Westminster Abbey

Reinterpreting a world famous Royal church in London.

Westminster Abbey had an existing and aging audio guide provision. ATS were appointed following a competitive tender, to bring our knowledge and experience of interpreting Churches (having transformed St Paul’s Cathedral) and develop a fresh new approach to the interpretation and visitor experience.

Challenge​​: With around one million visitors every year, the biggest challenge ATS were asked to address was ba​lancing the needs of a working church with the demands of a popular tourist attraction. The transition to a multimedia guide service from and audio guide brings not only creative opportunities, but also new challenges and approaches to operations of a service. ATS has worked closely with the Visitor Services team to train and support staff in the distribution and management of the guides.

Our solution: ​​Our drive to deliver the most effective multimedia guide service required some new developments around visitor flow management. We designed and introduced a series of tours which offer varying lengths of content and different routing, subject to the time of day and the number of visitors. Staff can pre-select Off-peak, Peak and Super Peak tours for the visitor. Super Peak for example, removes content from some areas of the Abbey (e.g. less layers, or no outside stops), effectively reducing the route length and content available and minimising the risk of excessive dwell times and overcrowding.