Film and TV productions brought an estimated £1million into the Cumbrian economy in 2019. These latest figures have been unveiled ahead of the worldwide release of Dolittle starring Iron Man himself Robert Downer Junior and partially filmed in Cumbria.

The blockbuster takes on a much-loved classic, with the Marvel star appearing alongside the likes of Rami Malek, Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson and more. It hits cinema screens on 7 February, and alongside the family-friendly adventure, viewers will also be treated to glimpses of Kirkby Lonsdale, where parts of the filming took place in May 2018.

The new figures from Creative England highlight the attraction of Cumbria not only to visitors but also to location scouts seeking the perfect setting for their features. In 2019 alone TV viewers eagerly tuned into ITV’s Deep Water and the BBC’s The A Word, and 2020 promises even more with the release of big screen feature films including Peter Rabbit 2 and Supernova.

The value of film tourism cannot be underestimated. Scottish attractions have reported an increase in national and international interest due to the ‘Outlander Effect’, with fans of the Starz series inspired to follow in the show’s footsteps. Cumbria’s hospitality industry also receives direct benefits from hosting production crews in nearby hotels and restaurants, especially during quieter periods.


Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD, says “We love welcoming film and TV productions to Cumbria – our county is home to such a range of different landscapes and backdrops and with film crews bringing in over six figures of income to Cumbria last year they form an important part of the local economy.

“With so many programmes and films set throughout Cumbria there are plenty of ways for businesses to get involved in film tourism. Easy-to-digest information or guides available for those seeking out specific locations or themed activities during their stay can really personalise a fan’s visit to the county, helping them to stay longer and return to experience everything Cumbria has to offer.

“It was amazing to see Kirkby Lonsdale’s market square transformed for Dolittle – it felt like you were walking straight into the film! I can’t wait to pay a visit to my local cinema and see the finished product for myself.”


Dolittle will be available to watch at cinemas across Cumbria, including Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre, Zeffirellis in Ambleside, Keswick Alhambra, Workington Plaza, The Royalty Cinema in Bowness, Rheged and more.

To learn more about making the most of film tourism, or how to put your business forward for future filming opportunities, contact Cumbria Tourism at

We have unveiled four new Strategic Partners – a select group of influential tourism-related businesses who share the organisation’s core values and desire to significantly grow the value of the county’s £3billion visitor economy.

Stagecoach, Burnetts Solicitors, Grasmere Gingerbread® and are the latest businesses to sign up to this core network of organisations who want to get behind the industry and support Cumbria Tourism in its role as one of the UK’s leading Destination Management Organisations (DMOs).

All highly respected and regarded within the sector, the four new Strategic Partners will share their collective expertise and champion the delivery of effective destination marketing for the wider benefit of a visitor economy which supports 65,000 jobs across the county.

The news comes as all sixteen of Cumbria Tourism’s Strategic Partners met in Barrow recently to discuss the emerging five-year strategy for tourism across the county.

Rob Jones, Managing Director for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, says, “As a local business operating a long-established network of bus services across Cumbria and as a large employer, we are extremely passionate about the area and people that we serve and work with. Our transition from member to Strategic Partner allows us to further our support in promoting Cumbria as a world class destination and presents opportunities to work collaboratively to shape the future prosperity of the region and raise the importance of a sustainable transport future”.

Burnetts also joins Cumbria Tourism as a Strategic Partner for the next three years. Robbie Mather, Partner who heads the firm’s Leisure and Tourism department says, “Burnetts has a strong track record advising a diverse range of clients within the leisure and tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions, leisure operators, B&Bs and tourism membership groups.

 “We are extremely active at the moment on the commercial side, advising those looking to sell, acquire, restructure or refinance their business. An example being the recent sale of the Pheasant Inn, Bassenthwaite.

 “The work which Cumbria Tourism does for its members and the county is fabulous. As a firm we will be delighted to work alongside Cumbria Tourism as a Partner to support its members and to contribute towards making Cumbria an even greater destination for those visiting and living in the area.

Partner of Grasmere Gingerbread®, Joanne Hunter, comments, “We believe that Cumbria should have the very best corporate organisation representing the region as a whole. Grasmere Gingerbread® is world renowned but still only one component of a fantastic offering for visitors here in Cumbria and we believe it is vital to work together in the best interests of all, which is why we are proud to offer our expertise and support as new Strategic  Partners for Cumbria Tourism.”

