Guests from 118 countries welcomed to Loch Ness Centre in first year as Continuum attraction

    • The Loch Ness Centre is celebrating the first anniversary of its £1.5m upgrade
    • 48 per cent of visitors say they’re convinced the Loch Ness Monster lurks beneath the water
    • Guests from 188 countries have booked onto tours
    • More than 13,000 Nessie hunters have taken to the water with sonar equipment in the last year to search for answers

More than 85,000 people have joined the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster in the last year, including visitors from 118 countries.

June 10th marks the first anniversary of the reopening of The Loch Ness Centre in Drumnadrochit. We invested £1.5m in the Highlands attraction in 2023, intertwining high-tech and immersive storytelling with the legendary story of the Nessie.

Lured by its rich mix of scientific research and reported sightings, guests have descended on the original Drumnadrochit Hotel from all four corners of the world in the last 12 months, including from Australia, Guatemala, Malawi and Mongolia.

While guests are intrigued by stories of Nessie, it’s clear that many believe tales of the legendary creature are based in fact. Since reopening last year, visitors have been having their say at the end of each hour-long tour. They say:

    • ‘I see Nessie’ – 48 per cent
    • ‘Nonsense’ – 23 per cent
    • ‘Possibility’ – 28 per cent

Juliana Delaney, our CEO, says: “The Loch Ness story is one of the most famous ever told and, more than ever, we are discovering that there are believers in almost every country, keen to make up their own minds about Nessie.

“When we redesigned and reopened the attraction last year, we were committed to retaining the authenticity and portraying the real story behind Loch Ness, its mysteries and its monster. Moving away from the cliches, we were passionate about focusing on the facts and real-life accounts. We acknowledge that, in many cases, there are rational explanations grounded in science for what people encounter but there are still plenty that have gone unexplained to this day.

“Our balance between explaining the science and beautifully illustrating witness accounts is what continues to draw people to the Loch and The Loch Ness Centre. Guests from six continents and 118 countries can’t be wrong.”

Visitors have praised the Centre’s “modern and fresh” presentation and how it appeals to all ages, backed by its five-star status on Tripadvisor.

One guest said: “We returned to the exhibition following its recent refurbishment and wow – what a difference. This new presentation vividly brings the science, culture and folklore to life in a clear and entertaining way.

A second commented: “What an excellent experience. It’s not what I was expecting. It was educational, witty and there was something for everyone. It was a really well-balanced view of possibilities with enough of a magical element to fulfil the fantasy.”

A visit to the Centre is internationally popular. In the last year, bookings have come from across the globe, including:

    • Guatemala
    • Laos
    • Malawi
    • Mozambique
    • Nepal
    • Oman
    • Peru
    • Samoa
    • Turkmenistan
    • Venezuela
    • Zambia

A single booking could be done on behalf of a group or an individual.

As well as visiting the Exhibition, more than 13,000 guests have also headed out onto the Loch on a Deepscan Cruise. The boat, named after the first Operation Deepscan Expedition carried out in the Loch in 1987, ferries guests across the water to search its depths using world-class sonar equipment, as well as to get stunning views of Urquhart Castle.

Hundreds attend four-day Quest for Nessie at Continuum Attractions’ Loch Ness Centre

The Loch Ness Centre recently led the largest-ever search for Nessie to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the first organised surface watch.

The Quest, which took place at the end of May, concluded with an unexplainable noise being captured during a Deepscan cruise – one of the cornerstone activities of the four-day event centred around the centuries-old search for answers.

Hundreds of guests. From as far afield as Washington State, USA, took part in the hunt along the 23-mile-long loch in the Scottish Highlands. The event was held in and around The Loch Ness Centre, operated by Continuum Attractions, which celebrated the first anniversary of its £1.5m refurb on 10th June.

Among The Quest’s headline events was a hydrophone cruise to listen for mysterious sounds echoing from the depths of the loch, led by Alan McKenna from Loch Ness Exploration. His team captured a unique noise to be analysed – a rhythmic pulsing that lasted about 10 seconds. Alan will now isolate the noise in attempt to identify the source of the fascinating sound that he has never heard before.

Meanwhile, Evelyn Murphy, 11, captured a potential sighting with an intriguing photo, showing a clear break in the water made by an unidentified object or creature.

The Quest took place on the 90th anniversary of the pioneering adventurer Sir Edward Mountain and his team of twenty becoming the first ‘Watchers of the Monster’.

The centre also hosted a live debate with Alan McKenna as well as Roland Watson, a renowned Loch Ness writer, and eyewitness Richard White, which was held in-person and screened virtually to participants from around the world. The panel told gripping stories, discussed their ongoing research, and dissected eyewitness accounts, all while debating the existence of the elusive monster.

Other volunteers explored the depths of the world-famous loch with Deepscan Captain, Alistair Matheson, the Skipper for the Loch Ness Project. Monster hunters joined Alistair and Alan McKenna for an extended excursion, utilising a 60-foot hydrophone to listen for mysterious sounds echoing from the depths of the loch.

Ashley Range, a volunteer who travelled from Washington State to take part in The Quest, said: “I’ve been obsessed with Scotland and Nessie my whole life, and to be here is just a dream. To be on an actual expedition and out on Deepscan exploring Loch Ness is a dream come true. I definitely believe in Nessie. Although a lot of the evidence can be explained, there is a lot out there that is unexplainable. It’s been an incredible trip!”

Paul Nixon, general manager of The Loch Ness Centre, said: “The excitement this weekend has proven that intrigue surrounding Loch Ness and its monster is still very much alive. We all want the same thing, to discover the mysteries of the natural phenomena beneath the loch. We’ve been delighted to welcome so many people to The Loch Ness Centre for hour-long centre tours and Deepscan boat trips across the weekend. After another successful The Quest Weekend, we’re more determined than ever to continue our search for answers.”

Next year’s Quest Weekend is taking place on Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th May 2025. www.lochness.com/thequest

Wonka woes to Paddington’s pounds: Our CEO has her say on the evolution of immersive experiences

Never has our industry made headlines so readily.

The infamous Willy Wonka-inspired experience made global news and sent shockwaves through anyone owning or managing attractions. We are – and will never be – in that position but it’s hard to avoid flashbacks to when those notorious, underwhelming images appeared online.

Now, London’s new Paddington Bear Experience has launched making headlines of its own, based around its cost – a little more than your typical marmalade sandwich!

More extravagant, immersive attractions are popping up across the UK. While some are seriously impressive, others fall well short and raise questions around value for money.

Check out our CEO Juliana’s comments to The Observer about the rise of large-scale immersive experiences here.

“Their rise to prominence stems from the demand for captivating, story-led experiences,” Juliana says.

“Most attractions tell a story but the method of doing so is often the clincher in driving sales and providing a genuinely great experience. These large-scale immersive interactions remove the guest from their everyday and transport them to an alternative space where they can forget about their day-to-day challenges for a while. But these attractions can sometimes underwhelm.

“Technology has its part to play but our insights show there is still huge demand for authentic, people-led experiences with storytelling at their heart. One example is The Real Mary King’s Close. It utilises talented actors to take guests back to the 17th-century and ranks in TripAdvisor’s top 10 UK attractions – showing the demand is there.

“With increased operating costs to consider, tiered pricing strategies are also employed to provide accessibility to as many potential guests as possible. These models can include everything from early bird discounts to VIP packages to cater for various budgets and open our doors to as many people as possible.

