As the Lake District prepares to mark 100 years since the birth of speed daredevil Donald Campbell this March, bosses at the Lakeland Motor Museum say its dedicated Campbell exhibition is the ideal place for visitors to pay tribute – when the time is right for people to return.

Born on 23 March 1921, Campbell – whose adventurous exploits cemented his name among the biggest legends of the 20th century – was tragically killed on Coniston Water on 4 January 1967, while he was attempting to break his own world water-speed record in his legendary Bluebird K7 craft.

In total, Campbell set seven world water speed records in K7 from 1955 to 1964: The first on Ullswater in 1955 where he reached more than 202mph, and further afield, he achieved the Australian water speed record of 216mph on Lake Bonney Riverland in South Australia in 1964 – a record he repeated on Lake Mead in the US.

Campbell was awarded the CBE in 1957 for his record-breaking speed runs and was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct in 1967.

Campbell’s legacy – along with that of his father Malcolm, is chronicled at The Lakeland Motor Museum, where full-size faithful replicas of some of his most famous land and water vehicles including the famous K7 Bluebird craft are proudly displayed in their very own on-site exhibition, with his classic blue coloured 1937 Bentley also housed in the main showroom.

Sales and Marketing Director, Jennifer Cormack, says, “With 2021 marking 100 years since the birth of Donald Campbell, we’re looking forward to our dedicated exhibition reminding everyone of just how far both he and his father Malcolm pushed the boundaries and left such an impressive and exciting legacy of speed in the record books.

 “Our full-size replicas of some of the best-known high-speed craft are astounding reminders of the Campbells’ bravery and ingenuity.”

When it’s safe for people to return, the museum will be continuing to follow government guidance to ensure the wellbeing of each and every visitor, with individuals or their bubble groups being asked to book their visit in advance and entry times staggered at 15 minute intervals to ensure social distancing can be respected.

‘Hands-on’ interactive exhibits such as vintage games remain off-limits until further notice. All Covid-19 secure operating measures will also remain in place, including increased cleaning regimes, reception screens and floor signage with designated ‘passing places’.

People can now book their Lakeland Motor Museum visit for later this Summer, with online booking currently available between 17 May and 31 August 2021 at: www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk

Cumbria Tourism has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget statement.

The county’s official Destination Management Organisation has lobbied vigorously over recent months for the extension of furlough and Business Rates Relief, along with the retention of the 5% VAT rate and further support for those individuals and businesses who have been excluded from previous financial packages.

Cumbria Tourism says the direct ‘real time’ evidence it has been able to provide – thanks to input from hundreds of businesses, alongside its regular briefings with Cumbria’s six MPs and regional and national partnerships, as well as meetings with the Tourism Minister and government officials – has ensured Cumbria’s voice has been amplified and heard at the highest levels in Government.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This budget clearly acknowledges the key points we have been lobbying for at the highest levels of government for some time. We are pleased it recognises the implications of the phased way in which businesses will reopen in the coming months, with extra reopening costs, ongoing financial pressures and restrictions likely to remain in place.

 “This will clearly impact on their ability to operate at pre-Covid levels for some time, so today’s news will be a big relief not only for hundreds of businesses, but also thousands of employees across our county.

 “We are also looking forward to hearing more detail about the new national initiatives to promote investment and competitiveness, such as the Super deduction scheme and ‘Help to Grow’, as well as understanding how the new Restart Grant and Recovery Loan Scheme will work in practice.

 “Cumbria Tourism will continue working on behalf of our tourism member businesses to help them take advantage of the opportunities that are available. We also recognise that much of the support ends before the Winter which will undoubtedly be a challenging time, with so many businesses having lost so much trade since the pandemic began. So we will be monitoring the impact of reopening very closely.

03/03/2021

Cumbria Tourism this week met with the county’s five Conservative MPs to discuss the state of the sector and to consider ways to work together to support its recovery and build back better – benefitting every corner of the county.

The joint meeting with Cumbria Tourism (Chairman Jim Walker, Vice Chairman Dan Visser and MD Gill Haigh) was coordinated by Carlisle MP John Stevenson, and also attended by Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, Penrith and the Border MP Neil Hudson, as well as Barrow-in-Furness MP Simon Fell.

