Local Legends – Robert Lundgren Jones Tour Guide

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WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Robert Lundgren Jones and I set up my own company, Lundgren Tours in 2016 whilst studying Entrepreneurial Business Management at Northumbria University. I am graduating this summer and am very much looking forward to concentrating full-time on tourism in Northumberland, a county I love. The ‘Lundgren’ name for my business originated from my Scandinavian ancestry, a Swedish Mariner who sailed from the island of Gotland, just off the Swedish mainland , to Amble in Northumberland.

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?
Lundgren Tours offers bespoke guided coach and walking trips in Northumberland to small and large groups. Currently we take visitors to the main attractions in North Northumberland as well as the coastal towns, villages and beaches. We try to be flexible with our tours in order to accommodate the needs of our customers and also to suit the weather in our region. As a Tour Guide, I will endeavour to entertain as well as inform . For instance, when bringing our customers to Alnwick Castle’s Harry Potter tour and broomstick training, I dress as the character Ron Weasley featured in the HP films to enter into the spirit and magic of the occasion. It also helps that I have Ron’s hair colour for this particular event.

Due to our designated dark sky status in Northumberland and having a keen interest in astronomy after studying Astrophysics to A level, I have recently added Stargazing Events to my portfolio of trips. I am very fortunate to have established relationships with expert Cosmologists and Astronomers who provide talks and advanced telescopes for our events. To entertain customers, I have been known to do a reasonable Professor Brian Cox impression which usually gives them a laugh!

In terms of transport, we use a local coach company in Wooler, Glen Valley Tours who offer a very reliable and friendly service for us. Our transport needs have ranged from 50 seaters when we hosted and guided a trip to Alnwick’s Food Festival and Alnwick Castle last year for 50 Newcastle students to minibuses for a private tour of 6 Swiss visitors to Alnmouth beach, Alnwick Gardens and Castle.

We have some exciting tours lined up for the summer months as well as further stargazing events organised for the forthcoming autumn and winter months.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
As previously mentioned, my idea for a Tour Operator company originated from my University course which encourages students to set up their own businesses. At first, I didn’t have a business idea. I only knew that I wanted to stay in the North East of England and that I loved my home county of Northumberland. I was also keen to do something with stargazing and enjoyed showing off our region to friends when I passed my driving test. It therefore seemed like an obvious thing to do - set up a company as a Tour Guide. Looking back now, I realise it was a brave decision as I was only 19 but with the help and support of my parents and my Uni course, I set up LUNDGREN TOURS and have learnt so much in a few short years and feel very excited and confident about the future for tourism in Northumberland and the prospects for my company.

WHAT DO YOU MOST LIKE ABOUT LIVING IN NORTHUMBERLAND?
I feel very proud of Northumberland for a number of reasons. I love it’s diversity, its vast unspoilt countryside and coastline, the big skies and dark skies for stargazing. I love its history and heritage. We have over 70 castles in this county and all of them have a different story to tell. Being a Tour Guide has forced me to learn extensively about the history of this region and it continues to fascinate me. Last but not least, the people of Northumberland; call me biased, but they’re the best!

WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Apart from setting up my own business at the age of 19 and running successful coach trips, my greatest achievement was being shortlisted for an ‘Enterprise Learner of the Year’ award in 2016. My University coach nominated me and I was shortlisted down to 3 out of over 100 companies in the UK by SFEDI and IOEE Group - Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative and the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs. I was extremely honoured to be invited to the House of Lords in London to receive my award.

HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU?
You can visit our website at http://lundgrentours.com
Or find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LundgrenTours/
You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter

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