Published Monday, 24th May 2021

This May half term, join in the fun as families track down the ‘Secret Carnival’ and its canny characters via their smartphones thanks to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and High Street Safari.

A graphic to illustrate the Secret carnival QR code trailAs high streets opened once more last week, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is keenly aware that families will be on the lookout for fun activities that are safe, socially distanced and contactless. As part of its ongoing Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign to support local businesses, the Council has teamed up with QR code trail experts, High Street Safari, to create a free, interactive story-trail designed to encourage children to walk, get engaged and, most importantly, have fun.

From Saturday 29 May to Sunday 13 June, the Secret Carnival family trail launches in four locations across the borough, including Horley, Redhill and Reigate town centres, plus Tadworth and Walton on the Hill shopping parades. In each of these locations, a total of 10 carnival characters will be hidden in the windows of local businesses. Each trail takes around 45 minutes and can be completed in more than one visit.

To take part in a trail, all you need is a smartphone. When you come across one of the character posters, simply scan the unique QR code to learn their name and role in the carnival. Children of all ages will enjoy spotting the colourful characters in shop windows and listening to their stories. Along the way, there’s also an opportunity to take selfies which are placed into a personalised digital storybook to download as a keepsake at the end.

While the trail has been designed so there is no need to go inside the venues, all businesses in the borough have extensive Covid-safe measures in place, such as additional cleaning, reduced numbers and NHS Track & Trace, where necessary.

Cllr Eddy Humphreys, Executive Member for Economic Prosperity, said: “Our local businesses have had a challenging year and so we want to encourage residents and visitors to continue shopping locally, but also safely. The Secret Carnival family trail is an excellent way to explore some of our borough’s town centres and neighbourhood parades, all of which are full of fantastic shops, cafes and other businesses.

“So, while the aim of the game is to find all 10 hidden characters, please do also make sure you stop and support our amazing local businesses!”

Martin Blackwell, former CEO of ATCM and the Charity Retail Association, who is coordinating the project nationally, said, “We’ve now run three national trails like these in 2020 and have just been blown away at the response considering the difficult climate on the high street. We had over 30,000 families play last year in over 200 locations. If something fun like this can help make families and kids feel good about going back out onto the high street in a safe way, then we’ve done our jobs.”

To find out more about the trail, visit the website: The borough’s Secret Carnival family trails have been funded by the Town Improvement Fund.

Please share your photos on social media using the hashtag #RBcarnivaltrail.