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Heritage Tourism

Amandeep takes a step back into the past to find out how Britain's history and industrial past still draw crowds of tourists.

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • What attracts tourists to your country?
  • What was life like a hundred years ago?

Now watch as Amandeep discovers the appeal of the UK's history.


In Victorian times, Britain was famous for producing things; it was known as ‘the workshop of the world’. I’m travelling to York to find out how this industrial past is still important for a newer industry: tourism.

Before planes, trains and cars, this was one of the best ways to travel.

Rivers and canals played a very important role during the Industrial Revolution. Barges like this were the lorries of their day, transporting coal to the factories and finished products around the country. Now they’re used for leisure and many canals have become a focus for cafés, restaurants and art galleries.

Amandeep: Thank you for the lift.

Bargee: Thank you. Bye-bye.


Amandeep: Steam trains replaced the canal boats and became great symbols of Britain’s industrial past. And they’re still attracting tourists from around the world today.

There is a huge collection of them here at the National Railway Museum.


The museum has its own work shed where engineers restore these incredible machines to their former glory.

Amandeep: Chris, how much work goes into restoring these trains?

Chris: Well, there’s a lot of work involved. We work on them virtually every day, repairing them and maintaining them to make sure they can operate properly and safely.

Amandeep: Why is it important to keep them and show them?

Chris: Basically, it’s important educationally to show the young generation of how railways used to operate in older days, so it’s a link from the past that’s brought to life in present day.


Amandeep: Like so much of Britain, these streets are full of history. This is the old part of the City of York. Tourists love to come and experience this historic area.

Woman 1: I think visitors come to Britain because of the shopping and the history.

Man 1: It is actually a very nice country, you know. Lots of historical places in Britain.

Man 2: I think visitors come to Britain for the culture, for the historic sites and because it’s different from anywhere else in the world.


Near to York Castle, there’s a museum that's created a street from the past.

Wow, this is like stepping back in time! I’m actually in a Victorian street museum. Visitors come here to travel back around 130 years. Natalie Kingston is a guide here and dresses up for her role.

Amandeep: Why do you think people like to visit this old street?

Natalie: I think people like to visit this street because it recreates the past. It was the first ever recreated street in the world. It was built in 1938.

Amandeep: What reactions do you get to being dressed up?

Natalie: The most common reaction to being dressed up is that people want to take photos of you and they like to have photos taken with you. People ask a lot more questions when you’re dressed up. Not just about the costume, but also about the street and everything in it.

Amandeep: Being here, I really do feel like I’ve been transported back in time.


Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


The end of this video brought me to mind those iconic Mr. Beans scenes

Does anyone know the name of the background noise at the beginning? I really love it.

Hello Wildwind

Do you mean the background music? If so, I'm afraid we don't have that information. It was probably specially composed for the video. Sorry!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

this is my first comment on this site. I live in the coast of belgium and there are allot of museums here. About the fishers and about WWII. In Oostduinkerke you have a museum about fishers, there are allot of pictures of fishers catching fish.
In the summer we have a lot of tourism here because of the beach.

Thank you for reading


Belgium is a very inspiring country. You can visit all kinds of museums about World War I and World War II. We have 'De IJzertoren' in Diksmuide. And 'De Loopgraven'. Also in Diksmuide. Our country is very little but there have happened lots of big things. You won't regret it. See you soon!

Sir, In this video in the second last line (sentence) of amandeep, she asks to Natalie "what reactions do you get to being dressed" it means what reactions do you get after being dressed right ? Now could we also use 'Getting ' rather than being in this sentence with no change in meaning and Could we also use this structure (to being or getting dressed) with other adjectives and third form of any verb rather than using (after being or getting dressed) like - To being or getting ready, drunk, bathed, washed or done and other all ?

Hello SonuKumar,

Yes, Amandeep wants to know how people react to someone dressed in period clothing. There's a difference in meaning between 'get dressed' and 'be dressed'. The former is a process and the latter is a state. Since Natalie already has the clothes on, 'get dressed' isn't really appropriate -- 'be dressed' is.

The difference I have described between 'get + past participle (or adjective)' and 'be + past participle or adjective' is a general one, i.e. you can apply it with other words as well. There is always the possibility of usage that doesn't fit into this pattern, but it can certainly be used with many adjectives.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello to everyone,
being my first comment in this website, firstly I would say that it is great to discover more about British culture and English language in it. It is an amazing place to surf.
I live in Rome so I could say that there are several reasons becasue people come in my city and in my country. Here they can find marvelous historical sites, culture, architecture and arts. In Italy the enviroment is largely various so people can spend time at sea as well as at mountain or in the lakes area. I believe another reason is our cuisine.
We love food and I have a lot of positive feedback from my foreign friends whom like a lot to join us for nice meal. Anyway it is sure that all part around the world have culture, history, places that it is amazing to discover, sharing our different tradition gaining each other a lot.

Hello everyone.
If I think you about and what attracts tourist in my country I think it's depends if they came in the capital I think the tourist are attracted from some buildings that they are really old. Actually we have a lot of sightseeing in my country and we have a lot of old places to visit like the national museum, but if they going to old cities they can visit a lot of old buildings.The most importantly places to have a holiday are on the mountain because they are unique in the world and we have a lot of cave and salt caves, and landscape in the countryside is stunning.
About the life 100 years ago I don't know, I curious too how it was. I think it was like a little Paris you know sometimes our city where I was born is has called the little Paris because it's designed the same like Paris and I think people were dressed up really nice in that in that. And a lot of buildings they are still there, like they were 100 years ago and some places the same. We have a park in the middle of the city that is the same like it was 100 years ago like, it was designed for people to recreate. I think that 100 years ago my country it was more peaceful than now.

I live in London and I really appreciate York, I'd like to go as soon as possible even for improving my English.