York opens its networks for techno-tourism!

Don’t forget to pack your iPad – that’s the message this summer from York’s tourism bosses as a host of new techno-initiatives aimed at visitors to the historic city are launched this season, making York the top British destination for those travelling with a smartphone or tablet.

‘York is a beautiful city, and we often see visitors using smartphones and tablets to take photographs and videos during their visits, but this year, York’s top visitor attractions are taking this one step further, with a host of apps and augmented reality to bring this historic city to life with the very latest technology,’ said Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York.

Indeed, York is already pioneering the world’s first app-based tour which features holographic guides. City of York Council has teamed up with appeartome.com to develop an app that makes characters from the city’s past – including Dick Turpin’s hangman, Richard III’s father (Richard of York) and valet, and ‘Railway king’ George Hudson - appear on screen in a number of locations around the city. The York Hologram Tour app includes four free guides, with a further 16 available to purchase for just £1.49. The app guides visitors to specific locations, where the relevant virtual guide explains the significance and history of the location – with hints and tips of top places to eat and drink along the way. The York Hologram Tour is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Visitors who have enjoyed the app in the city centre can also head out to Yorkshire Air Museum, the first attraction in the world to introduce virtual guides, including Yorkshire-born Amy Johnson and inventor of the bouncing bomb, Sir Barnes Wallis. The guide costs £2.99 via iTunes.

Near Field Communication (NFC) and QR Codes offer the key to discovering the past in Coppergate, home to the world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre. Celebrating 30 years of the JORVIK Viking Centre, a host of panels have been installed around the outdoor shopping square inviting visitors to either scan the QR code or simply tap an NFC-enabled smart device to uncover some of the artefacts found on the site during the Coppergate archaeological dig of the late 1970s and early 1980s, from pottery to armour. Completely free to use, with free WiFi provided locally by JORVIK Viking Centre, the Coppergate Alive! app is a 21st century introduction into Viking-age discoveries, with 360 degree pictures of each of the artefacts, as well as facts and figures for children and adults alike.

Anyone looking to get out and about during a visit to York can also make good use of another free app, which is a legacy of the recent Tour de France Grand Départ, which passed through York and Yorkshire on the 7 July. ‘Cycle Yorkshire: Ride the Routes’ is a guide for cyclists – amateur and expert – with details of different routes followed by the peloton, including hints and tips on how to cycle specific sections and rural cycling road safety advice. It is available from bit.ly/cycleyorkshire.

An historical walking tour of York is available free of charge from York Museums Trust, with its Kirkgate app. A mobile website links the shops you can see in the recreated Victorian street at York Castle Museum with their original locations within the city. Archive photographs, including ‘then-and-now’ comparisons, bring the city’s heritage onto your mobile device. To download, visit www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk/exhibition/kirkgate-the-victorian-street.

More historic photographs and paintings are available via http://www.historypin.com/channels/view/43688#!photos/list/, with a number of pages created by volunteers from York Museums Trust. An interactive map shows different locations for which volunteers have uploaded historic images – an ideal supplement to any visit.

A thousand years of history in York's churches can now be explored thanks to the new York Churches app, which shows the whereabouts of all York's churches on a GPS-enabled map plus a quick intro to them, their history and crucially their current life. Many of the churches are off the main streets and would be easily missed without the map. For nine of the churches a plug-in can also be downloaded which reveals the interiors and fascinating stories of the objects, features and fabric which make York such a magnet for history-lovers, such as the beautiful glass connected with the Mystery Plays in All Saints Pavement and the Roman stonework in St Mary Bishophill Junior. Available from the App Store - look for 'York Churches' - or Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cnc.yorkchurches

Later this summer, Visit York will launch York’s first Events app to provide an easy way for people to view, book, share and review events and festival information whilst planning their trip or whilst in the city. The app will be a single source of information on events in the city and will take advantage of the city wide wifi.

‘York now has more ways of exploring the city through technology than anywhere else in Britain. York’s tourism businesses are embracing new technology to help visitors explore our 2,000 year old city using the very latest 21st century know-how and expertise. All of this, combined with the arrival of free city-centre wide WiFi, which is available to all visitors with a free login available from our Visitor Centre, will make York one of the best interpreted cities in the country. In years to come we’ll see visitors exploring York in a whole new way,’ added Kate.

For more information on apps and technological ways to enjoy a visit to York, go to visityork.org/

techno ENDS

For more media information and images please contact:

Kay Hyde, Head of Communications, Visit York. Tel: 01904 554451. Email: kh@visityork.org

Katie Parsons, Senior Communications Executive, Visit York. Tel: 01904 554436. Email: kp@visityork.org

Notes to editors

When was the last time you had a first time? Discover York for the first time in 2014 - visit www.visityork.org/first and book your accommodation with Visit York for an exclusive 20% discount off a 3 day York Pass.

About Visit York

  • Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with VisitEngland.

  • Visit York's aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city's Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.  

  • Visit York is the driving force of the city's tourism industry. Key facts:

7 million visitors annually, £606 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,000 jobs