A renowned celebrity chef, a TV wine expert, a BBC Masterchef winner and a respected hospitality guru will be among the VIPs at the 45th Lakes Hospitality Show when it makes a welcome return in March 2022 – after a three-year absence.

New dates of Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 March 2022 have been confirmed for Cumbria’s longest-running show of its kind, as it heads back to the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre with a firm focus on seizing new opportunities for businesses to thrive.

Organised by the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) in conjunction with Cumbria Tourism, the free two-day event will feature multi-Michelin star and AA-Rosette-winning chef, author and restaurateur Jean-Christophe Novelli – known to millions for his TV appearances on shows including Hell’s Kitchen and Culinary Genius.

Other special guests during the two-day event will include South Cumbria-based Masterchef winner Irini Tzortzoglou, alongside TV wine expert Joe Wadsack and hospitality guru Andrew Coy.

Best known for his expertise on wine, Joe is also a wine columnist for The Sunday Express and has judged a variety of international wine competitions. Meanwhile, Andrew Coy is proprietor at Simply Banqueting and works with a range of hotels, venues, villas and private houses; he will bring personal tales of his 50+ years working in the hospitality trade, putting a focus on first-class customer service.

The 2022 event is extra special as it marks the show’s 45th anniversary, after being delayed by the pandemic. It will also include more than 130 stands spanning tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment – from not just Cumbria, but across the North of England.

All four special guests will be holding masterclasses across both days on their specialist areas for food, beverage and service. They’ll also be available on a number of exhibition stands to answer questions and speak directly to businesses.

Cumbrian hotelier James Tasker is Director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show. He says “After a tough couple of years, it’s fantastic to be back and confirming the return of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show. That includes a great line up of VIP masterclasses with a firm focus on helping businesses improve efficiency and profitability, stay ahead of key trends and find solutions to industry-wide challenges like recruitment and retention.

Over more than four decades, our event has always allowed those involved in the tourism and hospitality industry to come together and it will be great to be back face-to-face and stronger than ever! Due to pent-up demand, the Marquee for 2022 has already been further extended and almost all stands are now booked. Exhibitors have clearly reinforced the value of the show by holding their stands since before the pandemic and we are also dealing with a flood of new enquiries too.”

He adds, “It’s also important to recognise that the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show is free to attend and as the region’s original trade show, we are committed to re-directing profits raised from exhibitors back into promoting the county’s hospitality sector. This is fundamental to the way we run the show and amid the exceptional circumstances operators have faced in recent months, we know this is genuinely valued by hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

See the programme here for the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show 2022.

There are still a limited number of exhibition stands available. Contact sarah@lakeshospitalitytradeshow.co.uk for more information.


Cumbria Tourism triumphed at last night’s Prolific North Marketing Awards, after being ‘highly commended’ for #ThePerfectPlaceToBe marketing campaign.

The results were revealed at a ceremony in Leeds on Thursday 25 November, when finalists from across the North of England gathered to celebrate stand-out marketing campaigns chosen by a panel of industry leaders.

Cumbria Tourism’s summer marketing campaign was developed to help encourage visitors to rediscover lesser-known corners of the county following the national lockdown earlier this year.

It focused on ‘attract and disperse’ activity to expand awareness of destinations including the Cumbrian coastline, Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall country, and the east of the county, where Cumbria meets the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales.

Cumbria Tourism’s Marketing Manager, Sue Clarke, says, “We are thrilled by this result!  #ThePerfectPlaceToBe summer campaign was all about encouraging potential visitors to explore further, spreading them more evenly across the country this summer and helping increase economic benefits for traditionally less-visited parts of Cumbria.

“It was developed to help support Cumbria’s tourism and hospitality sector as it emerged from the pandemic, and this award is dedicated to all those businesses who have faced such a challenging time over the last 20 months.”

 She adds, “It’s also a fantastic public acknowledgement for the Cumbria Tourism team. We are all very proud of the campaign and the positive impact it has had. To be recognised for our industry expertise – alongside creative marketing and communications specialists from across the North of England – is an added boost for everyone involved.”

26th November 2021

Cumbrian residents are being encouraged to take a less consumerist approach this Black Friday, with the countywide MyCumbria discount card now donating a proportion of each sale to the Cumbria Community Foundation.


