A Walk with Lawrence Johnston for NT Hidcote Manor Garden

Visitors to the National Trust’s Hidcote Manor were spellbound by the beauty of the arts and craft garden but understood little about its history. Our suggestion to the team at Hidcote was to bring its creator, Lawrence Johnston, back to life to take visitors on a tour of the garden and its provenance.

We created an immersive audio experience, allowing visitors to keep their eyes up enjoying the visual delights of the garden, while they listened to a fictional Lawrence Johnston conjured up from the past. Recorded in 3D audio, the headphone experience transported visitors to periods in the garden’s development and different scenes from Johnston’s life and travels.

For example, visitors could listen in on a Transvaal plant hunting expedition (many of the plants Major Johnston returned with are still in the garden) or be transported to Hidcote’s 1930s heyday, with socialites flitting through as they finished their games of croquet or tennis. The 3D effect teases the brain into thinking that sounds are really happening right next to you – creating a captivating (and often spooky) immersive experience.

The experience was delivered via a bespoke iOS app pre-loaded on to a number of iPod Touches that visitors could borrow. The audio guided the visitor between one point of interest and the next, but the app also provided a map for additional navigation and access to archive photographs to enhance the experience.

The experience has been running at Hidcote for the past 3 seasons. You can listen to one of the 6 stories we created above. As it’s binaural, wear headphones for maximum impact.

If you like us to create an audio tour or trail for you, just call us on 01242 256970 or email ben@pastporte.co.uk.