Augmented reality set to shine a light on Durham’s heritage

Augmented reality set to shine a light on Durham’s heritage

Durham City is one of 12 cities in England that has been awarded a share of £250,000 to develop a new augmented reality project to showcase its heritage in a new light and increase its appeal to younger audiences.

The England’s Heritage Cities’ project is one of a number to receive funding from the £40m Discover England Fund, administered by VisitEngland. The fund is a central government-funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors. Its aim is to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly-growing global tourism industry by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time.


The scheme will use digital application technology to bring heritage to life and develop new content that will increase the appeal of England’s heritage with the under-35 market in the US. Each of the 12 iconic heritage sites and experiences in 12 of England’s premier heritage cities will be interpreted using techniques such as augmented reality. This new content will be turned into a set of tools for the travel trade helping them to sell and showcase the breadth and quality of England’s heritage.


Visit County Durham, which is partnering with Durham Cathedral on the project, will be focusing on promoting Durham’s rich heritage offering and iconic attractions.


Distribution of the new products will be through online travel agencies, trade partners, the app store, and direct to consumers booking breaks in any of the 12 destinations.


Michelle Gorman, managing director at Visit County Durham, which will be delivering Durham’s project, said: “This is an exciting and innovative tool that will put Durham’s heritage in the spotlight. We hope to reach - and engage with - a younger overseas audience through the use of technology.”


VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe, said: “We had an exceptionally high number of submissions far outweighing the allocated funding available and following a rigorous applications process we are delighted to work closely with those excellent winners on building world-class ‘bookable’ tourism products showcasing the best of England to international and domestic visitors.


“This is a great way for the project to showcase their inspirational heritage offer, harnessing the power of technology to capture the imagination of a new market.”




Katharine Capocci T: 03000 261223






Notes to editors:


About Visit County Durham


  • Visit County Durham (VCD) is the Destination Management Organisation for County Durham working on behalf of businesses and public agencies. We came into being on 1 April 2006 and are a private, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with a board of directors.
  • The company’s main funder is Durham County Council. The private sector also contributes financially to our work in return for benefits and activities that meet their needs.
  • Visit County Durham assists the county to fulfil its potential as one of North East England’s lead destinations, attracting visitors to the region from across the UK and from target overseas markets. Its objective is to ensure that the tourism sector performs to its maximum capacity and brings economic benefits to the county in the form of wealth and job creation. Its broad aims are to attract people to the area and to provide visitors with the best possible experience.


About the Discover England Fund

In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The Fund aims to deliver world-class bookable tourism products joined up across geographies and/or themes; including integrated transport solutions to provide an end-to-end customer experience.

The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. England has seen record tourism spend in the past year from both domestic and international visitors delivering economic growth and jobs across all the English regions.

The Fund will support a number of projects and pilots in year one (2016/17) to test and develop product development approaches and a small number of large-scale collaborative projects that create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers (in years two and three - 2017-19). A smaller funding pot for new one-year projects and pilots, and continuation funding for existing round one projects that can demonstrate early learnings, will also be available.


About VisitBritain/VisitEngland

VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)

Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit or and  for consumer information.


About England’s Heritage Cities

England’s Heritage Cities is a consortium of cities which work together principally focused on marketing, lobbying and research. The consortium includes the destination management organisations representing Bath, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Greenwich, Lancaster, Lincoln, Oxford, Salisbury, Stratford-upon-Avon and York. More information is available at


Published: 28, October, 2016

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