 Meanwhile, Director of Growth at, Joby Mussell, adds: “We’re delighted to become a Strategic Partner of Cumbria Tourism, a demonstration of our commitment to support the local economy and help raise awareness of Cumbria as fantastic place to take a staycation and explore some of the finest landscapes the UK has to offer”.


The full list of our Strategic Partners now includes:

  • ABP (Associated British Ports) Barrow
  • Burnetts Solicitors
  • The Cumberland
  • Forestry England
  • Grasmere Gingerbread®
  • Inspired Energy Plc
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lake District National Park
  • Lamont Pridmore
  • NFU Mutual
  • Stagecoach
  • ThomsonHaytonWinkley
  • University of Cumbria
  • United Utilities (Cumbria Tourism patron)
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

National Geographic Traveller (UK) has revealed ‘The Cool List’ of twenty ‘must see’ destinations from around the world. Listed at number four, Cumbria is the only English region included and rubs shoulders with the likes of Namibia, Slovenia and Baja California in Mexico.

The hotly anticipated list of countries and cities is revealed in the latest issue of the renowned travel publication, which will be out on Thursday 6 February, and is a source of ideas and inspiration for people across the globe. National Geographic Traveller also says the Cool List reflects the growing appetite for responsible and authentic travel.

In a year marking 250 years since William Wordsworth’s birth, the poet’s home county is described “as magnetic as ever”, with the Cool List praising “England’s most spectacular corner”. Wordsworth’s anniversary year is further highlighted with the upcoming £6.2million investment in his former Grasmere home, Dove Cottage, and the adjacent Wordsworth Museum.

Cumbria is also singled out for “the UK’s most exciting trio of restaurants”: The Cottage in the Wood in Whinlatter Forest, Allium at Askham Hall and The Old Stamp House Restaurant in Ambleside, which all recently won their first Michelin stars.

From Cumbria and Cairo to Panama and Pakistan, we’ve scoured the globe for 2020’s most interesting destinations,” says Pat Riddell, Editor of National Geographic Traveller. “It’s a list that gives you plenty of inspiration close to home, as well as further afield, highlighting hiking trails, emerging culinary hubs, luxury lodges and landmark attractions.”

What an accolade!” adds Rachel Tyson, Head of Marketing and Partnerships at Cumbria Tourism. The news also comes just months after Lonely Planet listed Hadrian’s Wall as one of its top ten unmissable experiences, so it’s fantastic to see another globally renowned travel publication recognise the fantastic range and diversity of what our county has to offer.

 “Readers of National Geographic Traveller are widely known as independently-minded travellers, which chimes perfectly with our desire to inspire people about the many hidden gems and lesser known locations across the county.

 “The Cumbria Tourism team recently worked with the magazine to highlight Cumbria’s coastline and we’re thrilled that they are again reinforcing our reputation as a world-class destination.”


The Cool List 2020 includes:

  1. Namibia
  2. Baja California
  3. Lebanon
  4. Cumbria
  5. Slovenia
  6. Wales
  7. Panama
  8. Brisbane
  9. Salt Lake City
  10. Yerevan
  11. Lyon
  12. Ethiopia
  13. Cairo
  14. Los Angeles
  15. Puerto Rico
  16. Pakistan
  17. Galway
  18. Vietnam
  19. Tel Aviv
  20. Rio de Janeiro 

With VisitBritain pledging to increase the value of the country’s tourism to £35 billion by 2025, Cumbria Tourism is stepping up its efforts to promote the county and increase its reputation and popularity to international visitors.

Following its involvement with a successful trade mission to India earlier this month Cumbria Tourism have just returned from Britain and Ireland Marketplace (BIM) on 28th January, a one-day workshop connecting international tour operators and travel buyers with tourism products from across the UK and Ireland. With attendees including key decision-makers it is a fantastic opportunity to highlight Cumbria and the Lake District, particularly its less well-known regions, to operators looking to build new itineraries.

Next week, ambassadors from the county will be attending the UKinbound Annual Convention 2020 in Bristol from 5th February, attending debates and seminars on crafting a successful international marketing strategy before returning to the county to share their insights and help make Cumbria even more attractive to international travellers. The event will also provide the opportunity to build new relationships with the travel trade through B2B workshops.

