Rebustours were launched in 2000, following close consultation with Ian Rankin and his UK publishers. Since then, several thousands of people have come on the tours from all over the world and during the period of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August each year the tours are regularly sold out. The tours were rated in the top three walking tours of Edinburgh by The Scotsman newspaper in 2003.
In recent years some of the participants on the tours have included: the Lothian and Borders Police force; groups from several universities and further education colleges in the UK and USA; a pathologist from Germany; a judge from Canada; journalists and travel writers; readers’ circles and librarians. The tours have been used within study programmes in Edinburgh by the University of California at Davis, the University of Wisconsin and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
Here are some recent comments:
I set out to write novels which would explore contemporary Edinburgh and take the reader into the City's secret heart, where few tourists go. Colin Brown consolidates this with his entertaining and knowledgeable walking tours - and you're never more than fifty yards from a pub, so Rebus himself would doubtless approve.
Ian Rankin, Edinburgh
Even though it was probably the coldest night in Edinburgh so far this winter, I know that the Visitor Information Centre staff who came all enjoyed it and came away knowing more about the city than they did at the beginning of the night. The animated delivery of the tour was full of detail and enthusiasm.
Ruth Miller, VisitScotland Team
My partner and I did this when in Edinburgh last November. It was wonderful!. Highly recommended.
Rebus Rocks!, Twitter Site
We stumbled upon a recumbent body lying on the ground. We reported it to Saint Leonard’s Police Station!!! We later found out that the man was just dead drunk and not really dead! Thanks Colin for the added excitement. It really made the tour “come alive” for us!!
S Maine, London
We came on New Years Eve as a party of 5 at 12.00 on the Rebustours. We all loved it, we learnt lots about Edinburgh and it’s history. It was better than all of my history lessons. I now want all the Rebus books. “It was brilliant” and it was one of the highlights of our holiday to Edinburgh!!! Thanks
Lewis (aged 12), Ludlow, Shropshire
The tour was full of Edinburgh history – my friend is a big Rebus fan, and I was amazed by how much extraordinarily fascinating information that Colin was able to tell us about this ancient city along the way. I’d recommend the tour to anyone with an interest in old Edinburgh.
Yvette O'Neil, Writer
My daughter and I (the non-Rebus reader) enjoyed the Tour immensely and it was a nice sunny day for the occasion. My daughter has read all the Rebus books and your Tour brought it all to life. It was a nice Birthday Treat. We will come on your other Tour when she is next back in Edinburgh. I enjoyed your humour and banter, and I’m now converted.
Take the tour and you can even see some of Rebus’ favourite pubs and pick up a dab of local history besides. Rankin himself has even been along and said: “I learned quite a bit – I remembered things about my own books I’d managed to forget.”
Toronto Star, January 2003
Morag and I are just back in Canada and (while I sit and sip a dram) we wanted to thank you for one of the most memorable parts of our trip. Your ability to both inform and entertain is a true gift. We hoped to see a little of Rebus’s Edinburgh but left with not only an appreciation of the Rankin characters and settings, but a better understanding of the character of the City. We enjoyed the 12.00p.m. tour so much that we returned for 3.00p.m. Your knowledge and enthusiasm for the writing of not just Ian Rankin, but all of Scotland’s artists, made the tour particularly enjoyable. To quote the Bard, – “to make a tour an tak a whirl, to learn bon ton an see the worl’".
Morag and Jeff McNamee, Ottawa, Canada
Colin was fascinating…I loved the story of Robert Burns and Clarinda, the genesis of ‘Knots and Crosses’ and the stories of old Edinburgh.
James Ford, Chicago, U.S.A.
…his knowledge of Scottish History was extensive and his enthusiasm and humour were infectious.
John Bradley Wesley, London
One of my favourite parts was when you read the excerpt about the man on top of Salisbury Crags while we were looking right at them.
Stephanie, Manchester, England
Great to hear your 1st Walking with Scientists tour was a success – it’s a brilliant idea.
The Walton & Glenora Guesthouses,
“Colin, our very Scottish tour guide, regaled us with tidbits of history and a long soliloquy on the Roberts (Fergusson and Burns) as he led us around parts of Edinburgh ignored by conventional tours. A fascinating walk fron a real local.”
Three Weeks, Edinburgh Festival Guide
Going on the Rebustour was the best field trip of my life.
Jane (Student), University of Wisconsin, U.S.A.