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The Triumphs and Tribulations of being a Tour Guide

15th October 2015

Me? A tour guide? Someone a group of eager explorers will hang on every word? You’ve GOT to be kidding! But actually, after a remarkable voyage of discovery and confidence to free my vice-like grip of my notes, I have indeed evolved into one – and it’s great fun!

Derby Roundhouse was the first challenge to learn the practical guiding skills required to usher a group safely and happily around without losing anyone along the way – always a bonus. With the route mastered, trip hazards noted – stilettoes and rail tracks are really not a compatible mix – the fact learning began.

ROUNDhouse? Oh no! It’s 16 sided, don’t you know, making this the Derby Hexadecagon House! I’m just living for the day that this fact crops up in Trivial Pursuit. Just one of the many quirks of this amazing place with its haunted taps that mysteriously turn on at 3am, engine sheds saved within days of collapse due to pigeon infestation and the overwhelming impact of the actual Roundhouse finale which always stirs gasps of amazement and incredible pride where silence to soak up the scene is always the best policy.

With successful public and private tours gathering steam, Derby Council House was the next challenge after the colossal overhaul was carried out in 2012, gutting the building of its dark and creepy corridors to reveal today’s modern, environmentally friendly, light and airy place contained within the original outer walls from the 1930s. A far cry from RAF headquarter days during WWII and another chance for visitors to stand back in amazement at the architect’s vision to successfully house three times the number of staff under the same roof!

The Mayor joins in the fun with this tour and proudly poses with the official chain and ornate mace from the 1640s which MUST be in situ in the Council Chamber before any decision can be made. If debates get heated, the Mace is removed until calm is restored and policies are agreed. These age- old traditions balance up the latest environmental conquests harnessing the River Derwent’s natural energy with a hydro power plant, a water tank to gather rainfall to flush the toilets and a traffic light system to advise when windows should be opened to maintain the best working environment. George Stephenson would be impressed for sure.

Then along lands the UFO-like Derby Arena in 2014 creating another tour hot-spot. Off we go again turning our spiel from the golden age of steam to the memories of Olympic gold with this incredible construction built as a legacy of 2012. With velodrome track angles reminiscent of the wall of death. 265,000 hand-driven nails securing 18 miles of Siberian spruce wood panels, and track bikes with NO GEARS OR BRAKES, groups discover the world of pedal power and so much more at this versatile place which can work in tandem (ha ha) as a concert venue or comedy club.

So, all that remains is for you to try this trio of tours out for yourselves! All you need to do is contact Derby Tourist Information Centre – Tel: 01332 643411 and get yourself booked onto a public tour date or if you have a group of 10 or more, you can have your very own personal group tour on a date to suit you. I’m just one of a team of tour guides all eager to show off Derby’s wonderful landmarks.

For more details, prices and how to book, take a look at our Trio of Tours page.

Hope to meet you very soon!