Tourism business across the county are also being invited to get involved in attracting and welcoming overseas customers. Alongside VisitEngland, Cumbria Tourism is hosting a free workshop on 10th March at the Villa, Levens – Taking England to the World. Attendees will learn key skills on how to expand into international markets, advertise their unique selling points and how to best welcome and accommodate overseas. To learn more and reserve a free place visit

This increased focus on international visitors comes hot on the heels of the English Lake District India Forum’s attendance at the VisitBritain trade mission to Mumbai and Delhi. 13 local representatives from the newly created forum, coordinated by Cumbria Tourism, have been meeting and networking with more than 300 representatives from key travel and tour operators looking to expand their UK itineraries. 2019 (Jan-Sept) was a record-breaker for inbound Indian visitor visits and spend. Overall, there were a record 452,000 visits from India to the UK in those months in 2019, up 13% year on year. Those visitors spent a record £499 million, up 44% on January –September 2018 (International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics), and it is hoped that the mission will inspire operators to include the Lake District within their products.


India saw some strong results in 2019 so far, setting new records in both visits and spend for January to September.

Francine Bult, Sales and Marketing Executive at Cumbria Tourism, was part of the mission. She said “it was fantastic to be art of such a positive event and having so many Lake District businesses attending together really strengthened the area in the minds of the representatives we met. The Lake District has so much to offer travellers from India, and we’re confident that everyone who visits will find something they’ll fall in love with and remember forever.

 “Our region is highly accessible for travellers arriving into the UK through London, Scotland and the North West and even before the trip ended we were already hearing how they were planning to add the Lake District to their itineraries. Cumbria is a huge draw for Indian tourists looking for an authentic British experience and we look forward to welcoming our overseas guests very soon.”

 Inbound visitors to Cumbria spend on average of £150 more per party per trip than internal tourist (Cumbria Tourism Visitor Survey 2018) and a focus on new and developing overseas markets has the potential to increase the strength of the county’s visitor economy, without an exponential effect on overall footfall, especially if coupled with encouraging visitors to explore outside of the traditional areas.

Local residents and workers are set to receive a reward with a difference, thanks to a brand new partnership being unveiled today (Monday 20 January 2020) between Booths and Cumbria Tourism’s popular ‘MyCumbria’ scheme.

MyCumbria recognises the important role that residents play in supporting the county’s thriving tourism economy and has unveiled a new long-term residents’ offer from the renowned local retailer, which gives £3 off to shoppers when they spend £30 across any of eight specific Booths stores. That includes Penrith, Windermere, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kendal, Ulverston and Milnthorpe in Cumbria, alongside Carnforth in North Lancashire.

MyCumbria cards are produced by Cumbria Tourism and are available for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area. Booths now joins more than 250 unique residents’ offers for a wide range of pubs, cafes, restaurants, tourist attractions, retailers and transport providers throughout the county.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, Cumbria Tourism’s role is to support our £3billion visitor economy. The MyCumbria scheme is all about recognising and rewarding the people who live and work here too.  We are absolutely delighted that Booths are now offering this special deal, which shoppers won’t find anywhere else and is aimed at rewarding residents for the role they play in our local communities. As well as providing great savings for individuals, the card is also a practical way for residents to support local jobs and businesses.”

Regional Manager for Booths, Richard Ford, says ‘’With seven stores dotted around Cumbria, Booths is home to countless traditional specialties that have given the region its reputation for fantastic food and drink.

“Partnering with MyCumbria to reward local residents is a natural move for Booths as we’re committed to serving the local communities in which we operate. This is an exclusive offer which we hope will allow our customers to enjoy some of the very best food and drink the region has to offer whilst benefitting from a special discount they won’t be able to get elsewhere.”

To redeem the offer, the shopper should show their MyCumbria card along with a form of ID at the checkout.

The offer is not available to Booths colleagues or in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be redeemed against purchases of fuel, mobile top ups, gift cards, baby milk and any purchases from the kiosk (including tobacco, lottery and stamps). It cannot be used on a self-check-out or on Click & Collect pre-orders, and there is no cash alternative.

For more information about buying a MyCumbria card, contact: 01539 822222 /

Who will be the tourism trailblazers leading the way in the new decade? World-class businesses from across Cumbria’s £3billion tourism industry are being urged to showcase their stand-out success stories, with the launch of the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2020.

The search is now on to find out who’s setting the standard in a world-renowned visitor economy which supports 63,000 jobs across the county.  With a reputation as the ‘Oscars’ of the tourism sector, the Cumbria Tourism Awards give businesses the chance to highlight the achievements, talents and sheer diversity which make Cumbria’s visitor offer so hard to beat.

