What makes a Walking City? To be honest, getting fit was not the reason we created our audio walking tours but we soon discovered how quickly you can clock up the miles when you are following a good story.

walking, view of graffiti on Calton Road

Walking along Calton Road: a different view of Edinburgh

If you walk all of Glasgow Music Tour, for instance, you cover almost 6 miles and burn around 500-600 calories. That’s worth pointing out as the energetic campaigners at Living Streets launch Walking Cities. A campaign which is also right up our street.

We need cities designed around people not vehicles. In May 2017, with local elections and a number of city-regions electing a mayor for the first time, now’s the time to put the case. Living Streets

We have enjoyed taking part in other Living Streets campaigns. During Walk to Work Week for example.  We began by shamelessly fitting Glasgow Music Tour and Edinburgh Comedy Tour into Living Streets Great British Walking Challenge.

It’s worth noting that four city ‘targets’ for the latest Living Streets campaign are Edinburgh, Cardiff, Greater Manchester and one as yet un-named in theWest Midlands.

A Walking City has a sense of place

Interestingly, although we think know the cities and their stories pretty well, we get a real kick out of rediscovering the buzz of the place by getting out there. There’s nothing like seeing places and meeting people in real life. Although we exploit the benefits of new technology, the real value of digital information is when it connects with physical reality!

As Living Streets Cardiff manager Rachel Maycock, says ‘walking cities’ are safe, clean and uncluttered. And as Walking Heads finds in talking to local people who provide the stories for our urban walking tours, ‘walking cities’ also have a proud and welcoming sense of place; living streets with character where people belong.

There are lots of good health reasons for walking.  So while we’re getting ready to add yet more destinations to Glasgow Music Tour, stretching it further, wider and deeper (more about that soon), we are recycling some of our new year resolutions.

5 good reasons for walking to work 

  1. Walking helps you get fit
  2. Walking relieves stress
  3. Walking improves sleep
  4. Walking can help you lose weight
  5. Walking is free – no special equipment needed (apart from shoes!)

2 more for walking with us

  1. Glasgow Music Tour – 39 stops add up to 6 miles of music stories (walk or dance!)
  2. Edinburgh Comedy Tour – 1.5 hours of energetic walking (up and down hills) with healthy laughing thrown in for good measure.

Footnote: Pardon our self-interested promotion but we do believe there’s great social value in connecting local people and visitors with the true sense of place which sometimes lies hidden beneath layers of planning mistakes.

Foot of Robert Fergusson sculpture in Royal Mile

The foot of Robert Fergusson, the walking sculpture of the poet by David Annand