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Durham City is one of twelve of England’s historic cities which have collaborated to develop an innovative augmented reality (AR) product that is set to bring heritage to life.

The app has been produced by the England’s Heritage Cities consortium, of which Visit County Durham is a founding member, with funding secured from the Discover England Fund. Working in partnership with Durham Cathedral, the ground-breaking new AR experience consists of an app and videos that transport the user back in time to unveil the hidden lives of some of history’s most fascinating characters.

The premise of the app is to capture significant historic moments in time whilst providing tourists with the opportunity to explore England’s most historic cities. It uses cutting-edge technology to give the historical moments a fresh perspective and make history’s fascinating characters come to life.

It is set to transform Durham Cathedral’s appeal by making its fascinating heritage more accessible by introducing it to a new, more technologically-motivated and younger audience. It also hopes to encourage return visitors by offering the opportunity to experience an attraction in a different way. In a rapidly-changing and competitive tourist environment, the use of AR technology will offer a point of difference that will attract visitors and showcase the best of the city.

In Durham City the AR experience brings the story of the historic cathedral to life through a set of trigger points inside the iconic building. Through the app, visitors will discover the earliest stirrings of recorded English history, meet the Venerable Bede and experience a rare glimpse into the enigmatic and scholarly lives of the Benedictine monks.

Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, said: “This is one of the most exciting tourism products on the market – a true marrying of old and new and a completely innovative way to inspire an increasingly digital world to take a step back into the past. It enables Durham and all the cities in question to be able to reach new audiences and showcase the iconic cultural heritage we have to offer. New audiences and repeat visits all help to raise the profile of Durham and boost the visitor economy in our county.”

Ruth Robson, head of marketing and events, Durham Cathedral, said: “We are always looking for creative and innovative ways to engage with our visitors, and the England’s Heritage Cities app reveals the remarkable history and heritage of Durham Cathedral from a new perspective. We would encourage as many people as possible to download the app and use it to explore Durham and the other Heritage Cities represented, which all have their own fascinating stories to tell.”

England’s Heritage Cities cover the length and breadth of England, from Canterbury to Durham and Salisbury to Carlisle. They offer diverse experiences and all of them are well-connected via rail, making it easy for tourists to travel to more than one at a time.

The exciting new project is one of a number of projects to benefit from the £40 million Discover England Fund – a central government-funded programme of activity administered by VisitEngland supported by match-funding from private and public partners.

The ‘England’s Historic Cities’ app is available to download for free in Google Play and on the app store or at www.historic-cities.com/stories

Website URL: http://www.historic-cities.com/stories
App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/englands-historic-cities/id1215745809
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hexdigital.ehc

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