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We've made some updates!


On the first of May 2024 we made an update to change what Mary Wheatland says to keep things fresh. We also moved Mary's position, as it seem some people were missing her. She is now standing between the bathing machines to the left as you walk through the portal.​


We've  also added a feature that allows users to resize Mary and the bathing machine, so you can have some fun making them huge, or tiny.​


There's a new button on the bottom right of your screen that will give you some tips to make the experience better.

Actress Mary Wheatland looking out to sea

Photo credit: Fiona Elizabeth Photography

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our 'Frequently Asked Questions' section, where we address common questions and concerns regarding The Bognor Regis Time Portal. Whether you're curious about the process or seeking clarification, you'll find answers here.

1. What’s it all about? 

The Bognor Regis Time Portal is a free-to-use immersive experience designed to show what life was like on the beach in Victorian times in a new, fun way. It tells the story of an amazing woman called Mary Wheatland on the 100th anniversary of her death.

2. What is augmented reality anyway?

Augmented reality (AR) adds digital information to the real world to make it more interesting. The Bognor Regis Time Portal lets people see life-sized digital models of bathing machines that used to be on the beach as if they were really there. People will also meet a hologram of Mary Wheatland, a woman who worked on the beach in Victorian times.

3. How is this going to help Bognor Regis?

Of course, the Bognor Regis Time Portal won’t magically solve Bognor’s problems, and sadly, it won't fill the potholes on the roads (we wish!). It might, however, encourage more people to visit Bognor Regis and spend money while they are here. It might also help the people of the town feel proud of its amazing heritage. Projects like this in other towns have had a positive effect, and we genuinely want to do something nice for Bognor.

A big part of the project is a school outreach programme. Our actress, Vicky Edwards, will be going to local primary schools dressed as Mary Wheatland to deliver workshops to teach the children about the town’s history.

Actress Mary Wheatland on Bognor Regis Promenade

Photo credit: Fiona Elizabeth Photography

4. How much does it cost to use it?

The Bognor Regis Time Portal is completely free to use because we want everyone to enjoy it.

5. Where did the money come from to pay for it?

Most of the money for this project came from an Arts Council England Project Grant. That money is partly made up of lottery money, with some coming from central government. The money is allocated for arts projects across the country, and at the moment, places like Bognor Regis are being given priority to try and spread the money out more fairly. It’s extremely competitive, and we fought hard to get the money to do this project in Bognor.

We also got some money from a fund called the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This is a special pot of money created by the UK government to help local areas improve their communities and invest in projects like this. 

On top of that, we received lots of “in-kind” support from people who have given their services and time for free because they believed in the project and wanted to help make it happen. We thank them for that, as without that help, it would not have been possible.

6. Do I need to download an app?

No. Downloading apps is rubbish! We use a system that makes it easy to use the experience with just your smartphone and its mobile signal and data.

We have tried our best to make the experience as easy to use as possible. There are clear instructions on the information board next to the portal and on our website, and there is  a video tutorial to show you how it works up and running on the home page and on our social media.

Also, on certain dates, we will have people on site to show you how it works. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for dates.

7. Do I need a headset or goggles?
No. Just your smartphone with mobile data.

8. Will I be able to see it in the dark?
Yes, the experience is visible day and night. It’s also open seven days a week.

9. Is it difficult to use?

Actress Mary Wheatland looking out to sea over Bognor Regis sea wall

Photo credit: Fiona Elizabeth Photography

10. Is the experience accessible to everyone?

We have tried very hard to make this available to everyone. The portal itself has been designed to be wide enough for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, and the wooden decking allows these users to access the beach where the experience takes place.

There is also an audio-described version for people with sight issues, and from time-to-time, demonstrators will be on site to assist users who need a little extra help.

11. Why does the portal look like that?

We have made the portal bright red so that it stands out. It has been designed to look futuristic but with a kind of ancient feel. The colour red was also chosen to reflect the colouring of Mary’s bathing machines.

The materials used were selected to resist anything the British weather throws at them at a beach location.

12. How long is it there for?

The plan is that the portal will remain on the beach for 18 months and will be taken away in September, 2025.

Portrait of actress playing Mary Wheatland

Photo credit: Fiona Elizabeth Photography

13. Are there any plans to change the subject matter?

The hologram of Mary will be changed from time to time over the course of the project so that she says and does different things. Keep an eye on our social media to see what’s happening.

Beyond the 18 months, who knows? This is a kind of pilot project, and if people like it, then we might adapt it in the future. What would you like to see?

14. Where did the idea come from?

Matt Reed came up with the idea for this project while studying for a master’s degree back in 2021 and developed the project over three years before installing it on the beach. It took a team of people to make it happen, as it was created especially for Bognor Regis.

Matt lives in Bognor and wanted to tell more people about Mary Wheatland's amazing story. He did it here because he cares about the town and hopes it might help people see Bognor Regis in a new way.

AR is a very new technology, and of course, people are coming up with similar ways to use it around the world. 

We want to encourage everyone to express themselves and create their own projects using this very cool technology. The more, the merrier, especially in Bognor Regis. Let’s make it a cool place that people want to visit!

15. Is time travel really possible?

Well, that depends on how you look at it. Seeing things from the past in the same places they would have been hundreds of years ago is a kind of time travel. Try the Bognor Regis Time Portal out for yourself and see what you think.

One last thing...

It has been a lot of fun making this experience, but to our knowledge it’s the first time that this technology has been used in this precise way anywhere in the world, so there might be the odd glitch in the system from time to time.

If that does happen, please be patient with us and be assured that we are working hard to fix any issues and to make update when necessary.


Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

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