Our Winter Marketing Campaign, which ran from November 2018 until the end of March 2019 has reached a staggering 34 million and we are pleased to share the results with you.

The campaign, now in its third year, aimed to challenge the perceptions of the Lake District, Cumbria, during a traditionally quieter time of year and to market the county as an all-year-round destination. We have worked with a number of key sponsors and partners who have helped to support the campaign.

Highlights include:

  • A combined social media reach of more than 26 million including #cumbriaday, which reached an estimated 16.5 million people on Twitter in less than 48 hours
  • More than 1.3 million eNewsletters sent to potential visitors promoting Cumbria as a world-class winter destination
  • Press coverage reaching 5.7 million
  • National press coverage including features in: The Express, Irish News, The ‘I’, Sunday Times Travel, Sunday Post and Telegraph online


A diverse range of marketing and PR activity helped us to promote Cumbria as a winter destination and to encourage longer stays. Working with Countryfile Magazine, the campaign included an inspiring four-page feature in the magazine’s February edition, highlighting a range of events and celebrations that our world class destination has to offer for 2019.

A key element of the campaign included the business support toolkit exclusively available for our members. Resources included a collection of stunning and thought provoking #theplacetobe campaign imagery using quirky straplines to challenge perceptions of our destination. We also produced a series of itineraries and content to help inspire visits, from itineraries focusing on our marketing areas to celebrating Cumbria’s key themes including food and drink, adventure, culture and heritage to name a few.


Golakes Card & Club

Following the support and success of Love Cumbria in previous years, the scheme was redeveloped and rebranded to the Golakes Card for the 2018-19 season. The winter-focused Golakes Card, available online and through participating businesses (plus complimentary cards for bookings made through Golakes throughout the campaign), offered exclusive discounts across our breath-taking region and was valid for a two-week period to help inspire and encourage visitors to explore Cumbria’s vibrant offerings over the course of their visit.

As a wider part of this initiative, we are also delighted to launch the Golakes Club. The Lake District, Cumbria, has a loyal and frequent tourist base visiting regularly throughout the year and we have met and spoken with people from across the country at multiple trade and travel events this year who enjoy visiting the destination time and time again. We therefore identified an opportunity to create the club as both a thank you as well as an incentive to keep visitors coming back again and again.

The Golakes Club is not just a discount card, but an annual membership, encouraging regular visits and promoting the opportunities available across Cumbria throughout the year. The scheme offers our members the exclusive opportunity to reach tourists with enticing offers and incentives. There is still time to get involved- to pledge your offer, please complete and return the booking form to campaigns@cumbriatourism.org


We are already looking ahead and beginning to put plans in place to boost our county’s profile during the traditionally quieter months – please contact us for more information.

Following Cumbria Tourism’s recent appearance and championing of rural tourism at a special public hearing in the Houses of Parliament, we are delighted to see that the Government has now formally recognised the importance of tourism to the rural economy.

A report just published by the Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy is recommending the creation of a specific Rural Strategy. It also says that the new Tourism Sector Deal has the potential to provide a more consistent and systematic support to our sector.

The news comes after our MD Gill Haigh was invited to give evidence at Westminster last autumn, alongside a panel of other experts on tourism and rural heritage issues. It was part of a programme of public hearings the Lords Select Committee ran to learn more about the key issues and challenges relating to the rural economy.

Gill’s session focused on the contribution of tourism to local economies and communities in areas such as Cumbria. Skills, employment and Government policy around tourism featured in the session, as well the potential impact of Brexit and infrastructure and planning issues.

 Gill says, “As one of the largest Destination Management Organisations in the UK, lobbying national decision-makers is a core part of the activity we undertake on behalf of our members and we are delighted to see that the Government is now taking positive action to prioritise the rural economy. We need to keep the pressure up at the highest-level to ensure Cumbria is in the mix and we can collectively make the most of new opportunities, particularly around the new Tourism Sector Deal.”

With their love of culture, heritage and the natural landscape and with England and Wales hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup this summer it’s the perfect time to capitalise on the fast-growing Indian market.

