Virtual Tours for February
Virtual Tours have become one of the options for tour guides to continue their craft and make some money during the pandemic. Initially, I was not a keen fan of doing a virtual tour. However, as I teach classes regularly via zoom, I soon realised that a virtual tour is nothing more than a lecture online, and so my worry that it would not be attended quickly vanished. I have been giving online lectures for a while now, so the leap to virtual tour has been short and easy.
My first virtual tour was London Christmas Lights. This stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to do my annual Love Actually Christmas Lights tour in person due to the UK government restrictions. I hopped on my bike and cycled around London to capture the lights in photos and videos. Back home, I compiled the images and realised that I had underestimated the results. Not only did the photos and videos look great, but I was able to add a bit more to the presentation and tell a story. Also, I was able to “fly” around London and reach a farther area than if I had been restricted to just a walking tour. This was exciting, and from this I have decided to convert or write a few more virtual tours for 2021. I’ll be launching two tours in February, and I hope you will join me for them!
The first is Fitzrovia. I have had a Fitzrovia walk in my repertoire for about ten years. As my clientele is normally from America, Australia or Europe, they have a limited amount of time in London and they want to do all of the “tourist things” like Changing of the Guard or Harry Potter Studios. They don’t have the time in their schedule to venture off the “hit list” and explore the non-touristy side of the city. I get it, but it is a shame because there is so much more to London beyond the tourist traps. However, by placing this tour online in virtual form, those who are considering coming to London or have been here before can enjoy learning about Fitzrovia, in the hopes that they might explore it in person on their next visit. Fitzrovia has so many fascinating people to cover, from Virginia Woolf to Olaudah Equiano. It also has some historic locations, including the first internet cafe and a toy museum. But there are more stories to tell, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
The next is my Covent Garden Flower Girls tour. It’s one of those tours that you would love to do, but you just don’t have the time during your short vacation. The tour was originally called “Power Women of Covent Garden” and to be honest, that is a much better title. However, by making this tour virtual, I am able to add even more historical ladies to it and weave in a bit more of a flower theme. We can dive into ladies, locations and lots of detail with an online tour, thus saving your legs from getting too tired.
Virtual Tours are a little different than my social media or youtube content. First, they are paid for experiences. For £10 for 4 people, or £25 for more (like an office or classroom), you are sent the zoom details for the tour and view in real time while I wax lyrics about history. It is like a real tour, just via your computer. My YouTube and Facebook Live videos are free, so you can view that at any time. The difference is that the social content is a bit more adhoc and off the cuff, while the virtual tours are fully planned, researched and presented with visual aides.
I have a list as long as my arm for virtual tour ideas, and many of them are going to be on offer as the weeks fly by. Here in London Tier 4, there is a crackdown on movement but we are allowed outside for exercise. By sticking to my bicycle, I can make my way around town for any photos and videos needed to enhance my visuals and also keep my sanity in check! I suppose this gives me the opportunity to explore topics that I have not yet had time to do. Remember, London has about 2000 years of history, so there is alot to cover here. I tend to drift towards subjects of real people living here, but I am also drawn to time periods like the Tudors or Edwardians.
Virtual tours will allow me to give you what I love — a fun and fabulous tour of London. Being a tour guide is not just a profession for me, it is my personality and my passion. I adore meeting new people, imparting knowledge, offering a chance for unknown facts to come back to life after being dormant and undiscovered. This is my opportunity to continue to do what I love even if it is a small fraction in comparison to my normal tour schedule. It also gives you the chance to stop for a moment and “travel” away from the daily troubles and worries that have you bogged down. I hope you will book a space and join me!