The latest on the new Destination Borderlands Initiative, plans for The Tour of Britain in Cumbria and a preview of the new branding for the English Lake District World Heritage Site – just some of the topics under the spotlight at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) next Thursday 14 June 2018.

This key event for Cumbria’s £2.9billion tourism sector will be held at The North Lakes Hotel in Penrith and is open to any of our 2,500 member businesses. It will also reveal our latest research findings and feature a ‘Question Time’ style session with tourism experts, alongside an update on Cumbria Tourism’s achievements over the last 12 months.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson will get proceedings underway with an update on the Borderlands Initiative, a major cross-border project aimed at unlocking the economic potential for both the North of England and South of Scotland. As the Government’s designated ‘Borderlands Deal Champion’, Mr Stevenson will outline what Destination Borderlands could mean for Cumbrian businesses.

The Tour of Britain will be high on the agenda, with guest speakers from Cumbria County Council (Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure, Dom Donnini) and event management and sports marketing company SweetSpot (Chief Executive, Heath Harvey). They will talk in more detail about a double coup for the county, as Cumbria plays host to two full stages of British Cycling’s premier road cycling race in September.

There will also be a preview of the new branding for the English Lake District World Heritage Site, which will be used nationally and internationally to promote the region. World Heritage Site Programme Manager, Alex McCoskrie, will unveil the materials businesses can use to promote themselves under the World Heritage banner.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This is an important date in the calendar for tourism businesses to come together to get the very latest updates on the sector in the county, to network and to discuss topical issues. As well as hearing about some major developments, it is a chance to discuss marketing opportunities available to the industry and debate future priorities and opportunities for both Cumbria Tourism and the sector as a whole.”

The sponsor for the AGM is Hotfoot Design.  There are also other corporate and supplier members who support the event, as well as our own commercial services.

If you are a current Cumbria Tourism member and have not yet booked your place at the AGM – or if you are not yet a member and are interested in joining membership – please contact the team on 01539 822222 /

The finalists for one of the most prestigious literary awards outside London have been released and the all-star judging panel now have the difficult choice of crowning one as the 2018 Lakeland Book of the Year.

Covering almost every genre and subject, from local history and nature to stunning Cumbrian photography, this year’s entries have been narrowed down to a shortlist of 15 by author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE, broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism Chairman Eric Robson and BBC newscaster and author Fiona Armstrong.

The finalists will have a tense wait until Tuesday 10 July for the winners to be announced. This year’s glittering charity luncheon at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal will be in support of St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston and the prizes will be awarded alongside entertaining comments and reviews from the judges.

Founder of the awards, Hunter Davies OBE, says:

“As ever I am humbled by the time and research, patience and perseverance that Cumbrians put into producing books about Cumbria. I feel a cheap skate by comparison. Or is it cheese plate… “

As well as the ultimate accolade, the five additional prizes on offer are:

  • The Striding Edge Productions Prize for Guides and Places
  • The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation
  • The Zeffirellis Prize for People and Business
  • The Bookends Prize for Arts and Literature
  • The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition


2018 Lakeland Book of the Year Shortlist

(In alphabetical order)

Botcherby – A Garden Village by Patricia M Hitchon

Britain’s First Black Policeman by Ray Greenhow

Capture Lakeland by James Bell

Lake District Fell Farming by Terry McCormick

Lives Beneath our Feet by Geoff Pegg

Portrait of Cumbria by Phil Rigby

Sun Shines Fair on Carlisle Wall vols I and II by Stephen Matthews

The Blackbird Diaries by Karen Lloyd

The Long View by Harriet Fraser and Rob Fraser

The Story of Lowther by Charlotte Fairbairn

The Thunder of Guns by Alan Michael Whitworth

The Wainwrights in Colour by Andy Beck

The Yards of Kendal by Trevor Hughes and Arthur Nicholls

Who Shot Percy Topliss by Jim Cox

Yarns from the Ropeworks by David Ellwood.