The importance of the sector to the county’s economy was discussed, as well as jobs and communities, the impact of the pandemic on businesses, business/consumer confidence, the valued support of government schemes such as furlough and grants, alongside joined up countywide plans for recovery.

During the meeting Cumbria Tourism repeated its calls to government for five key asks, to allow the sector to bounce back and once again make a full and valuable contribution to the county and support livelihoods, communities, health and wellbeing. These are:

  • A clear roadmap for reopening, which it’s hoped the Prime Minister will announce next Monday 22 February.
  • Continuation of the 5% VAT rate, bringing us in line with many of our European competitors.
  • An extension of the Business Rates holiday.
  • Confirmation that furlough will continue after April, on a phased-out basis, to allow businesses to begin getting back on their feet.
  • Support for Cumbria Tourism, as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, to continue to work on behalf of the sector and to promote the whole county as a great place to stay all year round.

Commenting, Jim Walker, Chairman of Cumbria Tourism said: “We have been grateful for the support of all our county’s MPs to date, whom Cumbria Tourism enjoys regular and direct contact with. This has been really important, alongside our work providing evidence direct to government departments about the current challenges and problems faced by our industry.

 “However, this is the first time we have been able to come together in this way and it was a really valuable hour covering a wide range of issues. What I took away was a genuine desire to all work together, not only to support recovery, but also to make that recovery work even more effectively for all parts of the county and all year round.

“There was real depth of understanding of the challenges faced, lots of commitment for joined up working and an understanding of the need for a clear roadmap – and some changes and additional support now – in order to ensure Cumbria’s visitor economy thrives once more, bringing with it many additional benefits for the county and those living here.

 “The MPs have pledged their commitment to continue working alongside Cumbria Tourism and its members, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue as we move through these next few critical months.”

Meeting organiser, John Stevenson MP added:

“Tourism is such an important part of the Cumbrian economy – and so it is vital that the county works together to ensure that the when things start to re-open, the industry can succeed once more.

 This is why I co-ordinated this meeting between MPs and Cumbria Tourism, as the response has to come from all levels – from local authorities and organisations like Cumbria Tourism right through to the national government.

 The Cumbrian MPs will continue to work together – and with local industry representatives like Cumbria Tourism – to ensure our county can thrive beyond this pandemic.”

Latest figures from Cumbria Tourism, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) reveal that the Coronavirus pandemic has already cost the visitor economy £2 billion. Employment within the sector has also reduced by 38,000– 60% of full-time equivalent positions – with more jobs at risk if the industry does not receive urgent financial support.

These sobering figures come from preliminary results of the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor, commonly known as ‘STEAM’. The annual assessment has taken place for the past 20 years and is produced on behalf of a partnership led by Cumbria Tourism and supported by Cumbria’s District Councils, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lake District National Park Authority.

 “Businesses have now faced effectively three winter seasons in a row” says Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism Managing Director. “Whilst support from the Government has helped keep heads just above water this latest research highlights the fact that the coffers of many businesses are emptying quickly and need continued appropriate support.

 “Of course, the first priority must be the management of the pandemic, but it is vital that the tourism sector, which has often gone above and beyond to help protect visitors, staff and communities, is not hung out to dry. We are grateful for the current support, but many are still ineligible for these schemes, and those that are still face significant costs. For example, the furlough scheme does not cover National Insurance and pension contributions. As such employers are still paying around 15% of their wage bills although unable to trade – effectively being punished for protecting their staff from redundancy.”

Cumbria Tourism is asking the Government to commit to four key proposals to safeguard the industry and the jobs it provides in the short and long-term:

  • Continuation of the business rates relaxation for a further year.
  • An extension of the 5% VAT rate until at least October, preferably permanently.
  • A tapered extension of the furlough scheme beyond April 2021 to assist businesses to build back to full capacity.
  • Support and investment in DMOs to help increase markets, extend stays, increase spend and help drive business as restrictions ease.

