Ahead of the October half-term holidays, motorhome owners visiting Cumbria are being urged to plan ahead, to pre-book their visits and explore lesser-known areas of the county – including the recently launched Cumbrian Coastal Route.

Following an upturn in motorhome and campervan ownership over the last 12 months, people are also being encouraged to play their part in protecting the county’s world-famous landscape as they enjoy the glorious autumn colours.

Cumbria Tourism has created ‘Van Life’ as a helpful online hub of information for the motorhome community, featuring a range of itineraries/days out and practical hints; from a downloadable accommodation guide to official waste disposal facilities, a Motor Caravanners’ Code and a handy map to guide them away from narrow rural routes: www.visitlakedistrict.com/vanlife

The most recent addition to ‘Van Life’ is a newly designated 200-mile route exploring the county’s coastal gems – known as the Cumbrian Coastal Route (CCR 200) – which is split into a series of smaller sections, all do-able in a day.

From Morecambe Bay in the south to the Solway Firth in the north, the CCR 200 includes a good mix of both formal and informal sites for motorhome and campervan owners, taking in larger holiday parks with extensive facilities as well as smaller, more basic sites. A number of locations also offer overnight stays in car parks.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, “We expect the Lake District, Cumbria to be a popular destination for the motorhome community again this half term, with many of our official campsites still open and taking bookings.

 “It’s always fantastic to see visitors supporting our local communities, so we want to give them all the advice and practical know-how they need to plan ahead now and help protect this special place while they’re here.

 “With some spectacular autumn colours at this time of year, it’s also a great time to shine the spotlight on some great new places and experiences to discover, including the captivating landscapes of Cumbria’s west coast.

 “Once people are in the county, they can leave their motorhome in its designated spot for the day while they enjoy a fantastic day out by foot, bike, boat or train. With hidden heritage and history, tales of maritime adventures and plenty of hidden viewpoints to enjoy the nature and tranquillity, there is so much to explore.”

 See all five stages of the CCR 200 HERE.



Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget (on Wednesday 27 October), Cumbria Tourism is calling on the Government to permanently lower the 12.5% VAT rate for tourism businesses – to help protect jobs and safeguard the long-term future of the county’s visitor economy.

The VAT rate was reduced to support tourism and hospitality operators during the pandemic, but is currently set to return to its previous level of 20% in April 2022.

Cumbria Tourism is now leading calls to keep VAT at the lower rate, following powerful new evidence which suggests that it could be fundamental to safeguarding jobs in the visitor economy and enabling operators to invest in their workforce.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, Cumbria Tourism helped collate feedback directly from local businesses to make the county’s voice heard in a new national survey* monitoring the impact of the reduction in VAT across the tourism industry.

The overall results overwhelmingly show that the VAT reduction has been a lifeline to many tourism and hospitality businesses; not only keeping them afloat but also allowing them to comply with Covid safety requirements and pay staff and suppliers.

Looking ahead, 77% of respondents believe that maintaining the 12.5% VAT rate will be ‘highly important’ to businesses, with 6 in 10 saying the planned return to 20% VAT in April could lead to serious cutbacks and job losses.

This backs up Cumbria Tourism’s own research which shows that the extension of VAT relief is one of their key asks from the Government.

With Chancellor Rishi Sunak due to unveil his Autumn Budget and 3-year Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) in less than two weeks, Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh, says now is the time for action.

She comments, “Maintaining the 12.5% VAT rate would create longer-term stability for tourism and hospitality businesses. Overall it’s been a positive summer following the devastating impact of £1.5billion losses for Cumbria’s visitor economy during the pandemic, but the visitor economy is highly seasonal and many operators are still in survival mode as we head into the crucial winter period.

“A commitment from the Government on VAT would protect local jobs and communities and help businesses to invest in their staff and longer-term sustainability. It is vital that the industry’s voice is heard and we are working closely with a range of regional and national trade partners to get this message across at the highest level.”

Joe Cobb is Hotel Group Executive Manager at Lake District Country House Hotels. He adds, ‘The hospitality sector is the largest employer within our local community and the reduced VAT rate has helped businesses to build back following the challenges that the pandemic has produced. With the ever-changing world of staff shortages, supply chain struggles and increased costs, the prolonged support would allow businesses to continue to operate and support local communities. We very much welcome the calls for this extension and hope that the Government consider this further”.

