Cumbria Tourism has been given the go-ahead to co-ordinate a £285,000 marketing campaign to show potential visitors that the Lake District, Cumbria, is open and accessible by public transport.

The high-impact marketing campaign funded by Northern aims to restore confidence following the recent, highly-publicised issues with train services into the county.

Our vigorous calls for a campaign have been supported by a range of partners, including: Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local MPs Tim Farron, John Woodcock and Trudy Harrison, South Lakeland District Council, Transport for the North and Community Rail Partnerships within the county.

It will not only focus on attracting people back onto the Lakes Line but will also encourage people to make better use of links to the Furness Line, the Cumbrian Coastal Line and mainline train services at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme. Highlighting the wider network of buses and scheduled boat services will be additional key messages.

Details are currently being finalised, but the campaign will get underway later this autumn, subject to full resumption of services. It will include advertising at key regional railway stations, Manchester Airport and the London Underground, as well as VOD (video on demand) on ITV Hub and Sky.

We will also be managing a wide variety of digital marketing through social media (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat), alongside a PR campaign targeting national journalists and influencers.

The new campaign will help encourage people to book holidays through the GoLakes visitor website and will build on the legacy of the GoLakes Travel and ‘See More’ sustainable travel projects, which Cumbria Tourism helped to co-ordinate.

The Cumbria Tourism team will be working closely with both Northern and local Community Rail Partnerships to develop sustainable travel content and itineraries over the coming weeks.

Our Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “It’s been a challenging period for travellers but as we head towards the traditionally quieter part of the tourism season, we want to inspire people to visit and encourage them to leave the car at home and incorporate leisurely experiences by rail, bus and boat into breaks away in our special part of the world.”

Craig Harrop, Regional Director at Northern Rail says, “Following the disruption to rail services earlier in 2018, Northern is working closely with Cumbria Tourism on this campaign to attract as many visitors as possible to the region. We are now running a full timetable across Cumbria and both reliability and punctuality has significantly improved in recent weeks. As we head into the autumn, visitors and residents of Cumbria will feel they can once again rely on their train services and we look forward to welcoming them onboard.”

Welcoming the announcement, South Lakes MP Tim Farron added, “Local businesses took a massive hit over the summer due to the chaos on the railways. So today’s news that Northern has agreed to fund a marketing campaign is to be massively welcomed and will help us send out a loud and clear message that Cumbria is open for business. It was great to work with Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh over the past few months to secure this money – thank you to everyone at Cumbria Tourism, as well as politicians from across the county who helped us make the case.”

A competition has been launched to find a photograph that captures both the spirit and beauty of Cumbria, to grace the cover of the 2019 edition of ‘The Lake District, Cumbria Holiday Guide’.

120,000 copies of the guide will be printed and distributed across the UK by Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation – giving amateur photographers a great opportunity to have their snap seen by thousands of people nationwide, as well as countless more online.

The Lake District basked in months of glorious sunshine earlier this summer – making 2018 picture-perfect for holiday snaps of the UK’s newest World Heritage Site.

If you’ve taken a photograph you want to share with the world, send it in to Cumbria Tourism with details of why for you it’s #theplacetobe. If you win, we’ll print your story in the glossy guide itself, as well as online at www.golakes.co.uk.

Perhaps you’ve taken a photo from high above the clouds after conquering one of The Lake District’s highest mountains, or caught a great action shot during an adrenaline-fuelled trip to the UK’s adventure capital? From landscape shots to images that perfectly capture the spirit of The Lake District, Cumbria’s towns and villages, the possibilities are endless.

The winning entry of last year’s competition was a photo of Friars Crag at Derwentwater, taken by Dave Brown, who says, “Cumbria has allowed myself and my disabled wife to take the time to recharge and get out and about amongst beautiful relaxing scenery. Being mobility scooter-bound means my wife is restricted to where she can get to see. This was one of our very first walks together and as such will always have a big place in our hearts.”

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “We are looking for exceptional photographs and entrants from all over the world are welcome. Maybe you’ve taken a perfect photo yourself, or perhaps you’ve seen a great shot taken by a friend or family member and you think they should enter it. We look forward to receiving your entries; and good luck!”

With beautiful shots of Buttermere, Honister Pass and Derwentwater winning the contest over the last four years, the bar has been set very high – and the clock is ticking as the deadline for entries looms.

Choosing the winner will be no easy task for the judges though. In previous years the standard of entries has been so high the team has had to burn the midnight oil to come to a final decision. This year, the task ahead is expected to be no different.

