Hi Louise and Stewart!
Can you tell me a little bit about what you guys do here at DD Tours?
So in a nutshell we call them walking history tours, but there are two types that we do. We’ve got Discover Dundee tours and they are about all the nice happy parts of history, all of the achievements and highlights. Then we’ve got the Dark Dundee tours and they are about the darker side of history, murders and witch hunts- all of the good parts!
Do you prefer the darker history?
Well we got started with the really heavy stuff and now we’re taming it up a bit because there are so many things that you come across and think “oh that’s really interesting” but it doesn’t fit within a dark theme. So now we do so many different tours and we’ve also just publicly launched our Scavenger Hunts.
Tell me more about the Scavenger Hunts?
So the tours are about us telling stories but the Scavenger Hunts are different. People get into teams and they’ve got to hunt for different clues. The first one is in the City Square which I don’t want to call a warm up because it’s a proper session, but people get a feel for it from there. Then we move onto the Howff Cemetery and that’s where things get serious.
Essentially we give the teams a piece of paper with a clue on it and they have to go find it, take a picture and bring it back. You get a point for every one that you get right and because everyone wants to get the most points and be in the lead, it gets really competitive!
Have you launched any other new things recently?
We’ve also just launched the Waterfront tour. That is one of the Discover Dundee tours and is mostly about the changes that have happened in the Waterfront from the 1900s up until now. It’s an hour and 15 mins, which seems like a long walk but it goes past so quickly. You get a lot of information with this one and not as much stories, which tends to be the case for the Discover Dundee tours. They are a lot more about the history and what has been before whereas, with the dark stuff we like to weave a story around it to get inside your head.
Do you find you get a lot of tourists?
Probably 75% of our customers are actually locals but we get people from all over the world, it’s crazy. The Discover Dundee ones I guess you could say are a bit more tourist orientated but a lot of locals come on those ones too. For example the Old Steeple tour is quite popular with locals as a lot of people have never seen inside there before. We’ve been quite lucky as we have been able to get some really lucrative contracts like the Steeple and the Vaults which people don’t get access to normally. We’ve had about 3,500 people alone just through the Vaults.
What other kind of partnerships do you have?
As part of our outreach with developing the young workforce we work with some of the local high schools. Primarily we work with 3rd and 4th year pupils on things like customer service, travel and tourism, Dundee as a destination. We do storytelling and history projects. Once, we set a project where we got the pupils to research their own stories. We gave them some starter material but they wrote their own stories, and it was so amazing because it was their own perspective on it. Some of them were absolutely hilarious!
How did you get into doing this?
Well it started as a website, so it was a blog essentially, and we were writing about Dundee’s history. Maybe 2 or 3 years into doing that we had over 100 stories and loads of people really liked it, and were suggesting that we do walking tours. However we had full time jobs back then so we thought it would be too much. We decided to look into it and this was a few years before the V&A was due to open, a lot of things were changing in Dundee, and nobody was really doing tours. It was a shame really for Dundee to have so much history and for no one to be remembering it. So we started with one tour and it’s evolved ever since day one.
What kind of response have you had so far?
We’ve had a lot of great reviews from the tours, and I think a lot of that is the content but it’s also how we deliver the content as well. There’s plenty of banter even when the subject goes dark you can still laugh at it, sometimes you have to.
It’s true that people don’t always remember what you tell them but they do remember how you made them feel.
Come say hi!
You can find us on the 4th floor of the Flour Mill, or you can learn more about us on our website.