EXPLORING Chester’s Walls is about to take on an exciting new dimension with the launch of a groundbreaking app – bringing 2,000 years of history to life.
The Chester Walls Quest – the first of its kind for a UK heritage site – will transform a smartphone into a ‘virtual tour guide’ telling the fascinating stories of the Walls and towers in an entirely new way.
Launched by Cheshire West and Chester Council, the app features a range of multimedia techniques and a GPS map to guide users on their journey around the two-mile-plus sandstone circuit.
Layered content will enable users to choose what kind of experience they would like – from a family day out to an in-depth heritage tour.
The app will bring the attraction alive through 3D CGI animation, audio and video dramatisation, interactive activities, interviews with experts and historic art.
Users can watch Queen Aethelflaed rallying her warriors for battle, take part in a Civil War straw poll and discover the mystery of the centurion’s tombstone.
They can learn the story of ‘Hugh the Wolf’, zoom in on the details of local photographs and paintings, and make their dreams come true at the Wishing Steps.
An optional game mode offers the chance to complete challenges to earn points and unlock rewards.
Users can also ‘check in’ to key locations around the Walls and share their experiences with friends through social media.
The app is supported by an interactive website www.explorethewalls.com which visitors can use to plan their visit or follow it up afterwards.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “Chester’s Walls attract 2.7 million visitors each year, and we are delighted to be able to offer them this exciting new way to enhance their visitor experience.
“Launching this pioneering, state-of-the-art app is part of our aim to make the Walls one of the leading heritage city trails in Europe.
“It underlines our wider aspiration to position Chester as a forward-thinking, modern heritage destination of international standing.”
The app has been developed by heritage interpretation consultants Imagemakers as part of the PORTICO co-operative European Project.
Managed in Chester by Chester Renaissance and the council’s historic environment team, the project involves the restoration, improvement and re-interpretation of the Walls and towers – which have recently been given an asset value of £0.5 billion.
Local councillor Samantha Dixon said: “Chester’s Walls are the only complete circuit in the UK. This app offers a new way to discover their rich history and is sure to be popular with people of all ages, whether they are looking for a fun day out or a more in-depth heritage tour.”