We have already been working with Marketing Manchester in recent months to help promote the county out in India and have met with tour operators and travel agents face-to-face. We now want to continue and grow the work already started and are inviting businesses who are interested to join a new India Forum.

Following this work, Cumbria Tourism has now become a destination partner with Marketing Manchester on an India campaign for 2019/2020 financial year and hopefully beyond. The India Forum will help to guide this work and decide what activity is undertaken in addition to make the most of the opportunities for this growing market, at a time when there are more routes into the UK than ever and in anticipation of the extensive coverage that hosting the Cricket World Cup will generate.


How to get involved and next steps

Cumbria Tourism, with the help of the strategic partnership programme, has already been able to secure the funds to buy into a campaign partnership with Marketing Manchester. We are asking businesses who want to be involved in the forum for a contribution of £300 +VAT for the first 12 months. This will allow the forum to look at other opportunities outside of the Marketing Manchester campaign partnership, produce collateral and to have a working budget.

We are looking to set this group up now in order to make the most of the upcoming opportunities, therefore please get in touch with the team if you wish to join. If you would be interested in being a steering group member, we are seeking members who have experience or are excited about this market, willing to put the time and effort in and feel they can play a very active role in the forum. We are looking to have the first steering group meeting week commencing 20th May, with the first full meeting of the forum shortly after.


If you are interested in joining or finding out more about the forum, please contact the team on campaigns@cumbriatourism.org

Cumbria Tourism are revamping the conference page listings on Golakes and are now pleased to offer a FREE listing to all our members

Advertise your business’ conference facilities, bookable meeting rooms or function space simply by completing our simple online form.

If you have any questions please contact Sam at stollerson@cumbriatourism.org

Cumbria Tourism has described a decision to conduct disruptive engineering works on the West Coast Mainline over two weeks during the school summer holidays as nonsensical.

The West Coast Mainline will close for 16 days from 20 July to 4 August 2019 near Warrington, meaning many train services will be diverted via alternative routes. Network Rail have advised that some passengers may also need to change onto a different train or a bus for a section of their journey.

As Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism says the timing of the work is – yet again – a major blow for the county’s £2.9billion visitor economy and its Managing Director is calling for a rethink.

Gill Haigh says, “This news is a shock and totally unacceptable for tourism businesses.

Following last year’s disruption, we are already in the midst of a major £285,000 marketing campaign – funded by the rail industry – to rebuild people’s confidence in rail services and to inspire potential visitors to travel by train.  This high-profile campaign has already had to be delayed numerous times, due to strikes and then closures at London Euston over Easter and the May Bank Holidays. Following our complaints about the Easter disruption, we were assured that Network Rail would take our views on board and help mitigate against further disruption. However, this does not appear to be the case.

“Cumbria Tourism will now be writing to Network Rail, along with the Secretary of State for Transport, Transport for the North and our local MPs, urging them to look into this issue as a matter of urgency.”

Vice Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, Jim Walker adds, “Whilst we are aware that maintenance of the network needs to be carried out once again, there appears to be no regard for the impact on tourism as part of the planning process. The school summer holidays are the busiest time of year for tourism operators and following the previous issues with train services last summer, less frequent longer journeys are the last thing they need.

 “If passengers are now being told to expect longer, busier journeys for more than two weeks during the peak holiday season, this is simply not acceptable.”

The judges of our annual awards celebration, in association with United Utilities, have a difficult task ahead of them after almost 150 entries highlighting the county’s world-class accommodation, attractions, customer service and more!

16 categories covering every conceivable type of tourism business will celebrate the very best of Cumbria’s vibrant visitor economy, with many winners going on to represent the county nationally at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Exciting changes for 2019 include the launch of two brand new categories: a Makers & Producers Award and an Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award, highlighting both the importance of ensuring that businesses cater to those with additional needs and Cumbria’s strong reputation for top-quality produce enjoyed the world over.

The large number of entries have been whittled down to just 47 finalists, who will face another round of judging which will include a mystery shopping visit or announced visit from an industry expert. The winners will be unveiled at a fabulous black-tie celebration of tourism at Cartmel Racecourse on the 19th of June in front of an audience of 400.

