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About

Leeds City Walking Tours

Engaging, knowledgeable and audible guide

I'm Rachael Unsworth, urban geographer and enthusiastic communicator.

A new series of REAL tours: book here

From 17 May, up to 30 people are allowed to meet outdoors.

I take advance bookings for private tours.

Get in touch (opens email) to ask about dates, themes, prices

& vouchers - excellent gift for a special occasion.

For a taster, click here for some short tours recorded for East Leeds FM.

And here I talk about the River Aire flowing through Leeds:

World At One BBC Radio 4
00:00 / 04:24

Featured tours

Prepare to be hooked on the history and geography of our regional capital

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John Barran - entrepreneur in business and civic life

Celebrate the contributions to Leeds of this remarkable, far-sighted businessman, innovator and politician, who lived 1821-1905.

Arriving in Leeds as a young man, he established a tailoring business and brought in ground-breaking machinery to revolutionise the pace and scale of production. He could be said to have invented ready-made clothing.

As a town councillor, he supported many improvements and 150 years ago, while serving as mayor, he audaciously secured a public asset still much appreciated today: Roundhay Park.

Picnic and walk in Roundhay Park on Yorkshire Day: Sunday 1 August

Learn about the history of the park, why it became available in 1871 and how it has been seen and used since Barran initiated its transformation into a public asset.

Book here for Sunday 1 August 10:30 (finishes with bring-your-own picnic)

Book here for Sunday 1 August 12:30 (starts with bring-your-own picnic)

Tour of parts of the city centre

See sites connected with Barran’s commercial & civic life.

Book here for Sunday 5 September 14:30

Book here for Sunday 3 October 14:30

The route of the Middleton Railway

A walk from Leeds Bridge to Moor Road station and museum, followed by (optional) a ride on the railway.

 

With some slight wiggles, we’ll follow the route of the Middleton Railway. Initially a waggonway with horses pulling carts of coal into Leeds, it became a delivery service benefiting from the first ever steam locomotive, made by Matthew Murray in his Holbeck workshop.

We'll pass through the 'famous half square mile' of Hunslet, where locomotives were manufactured for the world. 

 

You’ll reach Moor Road in time to take the steam train ride up to Middleton on the short stretch of line that remains. Where there used to be coal pits, there's now the extensive Middleton Park to enjoy at the far end of the line.

 

Special price for train tickets on the day when you arrive with me.

Also a special offer for the walking tour tickets.

Book here for the walk on Sunday 15 August.

Middleton Railway train tickets separate.

The walk begins 10:00.

Just under 2 miles but, with wiggles and stops, it will take around 2 hours.

​Want reassurance that this will be worthwhile and enjoyable? Read some of the reviews left by walkers since early 2019. 

Leeds in 1821 

Two hundred years ago Leeds was in the thick of the ‘industrial revolution’. Who were the influential people and what were the main events of note? How were the townspeople earning their living and what were they concerned about? What was the state of health care, education and cultural life? How did people, materials, goods, energy and ideas move around? Where was it all heading?

We’ll meet some of the characters and see some of the places where they lived and learned, worked and worshipped, dispensed medical care, justice, credit or beer.

Drawing on the newly published trade directory, the 1821 Census, biographies, maps and more we’ll conjure a sense of late Georgian Leeds – minus the smoke.

This tour will be scheduled again before the end of the year. If you're interested in the topic for your own group, please get in touch. It's a wonderful window on Leeds.

 

A tour for alumni returning to Leeds after 50 years

The group asked for a campus tour in the morning of their reunion. After a pub lunch they came with me to see how much of the city centre they still recognised. Some surprises were in store. as well as some familiar old favourites.

"Everybody found the itinerary interesting and they all enjoyed your commentary. It was particularly interesting to see bits of Leeds that we didn't know existed and to hear about its evolution and plans for the future. I was amazed how much knowledge you were able to share with us. The tour certainly helped to make our reunion weekend a successful one”.

Get in Touch

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This is part of the map of Leeds in the early 20th century.

Can you still find your way around? 

It would be great to hear from you