This month, we catch up with Anna Unger, one of Newcastle Tour Company's most senior tour guides and trip designer!
“Hi! My name is Anna and I am one of Newcastle Tour Company’s core guides.
I moved over from Germany almost 15 years ago and fell in love with this wild corner of England.
As a graduate of Art History and Archaeology, I’m passionate about showing off our amazing Roman heritage along Hadrian’s Wall or the glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site Durham Castle and Cathedral.”
What makes your job most enjoyable?
“EVERYTHING! Exploring our region is not only about its amazing man-made structures (which I love!), it’s about its people (the most enjoyable part of my job!)!
As Experience North‘s & Newcastle Tour Company’s chief Tour Designer I also love putting together experiential tours like our food and drink related tours (such as our awesome Newcastle Street Food Tour that features some of the amazing small independent businesses in the city) or our bespoke tours for cruise visitors.
In our sister brand, Northern Secrets, we create multi-day tours for visitors from across the world with fascinating stories…
There are so many facets to being a guide on the ground with the people and seeing their experience unfold but also knowing that I am responsible (directly and indirectly) in making their day!”
“As a guide, I always think that human interest is key! I love telling stories about our region’s people.
It helps to get a sense for a place and feel you connect.
There are so many fascinating, famous and sometimes a little fraud characters that help bring facts to life and paint the picture.
Regardless of whether you are local and would like to find out more about what’s on your doorstep or a visitor to the North East wanting to immerse yourself on your travels, there is so much we can explore together!”
How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tourism?
“I’m here to show you all the region’s hidden gems you might otherwise miss and make your day fun and memorable.”
What does your typical workday look like?
What is your favourite place in North East England?
“That’s a hard one as there is so many!
If I had to pick one that has it all – beautiful gardens, a magical house & the story of an awe-inspiring Victorian inventor from our region – I would say Cragside, a National Trust property and former home of Lord William Armstrong in Northumberland.”
Your most joyous moment at Newcastle Tour Company?
“One of my favourite types of tours are bespoke ancestral tours with our sister brand, Ancestry Concierge, and I once had the pleasure of taking a Canadian couple around the region to walk in the footsteps of their forefathers.
It was a truly memorable and special day for all of us.”
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
“Family walks with our Border Collie, cycling along all the old railway tracks and stand-up paddle boarding on the Northumberland coast.
And a good book with a glass of red wine afterwards.”
If you could pick any body to be your mentor, who would it be?
“Gertrude Bell. I would love to know how a Victorian lady from humble Washington ended up spending a life exploring and mapping the Middle East, being consulted by world leaders and ending up being the ‘Uncrowned Queen of the Desert’.”
What advice would you give to new tour guides before their first tour?
“Arrive early – far too early!
Smile and, in my case, talk slower.
Tune into your group and their story and match it. If you enjoy sharing your passion, they are likely to do so too.”
What three things do you always carry with you when guiding?
“A waterproof jacket (it is the North East after all!), a water bottle and a crochet microphone topper made by my mum so you don’t have to share microphone germs on coaches with others.”
If you want to find out why using a tour guide is a great idea, take a look at our 10 reasons to use a guide blog.