#BarbourTartan: Iconic Tours, Edinburgh

Meet Gillian Patterson of Iconic Tours, Edinburgh, and discover why the city’s heritage is so important…

August 14th 2017
Gillian guides people through the old town of Edinburgh and also the new town, because it is a city of two halves, with a rich history and lots of secret corners, showing people parts of Edinburgh they might not have found on their own.
Tell us about Iconic Tours and how it was established.
Iconic Tours was established by ex-Lonely Planet photographer Rob as photography tours, and then diversified into history tours and small group tours of the highlands. I come as part of that package, I’m a history tour guide mainly. I started off doing large public tours so it’s different for me to do smaller group tours but it’s a lot of fun; you never get the same thing twice.
What makes Iconic Tours unique?
Iconic deals with individuals. It’s very much catered to what someone is interested in, showing them things they wouldn’t find themselves, maybe things they didn’t know they were interested in that will spark something. I think we give it that personal touch that some of the bigger companies can’t. We all have our individual talents doing photography, history, ghostly interests, so we provide a bit of everything.
Gillian wore our Barbour Bowmore Top.
How is heritage important to the city?
Heritage is important to Edinburgh because on a logical level it brings visitors here, people are interested in our heritage because it’s preserved. A lot of places have removed their heritage so it’s nice to see the buildings that remain here and have been here for hundreds of years. I think if we could set the example, especially as a world heritage site, about how important it is to preserve our buildings and to maintain our heritage then other places will follow suit.
How do you keep the tours fresh and different?
Iconic Tours stays fresh because we’re always dealing with different people in different circumstances, every day. We can’t work from a script in this type of job because we always have to adapt to everything that’s around us. We respond to the people that we’re with, what they’re interested in and the circumstances around us.
We might look down a different street we’ve never been down before or find something that brings a different thing to light so it never gets repetitive. I never quite know what I’m going to find next which can be a challenge sometimes but that’s the joy of the job.

Discover more of our Tartan campaign here and explore the men’s and women’s collections.