iPhone app for St Albans Cathedral

CUTTING edge technology will guide visitors around St Albans Abbey following the launch of a new iPhone app.

Harpenden entrepreneur Ed Wiles and his brother Charles, both former students of St George’s School in Sun Lane, Harpenden, created Huntzz, a travel app that combines a tour guide and treasure hunt.

Basically a series of treasure hunts that provide additional historical information about the route they cover, each Huntzz app is made up of 20 location-specific clues.

iPhone users can download the app, usually costing �1.49, and decipher either simple or cryptic clues to guide them to the next site on the route.

The St Albans trail begins outside O’Neill’s, previously the old library on Victoria Street, and then heads down French Row stopping at five different points before reaching the Abbey.

Ed said: “I found it fascinating finding out about St Albans’ history.”

He discovered St Albans’ involvement in the Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century as well as learning that the clock maker of Big Ben – Edmund Becket, First Baron Grimthorpe – was buried in the churchyard.

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Taking about one and a half hours to complete, the trails are aimed at young families with children. He added: “My brother was inspired to create the app by going on holiday with his kids. We have tried to make it as interesting as possible for everyone.”

The app includes both simple and cryptic clues to present different levels of challenge. Players collect virtual coins as they correctly solve clues, allowing them to access additional levels of the game in future.

So far the app has been created for 10 London tourist attractions including The British Museum and The Wallace Collection in Manchester Square where it will be launched in late November.

A treasure hunt tour around Harpenden is the latest Huntzz app. Starting at the war memorial, clues lead visitors around the town, stopping off at historic points including St Nicholas Church and the old police station.

Ed said: “It’s a history of Harpenden both old and new. Creating the Harpenden app was by far the most personal.”

He explained he doesn’t usually include shops in the treasure hunt routes because they are liable to change,

But he said: “In Harpenden I know the area well and so I was more confident to include them.”

Ed researches venues for Huntzz and markets the product whilst his brother is the mastermind behind the app’s coding.

He said: “We would love it to go big! We are going to be bringing out the Android version in December. The most interesting part is it allows people to create their own treasure hunts and share them with family and friends.”

n Huntzz learned this week that the Royal British Legion had given its backing to the St Albans and Harpenden hunts as supporting this year’s Poppy Appeal. All profits, after Apple costs have been taken out, from the hunts during November and December will be donated to the appeal.