A collection of iconic castles, country houses and outstanding landscapes from the UK have been added to Google Street View, available through Google Maps.
Twenty National Trust properties and landscapes can now be explored online, giving people around the world the chance to plan a visit or catch a glimpse of places they might otherwise never see.
The images give a 360 degree ground level tour of the outside of the National Trust sites on Google Maps with a specially created online guide also available at maps.google.co.uk/streetview.
Locations include iconic sites such as Corfe Castle in Dorset, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, Plas Newydd in Wales and Downhill Demesne in Northern Ireland.
The images were taken late last summer using the Google Trike – a three wheeled bike with a Street View camera mounted on it, perfectly suited to collecting images in places not easily accessible by car.
Since then the images have been processed and carefully stitched together by Google to give a seamless 360 degree view of the various buildings and parts of their grounds and landscapes where accessible. The routes at each location were designed in conjunction with the Trust.
It’s estimated that the cyclists covered 125 miles on the 18 stone (114.3kg) Trike, moving at an average speed of two miles per hour, whilst collecting the National Trust images.
Lawrence Roots visitor services manager at Corfe Castle said: “Google Street View will enable even more people to take a peek and get a sense of what Corfe, has to offer.
“It’s fantastic to think that people around the world, who might never be able to travel to the UK, will be able to see the castle and enjoy a virtual visit.”
Other locations include Lyme Park (where Pride & Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy was filmed) and Castle Drogo, the last castle built in England.
Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist from Google said: “National Trust locations offer all of us a glimpse of history, nature and architecture up and down the country.
“We were delighted to be able to open up some of the UK’s most famous landmarks to the rest of the world via the web.
“It’s a fun way to preview what to see and do on a day out or whet your appetite for where to go next.”
The Google Trike will collect images at several other National Trust places in 2010, including the Giant’s Causeway world heritage site, currently the focus of a major £2.25million fundraising campaign. These locations will be available as special guides later in the year.
For further information, please contact Jeannette Heard, press officer, National Trust on 01793 817706 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Laura Scott, communications and public affairs manager, Google on 0207 031 3049, 07782 303 719 or email email@example.com
The full list of National Trust properties available to view via Google Street View are:
Avebury Stones, nr Marlborough, Wiltshire
Castle Drogo, nr Exeter, Devon Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset
Glendurgan Garden, nr Falmouth, Cornwall
Stonehenge landscape, Amesbury, Wiltshire
Ham House, Richmond-upon-Thames
Nymans Gardens, nr Haywards Heath, West Sussex
Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire
Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire
Berrington Hall, nr Leominster, Herefordshire
Clumber Park, Worksop, Nottinghamshire
East of England
Wicken Fen, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Ripon, North Yorkshire
Lindisfarne Castle, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
Malham Tarn Estate, Waterhouses, Settle, North Yorkshire
Lyme Park, Disley, Stockport, Cheshire
Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire
Plas Newydd, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey
Mount Stewart House, Gardens and Temple of the Winds, Newtownards, County Down
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Castlerock, County Londonderry
About the National Trust
The National Trust cares for over 300 of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s greatest historic houses and gardens, 1,100 km of coastline and vast swathes of beautiful countryside. From former workers’ cottages to the most iconic stately homes, and from mines and mills to theatres and inns, the stories of people and their heritage are at the heart of everything it does. People of all ages – individuals, schools and communities – get involved each year with projects, events and working holidays and over 56,000 volunteers help to bring the properties alive for the Trust’s 3.7 million members and many more million visitors.