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Visit York releases the UK’s first scented travel guidebook to entice new tourists

Britons are being encouraged to quite literally stick their noses into a book today with the launch of the UK’s first-ever scented travel guidebook.

The free guidebook, entitled Smell York, features photographs of some of York’s most iconic attractions, with every image scientifically infused with a nose-tingling bouquet of complementary smells.

Commissioned by Visit York, the free, quirky guidebook aims to entice new tourists to York by giving readers the chance to embark on an olfactory odyssey into the heart of England’s iconic historic city and its surrounding countryside.

Included among the bouquet of aromas in the guidebook are the evocative scents of coal, steam and oil from the golden age of York’s railways, the smells of horses galloping to the finish line at York Racecourse, the fresh fragrance of wild heather growing on the world-famous North York Moors and even the paranormal pong of bad eggs, associated with one of York’s smelliest ghosts!

Sweeter smells that have been infused into the olfactory guidebook include delicious notes of luxurious chocolate (representing the city’s chocolate making heritage), an afternoon tea of cream cakes and scones and the city’s abundant daffodils, soon to be in full bloom.

The scented travel guidebook was created by a team of scent engineers who analysed a range of smells associated with York before accurately recreating those aromas in a laboratory setting and applying them to the photographs in the guidebook.

Each photograph features a combination of scents to reflect the range of aromas the scene depicts.

The smells are registered as soon as the reader puts the pictures to their nose.

The full list of scents infused into the Smell York guidebook is as follows:

1.     York’s Antiquities: a musty infusion of leather, old books, gold, silver, wood and dust

2.     York in blossom: floral scents including daffodils and roses

3.     Afternoon Tea: the appetising aromas of loose leaf teas, spices and cakes

4.     Chocolate heritage: the indulgent scents of cocoa, butter, sugar and nuts to represent York’s status as Britain’s Home of Chocolate

5.     Railway heritage: a nostalgic infusion of coal, steam, engine oil and iron to represent York’s rich railway history

6.     Rural Yorkshire: the scent of fresh wild heather as it grows on the North York Moors (the backdrop to many films and television programmes, including Harry Potter), the grasslands of the Yorkshire Dales and fresh country air

7.     Gardens of York: the relaxing scent of York and Yorkshire’s lavender gardens

8.     York Racecourse: a combination of horse hair, hoof oil, grass and fruit punch

9.     Foodies favourite: a mature smell of strong Yorkshire cheese

10.  Spooky scents: as Europe’s most haunted city York isn’t short on ghosts, and many of them are said to leave a melancholy aroma in their wake. The guidebook has been infused with strong smells of sulphur and roses that are frequently associated with two of York’s eternally restless spirits

11.  Guy Fawkes’ legacy: York is the birthplace of the notorious Guy Fawkes, a man who is now forever associated with the smells of gunpowder, fireworks and burning wood and straw

12.  Seasonal scents: a traditional Christmas aroma of burning frankincense, mince pies and Advent candles in Britain’s Christmas Capital

Kate McMullen, head of Visit York, said:

“Countless scientific studies prove that the human sense of smell is one of the key facets in forming strong memories.

“We commissioned this scented guidebook to give potential newcomers to York a fun flavour of the many lasting memories that a trip to our historic city could provide.

“Indeed, whether you’ve got a soft spot for the scents of the supernatural or a craving for the nostril-nourishing aromas of the world’s greatest countryside, York has something for every nasal persuasion.

“Hopefully the book will encourage more people from across Britain and round the world to come and sample the delights York has to offer.”

A limited first-run of the Smell York olfactory guidebook has been published today at the Visit York Visitor Centre, 1 Museum Street, York and can be requested for free on a first come, first served basis by contacting

Based on its success and feedback from the public Visit York may look into producing the book in larger quantities.

Olfactory guidebook launched to entice new visitors to York

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