Train travel for people who live and work in the county is set to become more affordable, thanks to a new long-term offer being launched by Cumbria Tourism’s popular ‘MyCumbria’ scheme.

MyCumbria has teamed up with train operator Northern to offer a third off off-peak day single or day return tickets for journeys on services within Cumbria, along with Silverdale, Carnforth and Lancaster. That covers rail travel between almost 50 train stations, including:

Cumbrian Coast line: Barrow-in-Furness – Carlisle
Furness line: Barrow-in-Furness – Lancaster
Lakes line: Oxenholme Lake District – Windermere
Settle & Carlisle line: Carlisle – Dent
Tyne Valley line: Carlisle – Brampton (Cumbria)
Lancaster – Oxenholme Lake District

MyCumbria cards are produced by Cumbria Tourism and are available for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area. There are already around 250 special offers available for MyCumbria card holders, including a wide range of places to eat and drink, things to do and shopping discounts on Northern train routes.

The new Northern offer is set to run for at least 12 months and also coincides with a wider travel marketing campaign being spearheaded by Cumbria Tourism and Northern to encourage more people to make use of the train to travel around the county.

This summer Northern launched its brand-new trains in Cumbria with the state-of-the-art services operating on the Cumbrian coast line and from Barrow and Windermere down to Manchester Airport. The trains, which have replaced Northern’s older stock, feature free customer Wi-Fi, air conditioning, at-seat charging and customer information screens; all of which means customers can not only save with this new offer – they can do so while travelling in more comfort than ever before.

Beatrice Hooson oversees the MyCumbria card scheme at Cumbria Tourism. She says,

“Living and working in a county like Cumbria, it’s easy to forget the vast range of attractions on our doorstep. MyCumbria is all about encouraging residents to explore different parts of the county and make the most of the world-class locations we sometimes take for granted. This latest rail offer is a great way to promote days out by rail to locals, by making it a little easier and more affordable to get around by train.”

 Mark Powles, Commercial Director at Northern, said: “Cumbria is a fantastic county with breath-taking scenery and wonderful towns and villages. We’re delighted to be working with Cumbria Tourism to showcase all that the county has to offer, with rail travel at a fraction of the usual price. And, of course, many journeys in Cumbria are now made on our brand new trains which have been serving our customers since the summer.”

 MyCumbria cards cost £20 for 12 months and are available online at www.cumbriatourism.org/shop/mycumbria-card/ or by contacting Cumbria Tourism on info@mycumbriacard.co.uk / 01539 822222.

 The new offer is applicable to one person per MyCumbria card and is valid on Northern services only (not TransPennine Express or Virgin Trains).  The discount applies at all times during weekends and Bank Holidays, as well as Monday to Friday on trains timed to depart from 9am onwards.

 Train tickets can be purchased prior to travel from ticket offices, online, mobile apps or ticket machines.

As the final countdown to Brexit continues, the organisation representing Cumbria’s tourism businesses says it’s more important than ever for businesses to contribute to vital research capturing the current successes and challenges facing the £3billion industry.

With the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit on 31 October still a very real possibility, Cumbria Tourism says the uncertainty around a wide range of Brexit-related issues is having a major impact. However, with other destinations nationally also vying for government attention, it needs first-hand evidence from tourism operators to continue making the county’s voice heard the highest level.

Cumbria Tourism carries out a ‘Tourism Business Health Check’ every six months to find out how the sector is performing, but never before have the responses been so useful for supporting the future direction of Cumbria’s visitor economy.

The organisation’s latest health check covering April-September 2019 is carried out in association with asset and wealth management specialists, Lamont Pridmore. It also includes new targeted questions around skills, staff retention and inclusivity – all hot topics as Brexit looms ever closer.

The survey gives people the chance to comment anonymously and although it only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, it provides rich data which Cumbria Tourism can use to help make the county’s case for future investment, strategy and business support, as well as informing key partners such as local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lake District National Park in their work on behalf of the sector.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “As we approach the great unknown of Brexit, there has never been a more important time to work together to gather up-to-date, accurate feedback from businesses. This survey is quick and easy to complete, and by taking part, businesses are helping us to continuously improve as a world-class visitor destination and sustain almost 65,000 full and part-time jobs across the county.

 “Just this week, we have seen the House of Lords’ Select Committee debating the importance of tourism to the rural economy.  It follows an earlier session at Westminster where I was invited to join a panel of experts giving evidence about the current and emerging issues faced by our industry. This is a prime example where we can use research gathered from businesses here in Cumbria and feed it directly into our lobbying work with national decision-makers.       