*The research on the impact of keeping the 12.5% VAT rate has been carried out by a coalition of national trade bodies, including UKHospitality, the Tourism Alliance, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping.

Global outdoor brand inov-8 is teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to help drive forward the county’s vibrant and sustainable visitor economy.

inov-8 is the latest high-profile business to back Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation by signing up as an official ‘Strategic Partner’.

It’s a move which sees inov-8 join a core network of like-minded organisations who draw on their collective expertise to champion effective destination marketing to support businesses, visitors and local communities.

With its international HQ in the Lake District, inov-8 employs around 25 people in Cumbria and is best known as a footwear, clothing and equipment brand for trail runners, hikers and adventure seekers, as well as gym enthusiasts. It sells products to around 60 countries globally and is the world’s first brand to use the ‘wonder material’ graphene in sports shoes.

The company also puts sustainability at the forefront of its business, working closely with the likes of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust on their carbon reduction projects, as well as supporting local food banks and redistributing shoe samples to charity.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It is fantastic to be working with inov-8, a truly innovative and forward-looking organisation which is just as passionate about the Lake District and Cumbria as we are!

“They love the outdoors and want other people to enjoy it too, especially in the challenging times everyone has been going through. Most importantly, they also want to do their bit in keeping this amazing place special for the future.

 “Like us, inov-8 want to inspire people to get out there and make the most of our world-class landscape. Among the areas we’ll be looking at together is encouraging people to be fully prepared for adventures in the outdoors, with the right gear for the conditions they might meet.”

inov-8 COO Michael Price comments, “We are delighted to be teaming up with Cumbria Tourism, in the county of our roots.

“inov-8 was forged in the Lake District fells 18 years ago, and to celebrate we this year opened our first-ever brand store in Staveley’s Mill Yard. ‘The Forge’ is run in partnership with Pete Bland Sports and has been a huge success, allowing even more visitors to the Lake District the chance to experience the world’s toughest grip with graphene.”

The news comes hot on heels of another announcement earlier this week, confirming that Cumbria Community Foundation will also now become one of Cumbria Tourism’s 18 official Strategic Partners.


Cumbria Tourism has heralded a large-scale Jobs Fair highlighting potential new roles in tourism and hospitality as a massive success, after attracting more than 170 job seekers and generating new applications for a range of current vacancies across the industry.

To coincide with the end of the Government’s furlough scheme, the event brought together 25 of the county’s top tourism employers – together with job coaches and training providers – at The Forum in Barrow yesterday.

The event was arranged by Cumbria Tourism and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), alongside partners from Local IQ, Job Centre Plus and Inspira.

It enabled Cumbrian jobseekers to speak directly to hospitality businesses and put themselves forward for current and upcoming vacancies with employers including Linthwaite House Hotel, The Swan Hotel, Windermere Lake Cruises, South Lakes Safari Zoo and High Spirits Group to name just a few.

Within 24 hours of the Job Fair, it has already led to a series of job applications and interviews for attendees and there are now plans in the pipeline to replicate the event’s success in early 2022.

The event was part of Cumbria Tourism’s #theperfectplacetowork recruitment campaign to raise the profile and reputation of job roles within the tourism and hospitality industry.

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Partnerships & Projects, Rachel Tyson, says, “It was fantastic to see so many engaged job seekers attending the event, as part of our ongoing campaign to support the industry through the current recruitment crisis by highlighting the long-term career and training opportunities available within the visitor economy.

“Many businesses have already invited potential workers to interview and from the conversations I expect many to be taking the next step in their career very soon!

 “We’re already looking ahead to organising another event but, in the meantime, anyone looking for a new role can learn more and apply on our visitor-facing website at: www.visitlakedistrict.com/jobs”.

Cumbria Community Foundation has become the first charity to be named as one of Cumbria Tourism’s official ‘Strategic Partners’.

As one of the UK’s most prominent Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), Cumbria Tourism’s core network of Strategic Partners draw together collective expertise from across the county to champion effective destination marketing to support businesses, visitors and local communities.

