often seasonal work, so your hours will vary. You could work up to 40 hours a week during the peak season in the UK, which is usually the summer months. You are likely to work at weekends and sometimes in the evening. A lot of tourist guides have more than one job so that they have work outside of the peak season.

Environment

You would usually spend most of your working time on your feet, and you could work indoors or outdoors.

Travel

Some tourist guides may travel outside of the UK to find work.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Positive attitude
  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Recalling
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Supporting
  • Respecting
  • Empathising

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most employers value a good general education at SCQF levels 4 to 6. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Modern languages
  • Geography
  • Modern studies
  • History or other social studies
  • Drama

 

You will also need

You should have knowledge of and interest in the history and geography of the area you want to work in. 

Helpful to have

Fluency in another language is useful especially if working overseas.

Personality and experience of working with the public

It can be useful to study for an accredited guide training course offered by the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA). There are three different levels of training course available to become a:

  • Blue Badge Guide - qualified by the STGA to guide throughout Scotland
  • Green Badge Guide - qualified to guide through a specific region of Scotland (such as the City of Glasgow or the Western Isles)
  • Yellow Badge Guide -  qualified to guide around a specific site or route.