28 March 2024 • 8 Mins Read

The Real Difference Between Fully Guided And Non-Guided History Tours

Many history teachers will have to make the choice between booking a fully guided or non-guided history tour; as well as considering their budget requirements, curricular objectives, and destination preferences.

There are clear distinctions between the two tour types, and yet these differences aren’t always obvious to teachers, often making it difficult to make a balanced and informed choice.

That’s why we want to give you the facts so that you can make the most informed decision when booking your next history tour. But before we begin, let’s get clear on the definitions of fully guided and non-guided history tours.

What is a fully guided tour?

On a fully guided history tour with Anglia, one or more of our expert guides will accompany your group throughout the tour to provide advice, guidance, and support to the teacher or group leader. This includes guiding, i.e. leading groups around visits and locations or the sites on your itinerary, presenting relevant historical knowledge, and educating and engaging students.

However, it also involves acting as Tour Manager by providing additional support to the teacher, such as liaising with drivers, restaurants, and hotels, ensuring the safety of your students, and utilising their local knowledge to deal with the unexpected to ensure that your trip runs as smoothly as possible.

Fully guided tours are a popular option because they take the pressure off teachers and group leaders, making them a convenient and hassle-free option.

What is a non-guided tour?

A non-guided history tour is where the itinerary may have been arranged by a school tour operator, but where the teacher or group leader is responsible for navigating the trip independently.

Non-guided tours do not include the presence or support of a guide throughout the trip. The tour may include pre-booked accommodation, coach transfers, or basic resources such as maps and itineraries for navigating the trip independently, however, this varies between tour operators.

In essence, on non-guided tours, teachers and group leaders are responsible for ensuring that the tour runs smoothly, without the presence or support of a guide.

Consider your budget

Before we move on to discussing the differences between fully guided and non-guided tours, we wanted to briefly consider the importance of value for money.

Non-guided options may appear cheaper than fully guided tours, simply because they do not provide the extensive level of knowledge, support, and assurance of a fully guided option. This should be considered early, so that you have clear expectations for each tour type from the onset.

The key differences

The support and assurance that our guides provide to teachers isn’t always obvious until they organise their own guided history trip. Let’s look at some of the key differences of a fully guided tour so that you can make the most informed decision.

1. We offer pre-tour support

We support teachers before their tour, whether it’s a school visit to discuss educational objectives and to agree a programme which delivers these, or delivering a pre-tour presentation to parents to provide reassurance and for them to see what they are getting for their money.

All our trips are designed to support a range of study themes, and many have been endorsed by the Pearson Edexcel exam board, so we understand the importance of achieving your educational and curricular objectives. Our Itineraries have been created specifically with this content in mind.

We will always discuss your educational requirements pre-tour. The office team and our guides are passionate about ensuring that your learning outcomes and curricular requirements are not only met, but exceeded.

2. Your safety is our priority

Our guides are with your group throughout, not just to educate and engage your students, but to ensure the group's safety from start to finish. Many have backgrounds in teaching, the police, and the military, and are experienced in dealing with any issues that arise, so you and your students really couldn't be in safer hands.

We understand that being responsible for students on a trip is a 24-hour job, so our guides are there throughout to take some of the pressure off and deal with any problems that may arise.

Our guides are incredibly knowledgeable and resourceful on tour, but for those instances where additional support is needed, our team in the office is also there to support guides on the ground.

Hear from Beth, one of our expert guides about how she has supported a group on tour when her group's coach had broken down on the motorway.

3. Inspiring and engaging guides

Our guides are selected for their ability to engage with students, not just simply talk at them. Using a range of real stories, images, and period equipment, they are experts at tailoring their delivery style to meet the learning needs of your students.

They will use human stories to help your students make that vital connection with the places they are visiting, to ensure that they get the maximum possible educational value from the tour.

So, whether they are standing with their mates in a front-line trench waiting to 'go over the top', or taking a moment for remembrance at The Last Post Ceremony, your guide is there to ensure those 'penny drop' moments.

Hear from Andy, one of our expert guides, about how he communicates and engages with students whilst on tour.

4. Personalised research

If you know of former pupils who were involved in either World War or your students have relatives they would like to know more about, tell us in advance and our guides can research these individuals or the units in which they served.

Your guide can then tell their stories on the ground where they trod, so that students experience an even greater understanding of historical events. These connections really help them relate to the people, places, and events being discussed and apply this to their classroom learning.

You can also be assured that your guide is adept at delivering this information in a sensitive, informative and entertaining manner, which students will remember in the weeks, months, and years that follow the trip.

Hear from John, one of our expert guides about how he supports groups and provides tailored experiences to students.


There are many considerations when choosing whether to book a fully guided or non-guided history tour. Our fully guided tours provide an enriching, immersive, and hassle-free experience, making it an attractive option for those who want the reassurance that their next tour will inspire and engage their students, as well as deliver on planned educational objectives.

On a fully guided tour you do not need a long list of museums or local guides to deliver various aspects of the itinerary.  Your Anglia guide replaces this which ensures real value for money.

The planning for a fully-guided tour is different from the onset – it is not an unguided tour with a guide added, it is a completely different approach which involves careful discussions with you – it is your tour, not ours, and you will be able to adapt as you go because your guide will be with you.

It is also not unreasonable that teachers and group leaders should also be able to deliver content themselves if desired or to enjoy the tour and use this as part of their own continuous professional development. A fully guided tour, with its higher level of support, safety, and assurance, will enable this.

Taking all these considerations into account before choosing a fully guided or non-guided trip, should enable you to make a balanced choice for your next history trip. A fully-guided tour is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in booking a fully guided history trip with us, you can request a quote online here.

You can also contact us by telephone on 01376 574130, or email info@angliatours.co.uk

To browse our range of fully guided history tours, click here.