Herd In The City art trail is a mammoth success

May 16, 2024

It's official – Herd In The City was a mammoth success for both the city of Southend-on-Sea and local hospice care.

Last month, Havens Hospices, the charity behind last year's much-loved Herd In The City art trail, held a thank-you event for the sponsors and partners who supported last summer’s elephant-astic event, sharing findings on the impact of the trail.

An evaluation survey into the economic and social impact of the art trail showed there were huge benefits for the local tourism industry, trailgoers, partners and sponsors, and local hospice care.

An overwhelming 98% of people rated the Herd In The City experience as excellent or good and were proud to have the art trail in the city. The trail encouraged public pride and helped bring people together, with 89% of people saying it brought a sense of community to the local area.

The family-fun event, created with Wild In Art, the leading producer of spectacular public art events, saw 118 elephants stomp into Southend-on-Sea last summer and was enjoyed by more than 90,000 people who took part in finding the sculptures. The event, which turned the new city into an outdoor art gallery, had a total economic impact of £3.3 million, contributing over £1 million of gross value added (GVA) to the local economy through purchases such as refreshments, shopping, visiting other attractions or staying overnight in local hotels.

Over half of people (56%) stated the trail was the main reason for their visit to the city, and nearly three-quarters of people (73%) spent more time in Southend as a result of the trail.

Half of the trailgoers were from Southend on Sea, a third from Essex, and 17% were from other areas of the UK, including 5% from London and 3% from the East of England. 8% of visitors stayed overnight.

As a result of following the trail, 59% spent more time and money at attractions, restaurants and takeaways that they had not visited previously, including museums, the iconic pier and Adventure Island. Local visitors spent approximately £23 per person, whilst overnight visitors spent £173.15 per person.

One trailgoer who took part in the survey said, “It really brightened the city. The elephants were very well placed and provided added interest to visiting Southend.”

Another added, “They brightened up the town, raised money for charity, made us visit other areas that we don’t often go to, like Leigh-on-Sea, and spend quality time doing the trail with my daughter. We loved every minute.”

The art trail also encouraged people to be more active. More than three-quarters of people (77%) said the event enhanced their health and well-being, with 76% encouraged to walk more than usual and 75% to get outdoors more. The optional pedometer on the Herd In The City app tracked more than 72 million steps walked by trailgoers over the trail.

Last year’s trail saw elephants march into Southend-on-Sea, Shoeburyness and Leigh-on-Sea, highlighting iconic landmarks and undiscovered gems. Two-thirds of people (67%) said Herd In The City took them to places they hadn’t been before, and nearly three-quarters (72%) spent three or more days exploring the art trail. The average time spent visiting the trail was 4 hours and 22 minutes, and the average group size was three people, consisting of two adults and one child. 68% of people said it helped them spend more time with their family.

The art trail raised an elephant-astic £580,000 for Havens Hospices, which provides specialist care and support for local people of all ages who are living with incurable conditions so they can make every day of their life count.

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art, said, “Herd In The City created a feel-good factor right across Southend-on-Sea and the surrounding area. Our aim was always for the trail to bring real value to the local area as well as raising funds for Havens Hospices, and I’m delighted to see the results of the evaluation. The figures clearly show the impact which happens when the business and creative sectors join forces.”

The majority of people who took part in the survey (96%) would welcome the art trail to return to the city.

Vanessa Harvey, Project Manager of Herd In The City at Havens Hospices, said, “These impressive results further highlight the tremendous impact that Herd In The City had on our local community and its significant contribution to the local economy.

“We would like to thank everyone who got involved and had a ‘ton of fun’ last summer. With special thanks to all our partners, sponsors, artists, volunteers and trailgoers for their support - Herd In The City would not have been possible without you.”

Herd In The City was made possible thanks to more than 45 local businesses and its partners, who all worked hard to ensure the art trail was a huge success. Presenting Partner Southend-on-Sea City Council, Official Event Partners BTMK Solicitors, Method IT, Ayers & Cruiks and c2c, Rickard Luckin, the Learning Programme Partner, Atlantic Pacific, the Logistics Partner, Echo Newspaper, the Media Partner, Main Media the Photography and Videography Partner, and 6rs the Creative Partner, which produced the brand for the project.

The care provided by the local charity is free of charge and only made possible thanks to donations and fundraising initiatives such as Herd In The City.

The report was conducted by research agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative and saw 622 respondents.

Keep up to date with all of Havens Hospices' fundraising activities and see how you can support them at


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