Experience the future of Barnsley town centre… now!

Virtual Reality tour of The Glass Works arrives in Barnsley on 4 May.

Crowds at the Tour de Yorkshire will get a glimpse into Barnsley’s future when a ground-breaking virtual reality tour of the £130m Glass Works development lands in the town centre on 4 May.

IBI Group, the architect for The Glass Works, will use state-of-the-art VR to showcase the development to the people of Barnsley.

Initially created as a 3D flythrough video, the firm has now developed an immersive VR experience which will transport locals into the future, giving them a sneak preview of the completed town centre and allowing them to explore the surroundings.

Officially called the Virtual Barnsley Experience, the event will take place in the former Shop Mobility store at the Civic Hall on Eldon Street.

The VR kits were jointly funded by IBI Group, Queensberry Real Estate, Henry Boot Construction, Mott MacDonald, NPS Group Barnsley, Turner & Townsend and MT Dawe Projects Ltd.

The Glass Works is the 3.8-hectare, £130 million development scheme funded by Barnsley Council. Construction has already started on the initial phase of the scheme, which includes the new Library @ the Lightbox and a transformation of the Metropolitan Centre, which will provide a new home for the town's famous markets.

The second stage of the development, which includes Cineworld, Superbowl UK, retail anchor Next, 26 shopping units and seven family-friendly restaurants, will begin later this year.

Seamus Lennon, Studio Director at IBI Group, said: "IBI Group is delighted to be able to bring the Virtual Barnsley Experience in time for the Tour de Yorkshire celebrations on 4 May.

"We have put a lot of time into creating this fantastic experience and can't wait to put the headsets on the people of Barnsley. It's an amazing opportunity to show them their striking new town centre first hand."

The Glass Works VR is part of a packed programme of events taking place on 4 May when the Tour de Yorkshire comes into town. A live music and entertainment event – aptly named In Gear Live - will take place at Mandela Gardens, showcasing some of Barnsley’s finest talent and artisan food stalls.

Meanwhile, to celebrate Star Wars Day, the award-winning museum Experience Barnsley will host a free Star Wars exhibition that sci-fi fans won’t want to miss, which includes one of the country’s finest collections of Star Wars memorabilia, toys and posters.

There will also be a fully sized X-Wing starfighter, characters patrolling the streets while locals will also have the chance to get their picture taken with the film series' iconic characters in the museums.

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