The England Originals partnership from England’s Historic Cities has launched its first app, bringing to life 16 historic destinations with augmented reality (AR).
Created by Hex Digital and aimed primarily at international millennials, the app combines technology and storytelling to help users explore England’s historic cities.
There are also ‘tabletop tours’ which enable users to explore the cities in 3D before their arrival, while in-destination portals lead users into “hidden rooms and amazing places”, says a statement from England Originals.
The consortium recently launched five multi-destination tours and the new app will bring the themes of each tour to life – Thinkers and Writers Tour in Oxford, Worcester and Stratford Upon Avon; Time Travellers Tour in the City of London, Greenwich, Canterbury and Cambridge; Treasure Trove Tour in Durham, York and Lincoln; Wall to Wall Tour in Chester, Lancaster and Carlisle; and Western Wonders Tour in Truro, Bath and Salisbury.
Historian Jonathan Foyle has narrated stories in each city, such as the origins of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll at Christ Church College Oxford.
Other stories explain how sailors use the Greenwich Meridian to navigate; why Chester’s city gates are locked at nightfall; the origins of the Cornish pasty in Truro; and why Durham Cathedral used to be a safe haven for criminals.
The portals in the cities offer the chance to explore in virtual reality, with options such as stepping onto the stage at Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company; gazing over the Wiltshire countryside from the roof of Salisbury Cathedral; and walking around a jail cell at Carlisle Castle.
Alongside the AR elements, the app includes details about each of the tours, key sites to visit and introductory videos.
Details about places to stay, eat and visit in each city is available via the directory feature, which links through to www.visitlondon.com/englandoriginals.
England’s Originals is one of several tourism projects funded by the UK government’s £40 million Discover England Fund, administered by VisitEngland.
The England Originals app is available now to download free on Google Play and the App Store.
The England’s Historic Cities consortium features Bath, Cambridge, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Greenwich, Lancaster, Lincoln, Oxford, Salisbury, Stratford, Truro, Worcester and York. They are joined in England Originals by the City of London.
Additional partners for England Originals are English Heritage, the Historic Houses Association and the National Trust, as well as long-standing strategic partners to the consortium, UKinbound and London and Partners.