The event, an American import of the last shopping day after the Thanksgiving holiday, has become more and more commercialised in recent years, however recent events have highlighted to many the importance of creating memories with friends and family rather than buying the latest items. Alongside the donation to the Foundation, a MyCumbria card is far from a single-use item, rather opening up experiences right across the county for a full year.


Cumbria Tourism Managing Director Gill Haigh says “One thing we’ve all discovered over the course of the pandemic is the importance of spending time with friends and family, especially those we’ve been unable to see due to recent travel restrictions. Memories last so much longer and with a MyCumbria card you’re not just giving a loved one a one off present, you’re gifting them 12 months of adventure.


“I’m also delighted a percentage of every card sold will go straight to our Strategic Partners the Cumbria Community Foundation. This charity does so much for the people of Cumbria, supporting youth groups, carers, the arts, homelessness and more right across the county. After everything Cumbria’s been through recently we all know someone in need of a little extra support and the Foundation is doing a fantastic job at a very difficult time.”


Cumbria Community Foundation’s Chief Executive Andy Beeforth says: “Being a Strategic Partner with Cumbria Tourism is the right thing for the Community Foundation to do. Tourism is a vital part of the Cumbrian economy supporting jobs and the leisure, arts and cultural sectors of the county.  We’re stronger together and I look forward to working in partnership with Cumbria Tourism in support of the people of Cumbria. One important example is the opportunity to make use of the proceeds from the MyCumbria Card.

The funds raised by the MyCumbria Card will help the Foundation help charities throughout the county. The MyCumbria card is an important way in which we can all help support local communities here in our county.”


Whatever interests your loved ones, a MyCumbria card can help inspire them to explore their doorstep in 2022 and make memories with friends and family. With discounts on a huge range of experiences, from indulgent afternoon teas at top-quality establishments (including Rothay Manor Hotel, Ambleside (25% off) to family days out at favourites such as Lowther Castle (two for one admission), Holker Hall (two for one admission) and the South Lakes Safari Zoo (50% off both day admission and annual passes), they’ll be able to enjoy low-cost days out across Cumbria. Also, with many looking to get outdoors again there are many ways to save, including 10% off all activities with Graythwaite Adventure and 10% off at The Forge, Staveley-based outdoor brand Inov-8’s brand new store.


MyCumbria cards are available to anyone who lives or works in the county at the special price of just £15 on ‘Charity Friday’ (26th November 2021). To use this offer please use the discount code charityfriday when purchasing (does not apply to renewals). Gift options are also available.


View the full list of current offers and buy your card at www.mycumbriacard.co.uk.

23rd November 2021

Cumbria Tourism has relaunched its virtual Cumbrian Christmas Market following great success last year, to encourage shoppers to select from some of the county’s best local gifts, produce, and experiences this festive season.

Running from now until the end of the year on visitlakedistrict.com, shoppers will find a wide range of independent retailers, hotels, restaurants, attractions, cultural venues, creative talents and artisans all selling unique gifts and experiences online.

The virtual Christmas Market was initially launched in 2020 as part of Cumbria Tourism’s #theperfectplacetobe recovery marketing efforts to help support local businesses affected by the nationwide lockdowns that put a halt to high-street shopping.

Cumbria Tourism is again urging shoppers to support local this Christmas, by purchasing gifts and treats directly from Cumbrian businesses.

While the latest phase of the #theperfectplacetobe recovery campaign aims to promote a return to the high streets, Cumbria Tourism has brought back the virtual market to ensure those who are still cautious of public spaces, don’t live locally, or simply prefer the ease of online shopping can continue to access authentic local gifts online.

Cumbria Tourism’s Marketing Manager, Sue Clarke, says, “Supporting local will always be a fundamental value that we promote – and the pandemic has only heightened the need for us to all get behind our amazing local makers, producers and retailers.

“The virtual Cumbrian Christmas market has such a wonderful array of creative gifts – it’s also an excellent way to cater for those who are located further afield and are missing their slice of Cumbria.

“Cumbrian businesses need your support, and we urge shoppers to have a Cumbrian Christmas in any way that they can – whether that be purchasing locally-made gifts online or at independent retailers on the high-streets.”

