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Visitors and residents can now experience Allerdale in virtual reality, after seven “pods” were installed around the borough ready for the start of the tourist season.
Allerdale Borough Council commissioned 20 virtual reality films to let people experience some of the best attractions in the area.
The pods, which include the VR headset, have been installed at the following locations and are free for anyone to use:
- Workington Library (Tourist Information Point)
- Solway Coast Discovery Centre (Tourist Information Centre)
- Maryport Aquarium (Tourist Information Point)
- Wordsworth House, Cockermouth
- Carlisle Lake District Airport
- Honister Slate Mine
- Keswick Moot Hall (Tourist Information Centre)
The 20 “experiences” available include walking the via ferrata at Honister slate mine, paragliding over Keswick, watching the sun set over Silloth, eating a meal at the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater, and cycling through the forest at Whinlatter forest park or along the Solway coast cycle path to Allonby. The VR films are available on the council’s dedicated tourism website at: https://visitallerdale.co.uk/virtual-reality-experiences/
The council has also commissioned a series of promotional videos. These can be found on the dedicated visitor website www.visitallerdale.co.uk . One of the films, narrated in Mandarin, is dedicated to potential Chinese visitors who are a growing market.
The whole set of videos are also available on the council’s YouTube page.
Speaking about the initiative, Cllr Bill Jefferson, Executive member with responsibility for tourism, said: “It is just great to see these virtual reality videos out on display for use by visitors and residents. They are a great way to experience all the great things which are available for people to do in our wonderful area. We’ve now got some great tools to really shout about Allerdale and promote it to a wider, even international, audience.”
Lee Thorburn, Community Services Manager at Workington Library, said: “Workington Library is delighted to be chosen to host the virtual reality unit which presents an opportunity for our community and visitors to Cumbria to explore the many attractions in a fun and informative way. This really is a unique experience and we offer a warm welcome to existing and new customers and encourage everyone to call into the library to enjoy this opportunity to travel around our beautiful area.”
The initiative is all part of the council’s efforts to attract more people to the area as well as encourage visitors to seek out all the attractions, including the Solway coastline. In recent months, the council has launched the new ‘Visit Allerdale’ website as well as distributed some 30,000 leaflets around key tourist locations in Cumbria.
The £53,000 project to devise the films has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development’s LEADER programme and the money has gone towards the development costs of the videos and the purchase of virtual reality headsets.
All the filming and post-production was carried out by Cockermouth-based Fluid Productions.
The promotional videos are also available for anyone to use and embed in their own website.
The council organised the hugely successful Allerdale Days in Manchester event in August last year, which saw a number of Allerdale’s businesses and attractions set up stall in the centre of the city to help promote the area to a wider audience. Plans are underway for a similar event this year. Anyone interested in joining in should contact the council’s tourism team.