The Hertfordshire cathedral city of St Albans is pulling out all the stops to welcome thousands of visitors back this summer with its first-ever TV advert that will illustrate why the historic city is a great day out, and a staycation destination.
The advert, which launched on 15 July will be seen across multiple Sky TV channels until 13 August, has been put together by the St Albans BID (Business Improvement District), which represents 500 businesses in the city-centre and is also the Destination Management Organisation, encourages domestic visitors to ‘come for the day, then come back and stay’.
The TV advert highlights St Albans’ unique history and heritage, its vast open spaces, its markets, food and drink and independent shopping, and why it is a safe place to visit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will also show why the stunning city has been the location for many films and TV productions over the years, with its Tudor buildings, Cathedral Quarter and Roman ruins.
Olivier Award-nominated actor Bob Golding voices the advert. Golding is also a local resident, best known locally for starring in and being co-producer of the award-winning St Albans panto for many years and is passionate about the city.
Co-chairs of the St Albans BID, Councillor Mandy McNeill, Portfolio Holder Business, Culture and Tourism, and Sarah Gillow, owner of luxury jewellers Galio, said: ‘This is the first time St Albans has ever dipped its toe into TV advertising and we are really excited about it.
‘Our fantastic city, with its many attractions, shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels, is open again to welcome visitors during the summer and beyond and we really wanted to shout about it and to actually show people the beauty of this thriving ancient place, just a stone’s throw from London, and what it has to offer.
‘The city’s 2,000-year history is rich and dramatic and is a huge draw to visitors. The heart of the city is an 11th-century Cathedral, on the site of which Britain’s first martyr and therefore Saint was executed, and in which the first draft of Magna Carta was drawn up.
‘All of our retail and hospitality businesses have worked hard to ensure that they meet the covid-19 health and safety guidelines. The TV advert is the first step in a new strategy to promote the cathedral city as a great place to visit whatever your age or interests.’
St Albans can also offer 100 acres of greenspace in its Verulamium Park – which was once the site of the old Roman city, the third largest until Boudicca invaded and burnt it to the ground, and has many Roman remains including the only Roman Theatre in Britain. The city also claims the country’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, and the country’s first public school, St Albans School, which was attended by Professor Stephen Hawking.
The only working medieval Clock Tower in England stands proudly at the centre of a city that also displays a wealth of medieval history and architecture to rival London’s. A new £7.75 million Museum and Gallery opened in 2018, housed in the old Georgian Town Hall, right in the heart of the city centre.
Visitors to the city were on an upward trend before covid hit: they had increased by 36% over the six-year period from 2013- 2018, exceeding the target for 2018 by 16% and bucking the national trend for 2018.
Visitors numbers in 2018 alone rose by 8.57% on the year before. This was against a national picture of a fall in the number of inbound visitors to the UK (by 5.3%) in 2018, compared to 2017.
‘Our strategy to put St Albans on the map domestically and internationally had really had an impact and we are hoping that post-covid-19, St Albans will bounce back,’ said McNeil and Gillow. ‘The city is open, safe and ready to welcome visitors looking for a day trip or an overnight stay this summer.’
The advert can be viewed here www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP42-tJc8Kc
For more information about the cathedral city, go to enjoystalbans.com.