Tour guides call for ban on megaphones at London attractions

Tourists outside Buckingham Palace  (PA)
Tourists outside Buckingham Palace (PA)

Members of the Institute of Tourist Guiding have complained about the noise being made by freelance tour guides operating in London.

They say unofficial guides carrying megaphones have surged in number, and official Blue Badge guides are not happy about it.

The official guides are concerned about the increasing number of amateur tourist guides operating around Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the Houses of Parliament.

They said the amplified noise created by the unofficial guides disturb their clients and makes it difficult for them to do their job.

Carole Hiley, President of the ITG, a membership organisation representing prfessional guides, expressed frustration saying the rogue tour guides are “everywhere’” and have increased since last year.

She told the Guardian: “They were around before Covid, but they weren’t causing a huge problem. Now tourist numbers have come back – they’ve really escalated in London this year, which is brilliant – and it has brought this problem with them.”

David Cox, a certified tour guide, told the Guardian: “We reach a sort of consensus on what the right volume is. If you have an amplified commentary right beside you, it can really put you off your game. It’s a free country: there are so many guides doing this nowadays. But you do have to be respectful.”

In their effort to stem the number of freelance tourists roaming in London, the ITG contacted Westminster Council to see if it has powers to curb the issue.

The ITG has plans to write to the Royal Park’s authority, which oversees the area of St James Park, as park regulations prohibit the use of sound amplifying devices.

A Westminster City Council spokesperson told the Standard: “We take all noise complaints very seriously and investigate any disturbances. If visitors or residents spot any issues, they can use our report it service.”