About Podtours

Gloucester Cathedral East window

Your personal sightseeing guide to Europe


Podtours™ started when one of our founders got stuck behind a big Australian backpacker for the whole of a guided tour of Florence. We've got nothing against Australians, and nothing against backpackers - but when you're only five foot four, and they're standing between you and Michelangelo, it's a pain.

Our audio tours liberate you to see the sights in your own time. You're in control - they've been planned as guided walks in a definite sequence, but if you want to visit one sight rather than another, or take things in a different order, you're free to do so. We like to think that if you take a Podtour, it's like taking a walk with a good friend who knows the place.

Each tour is divided into a number of labelled tracks so it's easy to navigate around. There's no one standing between you and the guide, or between you and what you're looking at. And if you want to go for a coffee or take abreak for lunch, you just have to press the pause button.St Joan of Arc church, Rouen

We don't do hotels. We don't do flights. Instead, we are the experts on the sights. Our tours are all carefully researched before we start writing - history, art, architecture, and anecdotes all have to be checked out. We try to create the right mixture of 'compulsory sights' with the oddball, the touching, or the amusing in the side streets. And we try to do more than just guide you round - we try to help you experience the chivalry of medieval Bruges, the splendour of the Duc of Berry's Bourges, the violence as well as the sublimity of the Medici's and Michelangelo's Florence.

We are heavy on art, architecture and history. Sometimes we invite you to spend five minutes just looking at a painting and trying to understand how the painter created the effects he did, or how the different elements of the narrative relate to each other. We do that because we think it's important - because we think you'd rather understand Bernini's work in St Peter's than just gawp at it.  If you want risqué stories, broad humour and tired anecdotes, you need to join the queue behind the guy with the umbrella.

The Podtours™ team:

Andrea Kirkby is a journalist and writer who has travelled extensively around Europe - including walking from Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, a thousand miles in all. A webhead since 1994, her interests include romanesque and gothic architecture, bagpipe playing, and opera - as well as good food and decent beer.

Jacques Combeau has spent his career as a diplomat in posts as varied as Trinidad, Zanzibar, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, and Oman. He speaks French, Spanish, Catalan and English, as well as a little Swahili. A keen hiker and sailor, he also enjoys haggling in souks and playing the organ and harpsichord. And he's the only Frenchman we know to sing calypso.

With a little help from Bob Malster, on the Ipswich and Norwich podtours - he's a local, industrial and maritime historian - and from Jon Crampton, who reads some of our Podtours for us.