The Veg Patch is one of the dozens of homegrown businesses taking part in Cumbria Tourism’s Virtual Christmas Market.

Head of Retail, Daniel Morley, says, “ Buying local has so many benefits – not only are you helping to support livelihoods and local communities through these challenging times, but you often get more unique and personalised gifts.

“Cumbria Tourism’s virtual Christmas market has a huge range of high-quality gift ideas that you can get delivered straight to your door – If you are still searching for the perfect gifts for your loved ones then we encourage you to take a look at the brilliant artisan products on offer.”

It is free for Cumbria Tourism members to advertise online gifts on the county’s Virtual Christmas Market on visitlakedistrict.com. Non-member businesses can also register as sellers for £30.

All businesses need is the ability to transact online, plus an image and 20 words to describe each item they are selling (up to a maximum of two).

For more information or to get involved, contact campaigns@cumbriatourism.org

One of the Lake District’s top visitor attractions has given students from Lancaster & Morecambe a taster of working in Cumbria’s world-class tourism sector, including a talk hosted by industry experts.

A group of eight Level 3 Travel & Tourism students from Lancaster & Morecambe College gathered at Treetop Trek at Brockhole to hear first-hand insights about future career opportunities in tourism and hospitality, from Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director, Gill Haigh and Treetop Trek Founder, Mike Turner.

With Cumbria’s visitor economy facing an ongoing recruitment challenge, the students – who are all aiming for careers in the industry – also got a sneak peek behind the scenes at the award-winning high ropes attraction on the shores of Windermere.

Cumbria Tourism has been engaging with colleges and universities throughout Cumbria and Lancashire as part of its continuing work to support local businesses through the current staffing challenges and inspire young people about the wide range of opportunities available to school and college leavers.

Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh believes developing and retaining future talent is important for the industry and reminded students that there are plenty of opportunities close to home.

She says, “It’s great to see these students already thinking about joining the sector, as they can bring fresh thinking and innovation. Cumbria’s visitor economy is so diverse, with some many opportunities to make your mark and forge a really fulfilling career path, so this session was a fantastic way to showcase the huge variety of roles available to the next generation.”

Students also got a unique glimpse of what it’s like to work at Treetop Trek, where staff spend their days in a vibrant outdoor location and gain hands-on skills with plenty of opportunities for training and development.

Mike Turner shared his first-hand experience of developing Treetop Trek in the Lake District alongside its sister attraction in Manchester, and the valuable learnings he’s picked up along the way.

He comments, “There can be some negative perceptions of working in tourism, but in reality, there are so many opportunities for long and successful careers in this industry. We have a big focus on developing our staff, and we want to show these students the wide variety of roles available – not just on-the-ground but behind the scenes in administrative and commercial positions.”

Lancaster & Morecambe College offers a variety of Travel & Tourism courses, where students can gain a solid foundation to progress directly into the industry or onto Higher Education.

Jon Lloyd – Senior Lecturer at Lancaster & Morecambe College says, “We are proud to provide young people and adults with valuable skills to help them to progress – and working with local providers and industry leaders like Treetop Trek allows our students to gain a practical understanding of what their future roles could look like.”


Tourism and hospitality businesses across Cumbria are invited to attend an engaging and interactive Tourism Conference on the 26th November. The half-day event starts at 8:30am and is set to finish at around lunch-time.

 Held at Energus Workington and focussing on the theme Tourism: Rebuilding for the Future, the event, organised by Allerdale Borough Council, will address key issues affecting the Cumbrian visitor economy, with attendees learning from expert speakers through interactive sessions alongside a free breakfast and networking opportunities.

Attendees will enjoy engaging presentations from a wide range of expert speakers and host Susanna Boccaccio of Bright Trees Media, leaving with a clearer understanding of how to make the most of the coming months alongside the skills to do so.

Staffing continues to be a vitally important issue for employers and the event will address how businesses can attract new recruits, with Cath Dutton from the Cumbria Careers Hub sharing how businesses can change perceptions around industry careers and highlight the long-term opportunities the sector offers.

