Meet Your Host - Steve Cummins:
Steve is an author, stand up comedian, radio host and headliner in every major comedy club in Ireland. He is currently the resident host of The Laughter Lounge, Ireland’s largest and most prestigious comedy club. He has performed comedy on the BBC, RTE and Channel 4. He has also acted on TG4.
He has written for three major television projects and created, wrote and presented the comedy panel show “What Were We Thinking?” for the national broadcaster 2FM and hosted his own show, On Demand with Steve Cummins on All 80s Radio.A natural performer and people person Steve brings a warmth and professionalism to this unique Dublin City Sightseeing tour, only from Hidden Dublin Tours.
The departure time of the train from Florence will be approximately between 8:30 and 9:30, while the departure from Venice will be among the 17:30 and the 19:30; the schedule may vary depending on availability on board the train
Depart Edinburgh at 09.30 and travel north to South Queensferry. The town is named after the 11th century Queen Margaret who dedicated her life to changing the social welfare of the people, particularly the church, earning her the title 'Saint Margaret of Scotland'. North of Edinburgh there were two very important churches - St Andrews and Dunfermline, but getting from Edinburgh across the wide Firth of Forth was difficult, so Queen Margaret provided a free ferry for pilgrims, hence 'Queen's Ferry'. The ferry remained in existence until the opening of the Forth Road Bridge in 1964 by the present Queen.
From Queensferry we drive up and onto the Forth Road Bridge, giving us a great view across to one of Scotland's greatest man-made landmarks - the Forth Rail Bridge. At over a mile and a half (2300m) long, the bridge was completed in 1890, and until recently was the longest Cantilever bridge in the world. It is a true testament of Scottish engineering. Once over the bridge we enter the Kingdom of Fife. Bounded to the south by the wide Firth of Forth, to the north by the Firth of Tay and to the east by the North Sea the area was once a sub-kingdom of the old Pictish realm, a natural peninsula almost cut off from the rest of Scotland, and so remained semi-independent for longer than other parts. Central Fife used to be very poor, until the discovery of coal, while the towns and villages along its coastline were rich from all the trade across the North sea, causing King James VI to describe the area as a 'Beggar's mantle fringed with gold'. The golden fringe he referred to was the East Neuk (or nook, meaning corner), Fife's easternmost stretch of coastline and home to a string of picturesque villages each with its own distinctive character and charm. One of these, Lower Largo, is best known as the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk the real-life Robinson Crusoe and inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel whilst neighbouring Earlsferry is said to be where MacDuff hid from Shakespeare's Macbeth. We stop in the traditional fishing village of Anstruther (known as 'Enster' locally) where you can check out its old cobbled streets and network of little alleyways and wynds or take a walk along the seafront to the harbour.
From Anstruther we continue north to the medieval town of St Andrews. St Andrew is the patron Saint of Scotland, and according to legend his remains were washed up on the Fife coast. The shrine became a place of worship for Christian pilgrims from far and wide and the town developed into the religious capital of Scotland complete with a huge Norman Cathedral, the largest in all of Scotland. Founded in 1160 the Cathedral was devastated first by fire and later by zealous religious reformers but the ruins provide a fascinating insight into what it once must have been like. Today St Andrews attracts another type of pilgrim, being famous world-wide as the home of golf and the Mecca for all golfers - the 'Old Course'. The course, founded in 1754, is in beautiful condition and its emerald green grass contrasts with the golden sands of the beach nearby. St Andrews is also home to the oldest University in Scotland, at nearly 600 years old, and the third oldest in Britain behind Oxford and Cambridge. Also dating from this period is the town's once mighty castle which, perched on a rocky headland overhanging the sea, is a ruin with a violent and murderous past. Every street, every building is surrounded with history and we give you almost 3 hours to explore this amazing town.
From St Andrews we take a pleasant drive through the rolling countryside of central Fife, with its small villages and patchwork of farms, to Falkland. Falkland Palace dominates this old village, and was one of the main residences of the old Royal family of Scotland, the Stewarts (Stuarts). Aside from the palace the village is simply one of the most beautiful in Scotland with an array of old cottages and narrow winding streets. You can take time to wander around the picturesque village or enjoy a drink in one of the village’s traditional pubs or tearooms. Leaving Falkland we cross the Lomond hills past Loch Leven, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned by her Protestant nobility. And then it is straight back to Edinburgh.