Cumbria Community Foundation is a leading, accredited community foundation and provides philanthropic services to individuals, families and organisations – managing more than 100 grant making funds and awarding an average of around £3 million a year.

This new Strategic Partnership between the two organisations reflects the importance of the visitor economy to local people, supporting jobs and prosperity for the county as a whole.

It also means that 10% of the proceeds generated by Cumbria Tourism’s MyCumbria residents’ cards will now be donated directly to Cumbria Community Foundation, to support local good causes.

Jacqui Currie, Head of Development, said: “Cumbria Community Foundation is delighted to have become a strategic partner of Cumbria Tourism. Our organisations share common values as we work to build a bright, sustainable future for Cumbria’s communities. With one in four people in the county depending on visitor spending for their livelihood, tourism is embedded in our communities and our economy.

 “Many tourism businesses already work with the Foundation by becoming members and fundholders, the proceeds of which the Foundation gives out in grants to community groups that help vulnerable people in our county. Through our Strategic Partnership with Cumbria Tourism, we will be encouraging new supporters in the tourism sector to help us to address disadvantage in our county.”

Jim Walker, Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, adds, “The visitor economy is integral to our local communities and Cumbria Community Foundation is an outstanding example of an organisation giving back to the place where we live and work. It’s fitting that they become the first charity to be named as an official Strategic Partner and we look forward to working hand-in-hand with them over the coming year.”

Cumbria Community Foundation joins a core network of Strategic Partners, who are all highly respected and regarded across the county. The list includes:

  • United Utilities (Cumbria Tourism patron)
  • Burnetts
  • The Cumberland
  • Forestry England
  • Grasmere Gingerbread
  • Highways England
  • co.uk
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lake District National Park
  • Lamont Pridmore
  • NFU Mutual
  • Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire
  • Thomson Hayton Winkley
  • University of Cumbria
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

Just ahead of furlough coming to an end next week, 25 of Cumbria’s leading tourism and hospitality businesses will come together on Wednesday 29 September for a large-scale jobs fair to match jobseekers with potential new roles.

Among some of the county’s top employers involved in the event are Lakeside Hotel & Spa, multi- Michelin-starred Simon Rogan, The National Trust, Windermere Lake Cruises, Hargreaves Enterprises, the Inn Collection and Center Parcs to name just a few.

As well as offering opportunities to anyone who finds themselves facing redundancy after long-term furlough, they will be promoting a wide range of full-time and part-time roles suitable for people looking to return to work after a career break or simply eager to climb the career ladder in the county’s vibrant visitor economy. There will also be fresh roles for school and college leavers to consider.

The Jobs Fair at The Forum in Barrow-in-Furness has been arranged by Cumbria Tourism and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), alongside partners from Local IQ, Job Centre Plus and Inspira.

Job coaches and training providers will also be on hand to help match job seekers with the best roles to suit them, and there will be an informal networking area where people can talk one-to-one about the job vacancies on offer on the day.

The event is part of Cumbria Tourism’s #theperfectplacetowork recruitment campaign which is helping to reshape perceptions about what it means to work in the tourism industry.

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Partnerships & Projects, Rachel Tyson, says, “With the end of furlough looming, we know some people may need some extra guidance and support about their future career path, so this jobs fair is a great opportunity to get expert advice and speak to potential employers direct.

There will be plenty of opportunities for applicants to put themselves forward for specific jobs on the day, so it’s something job seekers really can’t afford to miss.”

Meanwhile, Operations Manager at The Inn Collection Group, Dan Evans, says: “People often associate hospitality with long hours and poor rates of pay, but we’re keen to advocate hospitality as a great career choice and one that can be as flexible and individual as you with amazing progression opportunities and lots of friends and family perks and bonuses, too!

“As well as full and part time roles, we have some brilliant opportunities for apprentices and access to our award-winning training programmes.”

Jobseekers can sign up for the Jobs Fair in advance at: www.visitlakedistrict.com/jobs



Funding to help Cumbrian businesses and community groups go green in a post-pandemic world will be unveiled tomorrow Thursday 23 September, to coincide with Climate Action Day.