“In years gone by, we have also found that guests might spend a full day in a city to soak up three or four attractions but this is no longer the case. We are finding visitors are now opting to spend their money on one great experience – one they know will knock them out the park and create lasting memories to recall in years to come or share on their Instagram.”

What’s on this half term at Continuum Attractions

Join the hunt for Nessie, discover the quirks of 17th century medicine, become a chocolate connoisseur and much more with Continuum Attractions this half term.

The Loch Ness Centre, Inverness

What: The Quest

When: Thursday 30th May to Sunday 2nd June

Uncover the truth about one of the world’s most famous legends. Tales of Nessie date back almost 1,500 years and monster hunters continue to flock to Loch Ness to catch a glimpse to this day.

The Quest spans four captivating days, uniting individuals and organisations in a collective exploration to solve the mystery of Loch Ness and its elusive monster. Through a series of engaging events, you’ll search, debate, and delve into the mysteries that shroud this legendary loch.

Events include:

Sign Up to Be a Monster Hunter
Surface Watch
Hydrophone Discovery Cruise
Documentary screening of ‘Loch Ness: They Created a Monster’
Live Debate: Experts & Witnesses

Discover the real Loch Ness story today – BOOK HERE


Coronation Street Experience, Manchester

What: Coronation Street Star Tours

When: Every Saturday and Sunday

A long list of Corrie legends from Andy Whyment to Sally Dynevor have graced the set’s Star Tours so become the latest fan to meet a current on-screen favourite.

Grab iconic snaps outside The Rovers Return or The Kabin this half term as you stride along the nation’s favourite street. Tour Coronation Street’s authentic set, visit the Exhibition to relive iconic moments from the show and grab a bite in our café before posing behind the nation’s most famous bar.

Step onto the street – BOOK HERE


GreenWood Family Park, North Wales

What: Forest Rocks

When: Monday 27th to Friday 31st May

Enjoy a thrilling family day out, surrounded by nature in the woodland of North Wales. The award-winning adventure park is home to the UK’s only people-powered rollercoaster, the UK’s first solar powered ride and much more.

Immerse yourself in Forest Rocks as our park ranger, Jess, hosts ‘Forest Rocks’ – a fun forest school with activities including nature trails, bug hotel building and fire making. Be among the first to ride our new, exhilarating 75-metre slide and be treated to a second day for free during May.

Discover action and adventure this half term – BOOK HERE


The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh

What: Dr Arnott’s Sampling Sensation

When: Every Saturday and Sunday

Discover authentic truths about Edinburgh’s dark past and find out what it was really like for the people who lived, worked and died on the Close.

Dr Arnott’s Sampling Sensation is a new interactive and immersive experience to uncover the secrets of 17th-century medicine. Become one of Dr Arnott’s medical students using his preferred method of examining patient’s health – tasting their urine – and create your own, herbal remedy. (No wee will be drunk during the experience!)

Step down into Edinburgh’s hidden history – BOOK HERE


Oxford Castle & Prison

What: The Medieval Mystery

When: Saturday 25th May to Sunday 2nd June

Climb the 101 steps of St George’s Tower to enjoy panoramic views of Oxford. Descend to the castle’s haunted, ancient crypt and do time in the prison’s 18th century cells. All before climbing the iconic Mound at the heart of one of the UK’s most popular city escapes.

This half term, take part in The Medieval Mystery to uncover the whereabouts of Empress Matilda’s crown which has been stolen from the castle. We need your help to track down the thief using your magnifying glass and puzzle-solving skills. Hunt for clues in and around the Castle & Prison, assemble the facts and uncover the villain, before exacting your revenge!

Step inside and do 1,000 years of time – BOOK HERE


York’s Chocolate Story

What: Family Chocolate Masterclass

When: Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th and Friday 31st May

Uncover the 4,000-year-old story of chocolate from its exotic origins in the central American rainforests to Yorkshire’s cobbled streets.

Indulge in our Family Chocolate Masterclass and be amazed by the history of our favourite sweet treat. Learn how to make it and taste it like a true connoisseur. Handcraft your own mini truffles, personalise your own chocolate lolly, draw your own chocolate shapes and much more in the UK’s ‘Chocolate City’.

Unwrap the history of chocolate – BOOK HERE


Emmerdale Village Tour, Leeds

What: Emmerdale Star Tours

When: Every Saturday and Sunday

Explore Yorkshire’s most famous village alongside one of its most recognisable faces. Danny Miller, Lisa Riley and Natalie Robb have all graced the tours in the past so why not see who you meet this time around? Get a sneak peek behind the scenes of the idyllic village which is always gripped by drama on a 90-minute Star Tour this half term.

Step into the drama today – BOOK NOW


Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

What: Meet and Greet Bluey

When: Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th May

The 170-metre high observation tower offers spectacular views of the sea and outstanding experiences, from high tea to abseiling.

For two days only, join our Bluey meet and greet as she makes special guest appearances at the tower. Every child will receive their exclusive collectable pop badge to commemorate the occasion, while there will also be a free Family Fun Trail and complimentary access to the viewing platform.

Meet Bluey – BOOK HERE

GreenWood Family Park launches new Forest Glider

GreenWood logo

Our very own GreenWood Family Park – one of North Wales’ most popular tourist hotspots – has unveiled its latest ride as it continues to build on its reputation as one of the country’s greenest and most family-oriented attractions.

The Forest Glider – or Gleidar y Goedwig in Welsh – made its inaugural run in March, in perfect time for the first busy period of the season over the Easter holidays.

The 20-metre tall dual-run slide is the only one of its kind in Wales and was imported from the Netherlands to add to the park’s already impressive roster of over 30 rides and activities.

Forest Glider represents an investment of more than £100,000 in the park by Continuum. The site was acquired by the group in 2017 and has already won numerous awards for its commitment to sustainability and a fun family day out, including a Gold accolade from Visit Wales in recognition of its ability to provide an outstanding and memorable experience – something GreenWood can now build on further with its latest ride.

Individuals are able to ride the 75-metre long run in individual rubber rings – known as ‘snow tubes’ or pair up with friends or a family member in a larger, two-person ring. The ride plays into the park’s sustainable ethos as riders carry their chosen ring to the top of the 20-metre slope before pushing off. This means that no power is needed to run the ride as individuals are powering it themselves!

Forest Glider also sits alongside Little Green Run – our much smaller ride aimed at children under six. The child-only ride allows little ones to sledge down a short run – even if there’s no snow.

As with every ride, riding the Forest Glider is part of the admission fee.

Plan your perfect trip to GreenWood here.

What’s on this Autumn and Halloween across Continuum Attractions

SPOOKTACULAR EXPERIENCES AND AUTUMN ADVENTURES AWAIT YOU WITH CONTINUUM ATTRACTIONS!

