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Orford Castle; Experience the upstairs and downstairs of medieval life

Published: 12 Apr 2019

English Medieval castles are a wonder to be enjoyed by many. Orford Castle is one of these wonders, situated in the village of Orford in Suffolk, it offers its visitors an opportunity to step back in time.  

Orford Castle were using a standalone audio guide tour, and it became apparent that visitors were looking for a more interactive and engaging tour.

ATS was appointed by English Heritage to develop and deliver an all new Multimedia guide for families and adults.  Orford is our fifth English Heritage site to adopt an ATS guide to improve their visitors’ experience. Our aim was to bring the site to life, whilst keeping the aesthetics of the castle untouched. 

A key area of focus for Orford Castle was encouraging more families to visit and enjoy the historic stories it has to tell. Other considerations for English Heritage were to improve wayfinding without using physical prompts on walls or doors, interaction and accessibility.  

The keep is majestic to look at and walk around, but for disabled or less able-bodied visitors it can prove very challenging. The builders of the Medieval Keep did not consider accessibility, so visitors are able to immerse themselves in the 360-degree panoramic images of the basement and roof area, from the comfort of the first floor.  

The new multi media guides have been designed with distinct approaches for both audiences. Visitors will enjoy the sounds, voices and narration behind the castle, bringing to life the medieval experience. Part of the ATS magic includes a 3D soundscape (binaural) that invites visitors to close their eyes as they are transported back in time. 

Angharad Brading AMA, Interpretation Manager, Orford Castle said, “Orford is a very special place and we wanted to bring the space to life with a multimedia guide. The castle is visited by families and people wanting to explore history, so a multimedia guide is a great way to tell Orford’s story and give options which suit both audiences. It also gave us the chance to do something dynamic involving visual elements and interactivity. The Rubaways where you reveal how rooms used to appear are a favourite! ATS also made the excellent multimedia guides for English Heritage at Bolsover Castle and Eltham Palace, so we knew the high standard of their work.”

Both tours guide visitors around each floor by the various characters of the keep, pointing out key objects in the exhibits, using floor plans and images of the rooms to improve wayfinding and orientation. Children will be entertained throughout, enjoying the challenges, quizzes, Rubaways and hotspots, whilst investigating side rooms and passageways around the castle; making it a much more immersive and age appropriate experience. 

Orford Castle’s empty spaces are brought to life with some ATS magic where our audio designers produced two Binaural sound tracks. Binaural is a 3D sound production technique, which we used to take visitors back in time, creating a live medieval atmosphere in spaces of the keep. 

ATS continue to lead the way in helping deliver extraordinary on-site visitor experiences using handheld mobile interpretation, films and digital. For more information on how we have helped other castles just like Orford, please visit our portfolio page here.

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