Is the quoted price per person?
No, the rate is per vehicle For example; the cost of a Full day tour (8 hours; 2018) in London for 6 people in a Mercedes Viano 'LirnoVan" is GB E 610. The cost works out to just over GB E 100 (approximately US $ 140) per person for six passengers.
What does the rate include?
Services of car & Driver-Guide and any applicable taxes or expenses, including fuel, road tolls and most parking charges.
What is not included in the quoted rate?
Your expenses, e.g. entrance charges, meals and drinks, or any gratuities.
Is a tip expected?
Clients often want to reward good or exceptional service and guides are never offended by the offer of a tip. We do not presume to add a gratuity.
Is a guide expected to eat lunch with us?
No, but you may want them to join you. We normally come into the pub/ restaurant/café to make sure you are seated comfortably. We will help you to understand the menu and any local customs or protocols for ordering food or drinks, before excusing ourselves. If you wish your guide to join you, feel free to invite them; it is then understood that they are your guest and you will settle the account. Please do not be offended if your guide sometimes declines to join you; this may be because they have other things to attend to, or they may simply want to give their voice and your ears a break!
Will I have to wait in line to enter attractions?
Not often. As professional 'Blue Badge' Driver-Guides we can go to the front of line for tickets at many of the major attractions, including The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Roman Baths etc. We know which are the busiest periods at the various sights and can avoid them. In some cases we will pre-purchase tickets for you, after securing your agreement about this. On a busy day this can save at least an hour waiting in line.
Do we have to pay entrance charges for Simon as Driver-Guide?
No, Blue Badge Guides are accorded the privilege of free entry to most sights in Britain, when guiding fee-paying visitors.
Are we expected to navigate?
Absolutely not. We are very experienced and know the little back ways and pretty roads that a visitor could never be expected to find on their own. We want you to relax and enjoy the scenery We know the best places to eat lunch, the prettiest villages; everything to make your trip special. We do, of course, carry maps and if you want to follow your route, you are welcome to do so.
Is it possible to make unscheduled stops?
Absolutely. We pride ourselves on our versatility; our flexible service means we adjust the pace to suit you. If we spot a good "photo-opportunity" or an interesting shop, we can stop. Tour buses are now banned from driving through many historic City centres; we can drive down the narrowest streets 'out of bounds' to the big tour groups. Your itinerary is completely flexible, and can be changed to suit you - subject only to the constraints of your time.
Can the route be customised to my requirements?
Yes, this is our speciality. We can cater for a myriad of special interests, from Antiques to Zoology. Please tell us if you have a particular passion! Simon Good will also help you to plan an extended tour, recommending itineraries and hotels. This service is complimentary, subject to our services being booked. We have an unrivalled, up-to date knowledge of hotels and client opinions and reactions to hotels.
Can we eat / drink / smoke in the vehicle?
Smoking is prohibited by law in all vehicles that carry fare-paying passengers. Driver Guides don't object to careful eating and drinking whilst on the move.
What is a "Blue Badge Guide"?
The Blue Badge is the top qualification for Britain's professional tourist guides. It is a guarantee that the holder has been officially trained, examined and registered and is able to communicate their extensive knowledge in an interesting and entertaining way.
The first Blue Badges were awarded to tourist guides who were trained for the 1951 Festival of Britain. There are now about 2,000 Blue Badge Guides in Britain; just over half are London based.
Blue Badge guides are the only guides (other than in-house guides) authorized to guide in The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, Spencer House, Oxford & Cambridge colleges, Shakespeare's birthplace, York Minster, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle.
Once accepted for the training course, this lasts eighteen months and consists of eight rigorous written and practical on-site examinations.
Blue Badge guides have been recognized for their exceptional contribution to the development of tourism in the UK. An award from the Tourism Society said:
Blue Badge guides in their unofficial but pivotal role as the country's tourism ambassadors, raise the status of Britain in the eyes of some 4 million visitors each year - to the extent that many are inspired to repeat the experience time and again.
Coming from all walks of life and undertaking extensive and costly training designed to ensure a high degree of professionalism, Blue Badge guides are accomplished presenters and interpreters of the British way of life. The standards they have set are recognized internationally and provide a model for guide training worldwide.
Blue Badge guides add inestimable value to the British tourism product and are one of its major and undisputed assets.
What do we need to do to book?
When you have decided on which tour(s) you would like to book, please contact us, by e-mail or telephone.
Or send an email or SMS text to arrange a mutually convenient time for us to call you.
We will need to know:
_ the names of all in your party
_ the ages of any children
_ the name of your London hotel, or the address and phone number where you will be staying during your visit. We will need to agree how payment is to be made.
Can we pay by credit card?
We accept payment by American Express, MasterCard or Visa. We will need to take a 25% deposit to confirm a booking and block the dates for you in the relevant diary If you do not wish to disclose your credit card details over the internet, please phone or fax these to our London office.
If you wish to pay by cheque, or wire transfer, this must be completed at least two weeks before the start of your tour.
What happens if we cancel a booking at the last minute?
We judge each case on its merits and try to be as understanding as possible. If alternative work can be found, this will be reflected in any cancellation charge. However, when a driver guide is booked, a contract is made If a booking is subsequently cancelled at short notice, the guide may have declined other offers of work and will expect recompense. We strongly advise purchasing trip cancellation insurance to cover potential losses from unforeseeable cancellation.