As the leaves turn golden and the crisp Autumn air sets in, Continuum Attractions invites you to explore a range of thrilling experiences and family-friendly fun across its group of attractions. With an array of experiences and days out, from the iconic to the historic, spanning the United Kingdom from Inverness right down to Portsmouth, there are a range of unforgettable autumn adventures for visitors of all ages just waiting to be explored!
Here are just a few of the spooktacular offerings you can expect:

Get ready for a ‘Trick or Treat Trek’ at YORK’S CHOCOLATE STORY (York)
Join us for a thrilling adventure as we embark on a spine-chilling tour around the city of York, immersing you in the spirit of Halloween! Prepare to be captivated by a series of fun activities, including exhilarating Halloween games and indulging in delectable chocolates. This is an experience any visitor to York cannot afford to miss. We are expecting ghouls galore as dressing up is highly encouraged!
For more chocolaty Halloween events such as the Halloween Family Masterclass or the Halloween Tour & Truffle Rolling visit: https://www.yorkschocolatestory.com/events/halloween-events/

‘True Crime Tours’ explore Edinburgh’s shadowy past at THE REAL MARY KING’S CLOSE (Edinburgh)
Halloween lovers need look no further than The Real Mary King’s Close (rated on TripAdvisor as being in the top-10 of all experiences in the UK), for the perfect way to celebrate the ominous side of Edinburgh’s past this October with both Lantern Led and True Crimes Tours on offer. For years, the Old Town has been shrouded in shocking tales of crime and punishment. Now on the “True Crimes Tour” a guide will lead visitors on a journey through Edinburgh’s forgotten streets and the dark details of many criminal misdemeanours. For those brave enough to descend underground onto Mary King’s Close at night, the Lantern Led Tours will shine a light (or lack of) onto Edinburgh’s history, illuminating the lives and deaths of former residents throughout time. Guests will descend into complete darkness, with the only light source being the flicker of their lanterns.
For more information and bookings please visit: https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/experience/whats-on-special-tours/

Halloween Pumpkin Trail at SPINNAKER TOWER (Portsmouth)
For those seeking out a thrilling and spooky adventure with a difference, look no further than Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower. Have you ever done a pumpkin trail, up in the air?! This year, the Spinnaker Tower is hosting a spine-chilling pumpkin trail, promising a half-term experience that’s both fun and frightful, as you head up the tower to 100 metres above sea level – look down if you dare! For those with a taste for the supernatural, visitors will also get the opportunity to delve into the eerie history of Portsmouth through spine-tingling ghost stories.
The Halloween trail is free to take part in with a general admission ticket. Children under 4 enter free To book https://bookings.spinnakertower.co.uk/book

Experience a ‘Victorian Murder Mystery Dinner’ at OXFORD CASTLE AND PRISON (Oxford)
For adults who love a taste of the Victorian macabre, look no further than Oxford Castle and Prison this Autumn, reported to be one of the most haunted locations in the UK. In this brand-new immersive experience, guests are invited by the warden to enjoy a delicious meal but… death is stalking D-Wing. Foul play is afoot and no-one is above suspicion! Guests will enter the historic crypt to meet their fellow sleuths, before working their way through the prison, interrogating the denizens as they go.
For something a little more family-friendly, why not create some creepy concoctions and putrid potions with the ‘Potion Making Event’ this October Half Term. Or for those brave enough, prepare to scare yourself silly on a guided tour of our haunted castle as we take you on a terrifying tour through the castle’s 1,000-year past.
For more spooktastic events at Oxford Castle and Prison visit: https://www.oxfordcastleandprison.co.uk/events/

‘SpookWood’ returns to GREENWOOD FAMILY PARK, (North Wales)
A scary-BOO-lous adventure with friendly frights awaits those looking for some Halloween fun at Greenwood Family Park this Autumn, running every weekend from October 16th October right through until November 5th. This event is a chance for families to gather up their little monsters for an extra special ghoulishly good day out – a thrilling experience for the whole family. Take on the scare maze, grab your pumpkin patch pass & follow the new pumpkin trail. Be prepared for some wonderfully weird surprises, and look out for the frightfully funny ‘freakish shows’ and eye-popping magic!
For more information and to book tickets for SpookWood at Greenwood Family Park visit: https://www.greenwoodfamilypark.co.uk/events/halloween/

Christmas Comes Early to ITV’s CORONATION STREET EXPERIENCE AND EMMERDALE VILLAGE TOUR this Autumn (Manchester and Leeds)
Did you know? Every year, the dedicated cast and crew of Emmerdale & Coronation Street put in their hard work to film the highly anticipated Christmas special two months ahead of schedule. Throughout October, visitors can be the first to experience the magic of a ‘soap world’ Christmas before it graces our TV screens. Visitors to The Coronation Street Experience and Emmerdale Village Tour, will get to experience an exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peek of the ‘The Street’ or ‘Emmerdale Village’ dressed up for the festive season of filming.
For more information and to book tickets visit:
https://www.emmerdalevillagetour.co.uk/
https://www.coronationstreetexperience.co.uk/

Nessie fever continues this Autumn at THE LOCH NESS CENTRE (nr Inverness)
Following the interest and surge in Nessie-mania this summer, (prompted by new reported sightings and the biggest hunt for the monster in 50 years), this unique immersive experience is a must visit for those visiting the Highlands in any season! The tour at the Loch Ness Centre allows visitors to become part of the legend and unearth real stories about Loch Ness along the way. Here you will be able to journey through 500 million years of history to explore the myths of the loch, delve deep below the surface of its waters to uncover hidden secrets, discover real objects and artefacts.
To find out more and to book tickets visit https://lochness.com/

The search for Nessie continues as the reimagined Loch Ness Centre opens

Brand new immersive Nessie experience opens its doors at the home of the Loch Ness story, following £1.5m investment by Continuum Attractions

From the 10th of June global visitors to the Highlands and wannabe monster spotters have been able to walk through 500 million years of history, delve deeper into ancient Scottish myths, and discover the scientific research behind the Nessie legend, as the reimagined Loch Ness Centre opened its doors to guests.

Located at the old Drumnadrochit Hotel, where 90 years ago Aldie Mackay reported seeing a ‘whale-like fish’ or ‘water beast’ in the waters of Loch Ness, Continuum Attractions has invested £1.5m in a full upgrade to enhance the visitor experience, allowing people to explore the legend and myths of Loch Ness through immersive tours and also via trips aboard the attraction’s famous research vessel, Deepscan.

The unique one-hour experience is truly immersive, allowing guests to become part of the legend and unearth real stories about Loch Ness along the way.

The entirely newly imagined attraction, at the site that sparked the global phenomenon of the Loch Ness Monster 90 years ago, has seven immersive rooms to explore. In ‘The Search for answers’ guests will delve deeper into some of the scientific research carried out by Adrian Shine of The Loch Ness Project, utilising scientific methodology, submarines, underwater cameras, sonar equipment and more in the quest to uncover the secrets of the 23 miles long and 754 feet deep Loch.

In ‘People and Stories, guests will explore some of the most famous sightings of Nessie, starting with Mrs Aldie Mackay – the manageress of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, and how one sighting from a historic village hotel located on the banks of Loch Ness changed history forever, and gave birth to a modern legend.

Guests’ hunt for the truth doesn’t end after the tour, tickets include an optional 12-month membership to The Loch Ness Quest, giving exclusive access to the latest Nessie sightings, news, and discounts for events. One upcoming event ‘Nessie or Nonsense?’ is an exciting live debate, where believers and non-believers will share their stories of Nessie in a lively discussion.

For those wanting to go one step further and explore the depths of the world’s most famous loch for themselves. Local skipper for The Loch Ness Project, Captain Alistair Matheson, is delighted to welcome you on board the vessel, Deepscan, named after the Operation Deepscan expedition famously carried out on the loch in 1987.