Tickets for this year’s awards ceremony will go on sale shortly. The event will be hosted by talented comedian, writer and musician Mike Wilkinson, who has appeared alongside the likes of Dave Spikey, Johnny Vegas and Peter Kay, with a three course meal produced by Campbell and Rowleys from The Ilex Brasserie and drinks on the night supplied by, Booths, EWGA Wines and Heineken.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “There’s no denying that Cumbria is a world-class visitor destination and it’s utterly fantastic to see our county’s natural beauty and heritage matched by the amazing range and quality of our record-breaking number of entries – we’re overwhelmed by the incredibly high standards they all showcase! Whether our visitors come for a luxury break or an adventurous weekend, our fabulous foodie offerings or for life-changing experiences we have it all, and it’s only right that we recognise the hard work and dedication that so many people put into making our county the place to be. These awards celebrate every business supporting our thriving industry with the length and breadth of Cumbria represented by their very best ambassadors – our judges have an incredibly difficult task ahead of them and choosing the overall winners for 2019.”


The Cumbria Tourism Awards 2019 finalists are:


Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award – Sponsored by Expedia

  • Lake District Calvert Trust, Bassenthwaite
  • Treetop Trek, Windermere


Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year – Sponsored by Natwest Commercial Banking

  • Park Cliffe, Windermere
  • Waterfoot Park, Pooley Bridge, Ullswater
  • Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park, Keswick


Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award – Sponsorship opportunities available

  • The Quiet Site, Ullswater
  • Ullswater ‘Steamers’
  • Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere


B&B & Guest House of the Year – Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore

  • Haven Cottage, Ambleside
  • The Sally, Irthington
  • Raise View, Grasmere


Experience of the Year Award – Sponsored by Carlisle Lake District Airport

  • CBA Events @ Graythwaite
  • Alpacaly Ever After CIC, Portinscale
  • Cumbria Crystal, Ulverston


Large Hotel of the Year– Sponsored by Christie & Co.

  • Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa, Borrowdale
  • Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa, Bassenthwaite
  • Another Place, The Lake, Ullswater


Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Sponsored by H&H Reeds

  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
  • Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Trust, Carlisle


New Tourism Business of the Year – Sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley

  • Dome House Lakes, Bowness-on-Windermere
  • 1692 Wasdale, Gosforth
  • The Black Bull, Sedbergh


Makers & Producers Award – Sponsorship opportunities available

  • The Lakes Distillery, Setmurthy
  • Grasmere Gingerbread®, Grasmere
  • Pure Lakes Skincare Ltd, Staveley


Pub of the Year – Sponsorship opportunities available

  • The Black Labrador, Underbarrow
  • The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale
  • The Crafty Baa, Windermere


Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year – Sponsored by Out of Eden

  • Bon Vivant Boutique Smart Villa, Bowness on Windermere
  • The Lodges at Artlegarth, Ravenstonedale
  • The Lingholm Estate, Portinscale


Small Hotel of the Year – Sponsored by Colliers International

  • Brownber Hall, Newbiggin-on-Lune
  • The Regent Hotel, Ambleside
  • The Halston, Carlisle


Taste of Cumbria – Sponsored by The Cumberland for Business

  • 1863 Restaurant and Rooms, Pooley Bridge
  • Askham Hall, Penrith
  • Plato’s, Kirkby Lonsdale


Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – Sponsored by Northern

  • Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth
  • Brantwood, John Ruskin’s Home, Coniston
  • Birdoswald Roman Fort, Gilsland


Wedding Venue of the Year– Sponsorship opportunity available

  • Cote How Lake District Weddings, Rydal
  • Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa, Borrowdale
  • Lindeth Howe Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere
  • Cragwood Country House Hotel, Windermere


The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Customer Service

  • Richard Monk-Steel (Waterfoot Park, Pooley Bridge)
  • Marion Thompson (Bowness Bay Visitor Centre)
  • Jake Winter (Lyzzick Hall Hotel, Underskiddaw)


Cumbria Tourism would like to thank all its generous sponsors for making the event possible. They include headline sponsor United Utilities, category sponsors Carlisle Lake District Airport, Christie & Co, Colliers International, The Cumberland for Business, Expedia, Lamont Pridmore, NatWest Commercial Banking, Northern, Out of Eden and Thomson Hayton Winkley, plus supporters Booths, Cartmel Racecourse, Colourmedia, Heineken and EWGA Wines.