They are also urgently calling for a clear roadmap to recovery alongside a timeframe to provide businesses with the confidence to plan for the future. Alongside national lobbying alongside other tourism destinations and partnerships such as UKHospitality and the Tourism Alliance the DMO is also in conversation with all six of the county’s MPs to call for a strong and unified voice on behalf of one of Cumbria’s key employment sectors.

Whilst the temporary easing of restrictions in 2020 did permit tourism businesses to welcome visitors temporarily this shorter season was far from enough to offset losses, particularly with social distancing legislation dramatically reducing capacity.

“Cash resources are depleting quickly” continues Gill Haigh “and lack of liquid funds is now the key priority for businesses according to our latest tracker survey. Many have had to turn to government-backed loan schemes to stay afloat, pledging to repay thousands without knowing when, or indeed if, they will be able to reopen their doors. It’s therefore of little surprise that the same survey shows that over 40% of businesses are not confident they will survive to see Easter. Businesses need extra support and they need it fast.”

Whilst our marketing during the pandemic has been domestically focused, we have been keeping our international markets warm to ensure that as soon as it is time to activate, we are ready.

Over the past few months, we have delivered webinars to operators, assisted with a range of travel trade enquiries, attended PR connect with VisitBritain, and from this month onwards will be attending a series of virtual travel trade events to promote the Lake District, Cumbria.

Britain & Ireland Marketplace (BIM) – January
A virtual full-day B2B workshop meeting with key decision makers from high quality buyers, from bespoke tour operators to key volume drivers – all ready to contract the best of British and Irish tourism products.

MeetEngland Virtual 2021 – February
A new virtual tradeshow for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, creating valuable business relationships across two days targeting Europe, China, UK, and North America. Does your business venue hold conferences, meetings, events/exhibitions, or incentives? If so, then let us know by emailing campaigns@cumbriatourism.org

ExploreGB Virtual 2021 – March (registered, attendance TBC)
1-day virtual event with pre-scheduled 1-2-1 meetings, seminars, and workshops with buyers from international markets and VisitBritain’s in-market experts. Applications for the event are currently open, click here for more information.

North American Marketplace – March (registered, attendance TBC)
A B2B virtual workshop dedicated to selling Europe to the outbound North American market, bringing together European destinations, travel suppliers and intermediaries with buyers and agents serving the clients from the USA and Canada.

We are looking for anything new or different to share with the travel trade during these events including new products, launches, examples of innovation. Whether your product is targeting Fully Independent Travellers (FITs) to groups, luxury markets to MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), please get in touch with Francine on campaigns@cumbriatourism.org.

With national and international travel on hold whilst the country awaits the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, people across the UK can visit the Lake District, Cumbria from the comfort of their living rooms this weekend.

Viewers will be eagerly tuning into Channel 5 on Friday evening to watch Scottish comedian Susan Calman explore the best of Cumbria and the Lake District. Starting at Ullswater alongside her trusty campervan Helen, the presenter soon finds herself exploring everything the county has to offer, as well as delving deep into the landscape’s heritage and culture.

The National Park’s scenery plays a starring role, with Susan experiencing Ullswater from the deck of the 19th century ‘Lady of the Lake’ alongside Ullswater ‘Steamers’ skipper Graeme Connacher. Equally stunning views are offered from the panoramic viewing cabin of Joan – the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway’s new panoramic viewing carriage.

“It was fantastic to welcome Susan to the Lake District earlier in the autumn” says Rachel Bell, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Lake District Estates. “It’s been a year like no other but the desire to explore and experience the Cumbrian landscape is stronger than ever, and what better way than from the deck of a ‘Steamer’ and a traditional railway carriage? Both have been firm tourist favourites for hundreds of years and Friday’s programme highlights just some of the many experiences available for visitors to enjoy in the future when restrictions are lifted.”

Susan also takes a step back in time, exploring the grounds and castle at Muncaster – famous not only for their setting and history but also their ghostly connection. Alongside castle owner Peter Frost-Pennington she delves deep into the spooky history of Tom Skelton, the fool of Muncaster rumoured to still haunt its walls to this day.

