Quirky historic stories, fun facts and amazingly instagrammable locations; for the very first time York along with 15 of England’s top ranked historic cities including London, have come together  to market themselves in the United States.

Five new, hassle-free, easy-to-book itineraries are being marketed under a new brand:

England Originals from England’s Historic Cities.  Available as holiday packages or as a build-your-own-itineraries for independent travellers, the tours are easy and simple to book through a newly England Originals’ website, www.visitlondon.com/englandoriginals.

Aimed at the younger US visitor (aged 18 – 39) customers will experience England close-up as they hop on and off the train, straight into the heart of the cities, during each of the five multi-destination trips.  A quarter of a million visitors to York are from overseas and 16% of all visitors are from the States, York’s consistently top performing overseas market.

Easy to complete in four days, York is one of three cities featured in the specially themed, Treasure Trove Tour, just one of the five themed tours on offer.  And in addition to the itineraries, new augmented reality will shine a light on York, with tales uncovered by BBC historian Jonathan Foyle. Via the England’s Historic Cities mobile phone app, customers can explore York prior to arrival with a 3D model of the city and as you hover over an attraction such as York Minster, Jonathan will tell stories of the attraction. 

Once visitors arrive into York GPS technology at five of York’s top attractions will showcase a 360 degree video featuring views from the top of Clifford’s Tower, the Chapter House at York Minster, Dick Turpin’s Cell at York Castle Museum, the hidden chapel at the Bar Convent and Station Hall at the National Railway Museum.

Train travel, boutique hotels, attractions and experiences are all included in the itineraries being sold through top London based tour operator, Golden Tours.  In addition, the new itineraries feature an array of hints, tips and ideas, ensuring customers make the most of their visit. (All products and packages are commissionable for the travel trade.)

Michelle Brown, Marketing Manager, Visit York said: “By targeting a young audience in the states we’re aiming to increase the number of independent travellers to the UK’s top historic cities and especially to York.”

“It’s fantastic to see York being brought to life in the States through new technology. This is the first time we have worked together with England’s historic cities to put together tours for the American visitor that are really easy to book.  By joining together we will can maximise our marketing to showcase York’s history and heritage to new audiences.”

Melanie Sensicle, chair, England’s Historic Cities, a marketing consortium, said: “England has a diverse history and these new tours are sure to capture the imagination of US visitors. Our use of story-telling and augmented reality gives a fresh, new perspective on our history, which we’re excited to share.”

Jonathan Folye, historian, said: "England is studded with ancient and beautiful cities of castles, cathedrals, and myriad sites of historic events. Their variety and character can now be explored online and on foot through cutting-edge technology - for a historian, broadcaster and writer, this step-change in communication is a really exciting moment."

The four other England Original tours are: Thinkers and Writers Tour which visits Oxford Worcester and Stratford Upon Avon; the Time Travellers Tour which visits Greenwich, Canterbury and Cambridge; the Wall to Wall Tour which visits Chester, Lancaster and Carlisle; and the Western Wonders Tour which visits Truro, Bath and Salisbury. It’s also possible to combine the tours, allowing customers to visit numerous cities.

England Originals from England’s Historic Cities is one of a number of projects to benefit from funding from the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund. The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and involves a programme of activity 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 Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.  Visit York, as part of the consortium, successfully bid to be part of this new £1 million campaign.  All tours will be bookable on the www.visitlondon.com/englandoriginals website.  Table Top Tours and virtual portals will be available on the England’s Historic Cities app from Monday 5 November 2018.   


Notes to editors

About England’s Historic Cities
England’s Historic Cities is a partnership of destinations brought together by common product and interests. Its purpose is to exchange knowledge, find solutions to shared challenges, benchmark performance, raise the profile of England’s heritage product and facilitate joint activity, all with the intention of maximising the potential of the cities’ visitor economies.
Its geographical footprint spans the length and breadth of England and membership comprises 13 of the country’s premiere heritage locations: Bath, Canterbury, Cambridge, Chester, Carlisle, Durham, Greenwich, Lancaster, Lincoln, Oxford, Salisbury, Stratford and York. They are joined in England Originals by the City of London, and emerging historic destinations, Truro and Worcester.
Additional partners to 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.
For general information about England’s Historic Cities visit www.heritagecities.com

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. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions – contributing some £106bn each year to the economy and supporting 2.6 million jobs.
  • The Fund supported a number of pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches.  In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund will support:
  • A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two-year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers,
  • A smaller funding pot for new one-year pilot projects (in year two), and
  • Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two)

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 www.visitbritain.org or www.visitbritain.com and www.visitengland.com  for consumer information.

For further information please contact:
Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852
Email: kay.hyde@makeityork.com

About Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand. Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.9 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs