Geotourist launches five new city trails in Birmingham

Geotourist Roundhouse Birmingham audio trails
Geotourist Roundhouse Birmingham audio trails

Geotourist has launched five new digital audio tours in partnership with Roundhouse Birmingham and Canal & River Trust, to help visitors and locals explore the canals, streets and public spaces around Birmingham’s city centre.

Each tour launches from, or links to, the iconic Roundhouse, and were created as part of a project to revive the Grade II* listed site. The tours hail a partnership between the Roundhouse Birmingham, National Trust, Canal & River Trust and Geotourist. Free and downloadable, the trails can be accessed on the Geotourist app and enjoyed on visitor’s smartphones and in their own time.

All five trails are navigated through the app using GPS technology and a simple-to-use interface. The trails offer visitors and residents alike a multi-layered understanding of the importance of the historic building and the role it has to play in the future of the city through immersive storytelling.

Researched and written during lockdown as part of Roundhouse Birmingham’s #CommunityRoutes project, the trails were recorded in April 2021 under Covid-safe conditions, using a supporting cast of over 50 volunteers and local specialists. All the tours are designed to be step-free and easily accessible.

Sensing the Roundhouse (and Beyond) is a short sensory walk that takes visitors through some of the lesser-noted points of interest around the local area. It was created in collaboration with Dr. Jieling Xiao, a leading expert on sensory experiences at Birmingham City University and is wheelchair accessible in its entirety.

Revealing the Reservoir takes visitors to Edgbaston Reservoir, a hub for healthy activities such as water sports, running and walking, as well as being a wildlife hotspot. Home to the Tower Ballroom, the Rezza – as it is known locally – provided a much needed green wellness space during lockdown.

Birmingham – A Duck’s View explores the waterways of a city that has more canals than Venice and visitors can learn about the importance of the role Birmingham and its canals played in the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

Little-Known Ladywood is a 20-point trail exploring the local Ladywood area, revealing its hidden stories and secrets that include a celebrated Swiss chocolatier and the Birmingham music scene.

Brum Through a Lens: A Birmingham Photography Trail is produced in partnership with the West Midlands Photography Collective and designed to give locals a chance to see the city from a fresh perspective and new visitors a unique way to unlock the city centre.

Chris Maher, Creative Producer at Roundhouse Birmingham said, “Shortly before lockdown, our Community Routes project began exploring people’s connections to the local area across streets, squares, waterways and other public spaces. Our aim: to create a range of accessible city walks and trails with local residents and partners, presenting the heritage of Birmingham’s spaces across the green, the grey and the blue, from the perspective of local people.

“Lockdowns, furloughs and other Covid obstacles made #CommunityRoutes quite an interesting project, but in all, around 200 people took part. Some suggested routes, histories or points of interest, others pushed themselves to become narrators (most recorded at home, and often under a duvet!). Whether researching or mapping, walking or narrating, what everyone had in common was a passion for Birmingham and an eagerness to share its stories. We’re thrilled to be able to shout about Birmingham through these audio tours.”

Founder and CEO of Geotourist Shaon Talukder, said, “These trails at Roundhouse Birmingham are of great importance to the Geotourist platform. They perfectly capture the essence of what the Geotourist brand has always set out to do – to offer a reason and a reward for exploring the world around us, whether you’re a guest Birmingham citizen or a true Brummie. The community perspectives and interesting anecdotes within the tours are inspiring, with the accessible Sensory tour of special mention. I’ve been visiting Birmingham regularly for nearly 20 years and I felt like I was visiting a new city for the first time.

“Birmingham is a city on the brink of a huge international sporting event in the Commonwealth Games next year; these tours are an amazing way for visitors from all over the Commonwealth to appreciate Birmingham’s importance to the nation’s history and the community spirit that makes it a vibrant place to explore today.”

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