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ATS works with Royal Museums Greenwich to deliver Cutty Sark audio tour

To embark on a new era of enhanced visitor experience, the team behind London’s ever-popular Cutty Sark joined forces with ATS to deliver a new audio guide

Cutty Sark, the iconic ship located in Greenwich, has long been attracting audiences from around the world. Visitors can climb on board the award-winning attraction and explore the decks of a classic British clipper ship, discovering its British trading history in the late 19th Century.

While the attraction remained a strong draw for global audiences, Royal Museums Greenwich still felt the visitor experience could be improved. The organisation enlisted ATS to develop an audio tour that could take the Cutty Sark to the next level.

“The Cutty Sark has welcomed more than two million visitors since it reopened in 2012 – following a major conservation project – and has become established as one of London’s top tourist destinations, so much so that the majority of its visitors are from overseas,” explains Eleanor Harris, director of visitor experience and enterprises.

“In order to cater for the international visitors and also to provide visitors with a more in-depth interpretation at the ship’s fascinating history and its conservation, we decided to introduce a multi-lingual audio guide”.

The Challenges 

  • Cutty Sark wanted to add value to the ticket price
  • Wayfinding and orientation: help visitors to make sense of the ship
  • Enhance the atmosphere of the ship
  • Interpret what is a challenging environment with steps, ladders, low beams, ceilings and a fragmented visitor route
  • Identify a tool that compliments the existing interpretation and interactives
  • Deliver a high-quality experience to domestic and international visitors every day, all year round
  • Maintain the high level of experience particularly during peak busy periods
  • Provide a hardware solution staff can trust, be confident in its reliability and day to day operations.

“ATS Heritage was selected and we worked closely with them to develop an audio tour in 10 languages including an ‘Easy English’ option for all of the students who visit the ship who are learning English as a second language,” Harris adds.

“Our curatorial and learning teams developed the scripts and ATS Heritage provided the languages, audio tour and handsets. We benefitted from ATS Heritage’s expertise in delivering a tour on a historic vessel.”

ATS reviewed a draft script written by the Cutty Sark team and made suggestions to optimise the audio guide experience for visitors. This included identifying pinch points on the route and exploring creative opportunities to add atmosphere to the tour.

Available in English and nine other languages, ATS provided a full production and translation service including casting narrator voices, studio recordings and post-editing – at which point music and sound effects were added.

ATS provides every visitor with an iTouch audio guide as part of their ticket price, with a flexible stock of devices to meet annual fluctuating demand. To maintain high standards for every use, its dedicated UK technical support team also provides planned maintenance and servicing to ensure devices are in the best condition and in operation at all times.

Further, the ATS client team provides advice and guidance on operations and logistics, supporting Cutty Sark to get the most out of its guides and provide every visitor a fantastic experience.

Since Cutty Sark’s audio guides went live in May 2019, the response from visitors has been overwhelmingly positive. Most visitors now give Cutty Sark a 5-star or 4-star rating on TripAdvisor and Google reviews. What is particularly gratifying is that their reviews not only mention how much they have enjoyed the audio tour, but they also talk about the ship’s history, fire and conservation (all things they have discovered by taking the tour)”.


To discuss your upcoming projects and find out more about how ATS can help you, please contact the team today.