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism Managing Director says “We know how much our visitors can’t wait to return to the Lake District, Cumbria, and the hospitality sector will welcome them with open arms once the time is right. In the meantime, it’s fantastic to see our county so well-represented onscreen.

 “As well as offering a scenic fix for those unable to visit in person the programme showcases the huge variety of locations and attractions available for visitors to explore later in the year. We’re sure that many will be inspired to get outside and enjoy somewhere new alongside old favourites once they’re able to travel safely and legally.”

Viewers can tune into Channel 5 at 8pm this Friday (15th January) to watch Susan Calman’s Grand Day Out. New and returning visitors can plan their trip, either to follow in Susan’s footsteps or forge their own path, by visiting www.visitlakedistrict.com.

The team at The Honister Slate Mine is using its nationally recognised status as one of Cumbria’s best-known attractions to encourage people to ditch major online retailers in favour of supporting local businesses this Christmas.

The attraction and working slate mine at Fleetwith Pike in the northern Lake District is working with several businesses across the National Park to raise awareness of how local support can help them make it through the winter, after a very challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The #Honisterbuylocalchallenge aims to encourage people to buy local this Christmas by showing them examples of just some of the great products and services on-offer in Cumbria, with the attraction’s campaign being supported on their social media channels through the use of a series of videos, in which businesses directly ask viewers to direct their Christmas shopping efforts locally, to support the retailers and attractions on their own doorsteps.

The attraction’s activities and events coordinator Prentice Wilkinson-Weir says, “We’ve seen a lot of calls being made by local organisations in recent weeks, urging residents to do whatever they can to support our brilliant local businesses as they consider how best to get through the traditionally tough winter season. As Honister is such a well-known business – not just locally, but nationally, we really wanted to use our position to add further weight to those calls.

“Living in Cumbria, we are all hugely fortunate to have such a great range of shops, restaurants and attractions nearby. But it’s also about other businesses that might fly under the radar, from electricians, plumbers and painters, to hairdressers. Everyone has really felt the pinch this year, so we’d like to see businesses of all types supported by the thousands of people who live here. Evening something as simple as purchasing a gift card is such a great help for businesses and every sale gives them that little bit more confidence that they will come out of this pandemic even stronger on the other side.

“In short, it’s never been more important for people to show their appreciation than it is now. Something as simple as buying Christmas gifts locally will play a crucial role in helping the Cumbrian economy to recover in the months and years ahead. So before you jump online, have a look locally first.”

Residents who buy locally this Christmas – from any local business, are being urged to share their shopping experience online by using the hashtag #Honisterbuylocalchallenge.

The first business to get onboard with Honister’s campaign was Alpacaly Ever After, which in 2021 is offering full-day treks with Alpacas in the Lake District mountains as a Christmas gift with a difference. Sally’s Cottages, Lakes Distillery and Windermere Lake Cruises are also getting involved in the campaign.

Prentice continues, “We’re also really excited to offer vouchers for a wide range of experiences on-offer here at Honister, from taking on the UK’s original classic Via Ferrata against the backdrop of the stunning Lake District mountains, or taking a walk among the clouds over our high-wire bridge, 2,000 feet above the valley floor. Thrill-seekers can also join us on an adventure deep into the mine through our underground tunnels and caverns on a Honister Mine Tour. All of our vouchers are valid for a whole year after purchase, so there’s plenty of time to use it too!”

Honister is open every day except December 24 & 25, and New Year’s Day. For further information about what’s on offer this Christmas, visit the website here, email activity@honister.com or call 017687 77230.

South Lakes adventure attraction Treetop Trek is donating 20% of all voucher sales to The Bendrigg Trust, amid concern that activity and adventure charities for the disabled and disadvantaged are suffering after ministers told schools not to take pupils on overnight residential visits.

The Trust specialises in adventure activities for disadvantaged people and those with physical & learning disabilities in Cumbria and will receive £5 from every Treetop Trek £25 voucher purchased between now and the end of the year.

As the team at the Brockhole-based attraction prepares to re-open on 19th December, Managing Director Mike Turner says he hopes the gesture will go some way towards helping the charity to prevent families who rely on their important facilities from missing-out.

