Innovative Historic England fund secures more funding from Visit England


The England’s Historic Cities consortium has secured new investment from Visit England. England’s Historic Cities, which includes Experience Oxfordshire and Stratford upon Avon, has secured further investment from the Discover England Fund for their innovative England Originals project. The project was created in 2018 to encourage more US visitors to explore regional England and has already benefited from more than £1 million of investment from the fund. This new investment will be used to promote the cities to domestic audiences in 2021 to help with recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

England Originals brings together 16 of England’s historic destinations under one brand umbrella and promotes them to younger audiences. It does this by combining story-telling and augmented reality with a visitor offer that emphasises fun activities and new experiences set against a backdrop of some of England’s stunning heritage locations.

Stratford River Festival 1 by Ann Rob
Stratford River Festival 1 by Ann Rob

The new investment will be used to enhance and expand the visitor offer, produce new inspirational content and deliver a consumer marketing campaign in early 2021. It will also support ongoing collaboration with US tour operators and travel agents for when travel restrictions are lifted, and international visitors are able to return.

Hayley Beer-Gamage, Chief Executive of Experience Oxfordshire said: “We are delighted that England Originals has received this investment. Our businesses need help and support to survive the pandemic and it is a welcome boost in difficult times. We look forward to highlighting even more of the wonderful experiences that Oxford has to offer younger visitors and attracting more of them to our city and surrounding areas”.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Covered Market and Culture, said: “Businesses are the lifeblood of Oxford, and it’s vital that we do all we can to support them and protect jobs. We’re looking forward to working alongside Experience Oxfordshire to promote Oxford and encourage people to visit and spend here in 2021.”

Melanie Sensicle, chair of England’s Historic Cities, said: “To secure a fifth year of funding from the Discover England Fund is fantastic and a testament to the strength of our partnership. We are an example of what can be achieved when destinations work together, and we look forward to introducing England Originals to domestic visitors.”

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism right across the country and the industry needs all of us to make sure it gets back on its feet. This funding will encourage people to get out and discover the outstanding destinations and quality attractions on our doorstep and also keep England’s tourism products and experiences front-of-mind for future international travellers. Now in its fifth year the Discover England Fund is all about embedding these amazing tourism products and reaching new audiences to drive visitor growth and boost local economies.”