The awards are again this year in partnership with James Cropper PLC, based at Burneside Mills. This association is particularly apt as virtually all the UK’s hard-backed books are printed on paper produced in this Cumbrian factory. As well as financial assistance, James Cropper has also provided advice and, of course, the paper for the event’s printed material.


Have you had your say on the Lake District National Park’s Local Plan? It’s your chance to give your feedback on plans and strategy and help shape the future of the Lake District.

We urge all tourism businesses in the county to take the time to make their opinions heard on this important topic.

Click here to learn more and provide your feedback.

You may have read recently about the Borderlands Deal, a cross border initiative led by the five local authority partners; Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council. The authorities’ shared ambition is for the ‘area’ to play a full part in the regional and wider UK economy and unlock the potential of the south of Scotland and north of England.

In the November 2017 budget round the Chancellor supported the opening of Borderlands Deal discussions and the initiative is now gaining momentum.
One of the themes being developed is ‘Destination Borderlands’ which aims to maximise the opportunities for growth in the tourism sector. Like Cumbria as a whole, the future growth and sustainability for many businesses north and east of the Cumbrian border is also heavily dependent upon a thriving tourism sector and Borderlands will be one of the topics of discussion at CT’s AGM next month.

Many of the opportunities and challenges are replicated across and along the borders. The investment at Carlisle Airport and commencement of passenger flights in June 2018 is seen as a potential game-changer for the visitor economy.

Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council are at the early stages of developing proposals for a ‘Destination Borderlands’ programme that will maximise the opportunities for growth in the tourism sector, in particular exploring how the collective offer can be strengthened, particularly for overseas visitors.

Cumbria Tourism is representing its members, contributing to a steering group that is developing the Business Case due for submission to Government in the summer and which will align with Cumbria Tourism’s own ambitions to work in partnership to grow the value of tourism, to strengthen Cumbria’s reputation as an all year-round world class visitor destination of national and international appeal.

It tallies with our focus on:

  • Growing the number of staying visitors and increase the length of stays (international and domestic)
  • Growing the spend per visitor
  • Growing the number of visitors to less well-known areas of the county – ‘attract and disperse’
  • Growing the reputation of and economic value to Cumbria as an all year-round destination

Learn More

The latest economic analysis of Cumbria’s tourism industry reveals the sector is now worth more than £2.9 billion to the local economy, with 47 million people visiting the county in 2017 and supporting almost 65,000 jobs. This marks the fourth year of significant growth.

The annual ‘STEAM’ (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model) assessment has taken place since 1999 and is produced on behalf of a partnership led by Cumbria Tourism and supported by Cumbria’s District Councils, the Local Enterprise Project (LEP) and the Lake District National Park Authority.

The latest analysis concentrates on Cumbria’s overall tourism performance for 2017. Carlisle has seen the biggest increase in tourism revenue compared to the previous year (13.8%), but there has also been growth across all 6 local authority areas. This reflects our continuing ‘attract and disperse’ policy, utilising the strength of the Lake District brand to draw people into the Lake District National Park but encouraging them to discover and explore the exceptional offer of the wider county.

Overall Cumbria’s staying visitors increased by 6.2% in 2017 – equivalent to an extra 222,000 people – which is faster than the 5.0% growth in day visitors. Again, this reflects Cumbria Tourism’s strategy to encourage more high spending visitors to stay longer.

As well as highlighting strong spend on accommodation, the latest figures also reveal increased spend on ‘extras’ such as food and drink, leisure attractions and recreation, and shopping.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “This is the fourth year of growth for our tourism sector, which is easy to forget, but it is an amazing achievement. The results are positive for the entire county and are testament to the co-ordinated efforts of tourism businesses and partners working together on new products and developments, marketing and PR, and other highly impactful integrated campaigns such as Cumbria Tourism’s Winter Campaign which reached more than 32 million people.

“That said, it has been a challenging start to 2018, largely due to the weather, and businesses have reported a slower start than we’ve seen for a while. As an industry, this means we should all re-double our efforts to work together and ensure this world-class destination continues to sustain jobs in the county. As we approach the great unknown of Brexit, there has never been a more important time for co-ordinated support and partnership working.”