This one-of-a-kind experience takes up to 12 guests on a journey through the past 40 years of scientific research into the mysteries of Loch Ness. Witness the breath-taking beauty of Urquhart Castle and search the depths of the loch using world-class sonar equipment on board, whilst hearing the unparalleled perspective on famous sightings of the monster and the history of Scotland’s most mysterious loch from expert skippers who have dedicated their lives to uncovering the secrets of this remarkable body of water.

 

Paul Nixon and Juliana Delaney

Juliana Delaney, Continuum CEO, said: “We are thrilled to open the doors to the brand-new The Loch Ness Centre. We want to protect the story of this legend in a truly modern and immersive way and bring this incredible story to Nessie enthusiasts and the next generation of monster hunters. Nessie truly is one of Scotland’s best stories, so it was incredibly important to us at Continuum to get this right. We look forward to welcoming guests from all round the world to enjoy our unique one-hour experience and discover the legend, as well as giving them the chance to search the famous loch for themselves with our one-of-a-kind Deepscan cruises.”

www.lochness.com

The brand new ‘Coronation Street Experience’ opens and you can even sit inside Roy’s Rolls for the first time!

A group surrounds a display of coronation street

On 10th June the world’s longest-running soap opened its doors to the brand new ‘Coronation Street Experience’.

Coronation Street legend, Barbara Knox, took centre stage on a break from filming as she led fellow cast members in celebrating the opening of the new ‘Coronation Street Experience.’  The festivities kicked off with an unforgettable moment as Barbara sliced into a jaw-dropping 40-kilogram replica sponge cake of the iconic Rovers and Kabin.

The recently transformed visitor centre now serves as the ultimate destination for every Corrie fan, offering access to replica Rovers and Roy’s Rolls sets, iconic costumes, historic props and a dedicated Corrie shop.

Continuum Attractions CEO, Juliana Delaney, commented: “We can’t wait to continue working with ITV on this new experience, the support from the team, cast and crew has been awesome. The aim is to keep the exhibition refreshed so there is always something new to see. Costumes from the show’s most current and exciting storylines (such as Gemma’s fabulous orange wedding dress at the moment!) will shape the experience on an ongoing basis while preserving the show’s legacy with iconic main stays and blasts from the past. We are excited to open this weekend, and to be able to share this incredible experience with our guests.’

Neil Currie, Guest Experience Manager at the Coronation Street Experience said, “We know that fans of Coronation Street want to get up close to some of the props and sets that they see on screen, be it Deirdre’s infamous glasses, or inside The Rovers Return.

The new exhibition gives us the chance to not only extend the weekend tour experience as it will be included for every visitor.  It will also be open 7 days a week, giving everybody the opportunity to take a seat in ‘Roy’s Rolls’ or stand behind the bar at ‘The Rovers’ and see iconic costumes and props from over 60 years of drama.

“Having this kind of exhibition floor also gives us the chance to constantly update and change things alongside the programme’s on-air stories, once a storyline has played out on your TV screen, we’ll be updating the props and costumes along the way.

The award-winning 90-minute tour has been hugely popular since it launched in 2014, attracting fans not just from the UK but from all over the world. The new exhibition floor will complement the tour, alongside a cinema, café and retail space, creating the perfect ‘Coronation Street Experience’!

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer fans of Coronation Street an even more immersive experience with the launch of the Coronation Street Experience and can’t wait for our first guests to arrive,” said Neil Currie, Guest Experience Manager.
Tickets for the Coronation Street Experience are available now, and visitors are encouraged to book online to avoid disappointment – https://www.coronationstreetexperience.co.uk/book-now/

English Tourism Week

English Tourism Week 2023 is here and it’s set to be a thrilling celebration of all the wonderful things that make England such a fantastic tourist destination. From historical landmarks and stunning countryside to vibrant cities and lively coastal towns, there’s something to captivate every kind of traveller.

For over 30 years, as a market leader in tourism and visitor attractions, Continuum has been creating award-winning attractions that bring great stories to life. English Tourism Week is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our fantastic people, who help us to bring real places and real stories to life, making memories for thousands of happy guests who visit us each year.    

Running from March 18th to 26th, the event aims to raise awareness about the vital role tourism plays in the English economy and showcase the diverse array of attractions and destinations the country offers. This year, a key theme is sustainability, and Continuum’s English attractions, such as Oxford Castle & Prison, Spinnaker Tower, York’s Chocolate Story, are leading the way with green initiatives, sustainable policies and responsible procurement plans. You can read more about Continuum’s efforts towards a more sustainable tourism sector here.

Wherever you are located there are plenty of popular English based attractions to explore. For instance, Oxford Castle & Prison offers tours that take visitors on a journey through time, showcasing the city’s dark and mysterious past. The Spinnaker Tower, which stands an impressive 170 meters tall, offers spectacular views of Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. Meanwhile, York’s Chocolate Story is an interactive attraction that celebrates the city’s rich history of chocolate-making and offers guests treats along the way that really let them taste York’s rich chocolate-making history.

If you’re a fan of British television soaps, you won’t want to miss The Coronation Street Tour in Manchester or The Emmerdale Village Tour in Yorkshire. These behind-the-scenes experiences offer visitors an exclusive look at the live production filming locations for two of the UK’s most beloved soap operas.

Continuum’s CEO Juliana Delaney says:
It is great that we celebrate the tourism industry. There is still so much that only those working in the industry really appreciate. It’s a great place to start your career but also to bring your career too. When well managed, it brings prosperity to the areas where it flourishes. It’s great for UK plc – as it’s one industry that can’t be off-shored. Tourism is a force for good across the world too. I’ve had a 40-year career in tourism, and it’s a great feeling to make people happy. Let’s celebrate and champion Tourism and all who work in it.

English Tourism Week 2023 is an excellent opportunity to discover all the wonderful things England has to offer, while supporting businesses and organisations that are committed to sustainability and responsible tourism. So why not get involved and join in the festivities? Whether you visit a Continuum attraction, explore one of England’s many stunning landmarks or simply indulge in some of the country’s delicious food and drink, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

To celebrate English Tourism Week we are running a competition for one lucky winner to receive free tickets to each of our 5 English Attractions: Coronation Street The Tour, Emmerdale Village Tour, Oxford Castle & Prison, The Spinnaker Tower & York’s Chocolate Story. These tickets will be valid for a full 12 months, so you can spread out the celebrations and tour the best of the UK over the next year. We will even provide a £100 spend towards train tickets, helping you to travel more sustainably when visiting our attractions.

To enter just follow Continuum Attractions and each of the attractions listed in the post on either Facebook or Instagram. Then comment and tag a friend/family member who you would like to take with you if you win. On Monday, the 27th of March, we will pick a winner at random.

Please read the terms and conditions of the competition here.

Good Luck!

Continuum Attractions takes the reins at iconic Loch Ness attraction with £1.5 million investment

The Loch Ness Centre logo over the loch

We are delighted to announce that Continuum Attractions has now signed a long-term lease to take over one of Scotland’s most famous visitor attractions, The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in the Highlands of Scotland, near Inverness.

L – R Robert Bremner, Juliana Delaney Chief Executive of Continuum, Paul Nixon Continuum and David Bremner. Photo Credit: Paul Campbell Photography

Our plan over the next 12 weeks will be to spend £1.5 million transforming the attraction into a world-class visitor attraction, ready to re-open in Spring 2023, as the new ‘The Loch Ness Centre’.