The growing cycle tourism market, highlighted by Cumbria’s inclusion in the 2021 Tour of Britain and the recent Solway Coast Cycling Festival, will also be addressed. Tourism expert Nick Lancaster of Lancaster & Lancaster will share how businesses can increase longer, higher spending visitor stays across the Solway Coast and beyond by encouraging exploration on two wheels (particularly by e-bike), and how this can boost local businesses across the region.

The event will also include interactive sessions designed to provide key takeaway skills that can be applied to the wide range of tourism businesses across the region:

  • Sustainability the Smart Way – In the wake of COP26 sustainability continues to rise up the agenda, not only for the planet but also affecting visitor motivation and decision-making. Crake Consultancy’s Gemma Procter will guide attendees through the concept of sustainability and the opportunities available to benefit the planet but also their business.
  • Smart Social Media – Cumbria Tourism representatives will share hints and practical tips on how businesses can make the most of social media’s huge potential by creating quality, re-usable content focussing on key platforms and defined audiences.
  • Working Smarter – Dan Visser, Director Sales & Marketing at the Langdale Hotel and Spa, will share his extensive experience and help attendees identify simple changes they can meet to increase efficiency and productivity as they adapt to changing visitor and recruitment needs.

Allerdale Borough Council’s Leisure and Tourism Portfolio Holder, Councillor Tony Markley says “The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for businesses and many have not yet fully recovered. However, important lessons continue to be learnt over the course of the pandemic and this conference is an excellent opportunity for businesses across Allerdale and further afield to learn and plan how to make the most of the coming months. We’ve a fantastic line-up of expert speakers eager to share their experience – I’d recommend anyone working in the tourism and hospitality industry to register.”

The conference, arranged by Allerdale Borough Council in association with Cumbria Tourism, is free to attend for all tourism and hospitality businesses across Cumbria. Business owners and representatives can learn more and register for free at https://visitallerdale.co.uk/tickets/tourism-conference.

Cumbria Tourism will be flying the flag for the county at one of Northern England’s most respected awards ceremonies, after being shortlisted in a staggering five categories for the Prolific North Marketing Awards.

The awards recognise stand-out marketing campaigns from across the North of England and the newly-revealed shortlists have been whittled down by a panel of industry leaders, with the final winners to be announced at a ceremony in Leeds later this month.

As Cumbria’s official destination management organisation, Cumbria Tourism has been at the forefront of two major campaigns in recent months: to help tackle the current recruitment crisis facing tourism and hospitality, and to encourage visitors to rediscover lesser-known corners of the county.

Cumbria Tourism’s #ThePerfectPlaceToWork Recruitment Campaign is a finalist in three categories: Best Not for Profit Campaign, Best Small Budget Campaign and Best Response to Change.

#ThePerfectPlaceToWork was developed as a direct response to tourism businesses’ concerns about the acute staffing crisis threatening the post-pandemic recovery of Cumbria’s visitor economy. Challenging perceptions about what it means to work in tourism and hospitality – and helping inspire both locals and people from further afield to take up roles within the industry – are at the heart of this ongoing campaign.

Meanwhile, the organisation’s #ThePerfectPlaceToBe campaign – to encourage more people to rediscover lesser-known corners of Cumbria – has also beaten off stiff competition to be nominated for Best Tourism & Leisure Campaign and Best Integrated Campaign.

#ThePerfectPlaceToBe focused on ‘attract and disperse’ activity to expand awareness of destinations including the Cumbrian coastline, Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall country, and the east of the county, where Cumbria meets the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales. Its key objective was to encourage potential visitors to explore further, spreading them more evenly across the country this summer and helping increase economic benefits for traditionally less-visited parts of Cumbria.

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Partnerships and Projects, Rachel Tyson, says, “We’re absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted for five categories in these well-respected awards, which celebrate the very best marketing innovation and creativity right across the North.

Both #ThePerfectPlaceToBe and #ThePerfectPlaceToWork have been developed with the tourism industry in mind, helping them to rebuild as the post-pandemic recovery continues.

 “We’re thrilled to have got to this stage and hope we can bring home the awards for Cumbria and all the hardworking tourism and hospitality businesses who have faced such a challenging time over the past 2 years. Fingers crossed for the final!”

