WELCOME – “Come in to the Parlour”

Hello everyone, Tom Keating here,  and I would like to welcome you to my new website. First I would like to introduce myself and give you an idea of my plans for future blogs.

I am a Geordie, born in Blaydon on Tyne in North East England and I set up my Tourism business, Personalised Touring Services, more than 20 years ago. I am a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for the areas of North East England and Cumbria. In the various sections of my new website, you will see lots more information about myself and also my wife Gwen who is responsible for the city walks and tours in Newcastle.

I am very passionate about these areas where I was born, live and work. My knowledge and passion is such that I can share information others cannot. I want you to enjoy my places and experiences and encourage you to visit and then come back for more. I am privileged to be able to show visitors around the places which I love so much myself and I love my work as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide.

My blog posts will appear regularly, and my intention is to keep you informed and raise awareness and interest in our beautiful part of the world in North East England and Cumbria. I really want to share this with you.

This first blog gives an indication of some categories I would like to cover in future blog posts and I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts and plans for future blogs.

“What’s going on” – this regular feature will include information on what’s happening and what’s to look forward to in our area. I hope that you may find useful information to help with your visits. It will cover anywhere within North East England and Cumbria in the specific areas of Northumberland, Hadrian’s Wall, Newcastle and Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, County Durham, Sunderland, Tees Valley and the whole of Cumbria including the Lake District National Park World Heritage Site.

“Look out for more” is another category which will feature little snippets of information on parts of our region, perhaps taking a location at a time. It will include things of interest, things you may not know and perhaps a little different – maybe about hidden little “gems” and their stories. We have so much to see here with our coastlines, castles, countryside, villages, towns, cities and attractions. Plus, of course, our World Heritage Sites of Hadrian’s Wall, Durham Castle and Cathedral and the Lake District National Park; and not forgetting the Northumberland National Park. This category will build on the outline information within the website where I like to give you ideas for itineraries and tours, but really there are so many. The great thing is to be able to mix and match things of interest to visit and this additional information may help your thoughts on what you would like to visit. Please remember our itineraries are bespoke – to your specifications. Please let us know what you have in mind for your visit. I hope that I might be able to help.

 “People and Places” – We have many well-known people associated with our areas. There are many famous characters and others not well known at all and with great stories behind them. I will be including these in regular features. For example, they may be historic, such as Harry Hotspur. Or maybe artistic or literary figures, local legends or other famous visitors, such as Charles Dickens, LS Lowry and William Wordsworth. Other headings within this category may include regular features on things such as; Coastlines and Castles, Countryside, Cathedrals and Churches, Monasteries and Abbeys and many more. The Parlour pictured above will appear in a future blog  and all will be revealed!!

“What’s in a name” – it might be a well-known or unusual name, but, what’s behind it? – the stories – and how well known is it? Barnard Castle has had much publicity recently and I may start there.  Place names generally are fascinating and often tell a story in their meaning. Around our regions we have historic links with Roman, Anglo Saxon, Viking and Norman times and place names can be an indication of that.

 “Museums & Galleries” highlights – we are fortunate to have marvellous examples which are great visitor attractions and there are regular special exhibitions and displays alongside the usual exhibits. Many places have little gems among their exhibits which may attract attention but often are unknown to many. In this blog category I will try and highlight some of these and perhaps it may help visitors to include a visit within their itinerary. Museums such as the Great North Museum in Newcastle, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle and the Abbott Hall Art Gallery in Kendal Cumbria, are some examples of those larger attractions. However, there are many small hidden locations to visit which are hardly known about and I will try to include these. An example of this is the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House. It is little known but full of amazing pieces of history. Every item on display has a story behind it, sadly often tragic, but fascinating too.

“Family History Tours” – I often take families on a tour of the areas where their ancestors originated. This is a category where I would like to share experiences, with the family permission. There is something very moving and incredibly fulfilling in being able to find and show where their ancestors lived and worked, what they did and about life in their times. I hope I may be able to share these and perhaps encourage other families to follow their ancestors too.

“Walking Tours” the website has a category of walking tours and there are many suggested tours in Newcastle and other places. Regularly we produce new ideas and tours and I hope to share those via this blog category. Fun walks with families or team building walks with business teams are very popular and great fun. I hope to share more with you on this too.

 “FAQ’s” – As more people visit when we return to normality, I will also give feedback information of the questions which are frequently asked by my visitors, so this will be the category of those and this may help anyone visiting the website to easily find an answer.

I sincerely hope that you will follow my regular blog posts, that you will find them interesting and helpful and will be able to share with your family, friends and colleagues.

I will look forward to your regular visits to my website and also your feedback and questions.

Cheerio for now and enjoy reading the blogs.