Following a flurry of entries from across Cumbria, the finalists for the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2018 can now be revealed.

With a total of 18 awards on offer, brand new categories for 2018 include Culture & Heritage Experience of the Year and Adventure Experience of the Year. The finalists have all been chosen by an independent panel of tourism experts.

Tickets for this year’s awards ceremony at Cartmel Racecourse, on Wednesday 20 June, will go on sale shortly. The event will be hosted by Alan ‘Deadly’ Dedicoat – best-known as the National Lottery’s infamous ‘Voice of the Balls’ – with catering on the night provided by The Ilex at Holker.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “The award categories celebrate the huge range and diversity of Cumbria’s tourism industry. The awards are now in their 16th year and following Cumbria’s second World Heritage designation for the Lake District, it’s another great way to mark our Year of Celebration. We’ve seen an exceptional number of entries and I know the judges have once again been bowled over by the fantastic quality shown right across the county.”



The Cumbria Tourism Awards 2018 finalists are:


Large Hotel of the Year (35+ rooms) – Sponsored by Armstrong Watson

  • Armathwaite Hall, Bassenthwaite
  • North Lakes Hotel & Spa, Penrith
  • The Trout Hotel, Cockermouth


Small Hotel of the Year – Sponsored by Colliers International

  • Cedar Manor Hotel & Restaurant, Windermere
  • Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere
  • Briery Wood Country House Hotel, Windermere
  • Lindeth Howe, Bowness-on-Windermere


Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year – Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore

  • 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms, Pooley Bridge
  • Askham Hall
  • Lindeth Fell Country House, Windermere


Bed and Breakfast of the Year – Sponsored by Cumberland Business

  • Westwood – The B&B with a view, Cockermouth
  • Raise View, Grasmere


Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year – Sponsored by Out of Eden

  • Tottergill Farm Cottages, near Brampton
  • Bridge End Farm Cottages, Eskdale Valley
  • Iconic collection Whitbarrow Village, near Penrith


Self-Catering Holiday Property of the Year – Sponsorship opportunity available

  • Heart of the Lakes – Bristowe Hill, Keswick
  • Heart of the Lakes – High Cunsey, Far Sawrey
  • Glen Bank, Brampton, near Appleby


Holiday Park of the Year – Sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking

  • Black Beck Holiday Park, Bouth
  • The Quiet Site, Ullswater
  • Park Cliffe Camping & Caravan Estate, Windermere


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

  • Old Hall Farm, Bouth
  • Cocoa Bean, Hawkshead
  • Derwent Pencil Museum, Keswick
  • Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport


Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Sponsored by Burnetts

  • Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite
  • Lowther Castle & Gardens
  • Honister Slate Mine


Tourism Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Christie & Co

  • The Wheatsheaf @ Brigsteer
  • Queens Head, Troutbeck
  • Dockray Hall, Penrith


Taste Cumbria – Sponsored by Enterprise Answers

  • The Plough at Lupton
  • The Castle Dairy, Kendal
  • 1863 Bar Bistro Rooms, Pooley Bridge
  • The Moon Highgate, Kendal
  • The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter Forest
  • Merewood Country House Hotel, Windermere
  • George & Dragon, Clifton
  • The Three Hares, Sedbergh


Sustainable Tourism Award – Sponsored by Lake District National Park

  • Cedar Manor Hotel & Restaurant, Windermere
  • Newlands Adventure Centre
  • Upfront Arts Venue, near Penrith


Culture & Heritage Experience of the Year – Sponsored by Carlisle Lake District Airport

  • Line of Beauty – Percy Kelly Exhibition, Tullie House, Carlisle
  • Ravenglass Railway Museum
  • Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere


Adventure Experience of the Year – Sponsorship opportunity available

  • Newlands Adventure Centre & Keswick Climbing Wall
  • Go Ape Whinlatter
  • Cyclewise Whinlatter


