A series of new immersive experiences at Whitehead Railway Museum are putting the heritage site firmly on track on its journey to further success as one of Northern Ireland’s top visitor attractions.
They come as the museum has been given the green signal to retain its status as a member of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).
Listen for the whistle of the Mother Express, a Mother’s Day Steam Train Experience, as the iconic train fires up its thrusters once more.
Guests will step on-board a vintage steam train carriage at Lanyon Place, taking them all the way to the beautiful platform at Whitehead Railway Museum, where a surprise Mother’s Day treat awaits.
A short luxury coach ride along the picturesque Causeway Coastal Route will take guests to a delicious dining experience at the breath-taking Magheramorne Estate.
For those who want to relive the nostalgia of the 1950s, look no further than a new traditional Afternoon Tea Experience. Attendees will be transported back in time as soon as you step through the doors of an authentic dining carriage. Delight yourself with a perfect blend of delicious treats, fragrant tea, great company and elegant surroundings reminiscent of the post-war era.
Relive the nostalgia of years gone by, enjoying not only the delicious treats but also the incredible interiors, lighting, seating and beautiful panelling all replicated with painstaking attention to detail.
Another initiative – a trifecta of Murder Mystery Nights – has already sold out due to its popularity with the public. Amateur detectives will put their skills to the test and hop on-board the authentic steam train carriages for a brand-new story each night, with unseen clues and exciting riddles, taking them on a thrilling quest to find the guilty party.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor William McCaughey, said: “Initiatives such as this will act as a further promotional boost to Whitehead Railway Museum. Mid and East Antrim has a strong heritage and I’m delighted that council is working together with a number of stakeholders to present it to a bigger and more varied audience.
“This funding from Tourism NI’s Covid Market Led Product Development Programme, has created investment in new and improved exciting experiences that are not only aligned to Northern Ireland’s tourism brand – ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ – but that also aim to spread tourist traffic throughout the country, including Mid and East Antrim. Mentoring and marketing support from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) pilot ‘Rural Tourism Collaborative Experiences Programme has also proved invaluable.’”
Lisa Adair, Whitehead Railway Museum’s general manager, explained: “The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland is delighted to have received funding and support from Tourism NI and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to pilot these brand-new experiences.
“We will be able to use these resources to improve the overall quality of our product, enhance our creativity and venture into new markets, all of which will enhance our longer-term plans and allow us to make events such as these sustainable to sell to tour operators and corporate businesses, as well as allowing us to run a series of regular public events.
“This much-welcomed support has come after a period of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, which resulted in many months of being unable to operate. Its timing is perfect and the Society is exceptionally grateful to participate in the programme.”
Ciaran Doherty, head of regions at Tourism NI continued: “As part of our Market Led Product Development Programme, we are pleased to support the development of new immersive experiences at Whitehead Railway Museum. This exciting new addition to the Council’s tourism portfolio will give visitors another compelling reason to visit the area and Northern Ireland this spring and beyond.”
Anne Currie, programme manager, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, added: “We are delighted that Whitehead Railway Museum has received assistance from Council through our Rural Tourism Collaborative Experiences Programme. This type of experience showcases the unique offerings we have here in Northern Ireland, to attract both local and international visitors to areas like Whitehead. We wish you every success going forward.”
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