Walking tour

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about tour of a historical, or cultural or artistic site. For tours involving walks in the country, see Hiking.

The type of walking tour considered here is a full, partial-day, or longer tour of a historical, or cultural or artistic site, or of sites, in one or more tourist destinations, which can be led by a tour guide, as an escort. This type of walking tour frequently takes place in an urban setting.[1]

Palazzo Senatorio, City Hall, Rome, Italy

Other sorts of tour[edit]

Both the Grand tour and Pilgrimages resemble the two different kinds of walking tour considered here. A Grand tour was "a long tour of major cities" undertaken in Europe, in earlier centuries, as part of a wealthy young man's education,[2] and involved visits to cities, historic and cultural sites, etc., with pedestrian activity confined to these cities or sites. However, the purpose of a pilgrimage is religious, whereas the two types of walking tour, whatever their spiritual dimension, are undertaken for pleasure, also only a minority of contemporary pilgrimages are on foot. But all are a form of holiday, and Chaucer's 14th-century narrative poem Canterbury Tales certainly indicates that a pilgrimage can involve pleasure.

Canterbury Cathedral (retouched from a black & white photograph)

There are also similarities between walking tours that involve long hikes and backpacking (wilderness), while non-pedestrian backpacking (travel) is a kind of modern, inexpensive Grand tour that makes use of public transport.

Tours of cities, and cultural sites[edit]

With guides[edit]

A walking tour is generally distinguished from an escorted tour by its length and the employment of tour guides, and can be under 12 hours, or last for a week or more. They are led by guides that have knowledge of the sites, or the landscape, covered on the tour, and explanations and interpretations of the site can cover a range of subjects, including places with historical, cultural and artistic significance. Walking tours, of various kinds and length, are universally part of the tourism industry, and can be found around the world.

First Person Narrative[edit]

Several cities now have groups that are employing dramatic spectacle to add interest to their tours. Usually guided by actors in costume playing a role, these walking tours create the feel of living history as guests walk in the footsteps of those who came before them. These tours, which blend history and dramatic narrative, share "history in a non-academic, very accessible fashion."[3] These tours are similar in nature to a style of Site-Specific theatre called Promenade theatre. Although the theatrical nature of these tours is similar to a theatrical form called Museum Theatre in that it makes use of First Person Interpretation, the fact that these tours take place outside of traditional museum settings and requires the audience to move through urban environments truly makes this style of walking tour a genre of its own.

Self guided tours[edit]

Self-guided tours, utilise a range of methods to aid travel through a place, or landscape, such as books,[4][5] maps, pamphlets, and audio material.[6]

Day tours with specific locations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_us1304940#m_en_us1304940 Oxford Dictionary 1
  2. ^ The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (1998), and New Oxford American Dictionary.
  3. ^ Handley, Gen. "Forbidden Vancouver tour reenacts Gastown's gothic adventures". The Westender. The Westender. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Frommer's walking tours. Paris, Prentice Hall Travel, 1993, ISSN 1081-3381 
  5. ^ Legarde, Lisa (1993), Frommer's walking tours. San Francisco, Prentice Hall Travel, ISSN 1081-3403 
  6. ^ Wooldridge, Denyse. (Narrator); Dee's Audio Walking Tours (1996), Manhattan Midtown West, Dee's Audio Walking Tours, retrieved 19 April 2013 


Further reading[edit]

  • MacCannell, Dean. The Ethics of Sightseeing. University of California Press, 2011.
  • Pond, Kathleen Lingle. The Professional Guide: Dynamics of Tour Guiding. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993.
  • Ruitenberg, Claudia W. "Learning by Walking: Non-Formal Education as Curatorial Practice and Intervention in Public Space." International Journal of Lifelong Education 31, no. 3 (2012): 261-275.
  • Wynn, Jonathan R. The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.
  • Wynn, Jonathan R. "City Tour Guides: Urban Alchemists at Work." City & Community 9, no. 2 (June 2010).

External links[edit]