 The Low Carbon Lake District initiative is opening round 2 of its Grants Scheme to help organisations introduce measures that reduce carbon emissions.  It’s a chance for both businesses and community groups to be awarded up to 60% of project costs, making the move to low carbon technologies and practices more affordable.

 The Low Carbon Lake District Grants Scheme is open to a range of industry sectors, including hospitality, manufacturing, retail and transport. It is being led by the Lake District Foundation as part of Low Carbon Lake District, with support from the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Examples of projects that may be funded include:

  • Low carbon energy use and generation, such as solar photo voltaic, solar thermal, biomass, anaerobic digestion, small hydro power, ground and air source heat pumps.
  • Energy efficiency projects, including variable speed drives, voltage optimisation, infrared heating, LED lighting and upgrading to efficient appliances.

Examples of organisations already supported through round one of the scheme earlier this year include Levens Village Shop, which was awarded a grant to install an energy efficient refrigeration system. Meanwhile, Rookhow Quaker Meeting House in the Rusland Valley was awarded a grant to install an air source heat pump and loft insulation to improve the comfort levels in the building while reducing the carbon footprint.

Development Manager at Rookhow, Sue Nicholls, says, “There is a real – and vital – focus on sustainability right now and lots of expertise out there for organisations like ours in Cumbria, so I would strongly urge others to investigate the funding currently available through the Low Carbon Lake District Grants Scheme.

 “The support we have received is helping to create a ‘living space’ for future generations and has come at just the right time for us. These changes will help preserve this historic building and make it much more usable and comfortable for a range of community groups.”

Sarah Swindley, CEO of the Lake District Foundation, adds: “We are very excited to launch round two of this grants scheme, supporting Lake District businesses to take steps towards net zero. It’s fantastic news that there’s been such a great take up with these grants already and we are delighted to be able to support local organisations to deliver low carbon projects. The Grants Scheme can support SMEs and community groups across a wide range of sectors and we look forward to assessing the next round of projects.”

The Lake District National Park Authority’s Low Carbon Lake District Coordinator, Danny Coward, comments: “It is so important that we all play our role in helping to contribute positively to tackle climate change. The ESIF grant scheme is a fantastic opportunity to help businesses and community groups make the right choice, helping create a pathway to a cleaner and greener, net zero future.”

Registrations for the Low Carbon Lake District Grants Scheme will be open HERE from 9am on Thursday 23 September until 5pm on Thursday 14 October.

The Low Carbon Lake District team will be on hand at the ‘Ambleside to Zero’ event on 23 September to answer any questions about the scheme.

Organisations can also sign up to a free webinar HERE the following Thursday, 30 September, where a member of the LDF team will explain more about the fund and how to apply, presentations from previous grant recipients and a grant scheme Q&A.

All applicants will be assessed by the Lake District Foundation at the initial concept stage to check they are eligible to take part.  Projects requiring design or feasibility support are not eligible for funding support, but Low Carbon Lake District may be able to identify alternative funding or support for these earlier stage environmental projects.



Notes to Editors:

The Low Carbon Lake District initiative is a comprehensive programme to help tackle climate change in the National Park, working in partnership with local businesses and communities to reduce greenhouse gases and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Led by the Lake District National Park Authority, other key partners include the Lake District Foundation, the National Trust, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Tourism.

Low Carbon Lake District has received funding from the England European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) are the Managing Authorities for European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund funding through the Growth Programme, funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development. By investing in projects the funds will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/europeangrowth-funding.

The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK. Alongside over €1.5 billion of European Regional Development Fund support for businesses and communities across the North, the government has awarded £3.4 billion in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.

As international travel restrictions continue to ease, the Cumbria Tourism team is out and about at key trade shows across the UK to showcase the whole of county to influential tour operators and travel trade planning future, COVID-safe, visits.

Key staff from the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) are this week attending the British Tourism and Travel Show (BBTS) on 22 and 23 September, ahead of the Group Leisure & Travel Show in Milton Keynes on 7 October.

Working in partnership with Northern Print Distribution (NPD), these two events follow on from a successful Cumbria Tourism appearance at the UKinbound Annual Convention just last week.

The events are a key part of Cumbria Tourism’s #theperfectplacetobe COVID-19 recovery marketing campaign, building on the momentum for summer staycations across the traditionally quieter winter months.