To find out more about the Cumbria Tourism Awards, visit: www.cumbriatourism.org/awards

The Lake District National Park Local Plan is almost ready for submission to an independent Inspector, with the final step being an consultation survey, open until 5pm on the 3rd of June 2019

Cumbria Tourism will soon be commenting on behalf of out membership, but businesses and locals are invited to respond individually as part of the process.

View full details and respond

A mission to embrace new technology to make it easier for visitors to donate money to projects which help care for the Lake District is being described as a “pioneering approach” for the National Park.

With the support of Cumbria Tourism and The Lake District National Park, The Lake District Foundation (LDF), is rolling-out its first contactless debit and credit card donation terminals as a convenient alternative to the more traditional coin-slot collection boxes.

Three contactless donation boxes will be operational in time for the Easter weekend, at the Bowness Bay and Keswick Tourist Information Centres, as well as at the beginning of the Ullswater Way route.

The LDF raises money through donations from the public and businesses before distributing grants to projects which care for local landscapes. With the support of its partners the Lake District National Park (LDNP) and Cumbria Tourism, the development is part of the ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme by NESTA, a global innovation foundation which supports new ideas to tackle 21st century challenges and follows a survey with members of the public last year.

Sarah Swindley, Director of the LDF, says, “We had great feedback from last year’s survey and it’s clearer to us than ever that people who love the Lake District want to help us look after it. People are generally carrying less cash with them than they used to, so we’re really excited to be able to offer this pioneering approach to fundraising to people who would like to support our work”.

Each machine not only makes donating possible with a simple swipe of a credit or debit card, but also features prominent new messaging about how fundraising can help, in order to maximise the effect of each machine.

Liam McAleese, Head of Strategy and Partnerships for the Lake District National Park, says, “Visitor giving is a critical component for how the Lake District Foundation is able to fund so many worthy projects to help ensure the national park remains a beautiful place for us all to enjoy. Existing funding streams go a long way, but just aren’t enough on their own, so our visitors play a huge role in helping to preserve the beauty that surrounds them during every visit. We therefore strongly welcome this technology which will help our visitors donate more easily towards the wellbeing of the National Park.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “We want to see a step-change in visitor giving by inspiring them to donate quickly and easily if they wish to do so, using the Rethinking Parks project as a pilot. Together with the Lake District Foundation and Lake District National Park, we’re really excited to be part of this project. It’s an innovative new option for the millions of people who enjoy the Lake District and to the best of my knowledge this is the first national park to embrace it fully.”

Sarah Swindley added, “When asking our visitors to part with their money, we understand the process needs to be quick, simple and convenient. We’d like to thank everyone who gave us their views on this project and those findings will continue to be used for the next phase of the project. We hope to put this this technology ‘on tour’ around other parts of the Lake District so visitors to all areas have the opportunity to help the work of the Lake District Foundation. It only takes a small donation to make a big difference.”

You can find out more about the Lake District Foundation’s involvement in the ‘Rethinking Parks’ project here.

Longtime supporter of Cumbria, HRH Prince Charles, returned to the county earlier this month, visiting a wide range of people and businesses across the county.

As well as meeting members of Langdale Mountain Rescue team in Ambleside, His Royal Highness also celebrated the 20th anniversary of CT members Hawkshead Relish, congratulating them on their effort and ingenuity in building a fantastic brand which helps raise Cumbria’s profile the world over.

Cumbria’s royal visitor also found the time in his busy schedule to officially open Cumbria’s newest attraction, and officially opened our county’s newest attraction – the Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stores flowing its £20 million redevelopment by Lakeland Arts. Again, His Royal Highness’ strong links to the county were highlighted as he viewed Brankshome, the boat he sailed aboard when he visited the previous museum on the same site in 1977.