There are recreations of the past wooden, stone and medieval bridges, all of which include live characters in full regalia of the time. Join in the fun, have a laugh and learn some of London's gruesome history at the same time. Of course there are a few surprises along the way!
It's a thrilling experience with marvellous real life characters guide you through the ages on the bridge. Get ready to be entertained and amazed at what you will see. Feel the ground shake as you march in Queen Boudicca’s army, discover the gruesome fate of Tudor traitors, sneak through the dark streets of Victorian London and follow in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper.
Then travel through the Terror Time Tunnel to emerge in the present and if you're feeling brave you can choose to face your fears and descend into in the former plague pit; the London Tombs where a few more surprises will chill your bones.
To enhance the visitor experience, the attraction has introduced Multilingual Audio Guides in 6 languages (English, Spanish, French, Polish, German & Italian) to cater for its growing number of international visitors. The London Bridge Experience is an interactive experience for all with live actors entertaining its visitors, and the addition of the multi-lingual audio guides mean all guests will leave having engaged in the 2000 years of the history at the world’s most famous, and most haunted bridge.
Trip style: Local Life & Culture, History & Heritage
Language Tour: English
Get the local lowdown on a city that's seen its fair share of drama in recent years on this historical Detroit tour that takes you through the city's crazy past. Begin your Detroit tour at a cafe on Broadway, where you'll meet your local guide and head out onto the streets.
From the minute you leave the meeting point you'll start seeing some famous Detroit landmarks, such as the 95-year old Detroit Athletic Club, the renovated Opera House, the vacant Wurlitzer Building, and the fine new downtown YMCA. Your local guide will be telling you all you need to know about these spots, and what they mean to the city of Detroit. Continuing on your tour in Detroit, see the site where one of the biggest department stores in the US once stood. When it closed in the 1980s, it left a hole in the city that hasn't been filled. There are not many stores in the old retail district, but apartments and lofts have brought some new life to the area.
Next on this Detroit city tour, the Compuware Building from 2002 is worth a visit, for its 15-story atrium and colorful fountain. Outside that building you'll see a panorama that includes landmarks like the 47-story Penobscot Building from 1928, the Guardian Building from 1929, and the Renaissance Center from 1977, which is home to the tallest hotel in the entire Western Hemisphere (72 floors!) as well as the headquarters of General Motors.
Then you'll see Campus Martius Park in the heart of downtown, which opened in 2004 and features an ice-skating rink in winter and activities year-round. It recently won an award as the nation's most transformative urban park, and is a fine example of how Detroit is making a serious comeback. A visit to the Guardian Building gives you a picture of the greatness of Detroit in the late 1920s. The lobby and banking room of this art-deco skyscraper are truly incredible. We'll take a stop here, and then we take a ride on the elevated People Mover, which has been moving people around downtown Detroit since 1987.
From the Michigan Avenue Station, see the $800 Million MGM Grand Casino and hotel that were completed in 2008, and the new Rosa Parks Transit Center (named for "the mother of the Civil Rights Movement") with its dramatic canopies. If the weather is nice, we'll walk to a nearby hotel that's a great example of Detroit's rise, fall and renewal. When it opened in 1924 it was the tallest hotel in the world and one of the fanciest, but it closed in the 1980s and stood vacant for more than 25 years on a prominent street corner. Detroiters were thrilled when it reopened after a $200 million renovation as the wonderful, a proud moment in Detroit's history! A block down from here is one of the world's tallest vacant buildings at 36-storeys high. Your leader will tell you stories of its past and how it awaits a new life. Next, we visit the area near Grand Circus Park, which is full of examples of Detroit's rocky history.
Here we'll find even more vacant buildings as well as legendary parks and music venues that have hosted the like of Bruce Spingsteen and Detroit's own Eminem. This gives us many more opportunities for your guide to let you in on all the local secrets behind them. It's one thing simply seeing these buildings, but to get to know the history behind them makes the experience even more special, especially when it comes from the mouth of a local!
Our last stop will be at a local brewpub, where you can sip on a local beer or soft drink and continue to chat about Detroit with your local guide. The first drink's on us!