The British Tourism and Travel Show is the first major domestic tourism show to take place in more than 18 months. Meanwhile, the Group Travel and Leisure Show is widely seen as a ‘must-visit event to help the group travel and coach tourism market shape their schedules for the coming year.

Branded as ‘Visit Lake District, Cumbria’, the Cumbria Tourism team will be working alongside local tourism businesses to highlight exciting new products, as well as inspiring the county’s cultural heritage and stunning landscapes including its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

“After a year like no other it’s been fantastic to meet and engage with the public at events this summer, including the Great Yorkshire, Royal Lancashire and Westmorland Shows” says Sue Clarke, Cumbria Tourism’s Marketing Manager.

“Despite reports of a busy summer, 44% of those surveyed by Cumbria Tourism have reported that bookings are still down overall this year, with staffing issues, social distancing challenges and the spring lockdown all impacting on trade. As we look towards the shoulder season and into the New Year it’s clear that Cumbria’s visitor economy still needs help to support businesses and jobs as we rebuild confidence in group bookings and recover together.

“Now, with restrictions continuing to gradually ease, it’s important we revitalise our relationships with international and group travel trade operators as they look ahead to 2022 and beyond. Cumbria truly is a world-class destination, with something to offer almost every visitor, and we will be making the most of these opportunities to ensure our county is firmly on the map!

“Meeting and networking with key travel trade decision makers can make a real difference to the landscape of group travel, and the Cumbria Tourism team will be there to help shape it.”

Ahead of World Car Free Day on Wednesday 22 September, Cumbria Tourism is urging people to take up the #cumbriacarfree challenge and find greener, more sustainable ways to explore the county.

Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation is highlighting the wide range of greener travel options available and says it’s the ideal time to walk in the footsteps of famed fellwalker Alfred Wainwright and go car free.

Wainwright travelled mainly by public transport while he was compiling his famous routes to the summits of 214 Lakeland fells. And although not everyone may be an avid walker, there are numerous car free alternatives to help people access the county’s spectacular hidden gems and find their own perfect place to be.

Over the coming days, visitors are being challenged to follow the Wainwright tradition and post their experiences using the #carfreecumbria hashtag across social media – supported by plenty of ideas and inspiration from Cumbria Tourism.

So whether you want to take advantage of Stagecoach’s special ‘Park and Explore’ tickets, hop on a ‘Rambler’ bus service to Langdale or Coniston, or check out ‘Explorer’ tickets which include bus and boat options (for cruises on Ullswater, Windermere, Derwentwater and Coniston), World Car Free Day is the perfect excuse to leave the car at home.

The team at Cumbria Tourism will be sharing downloadable PDFs highlighting some of the Wainwright fells most accessible by rail and or bus. A range of newly developed ‘Rail Trails’ are also available from www.visitlakedistrict.com/railtrails. All the routes start and finish at a train station on the Cumbrian Coast line, including one of Wainwright’s lesser walked fells – Black Combe – which has some of the best long-distance views in the county.

Meanwhile, Cumbria Tourism has teamed up with Avanti West Coast, Network Rail and Northern Rail to collate even more great ideas, information and inspiration for getting to and around Cumbria by train at: www.visitlakedistrict.com/byrail

Cumbria Tourism’s Sustainable Travel Officer, Gemma Procter, says, “Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the #cumbriacarfree challenge is perfect for anyone who wants to do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint and help protect our world-class landscape at the same time. It can be any day you want over the next week or so, and even if you can’t get here car free, you can still spend the day here exploring without your car.

Zina Nomicas, General Manager at Avanti West Coast, adds, “As the world is encouraged to go car free for the day, we want to champion beautiful destinations on our route that can be reached by train, including our famous scenic spots in the Lake District.

“We’ve enjoyed playing our part to bring visitors to the Lake District this summer and hope Cumbria Tourism’s efforts to showcase Wainwright’s Fells will inspire people to have a fully green experience during World Car Free Day by taking the train before walking the region’s beautiful hills and mountains.”

To share your car free experiences, use the #cumbriacarfree hashtag and keep an eye on Visit Lake District’s blog and social media channels.