Case Study: Dorian Deathly

Dorian Deathly’s Deathly Dark Ghost Tour Walk of York is one of the latest great additions to the city’s ghost walks scene. Dorian Deathly has worked as a tour guide for over seven years and has always wanted to start his own ghost tour. In Europe’s most haunted city the demand for, as well as the supply of ghost tours is in abundance – a new entry point was needed that would help differentiate the Dorian Deathly’s Dark Tours from other ghost walks in York. Dorian Deathly has used his creativity, love for the city’s architecture and history and his passion for performing to design a family-friendly ghost tour – reminiscent of ‘horrible histories’ and one that combines entertainment with learning in a fun and engaging way.  

In the recent #LoveYork Awards hosted on social media by Visit York, Dorian Deathly’s Dark Tours won three Gold and one Silver awards, including the ‘Lockdown Hero’ award which celebrated initiatives that have positively impacted people and supported the community during 2020 and throughout the lockdowns. The Gold prize was awarded to Dorian Deathly for his free virtual ghost tours that have given people a moment of distraction, re-connected friends and families, brought York to those who’ve missed the city and created a community of like-minded people. The tours attracted a large number of fans – the tour’s Facebook page now has over 7,500 fans and growing.  

Dorian Deathly says:

“I feel very proud of winning the ‘Lockdown Hero’ award in #LoveYork Awards, however also slightly embarrassed – all nominations were amazing projects and initiatives that have supported the community through challenging times. The idea for the virtual tours actually came from a friend of mine who is a nurse. I saw how much of a toll the pandemic was having on her and others, and wanted to use the skills I had to take people’s minds off of things. We expected 20-30 people maximum to join the virtual tour and were very pleasantly surprised to see 200 and even 300 people!  

I love York and enjoy showing it off to people from everywhere around the world. Many are eager to come back and have used my tours to connect with it in a new way. I’m glad to see we’ve created a community of people online, who love York, its architecture, history and, of course, ghosts! Our last virtual tour has attracted 2,500 people missing York and eager to return.”  

The success of the virtual tours has created an interest in Dorian’s real – offline – tours, and in the time between August and November, he was able to hold a number of them in person, taking groups of up to 30 people on a spooky entertaining journey of the city. The tours were risk assessed and by introducing special measures to ensure public safety, have received a covid-safe certification.   

Visit York have worked with Dorian on multiple projects previously in his capacity of an actor – he was featured in the #OnlyInYork promotional video for the city in 2019 and has worked on a voice-over for a recent York: A Place to Fill Your Head with Inspiration video. In March 2020, Deathly’s Dark Tours have joined Visit York membership.  

Speaking about being a member of Visit York, Dorian adds:

“By joining Visit York you become a part of a community made out of local businesses and people in the city. Many of our tour visitors have also found out about us through the Visit York website and social media channels, which shows how great of a reach a DMO can offer.  

PJ Edgar, the Membership Executive, checks-in regularly and we’ve found it useful to hear about all the latest destination news and marketing opportunities from the Visit York team. The initiatives run by Visit York, like the latest #LoveYork Awards are a great way to gain exposure for our business, and I can’t wait to be a part of the official Visit York Tourism Awards when they are back.” 

Looking into the future, Dorian is looking forward to running more tours both virtually and in real life. Dorian Deathly is especially excited for the next Halloween season and being able to have more people join the tours and enjoying them in a more personal and interactive way with the covid restrictions being eased.  

The Dorian Deathly’s Dark Tours are also looking at ways to expand the business, working with friends and partners across the country and planning to offer more flexibility in the future.  


Find out more about the Dorian Deathly: Deathly’s Dark Tours here: https://www.doriandeathly.co.uk/  

Lear more about the Visit York membership and the benefits of becoming a member here: https://www.visityork.org/members/membership