Tourism-related businesses have five weeks from today until 5pm on Monday 17 February to enter one or more of the 16 categories and share their successes from the last 12 months.  A wide range of tourism-related businesses are being encouraged to throw their hats in the ring, ranging from restaurants, guesthouses and B&Bs to self-catering accommodation, hotels, retailers and visitor attractions/experiences.

The finalists will be chosen by an independent panel of tourism experts and will have the chance to walk the red carpet at a VIP awards ceremony, taking place at Cartmel Racecourse on Wednesday 15 July. Eligible winners of certain categories will automatically feed up to the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2021, for the chance to gain national recognition.

One of the stand-out accolades on the night will be the Shelia Hensman Award for an ‘unsung hero’, where businesses have the chance to recognise the hard work and dedication of a talented individual who goes the extra mile to create a world-class visitor experience.

The full list of categories for the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2020 includes:

  • Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award
  • Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Christie & Co
  • Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Colliers International
  • B&B and Guest House of the Year sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
  • Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Out of Eden
  • Camping, Glamping & Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking
  • Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by H&H Reeds Printworks
  • Pub of the Year
  • Taste of Cumbria Award sponsored by The Cumberland
  • Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award
  • Experience of the Year sponsored by Carlisle and Lake District Airport
  • Makers and Producers Award
  • Wedding Venue of the Year
  • New Tourism Business Award sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley
  • The Sheila Hensman Unsung Hero Award

The judges will be looking for tourism businesses that demonstrate excellence and innovation across their products and services including: the visitor welcome, marketing, quality and sustainable / environmental practices.  Winning an award brings substantial benefits including raising a company’s profile, increasing customer confidence and potentially generating additional business.

One of the 2019 winners was Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park at Keswick. Owner David Jackson, said: “We were thrilled to win a Cumbria Tourism award, which we believe is a fabulous showcase for the tourism sector in our amazing county. Applying for the award gave us that additional motivation to keep us looking to improve on the service and product we offer, whilst recognising the hard work and dedication of our team here at Castlerigg Hall’.

Meanwhile, The Regent Hotel in Ambleside won Small Hotel of the Year 2019.

Owner Andrew Hewitt commented; “We’ve been here at Waterhead Bay for almost 40 years, and in that time we’ve witnessed so much growth and development in the tourism sector of the Cumbrian economy. The Cumbria Tourism Awards celebrate the best that our county has to offer and give us all a platform to showcase what we do best, so to be involved in something so prestigious was very exciting!”

 Full details about how to enter and the application forms, entry criteria and terms and conditions can be found at  Businesses do not need to be a member of Cumbria Tourism to apply.

 Cumbria Tourism is grateful to its sponsors for making the competition possible again this year.  They include: headline sponsor United Utilities alongside Carlisle Lake District Airport, Cartmel Racecourse, Christie & Co, Colliers International, The Cumberland, EWGA Wines, H&H Reeds Printworks, Lamont Pridmore, Lawson Design, Out of Eden, NatWest Commercial Banking, Shortridge and Thomson Hayton Winkley.

A group of Cumbrian tourism businesses are heading to two of India’s largest cities next week (13-16 January 2020), to help make the most of the UK’s growing appeal to visitors from one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The newly launched ‘English Lake District India Forum’ was recently set up by Cumbria Tourism to bring together businesses to collectively target the fast-growing Indian market.

A number of those businesses have now joined together to represent the county on an overseas trade mission.

Tour operators are increasingly co-ordinating visits to key UK locations such as London and Edinburgh, and the aim of the mission is to further raise awareness of our county and ensure the Lake District, Cumbria, becomes a firm fixture on those itineraries.

VisitBritain’s trade mission will be the first trip of its kind involving such a large Lake District contingent and will include a series of face-to-face meetings, workshops and networking events with around 300 influential Indian travel agents and tour operators.

The Cumbrian delegation of thirteen businesses will be part of forty from the UK who are making the trip to Mumbai & Delhi, which accounts for more than 40% of outbound tourism businesses from India to Britain.

