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Digital Renaissance: Helping Historic Houses Attract New Audiences

Published: 6 Sep 2023

There are over 1,400 historic houses, stately homes and gardens across the UK and between them they welcome over 21 million visits a year. They truly are the heritage backbone of the UK’s tourism industry.

Sarah Callander Beckett is Chair of Historic Houses and owner of Combermere Abbey:

“I think people are fascinated by historic houses. When you start to learn how a family lives there, what’s happened in the past, what are their plans for the future – it all makes it much more real for the visitor”

Here at ATS we are proud to work with historic houses of all sizes and we delight in uncovering the stories that hide behind the buildings themselves.

We understand that although many of the houses hold historical, architectural or cultural significance, they often give tangible insights into the past. Providing a way to showcase the lifestyles, traditions and styles of bygone eras, via digital interpretation, can enhance the visitor experience in many ways, making it more engaging, informative and accessible, ultimately adding substantial value to the visit.

Storytelling content can take many forms, but the most important thing is to identify what works for your audience and your venue. By working closely with you during the planning stage, we not only get to know the story you want to tell, but can also determine the most effective way to tell it.

When it comes to storytelling, for Sarah Callander Beckett, digital interpretation makes sense:

“You’ve got an enormous amount of control over how you project who you are and what you are. I think that is so important because the public is getting your message – not someone else’s interpretation”

So where to begin? Here are our Top 5 Reasons why a historic house should consider a digital interpretation solution:

1. Enhanced Visitor Engagement:

Audio and multimedia guides allow visitors to access additional information, stories and context about the house and its history through a variety of media formats such as audio, video and images.

Interactive quizzes, challenges and educational games that help visitors learn about the house and its history, in a fun and interactive way, can be particularly entertaining for younger visitors. Multimedia guides can also include personal stories, anecdotes and narratives that bring historical figures associated with the house to life, making the house’s story more relatable and engaging. Digital maps and floorplans can also improve wayfinding and exploration.

2. Personalised Experiences:

We can offer customisation options, allowing visitors to choose the content they are most interested in or the length of time they want to take – we often recommend a highlights tour or family tour options. This personalisation makes the visit more relevant to each visitor’s interests and knowledge level. Bite size layers of content provide choice for the visitor to delve into stories such as archive image libraries, interviews with experts or infographics and animations.

3. Preservation:

Multimedia guides can facilitate virtual handling of objects – reducing the need for physical handling of artefacts, preserving delicate items for future generations. This feature helps visitors to explore and learn about a broader spectrum of historical treasures of the property, even those hidden in the archives not physically on display. Have a look at our cutting edge 3D Photogrammetry Service for further information on how ATS can help.

4. Multilingual Support:

If you are looking to attract international visitors, a multilingual multimedia guide is the perfect solution for enhancing the experience for non-English-speaking guests. Last year the UK welcomed 31.2m inbound visitors so providing a multilingual offering remains a valuable strategy for historic houses looking to attract and accommodate a global audience.

5. Marketing and Promotion:

A well-crafted multimedia guide can transform a visit and serve as an additional marketing tool, as visitors are more likely to share their positive experiences online and with friends and family. This word-of-mouth promotion across review websites such as Trip Advisor or Google Reviews can lead to more visitors and increased awareness of the historic house.

They can also encourage repeat visits -visitors who have already explored the house using one set of content may be enticed to return to experience new or updated content.

Content created for the guide can also be promoted through the historic house’s website and social media channels, increasing the online visibility of the site and drawing in potential visitors who may discover it through digital marketing efforts.

We know that our approach to creative digital interpretation can greatly enhance the visitor experience, making historic houses more accessible and engaging as well as increasing opportunities to broaden your audience.

We’re always happy to have an initial chat and explore what options may be most appropriate for your house – please call us on 02392 595000 or email

If you would like to discover more about going digital then take a look at our helpful guides: Are You Ready To Go Digital? and Creating Great On-Site Experiences.

How can we help?