 “With the continued participation of businesses in this survey, we can keep up this type of pressure to strengthen not just the visitor economy, but Cumbria’s economy as a whole.”

 Chief Executive of Lamont Pridmore, Graham Lamont, says, “Cumbrian businesses are facing growing uncertainty around the implications of Brexit, regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal. Not knowing what lies ahead in terms of legislation, tariffs, supply chains and staffing makes it challenging for small business to plan and successfully mitigate against. 

“It is increasingly important that businesses complete Cumbria Tourism’s Business Performance Survey.  It will provide the team with a robust understanding of issues and present a firm evidence base from which to lobby for change and increased support for the county’s tourism industry.”

 Complete the survey here now.

With just over three weeks to go until Britain leaves the EU, Cumbria Tourism has secured more than £26,000 to help tourism businesses with last minute preparations for a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit.

The grant has been awarded by the Government’s Business Readiness Fund and will enable Cumbria’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) to tackle several key areas of concern for the county’s £3billion tourism industry.

A package of activity now being spearhead by Cumbria Tourism will include a large-scale Brexit event on Tuesday 29 October at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, Windermere. Any tourism-related business in the county can sign up for free, to access support and advice from a range of sector-specific experts on the day.

The event is based around research carried out by Cumbria Tourism, which highlights a number of key issues are causing particular anxiety for tourism and hospitality businesses.

That includes:

  • The recruitment and retention of migrant workers, as well as retaining and recruitment staff from both the UK and non-EU countries to ensure vacancies are filled.
  • Ensuring that European visitors continue to feel welcome and businesses can confidently advise them about travel arrangements.
  • Changes to financial and data protection arrangements.

Following the new funding, Cumbria Tourism will also be hosting two customer-service workshops for front-end staff, such as receptionists, concierges, and bar and restaurant staff.

All three events will be complemented with a practical advice guide for business, offering sector-specific tips and expert advice to overcome the challenges of a potential No Deal Brexit. Additional help and support will be communicated to tourism businesses through webinars, targeted newsletters, a new microsite, public relations and social media.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Our £3billion tourism industry faces a number of very specific challenges around Brexit and this new funding allows us to develop a range of practical events and resources to help businesses navigate through the uncertainty of the coming weeks.

“No-one knows for sure whether Brexit will take place on 31 October as the Government plans, and whether that will be with a formal EU agreement – or without one. With this continuing uncertainty, it is essential that businesses are as prepared as they can be for the different scenarios, so they can remain strong and competitive for the future.”

Cumbria Tourism’s recently appointed President Eric Robson recently named businesses’ growing concerns about current policy on migrant workers post-Brexit as one of his top priorities. He comments, “We know from past experience that Cumbria’s tourism businesses are resilient, but tackling Brexit-related concerns around labour supply, recruitment and skills are fundamental to the future success of our visitor economy.

 “Operators are already facing challenges around rising overhead costs and changing consumer habits, so Cumbria Tourism has a vital role to play in helping businesses make sense of the additional challenges – and opportunities – in the days ahead.”

Book Your Place

The Lake District’s reputation as one of the most mouth-watering foodie destinations in the UK has been given a welcome boost – thanks to three new Michelin stars announced last night.

Describing The Lake District as “a big winner”, the team behind the prestigious Michelin Guide gave three Cumbrian restaurants one star each:

  • Allium at Askham Hall, which judges say “makes great use of produce from its gardens and estate”
  • “Hidden gem”, The Cottage in the Wood at Braithwaite, near Keswick
  • “The sweet and intimate” Old Stamp House in Ambleside

In addition to the new one-star status announcements, stars have also been retained by:

  • Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Windermere (one star)
  • L’Enclume in Cartmel (two stars)
  • Rogan & Co in Cartmel (one star)
  • The Forest Side at Grasmere (one star)

That means seven restaurants now proudly enjoy membership of an exclusive club of Lake District eateries which all share the glowing seal of approval by the team behind the internationally-respected Michelin Great Britain & Ireland Stars for 2020 guide. The Dog and Gun in Skelton has also retained its Bib Gourmand status, named after Bibendum – the Michelin Man.

