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Drive on to get visitors to listen in on What’s Special About Northumberland

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  December 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

What's Special About Northumberland offers visitors an ingenious way to enjoy the county

Accommodation providers in Northumberland and the Borders are already aware of the need to be innovative and creative in marketing their destinations to attract guests in 2012 and beyond.

But now What’s Special About…Ltd, the only audio drive guides to Northumberland, is offering an ingenious way to extend a destination visit and give more information about the area – all at the press of a button – with an opportunity for guests to borrow its CDs free of charge while they stay.

What’s Special About Northumberland will give one, two or all three of its current routes for guests to use during their stay.  All accommodation providers have to do is pay a licence fee of £30 per route, per year, giving guests’ unlimited use of the CDs for 12 months.

If they run off with the CDs, the company founded by Tyne Valley-based businesswoman Lesley Gosling will replace them at a substantially discounted rate.

What’s Special About Northumberland was launched in 2010. Designed to be played in a car CD player, the disks can also be downloaded onto MP3 players or i-pods and cleverly accompany the listener with a narrative which can take them on a 50-70 mile journey along the areas lesser known highways and byways.

Packed with history, anecdotes and fascinating facts, the CDs currently available offer a route along The Corn Road, the old 18th century toll road from Hexham to Alnmouth; The Coast, the Country and the Cattle Trail – the Percy sandwich –  from Alnwick to Warkworth the long way round via the Chillingham cattle and Holy Island and Big Skies and Barbarians from Corbridge up the North Tyne, which concludes at the award winning Bellingham Heritage Centre.

Caroline Stewart, former deputy chief executive of Northumbria Tourism, said: “This is a great new product for visitors to Northumberland giving them a sense of being personally shown round our beautiful and interesting county.  I can see it having the potential to be developed in other parts of Northumberland and the UK, perhaps one day becoming as well known a brand as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.”

Narrated by North East broadcaster and historian John Grundy, the direction links are by another local BBC broadcaster and newsreader, Marian Foster. Each CD has its own map showing the route together with photographs of points of interest.

The programme will start in January 2012. Those who sign up can have a free link to their website from

Each of What's Special About Northumberland's routes is accompanied by an easy to follow map

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