Tourism Event of the Year – Sponsorship opportunity available

  • Eden Arts – Winter Droving, Penrith
  • Eden Arts – C-Art
  • Printfest, Ulverston
  • Westmorland County Show, Crooklands


Wedding Venue of the Year – Sponsored by Napthens Solicitors

  • Broadoaks Country House, Windermere
  • Castle Green Hotel, Kendal
  • Heather Glen, Ainstable Village, near Carlisle


New Tourism Business Award – Sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley

  • Another Place, The Lake, Ullswater
  • Wheatsheaf at Beetham
  • Snooty Fox, Kirkby Lonsdale


The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence

  • Rachel Dunckley (Hazelbank Country House Hotel, Borrowdale Valley)
  • Victoria Blanco (Tree Top Trek, Windermere)
  • Christine Brown (Castle Green Hotel, Kendal)


Cumbria Tourism would like to thank all its generous sponsors for making the event possible.


To find out more about the Cumbria Tourism Awards, visit:

We are urging businesses to take part in a county-wide survey, to help it ‘health check’ how our county’s £2.72 billion tourism industry is performing.

The latest Business Performance Survey available on can be completed by any tourism business. It will enable them to benchmark their performance over the past 6 months (October 2017 to March 2018) and comment on the issues affecting trade.

The anonymous survey co-ordinated by our research team aims to understand the successes and challenges being faced by operators, and is part of our role as the official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) to monitor and evaluate tourism trends. More than 100 businesses have already completed the Business Performance Survey, but more are needed by the deadline of this Friday 20 April.

We will be using this research to help make the county’s case for future investment, strategy and business support, as well as informing key partners such as local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lake District National Park in their work on behalf of the sector.

CT Research Manager, Helen Tate, says, “This survey is quick and easy to complete and is really important for helping us to understand the factors affecting trade. We have been carrying out the six monthly business survey for many years now and it has helped us to build up a long-term picture of current and emerging issues, so we can keep supporting the industry and continuously improving the county as a tourism destination.”

Our six-monthly Business Performance Survey is just one area of regular research undertaken by the organisation. Work will also be getting underway on the Cumbria Visitor Survey in the coming weeks; held every three years, this vital research is the only available source of Cumbria-wide information on the county’s visitors, telling us where they come from, who they are with, why they come and what they do when they are here.

The organisation also undertakes monthly occupancy surveys, regular analysis of accommodation stock composition, and an annual tourism economic impact assessment.

For more information about the Business Performance Survey, contact our Research Manager Helen Tate:


Tourism businesses have more chances than ever to show off their glorious gardens at this year’s Cumbria in Bloom Awards, with a record six tourism-related honours up for grabs.

Cumbria in Bloom has been supporting and encouraging businesses, communities and individuals to improve their surroundings for the benefit of both locals and visitors for more than 30 years. Entries have now opened for the 2018 awards, with a closing date of Monday 30 April.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, we are supporting six special categories for the county’s tourism businesses to enter:

  • Public Houses
  • Bed & Breakfasts /Guest Accommodation
  • Small Hotels (up to 10 bedrooms)
  • Large Hotels (more than 10 bedrooms)
  • Visitor attractions, including golf courses
  • Self-Catering establishments, including Holiday Parks.

2017’s tourism-related winners included Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, Holgates Caravan Park in Silverdale and Ann Tyson’s House in Hawkshead.

This year’s Cumbria in Bloom judging will take place during the first two weeks of July, and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 20 September 2018 in Ulverston.

Cumbria Tourism Executive Board Member, Haydn Spedding says, “As well as being a great asset for local residents, Cumbria’s horticultural offerings are a fantastic draw for visitors and really complement the natural beauty of the county’s coast, lakes and mountains.

Following the Lake District’s new UNESCO World Heritage status as a cultural landscape this is a fantastic time to showcase the entire county, and Cumbria Tourism is proud to support Cumbria in Bloom in highlighting the very best of our beautiful and inspirational gardens.”

To enter, contact Elizabeth Auld on / 01228 710128 before the closing date of 30 April 2018.