How a tour guide’s passion for Liverpool is helping to welcome visitors back
2 years ago
A former Liverpool actor turned tour guide is channelling his passion for the city into a series of new bespoke tours to help welcome visitors back.
Lifelong Reds fan David Barlow has been a guide for more than 12 years, working with LFC’s Anfield stadium tour and on sightseeing buses.
In January this year, when lockdown left him working from home, he decided he could bring something different to Liverpool’s tourism offering.
So he took the opportunity to set up his own company, DB Tours Liverpool, creating a series of tailor-made tour types which make the most of his knowledge and love of his home city.
“I tell everyone who comes on my tours, ‘you’re going to get passion’ because I’m just so proud of this city.
“I love meeting people and showing them around. I like to think I’m a bit of a guide triple threat because even though my main area is the football, I know my Beatles, football, and civic history, and I find it all fascinating.”
When 33-year-old David decided to launch DB Tours Liverpool, he set about using over a decade of experience to pinpoint exactly what people enjoy most when they come here.
That gave him a range of tour types, walking and with transport, but then he personalises each one depending on the booking.
“There are a lot of tours available so I wanted to make sure mine were different, more bespoke,” he explains. “When people contact me I ask them what they’re interested in and I create an itinerary for them. I try not to use a set route because I don’t want to take people to things they don’t have any interest in, and I’ll obviously do a different tour for a stag party than a family with two kids.
“I’ve created a tour type called the Anfield Origins which focuses on the history of Liverpool and Everton, how they were both born, and I’ve chosen certain locations – like the Sandon pub, where the old church used to be where they and the meeting and Everton split from Liverpool, and Stanley Park – to create my own football heritage tour.
“I’ve even found the headstones of ex-Liverpool and Everton legends in Anfield and Kirkdale cemeteries so if people want to visit the grave of the first ever manager when we won the league title, I know where that is in Anfield cemetery.
“And all the great murals in the city have given me another idea so I’ve just started a tour which links football history with the fantastic street art, especially around Anfield.”
David, who comes from Everton, launched his tours in June and says he’s been even busier than he hoped.
His LFC connections have helped connect him with fans in the US, Canada and across Europe, and he says there’s been no shortage of UK visitors who can’t wait to come to Liverpool since travel restrictions eased.
“Even though people might think post-lockdown is a strange time to launch a visitor business, Covid actually gave me the chance to plan my own tours and get my website off the ground. I was confident that by the summer it would be busy again and then it would only keep getting busier.
“Tourism in this city is absolutely huge and I’m sure we’ll get back to where we were. I’ve noticed over the summer an increase in the numbers, and a lot more people coming from overseas. A lot of Europeans and Scandinavians are travelling again which is really good news, especially for businesses like mine.”
With so many amazing sights in Liverpool, anyone booking on David’s tours get spoilt for choice, although he admits there are a few places which are guaranteed to impress.
“For me the cathedrals are a big one, they really have a wow factor, and for people who have never seen them before they’re incredible.
“I love the Georgian Quarter too and I find people, even from the UK, haven’t ever been around there, or to south Liverpool, and they’re fascinated by it because they didn’t know that side of Liverpool existed.
“Most people say I’m lucky to live here and I always tell them, ‘I know’.
Find out more about David’s tours here.