Michelin star restaurants lure gastronomes from all corners of the globe and are famed for offering the crème de la crème of eating and dining experiences – particularly with international visitors, with whom Cumbria is so popular.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “This is absolutely amazing news for the county. These latest announcements by the team at the Michelin Guide continue to demonstrate just how much choice our visitors and residents have when it comes to luxury dining, with Cumbria’s tally of stars almost doubling overnight. As such excellence in food and drink continues to rise from strength to strength, it further cements The Lake District, Cumbria’s well-earned reputation as being among the very best destinations for culinary excellence as well as for adventure, culture and relaxation.”

“We know it’s not easy running a restaurant to such continually high standards and the whole team at Cumbria Tourism send heartfelt congratulations to all our local winners who feature in the 2020 edition of the famed Michelin Guide.”

Food and drink is a key theme during Cumbria Tourism’s annual #theplacetobe campaign, cited as a prime motivator for visits. In the coming weeks, to celebrate the outstanding food and drink offering across the county, Cumbria Tourism will launch its annual Food and Drink Guide to further showcase even more of Cumbria’s finest restaurants, pubs and local producers. Essential reading for visitors coming to Cumbria, the Food and Drink Guide is distributed across the county as well as within a two and a half hour driving distance for those planning a visit.

Gill Haigh continued, “Cumbria isn’t just famous for the widest range of places to eat and drink, including our Michelin restaurants, but for original produce like Cumberland sausage, sticky toffee pudding, Herdwick Lamb, Kendal Mint Cake and Grasmere Gingerbread. Our new Food and Drink Guide is a staple publication for the millions of visitors coming to Cumbria each year and we’re proud to produce this latest guide with our members, especially so soon after this wonderful news from Michelin.”

The latest phase of our green travel campaign encouraging people to take more environmentally-friendly staycations by rail has prompted thousands more visitors to choose train travel – saving 1.3million miles in car journeys.

Over the six week campaign period, more than 8,000 people took advantage of Northern’s special 50% off ticket deal to travel to and along the Lakes Line alone. Once here it’s estimated these rail passengers generated around £1.1million in revenue for tourism-related businesses.

Visitors were prompted to choose train travel following our six week burst of high-profile marketing activity, with Carlisle, Morecambe Bay, Cumbria’s west coast and the Central Lakes among the accessible car-free destinations highlighted.

Overall, the campaign has reached 30 million people so far. Highlights include  achieving almost 1.5millon playthroughs of our new high-impact videos on ITV On Demand, YouTube and other online channels.

At the same time, there has been inspirational big screen advertising promoting the Lake District, Cumbria at some of the country’s busiest commuter hubs, such as London Euston, Manchester Airport and Liverpool Line Street. The region also featured on a huge 12 metre wide ‘digi-bridge’ across the Mancunian Way – one of the North West’s busiest car commuter routes.

The key aim was to help restore visitor confidence in rail travel, following the highly-publicised disruption to train services over the past 18 months.

Our Head of Marketing and Partnerships, Rachel Tyson, says, “The reaction to our green travel campaign so far has been phenomenal. People have been actively engaging with the online content and crucially, more visitors are choosing car-free staycations in the Lake District, Cumbria.

 “However, we know that there are still many misconceptions out there about travelling by train and we are now getting stuck into the third phase of the campaign to continue drumming home positive travel messages, practical ideas and inspiration…”

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport says, “I am delighted that Cumbria Tourism’s green travel campaign to encourage visitors to come to our beautiful county is proving to be successful. Last year’s rail disruption had a severe impact on Cumbrian commuters and businesses, and we worked hard to secure funding from Transport for the North for a marketing campaign to help show that the Lake District, Cumbria is open and easy to access by public transport.

Cumbria is a year round tourist destination and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to see visitors making use of green travel options and exploring our many attractions as we move into the autumn and winter months.”

Phase three of the travel campaign will get underway this Autumn, with the Cumbria Tourism team continuing to drum home positive travel messages, practical content and inspiration.

Cumbria Tourism’s newly confirmed President has revealed his priorities for the coming months, with businesses’ growing concerns about the Government’s policy on migrant workers at the top of the list.

Renowned broadcaster and author Eric Robson was recently appointed as President, after Lord Inglewood stood down from the honorary role after 15 years. He has now set out his key areas of focus, with Brexit-related issues around labour supply, recruitment and skills among the key issues he intends to highlight to broadcasting and political contacts both regionally and nationally.

This reflects the issues raised by business in Cumbria Tourism’s most recent Business Performance Surveys, including fears that the proposed £30,000 skills cap will compromise the growth of Cumbria’s £3billion tourism sector and destabilise the county’s economy as a whole.