We are award-winning, authentic storytellers, and what a story we have to tell here. The transformation will engage, entertain and inform guests, focusing on telling the globally renowned story behind the legend of Loch Ness, exploring the myths, alongside the scientific research, that has turned Nessie into one of Scotland’s most famous icons.

A concept graphic showing the entrance to The Loch Ness Centre.
The concept image above shows the first Prologue Room in the new Loch Ness Centre where we will excite our guests and spark their imagination for what is to come. This room features a series of curiosities to whet the visitors’ appetite.

The Loch Ness Centre will become the 8th attraction within Continuum’s UK-wide portfolio alongside; The Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh. York’s Chocolate Story in York, The Emmerdale Village Tour in Leeds, Coronation Street The Tour in Manchester, Greenwood Family Park in North Wales, Oxford Castle & Prison in Oxford, and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

The first Loch Ness exhibition was founded in May 1980 by Ronnie Bremner and designer Tony Hamsworth. The following winter, in conjunction with naturalist Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness Project a lifelong partnership was formed between the Loch Ness Centre and the Loch Ness Project which continues to this day with the Projects laboratory and research centre on site. Continuum’s investment in a new five-star attraction will further unlock the mysteries and history of the world-famous destination and its many year-round activities and attractions.

Juliana Delaney, chief executive of Continuum Attractions, said:

“Continuum tells the real stories in real places about real people. The search for Nessie encapsulates all three. Having had tremendous success with the award-winning Real Mary King’s Close on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, I was keen to seek out another great Scottish story to tell. We found it on Loch Ness. This is a magical place – it could be our Jurassic Park, and if a monster hasn’t been found here yet, this is the place in which it will be discovered! So I will encourage everyone to ‘keep looking’.”

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said:

“Loch Ness is renowned the world over for its most elusive resident, Nessie, and indeed the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition has and will continue to attract visitors from around the world each year.

In Scotland’s Year of Stories, it is great to hear that this investment will mean that even more people will have the chance to learn all about Nessie – the subject of so many myths, tales and stories over the years.
Tourism is a force for good. It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy. The impact of tourism spreads far beyond the industry itself – it benefits our economy, our community and our wellbeing.”

Michael Golding, CEO at Visit Inverness Loch Ness added:

“We are delighted to welcome Continuum Attractions to the destination and are working with them to ensure the story and experience are authentically local for our 1.6M visitors annually. The destination continues to attract significant investment and collectively this ensures the area remains a must-visit destination in any visit to Scotland.”

Outgoing Managing Director, Robert Bremner, added: 

This is an exciting time for the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. Retaining the authenticity of the attraction was always our priority and we know we’re in safe hands working with the award-winning team at Continuum, who have outstanding capability in authentic storytelling and creating an exceptional visitor experience, with a focus on tourism operators; while retaining the families ownership of this historic site.

“As a family we have been in control of the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition for over 40 years and my brother David and I felt the time was right for us to hand over the reins to Continuum to develop the new and improved offering which will allow visitors to experience the history of the Loch Ness Monster by exploring Scotland’s geological past and folklore like never before.”

Find out more on our website.

For media enquiries, images and interviews, contact:

nikki@soundbitepr.co.uk, 07940 233 927

abie@soundbitepr.co.uk, 0131 510 3252

Spinnaker Tower is Shaping Portsmouth

“It is with a great deal of pride, excitement and pleasure that I welcome Tony and the team from the Spinnaker Tower to Shaping Portsmouth as our latest Patron. The venue is iconic and one of the most recognisable in the city. Tony and his team are excellent ambassadors for the city and represent the very best of our businesses.” – Stef Nienaltowski, CEO of Shaping Portsmouth

We are excited to be joining other businesses, education centres, and cultural groups in promoting our home city. What makes our attraction so great is the view of our favourite city, Portsmouth, and our island’s beautiful coastline.

Shaping Portsmouth’s mission is to boost all things Portsmouth! Working with organisations to create sustainable partnerships and make Portsmouth the UK’s premier waterfront city to invest, learn and visit. They are well known for their work with The University of Portsmouth, The Armed Forces Covenant, and South Western Railway.

You can learn more about Shaping Portsmouth’s mission on their website.

By working with such a great group we are part of a movement dedicated to pushing projects we love. Shaping Portsmouth supports green space initiatives, education programs, and exploring and discovering Portsmouth’s vibrant cultural heritage.

We are proud to be Shaping Portsmouth and look forward to continuing to work in the heart of the community.

Learn how Spinnaker Tower also works with local Portsmouth suppliers read more in our blog post here.

Continuum Attractions scoops 5 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022

Continuum Attractions continue to deliver exceptional award-winning visitor experiences in a post-pandemic market.

TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards 2022 - our award winning attractions

Despite the challenges of the past couple of years in the tourism and leisure industry, one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions companies, Continuum Attractions, has continued to place its guests at the heart of what they do.

As a result, the York-based company is delighted to see that five of its eight attractions have been awarded the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award 2022 for; The Real Mary King’s Close, GreenWood Family Park, York’s Chocolate Story, Spinnaker Tower, and Oxford Castle & Prison.

These awards celebrate visitor attractions that are highly rated by travellers on the platform.

Julia Delaney, CEO of Continuum Attractions says: “When our teams work incredibly hard to create memorable and enjoyable experiences for our guests, it is so rewarding to hear back from those guests telling us and others how much they enjoyed it. We are delighted that our visitors have shared their five-star experiences on TripAdvisor, and that these reviews are recognised with these awards.”

“We have some exciting new projects planned for the next 12 months which will further expand the portfolio of experiences that Continuum Attractions offers, and we are looking forward to delighting even more guests in the future”.

Read more about our attractions here:

https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/

https://www.yorkschocolatestory.com/

https://www.spinnakertower.co.uk/

https://www.oxfordcastleandprison.co.uk/

https://www.greenwoodfamilypark.co.uk/

https://www.imacelebrityjunglechallenge.co.uk/

https://www.coronationstreettour.co.uk/

https://www.emmerdalevillagetour.co.uk/

Spinnaker Tower - winner of TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Award
Spinnaker Tower
The Real Mary King’s Close

The Future of Tourism in the UK

Julianna Delaney…CEO…Continuum Group.

As the world begins to reopen and life transitions back to normality, it’s natural that we’ve all been left wondering what ‘normal’ truly means for our future. For those of us in the tourism sector, normality, has continued to raise question after question about the future of our industry and what tourism really looks like in the ever- changing landscape we currently find ourselves in.

Having worked in the tourism industry for over 30 years, our CEO Juliana Delaney never anticipated that she’d have to shut the doors to her group of attractions for the best part of a year. But, more than that, when the doors closed in Spring 2020, she certainly didn’t anticipate the opportunities that this period might lead to. With a year of uncertainty behind us, innovation, flexibility and a willingness to embrace the unknown have been at the core of operations at Continuum Attractions. So, as we emerge from a period of extended lockdowns and closures, here’s what Juliana sees for the future of UK Tourism:

“Before Covid took hold of the UK, we were performing incredibly well and exciting new prospects were close on the horizon. The threat of having to close our doors to our guests was a devastating prospect, but we knew this period of closure wasn’t an opportunity to sulk and put our feet up. We started with the humble beginnings of managing Jorvik Viking Centre in 1981. Since then, we’ve built a growing portfolio of attractions across England, Scotland and Wales, welcoming millions of visitors a year. It was high time to hold a mirror up to our business and how it runs.”