Mike says, “Many outdoor residential centres and other similar charities are on their knees at the moment, after the Department for Education’s recent advice against domestic overnight educational visits. As that advice isn’t expected to be reviewed until February, we know that every little helps right now.”

Treetop Trek enjoys a strong relationship with The Bendrigg Trust, who helped them in an advisory role ahead of a £50,000 investment at their Brockhole based attraction, installing specialist breaking and hoisting equipment allowing wheelchair or restricted mobility users safe use of the triple zip wire.

Mike continues, “South Lakes MP Tim Farron is calling on the Government to provide emergency financial support for outdoor education centres, after nearly 3,000 jobs are thought to have already been lost at similar organisations in the last few months. Many people with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to access outdoor activities, so it’s crucial that we protect the services for those who do have the opportunity.

“It is essential that charities like The Bendrigg Trust maintain a strong and sustainable presence in the Lake District.  Not only so that they can continue to deliver their own fantastic experiences but equally, through partnership working, they help businesses like ours to better understand and manage accessibility at all Lake District attractions and experiences.  The accessibility training that the Bendrigg team provide us with has been hugely valuable and has now become embedded in our standard instructor training programme.”

Nick Liley, Principal of Bendrigg Trust says, “We are incredibly grateful to Treetop Trek for their generous support during what is a very difficult time for the outdoor sector. Although we have another challenging year ahead, having support like this gives me confidence that Bendrigg will thrive once more.”

For every £25 spent on Treetop Trek gift vouchers this December, £5 will be donated to the Bendrigg Trust to help it to continue its vital work. Vouchers make great Christmas gifts and also play an important part in helping local businesses recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. You can buy a voucher here.

Did you use lockdown to publish that book you always meant to write? The 2021 Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year is open for entries and the judges are looking for their next winner.

The competition celebrates and showcases the myriad of literature the Lake District inspires each year. Open to any book published in 2020 – set in or featuring Cumbria – the awards attract entries include authors, poets, historians and more following in the footsteps of Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and countless others whose work has helped put Cumbria on the literary map.

Now in its 37th year, the competition continues to go from strength to strength, with not even the Coronavirus pandemic halting proceedings. “2020 definitely gave us an extra challenge” says Sam Tollerson, awards organiser. “We had to hold the ceremony online for the first time ever! All being well, we’ll be able to meet the authors in person next year as we celebrate their achievements together.”

2020’s winner was The Lake District in 101 Maps and Infographics by David Felton, Evelyn Sinclair and Andrew Chapman, a unique and dazzling collection of facts and statistics shedding light on all aspects of the area’s history, culture and more. Special recognition was also given to local hotelier John Cunliffe’s memoir Slightly Perfect following his passing earlier this year.

Other recent winners have included Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park’s The Corpse Roads of Cumbria in 2019 and Phil Rigby’s photographic collection Portrait of Cumbria in 2018. Many entries also focus on the area’s worldwide reputation for adventure and the outdoors, with Lakeland legend Alfred Wainwright winning in 1985.

Joint 2020 winner David Felton said “Winning Lakeland Book of the Year in 2020 really helped drive interest in – and sales of – my book in what has been a tough year for Cumbrian retail and small independent businesses based in the county. The Lakeland Book of the Year event is always a highlight of the calendar for those of us with a passion for books, for Cumbria – and for both.”

The judges, who all have a background in writing and broadcasting, are:

  • Awards founder Hunter Davies OBE
  • Broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President, Eric Robson
  • Fiona Armstrong, Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries

The panel will read and shortlist entries before category winners and the overall Book of the Year are announced at a charity event in June, in support of the Stroke Association.

Authors and publishers can learn more about how to enter at www.lakelandbookoftheyear.co.uk or by contacting Cumbria Tourism at info@cumbriatourism.org. The deadline for entries is Friday 26th February 2021.

The Lakeland Book of the Year is generously supported by the Cumbria Community Foundation and the Hunter Davies Fund, which allow the continued celebration of the county’s literary prowess.

Cumbria Tourism provides administration and PR support to the Lakeland Book of the Year alongside external organisers and the judging panel.