If you have a photo that’s got what it takes to promote The Lake District, Cumbria, to the UK, email it to campaigns@cumbriatourism.org by 11.59pm on Sunday 23 September along with the following information:

  • Where your image was taken.
  • Why is Cumbria #theplacetobe? Let us know why the image means so much to you and why you think it deserves to be on the front cover of the 2019 holiday guide.
  • Your name, email address, location & age.

Full terms & conditions are at the bottom of this page on the GoLakes website. Cumbria Tourism does ask that entrants are not professional photographers. For the purposes of this competition, a professional photographer will be considered somebody who makes more than half their annual income for the sale of their images.

The Cumbria Tourism team will be flying the flag for the county at four key trade shows, starting with one of the international cruise industry’s leading events in Lisbon.

Working alongside Associated British Ports (ABP) Barrow, key staff will be attending Seatrade Cruise Med in Portugal next week (Wednesday 19-Thursday 20 September 2018) to help stimulate awareness of Barrow as a visitor gateway to the county as a whole.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, the Cumbria Tourism team will be highlighting the accessibility of the west coast, the Lake District and other Cumbrian gems to cruise ship operators putting together itineraries for their passengers during potential stop-offs at Barrow.

Seatrade Cruise Med is the start of a packed calendar of events over the coming weeks, with Cumbria Tourism also heading to the Group Travel and Leisure Show at Birmingham’s NEC to represent tourism businesses in early October, in partnership with Northern Print Distribution (NPD).

It’s a chance to forge one-to-one relationships with both domestic and group travel operators on behalf of local tourism businesses, and put the Lake District, Cumbria at the forefront of their minds.

That’s followed by VisitBritain’s annual International Business Exchange – better known as VIBE – and then World Travel Market at London’s Olympia in early November. As well as promoting the county, Cumbria Tourism will be gathering information about the latest travel trends and market insights from a range of global tourism specialists.

Sales and Marketing Manager at Cumbria Tourism, Sue Clarke says, “Over the summer, the team were out and about at large-scale visitor events such as Countryfile Live to spread the word about our wonderful county. Now we’re gearing up for high-profile events with the travel trade, to help convince operators that the Lake District, Cumbria, is a ‘must see’ destination. Strengthening relationships with influential contacts both in the UK and overseas is vital for stimulating our £2.9 billion tourism sector’s future growth and prosperity.”

She adds, “To get this autumn’s events underway, we’re thrilled to be working with one of our new ‘Strategic Partners’ ABP Barrow to raise the profile of the town as a cruise destination.”

Divisional Port Manager at Associated British Ports, Carl Bevan, says, “ABP are working with Cumbria Tourism to look to secure further cruise ships into Barrow. With the ‘around the UK’ market growing and with an optimistic future, we want to support visitors coming to Cumbria through the port. We hope more visitors will explore the Furness Peninsula and the quieter part of this fabulous county.”

Following government warnings that the growth of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ could compromise the safety of customers, Cumbria Tourism is highlighting its Quality Cumbria scheme as a flexible way for the county’s accommodation providers to reassure visitors that they comply with all the latest health and safety regulations.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tourism recently presented a report in Westminster focusing on online platforms like AirBnB, which allow people to rent out rooms to visitors in their homes. It warned that there needs to be clearer rules to ensure that premises comply with the same safety standards as conventional hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. That includes basic measures such as smoke alarms, CO2 monitors and fire safety equipment.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism is promoting Quality Cumbria as a cost-effective way for tourism businesses to distinguish themselves from residential properties offering short term rentals – and to help visitors avoid confusion about basic safety standards.

Accredited and approved by VisitEngland, Quality Cumbria assessors can carry out independent inspections of any accommodation provider, to check safety and legal requirements, as well as grading on comfort and cleanliness.

Gaynor Anderson oversees Cumbria Tourism’s Quality Cumbria scheme. She says, “Tourism businesses have been expressing concerns about the shared economy and the potential inconsistencies in health and safety standards for some time. Increasingly, they are signing up to Quality Cumbria to demonstrate that they are fully accredited and can give their guests reassurance around health and safety issues.

She adds, “In an increasingly competitive tourism sector, it is vitally important that business can save their guests any unnecessary worry or confusion. Our assessors not only live and work in the county, but they are trained to national VisitEngland standards and can offer annual, independent inspections to provide the peace of mind that both businesses and visitors need.”

