My name is Angela Akehurst. I am a ‘Blue Badge’ guide for London and the surrounding area, with many years experience. I have worked as a tour manager throughout the UK, Ireland & some areas of Europe. More recently I have worked with my car (see below) and with people who are looking for a more personalised travel experience. I am particularly interested in art, architecture, sculpture & garden design of all periods. I like a new challenge…… and I love my job!
Who do I work with?
I work mainly with people who are looking for a personalised tour, usually small groups of friends or families but occasionally larger groups. I have worked with people with many different interests – art enthusiasts, historians, gardeners, Friends’ Societies from museums, choirs & orchestras on performance tours, antiques-hunters, students & teachers, English language students.
My guiding qualifications
London’s ‘Blue Badge’ guides are trained to standards set by the Institute of Tourist Guiding, and upon passing, are awarded the Blue Badge and membership of the Institute. We are then required to keep our knowledge up to date. Each year I attend training days and site updates. I have taken longer courses for accreditation as a guide at Canterbury Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral & York Minster. as well as a course for guides at the British Museum. I have a ‘private hire’ driving licence, and am a member of the Driver Guides Association.
BA Hons History of Art & Architecture, University of East Anglia; Postgraduate Diploma in Heritage Interpretation, Strawberry Hill (University of Surrey); CELTA – Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults
What else have I done?
Research projects for exhibition designers & museums – I researched the building of Tower Bridge for its centenary exhibition, and also the background to the life of a 19th century sailor for a story-teller at the National Maritime Museum. Some teaching – art history, and English as a Foreign Language.
My touring car
The VW Caravelle is a great car for a guided tour. I chose it for a number of reasons. Firstly, Volkswagen has a good record for reliability and safety. It is possible to get in and out of the Caravelle without bending over double, and once in, it is very comfortable.
My Caravelle has six passenger seats. The leather upholstery is soft but hard-wearing, the seats swivel so that you can chat to your friends, and taller people can easily stretch their legs.
There are sockets to charge your phones or laptops, a table to scribble notes on, and holders for your drinks. Little drawers under the seats enable you to stow your toffees safely, or lay your hands immediately on your map. The table can be removed when carrying more than 4 people.
The blinds can be pulled up should the sun come out, and the air conditioning can go on should you be lucky enough to catch a warm day. The windows are tinted sufficiently to give you some privacy, but not so much that your view is spoilt. The body is high enough for you to be able to see over the walls and hedges in the Cotswolds (see the picture above), but maybe not in Devon – but there you can’t see over the hedges even in a double decker bus!
I was impressed when I read on the Royal website that as well as all those horse-drawn carriages, Rolls Royces & Bentleys, the Queen has several VW people carriers. Just enough seats for six Royal corgi dogs, and plenty of room for the seventh under the table!
NB My car has Mobile WiFi on board
It is required by law that I maintain my car to high standards. It must be tested, licensed and insured for private hire, and I must hold a private hire driver’s licence.
Insurance & Licences
- I am registered as a guide with the Institute of Tourist Guiding.
- I have Public Liability Insurance through my membership of the British Guild of Registered Tourist Guides.
- My vehicle is insured for private hire through Aston Scott, NIG Insurance.
- My vehicle is correctly licensed for private hire, Transport for London Taxi & Private Hire Licence 3923810701.
- I hold a Private Hire Driving Licence issued by Transport for London, No 621760401.
- Driver-guide bookings are accepted under the Operator’s Licence held by the Driver Guides’ Association, Licence No. 211406