“Naturally our customer-facing teams were placed on furlough, which has been a real lifeline for so many businesses like ours. But for those of us able to work, it was time to get lockdown fit. We overhauled our operations and booking program, investing in new software that would allow our teams to do more for our customers. We reviewed each visitor attraction in more detail than ever before, creating lean and close-knit teams to deliver on our changing customer needs. We also invested in physical improvements and expansions to our sites wherever possible, like the new sustainable accommodation and outdoor quest at our popular Greenwood site.”

“We also spent a lot of time working with industry partners and fellow operators to share best practice on how we navigate this completely unpredictable turn of events. It’s a shared opinion in the industry that tourism is often overlooked for its economic and emotional value. A global pandemic has finally shifted that aged perception. With that, and our improved joined up approach as an industry, I see a bright future in our comeback.”

“As the world continues to hold up its crystal ball, wondering what the future of their industry will look like post-pandemic, I think there are some changes that are here to stay for tourism. We’ll continue to create space at our attractions to allow for social distancing, even when it’s no longer mandatory. We’re also going to ask all our guests to book in advance to help us move them through our attractions, avoiding crowds or bottlenecks. We’ll also continue to offer experiences virtually as well as in person, like our popular underground video tour of Edinburgh’s forgotten Royal Mile – The Real Mary King’s Close.”

“I also think the revival of human contact will be high on our post-lockdown wish list. We’ve all had to adjust to a world lived online, from our shopping habits to our working environments and even how we catch up with friends and relatives. Our visitor attractions showcase real people and their stories in an enriching way that just can’t be experienced as authentically online. I can’t wait to see our tour guides light up a room of engaged visitors again.”

“With a lot of uncertainty around quite how carefree and open this summer will be, there’s also a new message needed for our industry: ‘Visit, but visit responsibly’. Britain does have beautiful landmarks and memorable places to holiday – I’ve been shouting about that for years – but we can’t overwhelm these places beyond recognition with a level of carelessness. If you’re planning to hike Snowdonia or head to your local park, pick up and dispose of your litter. It’s the least we can all do after more than a year of pulling together to try and safely open up our world again.”

So, with re-opening on the horizon, it’s clear that the landscape of tourism remains changed and further evolution is inevitable. Much like our attitude to the last 12 months, at Continuum Attractions we’re looking to this next phase with optimism and, more than anything, we’re excited to be welcoming our guests back into our attractions.

International Women’s Day: women from the past inspire women in the future

Our successful visitor business is created around the stories of some formidable women from the past, as we tell the tales of interesting and path-carving characters from the 17th century onwards in a number of our attractions. Landowners in Edinburgh, chocolate entrepreneurs in York and political campaigners in Oxford, these women built their successful independent businesses and environments from scratch, and it’s interesting to reflect on International Women’s Day on what we have learnt from the telling of these stories.

Whether it’s 17th century businesswoman and landowner Mary King, namesake of The Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, or 18th century Mary Tuke, recognised as the ‘mother of York’s chocolate industry’, whose tale is told at York’s Chocolate Story, we learn that these women worked to be the very best that they could be. There’s little discussion or documentation of them competing to be better than their male counterparts, despite living and functioning in what were male-dominant societies. They went about their daily lives and built their fruitful careers by concentrating on their own best choices and decisions.

Move to current day, and a similar comparison can be made at Continuum Attractions, a company led by women in senior posts, all striving to do their very own best – a successful group of women in an industry which allows room for gender neutrality, thus attracting purposeful women to thrive. Collectively, the females leading Continuum credit the tourism and hospitality industry for allowing them, and women in general, a nurtured and supported space in which to do well. It’s an industry where gender has largely gone under the radar and where competition between male and female is less of a focus. Perhaps that is the very lesson to learn, that if we all just focused on being the best we can be, like those women before us, there might be less of a conversation around the need for gender equality.

Investment for the future; Juliana Delaney responds to big numbers for tourism in Britain in 2020

Investment for the future

Juliana Delaney responds to big numbers for tourism in Britain in 2020

Crunching the numbers

“It has been a big month of big numbers from our national tourism agencies, VisitBritain and Visit England, not only highlighting that Britons ‘staycationing’ this year is on the rise and will add £27bn to the UK economy, but also that visitors spent £951m in Britain last year and that this is expected to also increase.

“These figures and their projected positive impact make me feel excited, encouraged, energised…and ever-more focused on the importance of staying relevant. It’s certainly not the moment for attractions to rest on their laurels with the security that visitors will come. We are operating in an increasingly broad competitive field, where screens big and small compete for people’s time, and where even a trip to the cinema is referred to as ‘light exercise’ (University College London research).

Climate disruption

“With climate change and weather disruption top of the news agenda, there is added insecurity of what the weather will do, in addition to the unknown real impact of Brexit, which undoubtedly will affect us negatively from the European visitor.”

Investing for the future

“The only matter we can be assured about is that we need to continue to invest in our offering and in our people. And we need to work collaboratively with others, such as our local tourism bodies, other attractions, accommodation providers and national organisations, to ensure that we can create the biggest impact possible not just for ourselves, but for our regions and all those who live, work and visit them.”

Already this year, we confirmed £100k investment in new interpretation of The Plague and Queen Mary exhibitions in Edinburgh, significant investment in York’s Chocolate Story to enhance the guest experience and increase our fresh chocolate production, and the unveiling of a new ‘Giant’ attraction at the sustainability focused Greenwood Family Park in Wales.

“We’ve set aside substantial budget for staff training, building on the mental health awareness campaign from 2019, where we worked together with St John’s Ambulance to train personnel at each of our eight sites as mental health first aiders. We’re prepped to embrace the challenges of 2020, we’re also braced for the highs and lows that will naturally come as part of the ride.”

That was Juliana Delaney, our Chief Executive commenting on the latest tourism news.

24 years and counting: an interview with Monique White

In 1995 Forrest Gump won 6 Oscars, Microsoft launched Windows 95 and Alan Shearer won the Premier League’s ‘Golden Boot’ award. But over at Continuum Attractions (or Heritage Projects as we were known then) far more important things were afoot, as a determined, creative cat-lover called Monique stepped through our doors for her first day in her new admin assistant role.

Fast forward to 2019 and Monique, now Marketing Services Manager, is celebrating her 24th anniversary with the company. As part of the dynamic central marketing team, Monique works closely with the marketeers across our UK-wide attractions, liaising with designers, co-ordinating print needs (what she doesn’t know about leaflets isn’t worth knowing!) and using her extensive skills and experience to lead diverse projects.

“Monique is a vital member of the marketing team”

Head of Marketing Jules Ozbek explains.

Monique visits the Punishment Cells at Oxford Castle (by choice, we hasten to add)

“It’s a real pleasure to work with her. Super reliable and great in a crisis, we don’t know what we’d do without her 24 years of knowledge and experience – or her outstanding organisational skills”

Having found a few minutes to talk to me whilst co-ordinating a major office refurbishment at our York support office, Monique tells us why she enjoys working for Continuum:

“No one day is the same.  You’re like Dr Who with your very own TARDIS – one minute you could be dealing with the team down on the South Coast before flying up to 17th century Edinburgh!”

But what’s the best thing about her job?

“I get to work with an amazing group of people day in day out – from all corners of the country – now what’s not to like about that?”

New starters to the company often see Monique several times before meeting her, due to her model-like status, regularly stepping up and jumping in front of the camera when the photo-shoot she’s running needs an extra body.