The winners of the Prolific North Marketing Awards will be announced on Thursday 25 November at a ceremony in Leeds.  See the full shortlist here.



Reacting to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget statement, Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation says there is welcome news for the county’s tourism and hospitality industry – but Cumbria Tourism also believes more detail is needed to reveal the full picture.

Among the measures announced today is a 50% business rates discount for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, up to a maximum of £110,000.  Tax relief on museums and galleries will be extended until March 2024, and there will be significant changes to alcohol duty including a new ‘draught relief’ cutting duty on beer and cider sold in pubs.

However, measures to create a more competitive visa system for overseas workers has been limited to highly-skilled, hi-tech companies. Calls to permanently lower the 12.5% VAT rate for tourism businesses – led by Cumbria Tourism – have also been overlooked.

Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, Jim Walker, says, “Today’s budget is a bit of a mixed bag from the perspective of tourism businesses, but overall, there is some welcome news which will help safeguard jobs and businesses in Cumbria in the short to medium term. 

“Reforms to business rates – including a new 12-month relief for companies to invest in their premises – are very positive, as is the new one year 50% discount on business rates for hospitality and retail. However, we do need to be mindful that some of our smallest operators unfortunately won’t benefit as they don’t pay business rates. 

 “It’s also fantastic to see investment in heritage and culture; these organisations have been impacted massively by the pandemic, but many still aren’t operating at full capacity and do need that extra support. The new tax relief on museums and galleries is a really welcome move and we’re looking forward to seeing more detail on this.

 “The changes to alcohol duty should be helpful to Cumbrian pubs, breweries and producers. We’re also pleased about further investment in rail travel, although again, we need to see the detail to ensure that some of this will filter through to bolster services in our county.

 He adds, “Overall, it is good to see tangible signs of an economic recovery reflected in the Chancellor’s budget speech. The flipside of this is higher inflation which could potentially impact on visitors’ discretionary spend for leisure activities. This is definitely something for us to watch closely.

 “Looking ahead, we would have liked more of a focus on tackling longer-term issues around recruitment and retention, for which we have been lobbying strongly. The Government has introduced much greater flexibility around visas in other industries, so we continue to call for this to be extended to tourism and hospitality workers from overseas.

 “It’s also disappointing that our calls to maintain the 12.5% VAT rate for tourism businesses have been unsuccessful. This would have helped create more longer-term stability for our industry and we will be asking the Government to look again at this issue.”


Guardian and Masterchef food critic Grace Dent’s autobiography Hungry has been named the 2021 Lakeland Book of the Year.

 Presented this week at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel, the book, detailing the food personality’s life and experiences, impressed the judges with it’s honest and entertaining account of growing up in Carlisle.

Posting on Twitter, Carlisle-born Grace, who also received the The Zefirellis Prize for People & Business, said that she was “thrilled” to receive the prize for Hungry, which includes details of her early years growing up in Carlisle as part of a moving personal memoir.

Chosen from over 70 entries covering almost every conceivable category from wild swimming to Cumbria’s incredibly diverse history, Hungry was celebrated alongside five other category winners at a charity lunch in support of the Stroke Association, with the attendees raising over £600 for the cause on the day, with additional donations still coming in.

The judges, author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE, renowned broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson OBE and BBC newscaster, presenter and author Fiona Armstrong, entertained over 70 guests with their thoughts and insights on the 18-strong shortlist before announcing the six winners of 2021.

The awards, supported by James Cropper of Burneside, have continued uninterrupted for 37 years (with the 2020 event taking place virtually) and celebrate the breath-taking variety of top-quality writing inspired by Cumbria and the Lake District. Open to any book set in or featuring the county and published the previous year, previous winners have included Rory Stewart, James Rebanks and Alfred Wainwright.


The 2021 winners are:

The Zefirellis Prize for People & Business

Hungry, Grace Dent


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscapes and Traditions

Swimming Wild in the Lake District, Suzanna Cruickshank


The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

English Pastoral: An Inheritance, James Rebanks


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

Terry Abraham: Life On The Mountains, Terry Abraham


The Bookends Prize for Literature & Poetry

Radical Wordsworth, Jonathan Bate


The Gilpin Hotel and Lake Prize for Fiction

Dead Ringer, Nicola Martin