Cumbria is proving it’s the place to be once again, with the publication of an all-new guide dedicated to the county’s dog-friendly accommodation and attractions.

30,000 copies of the pocket-sized ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide have been produced by Cumbria Tourism especially for people who don’t want their four-legged friends to miss out on their next holiday or day trip.

More than a quarter* of households across the UK have a dog in the family, putting pet-friendly queries among the most frequent types of enquiry from potential visitors.

Our latest campaign is expected to get tongues – and tails – wagging, with the best of what the county has to offer for dogs compiled in this single, handy guide.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “Our new guide summarises just how dog-friendly our beautiful county is, and we felt it was hugely important to show what a dog-friendly destination we are. They are, after all, part of the family, so why should they miss out on a great day out, or indeed the holiday of a lifetime?”

Waternook lakeside accommodation is one of the tourism businesses to feature in the guide. Owner Dominic Gordon says, “For us, our dogs form a vital part of the family. They’re loving, loyal to a fault, and bring so much happiness into our lives. We would never leave them at home when we holiday in the UK and I believe this is the same for the millions of loving dog owners around the country. The Lake District, Cumbria, is the perfect place to holiday year-round for all the family – especially for ‘man’s best friend’”.

Responsible dog ownership is a key part of the guide, especially during lambing season, when dogs should be kept on leads. Owners are also urged to always make sure they clean up after their dogs in a responsible manner, so the county remains clean and safe for others to enjoy.

You can download a copy of our ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide on Cumbria Tourism’s official visitor website, GoLakes.

Our research has found more and more people are visiting quirky-Cumbria for a camping holiday with an unusual twist, by choosing accommodation that breaks from the ‘norm’ of more traditional holiday accommodation like hotels, caravans and tents.

In 2018, Cumbria has more unusual places to stay than ever before. As the popularity of glamping continues to grow, there’s been a surge of interest by holidaymakers who want to swap their hotel for a yurt, or their tent for a glamping pod.

According to our research team, over the last 12 months there has been a 25% rise in alternative camping provision across the county – with facilities on existing sites being developed to adapt to changing trends, as well as new sites being opened.

Whether it’s sleeping under the stars and waking up to views of Skiddaw from a shepherd’s hut at Lanefoot Farm at Keswick or living like a hobbit in an underground hideaway at ‘The Quiet Site’ at Ullswater, there’s no doubt that the experience on offer in Cumbria is more varied than ever before. Keswick’s Inside Out Camping offers campers the luxury of a 16ft yurt in the Borrowdale Valley, or why not snuggle down in a heated and sheep-wool insulated pod at Windermere’s Park Cliffe Camping Pods? If that’s not enough, try Wallace Lane Farm at Caldbeck; where its 21 square-metre glamping cabins offer spectacular views over the Solway and Scottish mountains.

This year’s heatwave – 42 years in the making – has resulted in increased interest in the county’s camp & ‘glamp’ sites by those who fancied giving shepherd’s huts, camping barns and bunkhouses a try.

The findings come as no surprise according to our Vice Chairman, Jim Walker, who says, “Our visitors more and more are looking to really experience the countryside in comfort and the creative options now available like glamping can provide precisely this. Many offer a unique experience which provide a great talking point and a really enjoyable and different closer to nature break.”

‘The Quiet Site’ at Ullswater recently won the title of Holiday Park of the Year at the 2018 Cumbria Tourism Awards for its more unusual accommodation offering. Owner, Daniel Holder says, “The holiday park industry is rightfully continuing to reinvent itself and has to do that to make sure it stays at the cutting edge of the tourism industry. The British tourism industry as a whole nationally employs 3.1 million people and contributes £127 billion to the UK economy. We’ve built the success of our holiday park around being as close to the natural environment as you can get. The connections we make with ourselves, others and the surrounding environment improve massively when we really get to feel like we’re ‘at one’ with nature.”

For those who are curious – but not quite ready to leave their traditional tent or caravan behind – our research shows there’s still plenty of space for them too, with 176 sites across the county offering camping or touring caravan spaces. That works out at just under 10,000 pitches altogether.

Touring caravan and camping pitch occupancy in 2017 was the highest in Cumbria on record, up around 8% on 2016. Researchers also say 2018 may exceed that figure.

For those visitors ready to try something different and who are looking for somewhere unique to stay in Cumbria – with no tent-erecting experience required, check out www.golakes.co.uk for some inspiration.