“I’ve been an extra in so many TV ads and photoshoots – from a Medieval Maid for The Canterbury Tales to the face of our latest campaign for Spinnaker Tower – my inner diva comes to the fore!”

Over 24 years, Monique has seen many changes to her role, the company and the team, including being involved in the launch of lots of new attractions:

“There’s been some really exciting projects over the last 24 years – every project is exciting but particular highlights include opening The Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh. Being one of the very first visitors to walk down on to the Close… I can still feel my reaction of amazement – real people lived, breathed and walked on these streets – how amazing to be part of that!

“More recently, Coronation Street The Tour – everyone loves a bit of ‘Corrie’ and I got the opportunity to be part of the team that gave visitors the chance to walk down the famous cobbles on the original Granada Studios set before it was sadly demolished.  Who wouldn’t want to get behind the scenes and have a sneaky try on of Deidre Barlow’s actual glasses – but shush that’s a secret!”

Monique is currently beavering away on our annual Attraction of the Year award ceremony event – pulling together the last minute table plans, name cards and menus. Every year, the event showcases one of our attractions from the portfolio, and this year it’s York’s Chocolate Story complete with beautiful Black Magic themed invitations.

Monique is currently organising our Attraction of The Year awards ceremony event

“Some other projects I’m working on at the moment include working with the wonderful team in Wales at our newest attraction GreenWood Family Park on producing some amazing, fun and creative collateral – everything from signage and site maps to leaflets and labelling”

Monique also ran (and starred in) the new WOW campaign we have at Emirates Spinnaker Tower, pushing that out to our audiences in online ads, print and signage.  In her own words:

“It’s a good job I’m good at spinning plates…and eating scones!”

Monique starred in our new WOW campaign for Spinnaker Tower

We hope she continues spinning plates and ‘WOW’ing our teams for a long time to come!


Here at Continuum Attractions, we pride ourselves on putting our team first.

With an impressive benefit package, competitive pay, a focus on team wellbeing- and as part of one of the most exciting and challenging industries – we’re delighted  that so many of our team choose to stay with us for many years. But when our team are ready for pastures new, we wish them well (and sometimes shed a few tears!) and are delighted to welcome fresh new faces into the Continuum family.

If you want to be part of our culture, having fun and making money (in that order!) check out our latest job vacancies.

Who knows, in 24 years’ time, maybe YOU could be the star of your own anniversary blog post… or whichever futuristic format we prefer in 2043!

Spotlight on Retail: More than a job, more than a guest… more than a shop?

Meet Erica Lee.

Erica has worked at Continuum Attractions as Group Retail Manager for the last five years, heading up the retail experiences across all our attractions.  With sites as far apart as Edinburgh and Portsmouth, the job involves a fair amount of travelling, though Erica still gets time to pursue varied interests including gardening, pottery and baking – her Christmas gingerbread houses are legendary!

Read on for top tips and insights into the world of retail, plus find out what Erica thinks is the most important factor in creating an outstanding retail experience…

So Erica, what does your job of Group Retail Manager entail?

“Part of working across the group is standardising policies and processes, and providing a level of consistency across our operation. I spend a lot of my time looking for efficiencies, cost savings, and opportunities to share best practice and great ideas across the attractions. But hand in hand with this consistency, is the importance of making sure that each of our nine shops has a distinct identity and is an integral part of each brand’s experience.

How do you go about making that happen?

“Well, it all starts with product selection. Before a new product comes through our doors, we ask two questions; Who is it for? Is it on brand? This can mean tough decisions about our product mix. It means we say no a lot. It might be popular, even a potential best seller, but if it’s not right for our brand, it’s not right for us. This pushes us to innovate, to be creative, and to find great products that delight, inspire, and have that all important ‘ooh factor’.

What are your favourite products across the attractions?

  • Unicorn soft toys at The Real Mary King’s Close. Unicorns are Scotland’s national creature and its great when we can find a way to make retail trends work with our brand stories.
  • Our salted caramel chocolate bar at York’s Chocolate Story – its made in house and is soooo yummy!
  • Mead at The Canterbury Tales because we can use it to interact with our guests by sampling it. It’s also made by a great local Kentish supplier.

But finding the right product is just the start of it?

“Exactly. At Continuum, storytelling is at the heart of everything we do, and the retail experience is an integral part of this. When our guests emerge from one of our tours, views or experiences, the transition to the shop should be seamless. The retail space, often the final part of our guest’s journey with us, is so much more than just a shop. It’s the final room, the lasting memory, a space to experience just a little bit more, and to transition back to the real world. It’s an opportunity for our guests to take away a piece of the story they’ve just lived, something to remind them of their time with us, something with a story of its own that our guests can treasure and share.

How do you make a retail space into part of the experience?

“The theming, layout and presentation of the shop have a crucial part to play, in both showcasing our products in the best possible way, and in giving our guests a place to experience and interact with our brand. We love shops that our guests want to stay in, explore, take photos of, and point of sale that speaks to them with the right tone of voice, and tells them that brilliant fact about why they should buy the product.

So what’s the most important thing – is it the product selection or the retail space itself?

“Actually, neither. The final and most important part of the puzzle is the team. At The Canterbury Tales, our guests exit the final show room, and are greeted in the market place by our costumed shop team with samples of traditional mead to refresh those that are weary from their pilgrimage! What better way to ease them from Chaucer’s Medieval England into a retail space where they want to stay, sample our product range, and engage with our brilliant team who are only too happy to share their knowledge. Whether it leads to a sale or not, our guests continue their learning here, and that’s down to a team that live and breathe their brand.”

Finally, what are your top tips for attractions wanting to enhance their retail offering?

  •  Engage your team – they should be your product experts
  • Understand your brand – involve your marketing teams in all relevant aspects
  • Look through your guest’s eyes – walk the full attraction journey regularly to check the transition into the shop space, not just the shop itself.

The story doesn’t end here…

Look out for a future post where we talk to Chris Peel, Group Food and Beverage Manager, about food and drink across the attractions. Follow us on Twitter @Continuum_Group to stay up to date with our latest news and blog posts.

If you’re looking for attraction expertise for a future project, why not find out more about collaborating with us or find out how we worked with The Void to  bring their hyper-reality experience to life in the UK… in just 8 weeks!

Stepping into the void: an interview with our Attractions Director

Kev Smith, Attractions Director at Continuum Attractions… kitted up to discover The VOID.

At Continuum Attractions, we’ve really enjoyed operating Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at The VOID in London, which comes to and end on June 19th. We talked to Kev Smith, Attractions Director for Continuum Attractions to find out more about the start of the journey…

So Kev, how did it all start?

We were first approached by The VOID in August 2017. A relatively new virtual reality start up business in the USA, they were already developing two projects at Disney Springs and Disney Anaheim in North America  but wanted to deliver a ‘pop up’ experience based around Star Wars, in conjunction with Disney and ILMxKLAB. The VOID wanted to open an experience in London before Christmas, to coincide with the release of the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi.  However, they needed an experienced and successful operator in the UK to make this a reality.

What happened after the initial call?

The VOID took the time to come over to the UK and look at potential venues, as well as visiting our offices in York to gain a greater understanding of how our business was structured. We were also able to show them one of our experiences, York’s Chocolate Story and demonstrate the quality and care that we put in to our operations.

