OCCASIONALLY, trying to describe an experience that left a marked impression, can leave you lost for words.

Sitting in a deckchair inside a medieval church in the centre of York, taking in the wonders of an innovative art attraction, I pondered how I could best describe it, and drew a blank.

It is certainly beautiful and awe-inspiring . It is relaxing and uplifting. And it is educational and thought provoking.

But this can apply to many attractions. This one is different. If had to use one word to describe Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience it would be ‘magical.’ I apologise for stealing the word used in the promotional leaflet, but I can’t think of another to more accurately sum it up.

I’d read about the experience many times, and thought about going, but the attraction - which had its UK debut in York last July after showing in Brussels and Naples - was due to end its run in Yorkshire at the beginning of January, and I assumed I’d missed my chance.

But after attracting more than 50,000 visitors it is continuing until April 19, the end of the Easter holidays.

The cutting-edge multimedia experience enables visitors to step inside the paintings, world and mind of the 19th century Impressionist painter. It tells the story of Vincent Van Gogh's life and his creations through projections, recreations and interactive elements of his artworks around the historic exhibition space.

When we stepped inside the church it was pouring with rain - not outside but inside. As the downpour projected on the ancient walls and columns of the nave, large droplets appeared as concentric circles of light on the stone flagged floor. A young boy had fun as he tried to jump from one to the other.

Seating is in deckchairs in the middle of the space, each printed with an Impressionist painting. For those who find a deckchair tricky or impossible, there are bench seats to the side.

Once seated your world becomes Van Gogh’s paintings. Almond blossom fills the room, the blooms white against a sky blue background surrounding us; a rough sea with crashing, foaming waves; river reflections on a starry night.

The huge, wraparound images are animated, tree branches wave, boats sail by on the rough sea, reflections glimmer. With background music varying in intensity, it is captivating.

Then, suddenly, the church is filled with those glorious, richly coloured landscapes of rural France: the golden wheat fields and hayricks, the white farmsteads with their terracotta roofs, the pale mountains in the distance.

‘I dream of painting and then I paint my dream,’ - Van Gogh’s words are spoken as they appear on the screen.

‘What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?’

The scale of the imagery allows you to see the brush strokes close up. The preliminary drawings are also cleverly recreated.

Crows fly by, cawing over the wheatfield which the Dutch artist famously painted in 1890, the year he died from suicide aged 37.

Individual paintings appear, many neither I nor my husband - a long-time fan of Van Gogh - had seen before. We loved the two crabs (Two Crabs, 1889) one crawling across the painting.

I liked the waving cypress tress (Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889) and the skeleton smoking a cigarette (Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette, 1886) which I would never have guessed was a Van Gogh.

There are many self-portraits.

At the rear of the space is a recreation of the artist’s simply furnished room at Arles, with which we are so familiar from his paintings: his wooden bed and chairs with their straw-woven seats, the small table with its washing bowl and water jug.

The imagery is shown on a 35-minute loop, so you can watch it over again if you wish. In an adjoining room explanatory boards give details of Van Gogh’s life as well as interesting observations as to how various paintings of the same scene - in this case Van Gogh’s room - differ.

There is also a chance for youngsters to crayon their own picture and have it beamed onto a wall.

The man behind the immersive project is Mario Iacampo, creative director and founder of Brussels-based Exhibition Hub, who worked with animation artists at video mapping company Dirty Monitor to create the experience.

We visited early, when few people were there - I was told the attraction can get busy later on in the day.

It is not cheap - £13 for adults, £9 children, £38 for a family of four, students/concession £11 - but it is a lovely, moving experience, particularly if you like Van Gogh.

For an extra £3 - this really should be included in the cost - visitors can don a virtual reality headset that transports them into Arles to follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps.

Prone to dizziness, I couldn’t risk it, but my husband stepped into Vincent’s shoes and thought it was incredible.

The only disappointing aspect of the attraction is the gift shop, which contained items that were unappealing and expensive. Something to bear in mind wherever the experience opens next.

*Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is at St Mary’s Church, Castlegate, York YO1 9RN (next to the Jorvik Viking Centre). It is open Wednesday to Sunday until April 19. Visit: vangoghexpo.co.uk