Eric says, “Critical discussions regarding access to labour, recruitment and skills are at the forefront of my mind, particularly in light of the ongoing machinations around Brexit. I am deeply concerned by Government recommendations that appear to make it harder for ‘low skill’ EU nationals to enter and support our tourism sector.

 European workers are an important asset in Cumbria and there is widespread anxiety about the impact this will have on tourism businesses which are already facing challenges around rising overhead costs and ever-changing consumer habits around the way people spend their money.”

 Among other top priorities for Eric is the wider-ranging issue of transport and infrastructure, both to and within the county.

He adds, “I want to ensure we keep up the pressure on rail companies to deliver reliable, consistent services. Upping their game on the Cumbrian Coast line is also a must.

 “I also have a personal passion for increasing and improving a range of cycling and walking routes, including plans to re-open the Carlisle-Waverley Viaduct as a route which links both sides of the River Eden in Carlisle.  I will certainly be advocating the upgrading of the C2C to a National Trail and I am also firmly behind Cumbria Tourism’s efforts to work with Barrow Port to bring more smaller expedition cruise ships to the county.”

New programme to showcase the county kicks off with major event in Germany  

We will be helping to showcase the county at one of the international cruise industry’s leading events in Germany next week, as a busy autumn of large-scale trade events gets underway.

 Working alongside Associated British Ports (ABP) Barrow, Cumbria Tourism staff will be attending Seatrade Europe in Hamburg next week (Wednesday 11- Friday 13 September 2019) to help stimulate awareness of Barrow as a visitor gateway to the county as a whole.

It’s hoped that securing further cruise ships into Barrow would have major knock on benefits for tourism by attracting higher-spending visitors not only to the Furness Peninsula, but also to the West Coast, the Lake District and beyond.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, the Cumbria Tourism team will be highlighting the accessibility of ‘hidden gems’ to cruise ship operators, who will be planning itineraries for their passengers during potential stop-offs at Barrow over the next couple of years.

Seatrade Europe is just the start of a packed calendar of events over the coming weeks, with Cumbria Tourism also heading to VisitBritain’s annual International Business Exchange (better known as ‘VIBE’). Then it’s the Group Travel and Leisure Show, where Cumbria Tourism will be representing tourism businesses in partnership with Northern Print Distribution (NPD).

That’s followed by World Travel Market in early November – a huge three-day event at ExCeL London, which brings together almost 5,000 exhibiting companies and more than 51,000 visitors including both domestic and group travel operators.

The events are opportunities to forge one-to-one relationships on behalf of local tourism businesses and put our region at the forefront of their minds. As well as promoting the county, Cumbria Tourism will be gathering information about the latest travel trends and market insights from a range of global tourism specialists.

It also comes hot on the heels of Cumbria Tourism launching the ‘English Lake District India Forum’ this summer. The organisation has also hosted a series of VIP overseas visits, with more than fifty top travel tour operators, travel agents and influencers visiting the county so far this year.

Sales and Marketing Manager at Cumbria Tourism, Sue Clarke says, “We rounded off a summer of large-scale visitor events at the prestigious Chatsworth Country Fair last week, where we promoted the Lake District, Cumbria, as a ‘must see’ destination. The focus over the Autumn will now be on the travel trade and strengthening our relationships with influential contacts both in the UK and overseas.

 She adds, “This activity is vital for stimulating the future growth and prosperity of Cumbria’s tourism sector. Working with one of our ‘Strategic Partners’ ABP Barrow to raise the profile of the town as a cruise destination is just one small part of the work we are doing to actively engage with decision-makers who could help futureproof our £3billion tourism industry in challenging times.”

Divisional Port Manager at Associated British Ports, Carl Bevan, says, “Seatrade is a hugely important industry event. Cumbria Tourism and ABP working together as Strategic Partners, need to showcase Cumbria and get in front of the decision makers so that we can influence itineraries. There is strong growth expected for the round the UK cruise market in future years and the Port of Barrow is a great entry point for the west of the region as well as the National Park. This is a great opportunity to market the region and support the plan to bring more cruise ships into Barrow.”

As more people choose to bring their dogs with them while taking a break in Cumbria,we have published our latest guide to help owners plan a relaxing getaway with their faithful friends.

Our most recent Visitor Survey found that more and more people are enquiring about friendly breaks for them and their canine companions, prompting the organisation to help dog owners make their planning as easy as possible.

