Saturday 20th October. Another day in Canterbury Cathedral Shop. We were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and, as we opened the doors at 9:30, nothing unusual happened. That soon changed.
It was the day of The Timekeeper’s Return, a unique, immersive, story-based treasure hunt around various locations inside the Cathedral Quarter.
So what were they doing? They were exploring this part of the city. They were learning the history of Canterbury. They were discovering a whole host of destinations for Christmas shopping that they might have overlocked. And, more importantly, they were having fun.
But what was it all about? Following the success of the Cathedral Quarter’s Easter Egg hunt earlier in the year, the Quarter wanted to do something special to keep the momentum alive. So a call went out and Jack Lowe answered. He came up with a unique concept. An outdoor mixed-reality treasure hunt, like an escape room without walls. It was based on an original story he devised about a time-travelling researcher – Dr Mia Augustina – who was stuck in time and needed help to return to the present. People loved it.
With over 200 participants on the day, the Burgate community was alive with the buzz of kids and adults, students and shoppers all engaging with this unique event. Participants scanned QR codes hidden around the Cathedral Quarter moving from one business to the next, all the while discovering more about the history of the Cathedral Quarter and hearing Mia’s stories from the past.
The event really seemed to catch the imagination of those involved. Actors dressed stealthily in plain clothes, secret histories being discovered, hints of sci-fi … it felt like Dr Who had landed in Canterbury, and the whole street was caught up in the latest adventure. If we were unsure of the success on the day, the feedback on social media gives a pretty decent picture:
“This kind of event is what makes our local area great. Bravo”