"Be brave and opt for a tour of haunted Edinburgh where the paranormal is king."

If you don't have insider help, you might just miss the best bits, so here's the Explorer guide to the best walking tours around…

Blackpool

The Vegas of the north needs no introduction, and its wares - from the high-octane Pleasure Beach to the kiss-me-quick piers - are the stuff of British seaside legend. But this is a town that has serious history, so it's well worth taking the time to hear it, which is where the Heritage Tours come in. Taking in the famous Winter Gardens - the mammoth entertainment venue which opened in 1878 - or Stanley Park, whose 256-acres include a boating lake, model village and impressive gardens, the Heritage Tours provide a fascinating glimpse of the town's history.

blackpoolheritagetours.co.uk

 

Manchester

A city as diverse and renowned as Manchester has a bounty of culture just waiting to be explored - but where should you start? Manchester Guided Tours offer a wealth of options, whatever your interest - from the Factory Records Music tour, which visits the old Hacienda site and the haunts of Joy Division and the Happy Mondays, to Living and Dying in Manchester, which traces the (mis)fortunes of locals during the cholera epidemic of 1832. They're nothing if not eclectic!

manchesterguidedtours.com

 

Liverpool

From the Liver Building to the famous docks, Liverpool's architecture tells the story of this city's remarkable history. So, what better way to learn about the past, present and future of the city than through its bricks and mortar? The RIBA Liverpool City Tours comprise two itineraries: the first, Liverpool: Gateway to the World, explores the city's past as a trading centre. The second, Liverpool: City of Culture, Learning and Faiths, takes a look at the more human aspect of life here, from the burgeoning arts scene to its multicultural inhabitants.

architecture.com/liverpoolcitytours

 

Sheffield

Best known as a hot spot in the industrial revolution, and for its prolific production of steel, Sheffield's wider history is often overlooked - a fact that local historian and 'professional Sheffielder' Ron Clayton is keen to change. Taking tours on all aspects of the city's past, from its medieval origins to the great flood and even its body-snatching secrets, Ron entertains visitors with his wit and encyclopedic knowledge of all things Sheffield. You'll be hard-pushed to find a better advocate of the city.

sheffieldhistorytours.co.uk

 

Edinburgh

A charming and colourful city, Edinburgh's past is an intriguing and sometimes disturbing story. But whether you go in for factual history, or entertain notions of the paranormal, Mercat Tours are here to help. Running daily tours across the city, the choice is yours: either learn about the secrets of the Royal Mile, the city's Georgian gems and the historic underground vaults, or be brave and opt for a tour of haunted Edinburgh where the paranormal is king. It's not for the faint-hearted!

mercattours.com

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