The research found that 15% of day-visitors to Cumbria brought a dog or dogs with them, rising to 17% for staying visitors. That figure increased to 20% for those visiting The Lake District National Park, with a further rise to a huge 25% for visitors to Allerdale specifically – no surprise, given Keswick’s status as Cumbria’s most dog-friendly town.

Tourism in Cumbria generated £3 billion for the county’s economy last year, boosted by the recent World Heritage Site status being awarded to The Lake District by UNESCO.

The handy Dogs Love Cumbria guide is completely dedicated to The Lake District, Cumbria’s dog-friendly accommodation and attractions.

 

Here are our top five picks to help visitors and their dogs enjoy their next memorable trip, here in what we like to call “The Canine Capital” of the UK:

Attractions welcome hounds to their grounds: Historic buildings and gardens including Lowther Castle, Holker Hall and Fell Foot Park – just to name a few, all welcome dogs. Indoors, a warm welcome awaits them at the Lakeland Motor Museum, where they – along with their awe-inspired owners, can gaze at the collection of more than 3,000 vehicles and artefacts. From road to rail, dogs are also welcome on the Ravenglass & Eskdale and Lakeside & Haverthwaite railways. In addition, dogs are welcome onboard at Ullswater ‘Steamers’ and Windermere Lake Cruises, as well as at the Coniston Boating Centre. Walking routes are also available for dogs when they disem”bark”.

100+ miles of coastline to enjoy: Dogs are welcome* along more than 100 miles of the Cumbrian coast, which boasts 29 beaches. Our top pick is Silecroft beach, where there are no seasonal dog restrictions in place; and where sand & shingle stretch as far as the eye can see.

Dog-friendly accommodation: Visitors who want to bring their dogs along for a break certainly aren’t short of options when it comes to searching for dog-friendly accommodation. From hotels to hobbit holes, to self-catering cottages and camping pitches, dogs are warmly welcomed right across The Lake District, Cumbria. Just check before you book.

Time to explore the fells and forests: Walla Crag and the Great Wood near Keswick is highly recommended for visitors and their dogs, with an unforgettable view of Derwent Water for those who complete the five-mile route. For those pets who fancy a little less climbing and a bit more exploring, Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests are also both a must-see, boasting several waymarked trail routes. Catbells is another popular choice.

Keswick: Cumbria’s most ‘Dog Friendly’ Town: While dogs are widely welcomed across the county as a whole, dog owners may want to specifically drop in at Keswick – a previous winner of the UK’s ‘Dog-Friendly Town’ category in The Kennel Club’s ‘Open for Dogs’ awards. In addition, dogs are welcome in pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels county-wide; many of which feature dedicated spaces, rooms and eating areas for your companion.

Further details of attractions and locations which welcome dogs and their owners are in the Dogs Love Cumbria guide, which is available from the county’s dog clubs, vets’ surgeries, dog-friendly attractions and food & drink outlets.

You can also download a copy here.

Cumbria Tourism is welcoming a project at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) to create a warm welcome and lasting impression of the North West, for both visiting passengers and those returning home.

The project has been delivered in partnership with Cumbria Tourism and other regional destination marketing organisations, having recognised that LJLA is used more and more as a gateway airport not just for passengers travelling to Liverpool city, but also for surrounding areas including Cumbria.

Walls along the Airport’s international arrivals walkways and inside the baggage reclaim area have been dressed to display imagery that celebrates the diverse array of attractions both for visitors and returning passengers.

Showcasing a mix of arts, science, history, sports, music, food and fashion from across the North West, every location highlighted is easily accessible from Liverpool Airport.

The project is seen as the first phase of a larger scheme to enhance the arrivals experience for passengers and create a great welcome to both the airport and to the regions it serves.

Katie Elliott, LJLA’s head of Marketing commented, “We are delighted to have been able to work in collaboration with the North West of England Tourism Partners to create a sense of place for international passengers arriving into Liverpool for the first time, whilst at the same time evoking a sense of pride amongst those passengers returning home to their city.

“This has been achieved using Inspirational imagery for a multitude of genres which best represent Liverpool, the City Region, Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester”.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, says, “We’re thrilled to see Cumbria showcased in this eye-catching way for new arrivals at the airport. The branding really gives a tremendous sense of place to passengers upon arrival, as well as serving as a reminder to them to come back and enjoy the Lake District and wider county again in the future! The North West boasts a huge regional visitor offering and we’re very proud to have worked alongside other Destination Management Organisations to promote that fact.”