Go on a subterranean adventure from the comfort of your sofa: Introducing the Virtual Victoria Tunnel Experience

By News

The Ouseburn Trust has launched a live and interactive virtual tour of the historic Victoria Tunnel which you can tune into from your living room, classroom or wherever you might be.

The Ouseburn Trust, an independent charity who manage Newcastle’s renowned Victoria Tunnel, were awarded an £18,000 grant by Historic England in June 2020 to help them survive after forced COVID-19 closures meant they could no longer offer guided tours to the public, cutting off the charity’s primary income stream.

Although you can now visit the Victoria Tunnel through single-household tours, this grant has enabled the Trust to invite audiences to experience the 19th-century waggonway turned World War Two air-raid shelter from their home through an innovative, unique online experience.

The Victoria Tunnel has been Tripadvisor’s number one listing in ‘things to do in Newcastle’ for six consecutive years and attracted over 15,000 visitors in 2019. The Tunnel’s virtual ‘visitors’ can tune in on their computer, tablet or mobile phone to experience the Tunnel through narrated videos, all the while accompanied by a real-life tour guide delivering an illustrated presentation of this historic marvel.

Expect stories about people who worked in the Tunnel during the Victorian times and those who found sanctuary underground during World War Two bombings. The experience will give participants the opportunity to interact and ask questions, just like during a physical experience. These new, digital tours enable the Tunnel to reach new audiences who, even before Covid19, were unable to take part in a Tunnel tour due to additional mobility needs, anxiety, claustrophobia or physical proximity. The Virtual Victoria Tunnel Experience has been developed with the public in mind, with special programme available for schools, private groups and people looking for at-home entertainment.

Chris Barnard, Chief Officer of the Ouseburn Trust states, “At a time when everyone’s safety and wellbeing is of critical importance, I’m delighted we have found the means to adapt our offer for an even broader audience, offering even more people the opportunity to engage with the heritage of the Ouseburn Valley from the comfort of their homes.”

Virtual Victoria Tunnel Experiences are available to book now and cost £5 per device. All proceeds go directly into supporting the Ouseburn Trust’s various community-interest projects.

To find out more and book your place, see here.

Alongside the Virtual Victoria Experience, the Ouseburn Trust has launched an autumn/winter programme of online talks to keep Ouseburn enthusiasts safely entertained throughout the colder months. Specialist guest speakers will be exploring variety of topics, from local history to wildlife. To find out more and book, see here.

Click here to see more inspirational case studies from HTN members.

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