Sounds promising…

It was… but then September came and went. These things take a lot of time and The VOID were clearly looking at all potential opportunities to ensure they had the right partner on board to meet their requirements and shoulder a high degree of responsibility.

Two further weeks passed and we were getting towards the end of October when I received a call stating that The VOIDhad been very impressed with our business and our operations and would like to work with us to get the experience based at Westfield shopping centre in London opened by mid-December.

That’s fantastic!

We were delighted, but the date came as a slight surprise as we had assumed that there had been delays and that an opening would have been pushed back, but no, mid-December was the deadline.

So it was a quick turnaround?

Very… we had just 8 weeks left until opening! We booked some flights and went for a visit to The VOID’s head office in Lindon, Salt Lake City –  a necessity to gain a full insight in to the development of the experience, its technology, its functionality and their people.

Was that quite time consuming when you were working to such a tight deadline?

It takes time to get to Utah, of course, but that first week visiting the offices proved pivotal in the development of the project as we were able to come back to the UK with as full an understanding of the experience as possible. Approximately six weeks remained for us to get the facility open!

What else needed doing in those 6 weeks?

Well, luckily all of the design work for the structure had been done but everything else associated with opening an attraction had to be delivered. Setting up the business and banking arrangements, recruitment and training, marketing and PR, sales and bookings system development, health and safety planning, retail and photo development, technical systems development, administrative systems development and more! It’s fair to say that a lot had to be done in a very small space of time.

How did you get it all done in time?

Thanks to the people involved. We worked closely with The VOID’s operating team to refine their plans to fit with the timescale. Our attraction management, admissions and guest services team started in early December with an intensive training schedule leading up to the opening on 16th December. Only three of the team had seen the experience, in Salt Lake City, until 5 days prior to the opening. It’s fair to say that they were all blown away by the sheer ‘awesomeness’ that the experience delivers… and we were blown away by their determination and hard work!

A few of our team members who were pivotal to the attraction’s success!

The crucial question: did you open on time?

Of course! Opening day came on the 16th December with the London operation being the first to open in the world – beating Disney Springs by seven hours.

Wow!

It felt like the eyes of the world was on the operation The VOID, Disney, ILMXLAB as well as a host of technical publications and the attractions industry – all interested in how the experience performed. However, we were confident in what our team could deliver.

So it went well?

Day one was a roaring success … in fact all the days following have been too!

A pair of Stormtroopers posing outside the attraction on opening day… they didn’t provide a comment.

Were there any learnings from the experience?

It’s fair to say that we have all learned a lot very quickly (including The VOID). Being the first truly ‘Hyper Reality’ experience in the world and setting the bench mark for others to follow our collaborative working methods have been critical to the success of the project.

Do you have any advice to someone wanting to open an attraction within 8 weeks?

Although we did manage to successfully meet this timeline and we look forward to continuing our relationship with The VOID, attraction developers reading this article take heed – don’t expect that your experience can open in 6-8 weeks! Ideally, an operator such as ourselves needs to be involved 12-24 months in advance of the opening to be able to contribute to and influence a whole host of aspects including design and layout, and to programme in marketing activities to build the market way in advance of any potential opening.

Great advice, thank you Kev! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

 I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the partners associated with the project: The VOID, Disney, ILMxLAB, Westfield and finally to Charlie Gooch at Blooloop for linking us to The VOID in the first instant.

As a leading attraction and leisure brand, Continuum Attractions have over 30 years of experience operating a wide range of operating story-led experiences across the UK and around the world. From eco-friendly family parks like GreenWood in North Wales, to cutting-edge technology like Star Wars: Secrets of The Empire at The VOID, we use our expertise to work alongside our partners, or on our own, to create outstanding experiences.

Want to find out more about how we work? Check out our Collaborate section.

 

Times of Change

“It’s about more than just chocolate. It’s about how things were and how things are; it’s about looking at how far we’ve come, and how much further we have to go.”

Its March 8th, 2018 and as we celebrate International Women’s Day, Ben Rosenfield from York’s Chocolate Story is talking to us about the attraction’s 2018 exhibition, Times of Change: Women and Confectionery

“Chocolate is a universally-beloved product that crosses cultural and economic boundaries. We’re here to celebrate York’s unique chocolate stories and confectionery heritage. Our annually-rotating exhibition celebrates this, picking a topic that highlights original areas of the city’s past. This year, we wanted to ‘widen the remit’, so to speak. As 2018 marks 100 years since women first got the vote*, and York has a rich history of female confectionery icons, women and confectionery seemed like the ideal topic.”

Ben Rosenfield poses with some of the new exhibits, including the rare Terry’s Nutcracker mirror (left) and the notorious “Not for girls” Yorkie (in hand).

The exhibition looks into the lives of the women that shaped confectionery, but has wider implications. There are plenty of artefacts that people will recognise, such as the infamous Pink Yorkie and Vintage Quality Street tins. Nestled amongst the well-known brands are some rare and unusual gems…

“…like Terry’s Nutcracker promotional mirror – finding information on this brand proved to be the biggest challenge of all! My personal highlight in putting it all together has been interviewing former factory workers. The richness, diversity and content of their stories has been both eye-opening and humbling. We learned some incredibly interesting facts about life in the factories, not just as a women, but also as part of the wider York community. Key quotes from their testimonies have been placed along our chocolate river, making them a prominent feature”

Quote from a former chocolate factory worker part of the Women in Confectionery display at York’s Chocolate Story.

York’s Chocolate Story were adamant that the exhibition would launch on International Women’s Day (8th March), a challenging deadline, but the team worked hard to get everything ready, including planning an evening event showcasing both the displays and a couple of new installations within the rest of the attraction too.

“We’ve transformed part of the attraction, creating more of a multi-sensory immersive experience to certain rooms, and it looks awesome! The event itself was a grand success. Speeches were made by 4 powerful women: Continuum Attraction’s CEO Juliana Delaney; York Central MP Rachael Maskell; Lord Mayor of York Barbara Boyce and our very own chocolatier, Chelsea Taylor.”

Some of the powerful women attending the opening event including chocolatier Chelsea Taylor; MP Rachael Maskell; Lord Mayor of York Barbara Boyce and CEO Juliana Delaney.

From Mary Tuke – known locally as “the mother of confectionery”- to Mary Ann Craven and her pioneering boiled sweets, York has some of the most wonderful unsung heroes in sweets treats. Their tenacity and perseverance turned them into sheer forces of nature; something that we should all aspire to be.

Times are still changing, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Click here to plan your visit to York’s Chocolate Story and check out their exhibition, or for more information about Continuum Attractions and how we bring stories to life check visit our Collaborate page.

Team Continuum tackle Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Seven Continuum Attractions colleagues put their best feet forward on Saturday, taking part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks for our company charity, Alzheimer’s Society.

Following the 25-mile trek over Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, our determined team of walkers raised almost £2,000 for the charity, adding to our overall fundraising total of over £4,000 so far.

Becky Romans, our Charity Champion commented:

“We decided to take on the arduous challenge of the Yorkshire Three Peaks for our friends and family members who have been affected by this life-changing disease. We’re thrilled to have raised a substantial amount of money for a worthy cause close to our hearts.”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

“We are delighted that Continuum Attractions gave their time to support Alzheimer’s Society.  225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like the team at Continuum to help us continue our vital work.”

To add to Continuum’s total, visit the Just Giving Page.

Keep following our blog to hear more about our fundraising efforts.