Celebrate Robert Louis Stevenson’s 170th birthday on an audio tour of Edinburgh

Friday marks the 170th birthday of author Robert Louis Stevenson which is marked annually in the Capital with events throughout the city, however this year RLS Day 2020 has chosen to commemorate the legendary Scot online.

The tours can be used virtually, at home, or on a self-guided, socially distanced walk in the footsteps of the young Stevenson, before he left the city of his birth at the age of 27, never to return.

The celebrations include readings of his work by 19 people across the globe and two newly released audio tours which can be used virtually, at home, or on a self-guided, socially distanced walk.

The two tours, which are narrated by Edinburgh-based actor John Shedden, take travellers through Stevenson’s life in Edinburgh, connecting specific places like the old Royal Infirmary, Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle to the author’s literary works.

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The first tour focuses on Stevenson’s childhood years in New Town while the second tour revisits his university years with a walk through the Old Town.

Stevenson biographer, Jeremy Hodges said: “To understand Stevenson you need to stand in his shoes and follow his wanderings around the city of his birth, where he spent his formative years and which he wrote about so often.

“So much of the Edinburgh he knew remains in existence today and can be experienced.”

The tours are available through the VoiceMap app, and if they are done as self-guided walks, the audio plays automatically using GPS and includes turn-by-turn directions.

This allows listeners to explore at their own pace while getting some exercise.

Although many of Edinburgh’s leisure and entertainment facilities remain closed, various attractions throughout the city can still be enjoyed including St Giles Cathedral and Edinburgh University’s ‘Old Quad’ which are both stops on the tour of Stevenson’s university years.

To use the tours, those interested should install the VoiceMap app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, create an account, select or search for Edinburgh from the list of cities available and elect the tour you’d like to do before tapping ‘Download Now’.

Once the tour is downloaded, you can either select continuous play to disable the GPS playback and listen to the tour at home or select start now when you’re at the start location. The audio tours can be followed using headphones while you are walking.


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