Researchers from Sheffield Hallam university are asking people aged over 50 for their views on heritage attractions

Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University are asking for 200 people to share their experiences of South Yorkshire heritage attractions.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 2:10 pm
Doctor Vicky Mellon (left) and Dr Gill Pomfret (right) are carrying out the research
Doctor Vicky Mellon (left) and Dr Gill Pomfret (right) are carrying out the research

Doctor Gill Pomfret and Doctor Vicky Mellon, who are both researchers from Sheffield Hallam University, are conducting research in to the views of people who are over 50.

Doctor Vicky Mellon said: “We are conducting some research into the over 50s markets; their motivations, experiences and expectations of heritage attractions.

“Previous studies tells us that the senior market is a growing one, potentially because they have more spare time and a desire for learning about their personal and local heritage.

“Key areas of research include considering how and why senior visitors decide which heritage attractions to visit, why do they enjoy visiting such attractions and what reasons may prevent them from visiting certain places.”

For the purpose of this survey, a heritage attraction can be defined as an attraction that represents historical stories, buildings, artefacts, and people from the past.

Some examples of heritage attractions in the South Yorkshire area include Sheffield Manor Lodge, Hardwick Hall, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Kelham Island Museum, Worsbrough Mill, Elsecar Heritage Centre and Wentworth Woodhouse.

Dr Mellon added: “We have so far concentrated our research on the South Yorkshire region but we would like to further encourage engagement in our research. The idea for this research came from heritage attractions in Sheffield and their desire to find out more about the senior market.”

Dr Pomfret and Dr Mellon have have already had their questionnaire completed by around 300 people.

Dr Mellon said: “That is great, however, we would really like to get more to the data is more rigorous and robust. We would like to gain up to 500 questionnaires, but we’d also be very happy to have more.”

Dr Gill Pomfret and Dr Vicky Mellon have already collaborated with attractions in South Yorkshire to find out more about this market and improve their experiences when visiting heritage sites within the area.

Dr Mellon added: “As part of the research, we have undertaken two stages of data collection at several heritage attractions within South Yorkshire.

“The first stage included speaking to managers or employees who are involved in the marketing and visitor experiences of heritage attractions, in order to gain insights into their perceptions of the over 50’s market and how or if this is a market that is significant to them.

“So far, several South Yorkshire attractions have also shared our questionnaire with their visitors, either via hard copies on site or via their social media and databases.

“The second phase of the research has been to distribute questionnaires to visitors of heritage attractions in the region. This will help us understand the our themes, and if there are any barriers to visiting heritage attractions for this market.”

The duo are asking heritage attraction visitors who are aged 50 and over to complete this questionnaire online.

By completing the questionnaire, respondents can enter the prize draw to win Amazon vouchers.

The first prize is a £100 Amazon voucher, the second prize is a £50 Amazon voucher and the third prize is a £25 Amazon voucher.

Dr Mellon said: “The outcome of the research is likely to be important for many attractions in the region, providing key information that could act as sound advice for managers and marketing teams on how to further increase visitation from the senior market.

“A key outcome of this research will be to provide recommendations for attractions on how to create a better experience for the over 50s market.

“For example, we’d like to know what is the most important factor when deciding on what attraction to visit. Is it the interpretation of the local heritage, or the promise of a nice café or the just ease of location? It could be all of these factors and many more We’d like to build up a more detailed picture of this consumer market.

“The impact of the results will be useful for attractions in the region and beyond. We really want to work with our local communities and local tourism industry and by conducting this type of research it means we can support them and provide them with recommendations and impact their decisions on how best to market and manage their attractions.”

If you would like to complete the survey, please visit

The questionnaire will take around ten minutes to complete, and can be anonymous. The deadline to compete it is February 24.

Any questions about this research can be directed to Dr Gill Pomfret via e-mail at [email protected] or Dr Vicky Mellon via e-mail at [email protected]uk.

Alternatively, if you run a South Yorkshire attraction and would like to hand out copies of the questionnaire to your visitors, please also email.

You can also tweet @Heritageresearchshu or visit