The full list heading to the Indian sub-continent includes:

  • Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
  • Cumbria Tourism
  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
  • Grasmere Gingerbread®
  • Langdale Hotel
  • Lake District Country Hotels
  • Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
  • Mountain Goat Tours & Lindeth Howe Hotel
  • Pennington Hotels & Muncaster Castle
  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction™
  • Ullswater ‘Steamers’
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

Sales & Marketing Executive at Cumbria Tourism, Francine Bult, will be among those taking part in the Indian trade mission. She says, “India is a region of significant growth and offers some incredible opportunities to help grow our £3billion visitor economy, supporting all year-round tourism and dispersing people to all areas of the county.

“Cumbria Tourism’s renewed India-focus is a key international marketing priority and we are excited to be working with so many like-minded businesses to help forge even stronger links with overseas trade contacts and promote our region to potential visitors from the Indian sub-continent.”

The trade mission is just one part of a busy calendar of activity the English Lake District India Forum have planned for the coming months. Other upcoming plans include the release of a destination video for Indian travel trade, along with a series of targeted online developments and continued one to one meetings and networking sessions with top Indian travel contacts.

The winner of MasterChef 2019 has been confirmed as a special guest at the forthcoming Lakes Hospitality Show on 25 & 26 March 2020, where she will be creating special dishes made from nationally and internationally renowned local Cumbrian produce.

Irini Tzortzoglou hasn’t been wasting any time, having already highlighted local products including Kin Vodka, Hawkshead Relish, beverages from the Lakes Distillery, Claire’s Handmade and even Windermere Artisan ice cream as potential ingredients for her creations.

One of the region’s biggest trade events of 2020, the Lakes Hospitality Show is Cumbria’s longest-running show of its kind and is organised by The Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) alongside Cumbria Tourism.

Irini, who impressed MasterChef judges in early 2019 thanks to her ambitious cooking methods, says, “Coming from Crete, which is acknowledged by many as the European seat of eagerness to show hospitality – as well as a foodie island, I feel that I fit right in in Cumbria. It is a wonderful county which welcomes millions of visitors every year and its tourism industry has such a strong culinary focus.

“I have always considered myself extremely fortunate to have homes in two very different places, Cumbria and Crete, where nature is stunning, the people are warm and hospitable, and much time is taken by many to produce amazing culinary delights. This is my hope for this year’s LHA show where I will create dishes that I love using great, world-famous local produce.

“I was honoured to be asked to participate at the LHA show this year and I will very much enjoy bringing together the abundance of wonderful Cumbrian produce made by passionate artisans and elements of my culinary heritage, demonstrating what is possible with only a small amount of effort and time, along with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Cumbrian hotelier and Director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade, James Tasker, says, “We’re so pleased to announce Irini as one of our special guests, especially so soon after she brilliantly won such a prestigious TV cooking show. We’re delighted and have no doubt that Irini will come-up with some amazing ideas and we’re all very excited that she’s planning on using local produce to come up with what are sure to be extremely tasty creations!”

The 2020 event will celebrate the show’s 45th anniversary, at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre. Just a one minute drive from the M6 motorway, the show is not only one of the biggest in the north of England, but one of the most easily accessible.

More than 1,250 delegates from across Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and beyond were welcomed through the doors during last year’s two-day event, where the show hosted a record-breaking 136 stands for a wide range of hospitality businesses including tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment.

For 2020, even more exhibition stands have been made available, giving businesses from across Cumbria and the north of England the chance to showcase their products and services to hospitality industry businesses from all over Lancashire, Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool and the North East. The 2020 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show will also include the introduction of ‘Level 1’; 17 new stands created for smaller or start-up businesses, for just £225+vat for both days.

Also appearing at the Lakes Hospitality Show are wine expert Joe Wadsack, whose TV credentials include regular appearances on shows including Great Food Live, Saturday Kitchen, Ladette to Lady and Richard and Judy. A columnist for The Sunday Express, Joe also writes for magazines including ‘Waitrose Food Illustrated’, ‘Red’ and regular articles in the trade press. Joe also judges at various international wine competitions and acts as a consultant to numerous companies in the wine trade.

Meanwhile, Andrew Coy will bring his tales of his 50+ years working in the hospitality trade to the event, putting a focus on how to deliver the very best customer service. Andrew is Proprietor at Simply Banqueting and undertakes consultancy contracts in Private Houses, Villas, Hotels and Venues. Andrew also manages VIP areas at major events, acts as a mentor for young managers, leads courses for those undertaking customer service training; and also trains and develops butlers in both private and corporate service.

To find out more about exhibiting at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, visit: