Peo­ple flock­ing to en­joy Dark Dundee tours of 350-yearold vaults.

Res­i­dents and vis­i­tors snap up chance to go be­low and ex­plore life in city in 17th Cen­tury

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JAKE KEITH [email protected]­

It has been re­ally pop­u­lar with lo­cals mostly but we have had tourists look­ing to book-in all the way into De­cem­ber. LOUISE MUR­PHY

More than a thou­sand peo­ple have been taken on re­cently launched tours of Dundee’s in­cred­i­ble 350-year-old vaults.

The ac­tiv­ity, which sparked a huge amount of in­ter­est when it was launched in Au­gust, sees groups taken 14ft be­low Ex­change Street to Pack­house Square, which was built in 1644.

Dis­cov­ered purely by ac­ci­dent by work­ers dig­ging up the street 18 years ago, the vaults were ex­plored and cleared out by the coun­cil be­fore Dark Dundee were al­lowed to be­gin tours.

The hour-long tours were booked-out within weeks of be­ing launched and have to date given around 1,300 peo­ple the chance to ex­plore city life in the 17th Cen­tury.

Pas­sion­ate Dark Dundee Tours duo Louise Mur­phy and Ste­wart Heaton say they have been taken aback by the re­sponse and have strug­gled to keep up with de­mand.

Louise, 37, said: “We only launched the tours in Au­gust so it has been crazy.

“It has been re­ally amaz­ing. Peo­ple seem to love it.

“It’s not re­ally sur­pris­ing though in the sense that so many peo­ple were in­ter­ested in it af­ter we did the ini­tial test tours.

“We knew peo­ple wanted it.”

The area was orig­i­nally used in the 1600s as an enor­mous stor­age area for goods com­ing through the city’s ports.

The tun­nels are be­lieved to have once run all the way to the River Tay.

The vaults were closed around 250 years ago and there­after re­placed when the city’s shore­line was raised.

Fol­low­ing Christ­mas, tours will not run again un­til early Fe­bru­ary to al­low the pair to take a break and or­gan­ise the busi­ness, with free vaults tour slots avail­able again from then un­til May.

Louise added that many tourists vis­it­ing for the V&A mu­seum had con­tacted them look­ing to book in for a tour.

She said: “It has been re­ally pop­u­lar with lo­cals mostly but we have had tourists look­ing to book-in all the way into De­cem­ber.

“It has been un­for­tu­nate be­cause all the dates were booked up within two weeks, I think, when it was first launched.

“Hope­fully more tourists will be able to take the tours next year.”

The duo’s tours, which also in­clude Dis­cover Dundee, are one of the high­est rated ac­tiv­i­ties on TripAd­vi­sor in the city.

All 185 peo­ple to have rated it on the web­site have given it a full five stars with most of the re­cent re­views com­ing from those who have been on a tour of the vaults.

Pic­ture: Kim Cess­ford.

Louise Mur­phy and Ste­wart Heaton, of Dark Dundee Tours, in the vaults.

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