Bendigo, Heathcote, Castlemaine and Maldon Visitor Centres have come together to support visitation to the region off the back of the Tudors to Windsors exhibition currently on at the Bendigo Art Gallery and the visitors are loving it!
On Saturday 16 March the Tudors to Windsors exhibition opened at the Bendigo Art Gallery with many businesses across the region encouraged to get involved and turn themselves Royal until Sunday 14 July. Many businesses have provided experiences and packages bookable through the Bendigo Visitor Centre. While others have added Royal items to their menus or turned their front windows into a right Royal party! Bendigo, Heathcote, Castlemaine and Maldon Visitor Centres have all jumped on board this exciting opportunity to find ways to spark the interest of visitors to the region to stay a bit longer within the region.
Bendigo and Heathcote Visitor Centres have been playing host to a number of members from the Royal Family, including Queen Liz, Harry and Megan and Will and Kate, providing many a selfie moment. The Bendigo Visitor Centre has also welcomed a locally constructed LEGO® scale model of the Palace of Westminster which has drawn quite a crowd over the past weeks and provided a conversation starter for visitors with volunteers and staff to assist in the planning of their Royal journey. Bendigo Visitor Centre alone has seen 25,000+ people through the door since the exhibition opened.
In conjunction with the Bendigo Tramways’ Pop-up Tram on the piazza across from the Alexandra Fountain, Bendigo Visitor Centre has installed a pop-up Visitor Centre in an old English Phone Booth where volunteers have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to guide visitors to their destinations and take the odd photo. Visitors and locals alike have enjoyed the part this installation has played in the Tudors to Windsors event as it has provided a warm welcome and easy to access point for visitor information and a coffee.
In April the region saw the first Royal Train service, run by Victorian Goldfields Railway and Seymour Railway Heritage Centre. The service from Castlemaine to Bendigo incorporated restored carriages from the Queen Elizabeth II visit in the 1950s and Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s visit in the 1980s. Volunteers from the Bendigo Visitor Centre have been providing roving visitor information services to help visitors plan their day ahead. The Royal Train has been such a hit with visitors that all trips have now been sold out between Castlemaine and Bendigo. The Royal Train is also running a number of trips between Castlemaine and Maldon through until the end of June.
The Tudors to Windsors exhibition has provided a great number of opportunities, of which these are only a few, for the visitor centres, volunteers, staff and local operators to come together and collaborate to deliver amazing experiences for visitors to the region.