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Tipping Private Tour Guides in England


Mar 6th, 2013, 06:47 PM
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Tipping Private Tour Guides in England

Hello. We will be in England from March 25 and have arranged a number of private tours with gardeners, enthusiasts, off-season guides, etc. In some cases there is a small fee (£10), other times no fee at all. Having travelled to England many times we have learned that "no tipping" is usually the best policy, but in these cases, would it be appropriate? We don't want to offend anyone and we very much appreciate them showing us about. If no tip, would it be appropriate to invite them to join us for a drink? Give them a small gift from Canada? Or should we just say thank you and be on our way?
rickmav is offline  
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Mar 6th, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Do not bring a "gift" that they probably have no use for. I would invite for a drink or a meal if the situation is very cordial. If not, I would offer a cash tip.
nytraveler is offline  
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Mar 6th, 2013, 09:45 PM
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Forget gifts.

re tips- It would depend on specific circumstances.

>>gardeners, enthusiasts, off-season guides, etc. In some cases there is a small fee (£10)<<

It sounds more like you are visiting sites/gardens/arboretums/stately homes - those sorts of things and they are showing you around . . . rather them driving you around by car/bus. Right?

If so -the ones that have an entrance fee - that will cover it.

For others -like if you are visiting an organization/trust property of some sort w/ no fee and your guide is a volunteer. Then I would make a £10 or £20 donation to the organization.

But really we'd need to know a bit more what sorts of places you are talking about.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 05:35 AM
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Gosh a minefield.

Inviting an English person to a drink opens up a whole load of other issues (see "the round"), if you have got on very well and you are considering adopting them into your family then a drink makes sense, or if it a hot day and you are walking near a pub. But only if they are a volunteer.

I think a better bet is, "you have shown us such a wonderful garden, can we offer something to help any charity work you do" then hand over £5 or £10 (more would be weird) and it it puts the onus on the recipient to pass the money onto a charity (or pocket it if they are so inclined). This also means that if the guide is the owner of the garden or the gardener they will just be charmed.

So basically as janisj has it, but gift would be a no go.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 11:28 AM
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Thanks for the advice. The situations really vary, but I think the offer of money (as always janisj!) for a charity makes sense. These are some of the situations:
- a member of the Benson Society is giving my husband and me a Mapp & Lucia tour of Rye. Their regular tours don't start until June. He is doing the tour just for us, is a volunteer, and is doing it on the Bank Holiday. The regular tours cost about £6.
- Deane House only offers tours of its gardens on specific days for the National Garden Scheme. We won't be in the area when the tour is offered. The head gardener has agreed to let us tour the gardens, again just the two of us. No fee was discussed.
- A man who has written a book about Canadian soldiers in Headley during WWII has offered to give us a tour of sites associated with the Canadians. My father-in-law was one of the soldiers who was there. No fee was discussed.
- A volunteer is giving us a Beatrix Potter tour of Gloucester. Again, the regular tours haven't started, but they are doing one just for the two of us. Regular tour price is £10.

These are some examples. Thanks again for the advice.
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