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
  • 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:



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 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:

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.


Our national partners at VisitBritain have published details on the new National Lottery Days Out campaign, suitable for visitor attractions targeting domestic families and younger audiences.

It means £25 vouchers will be available to National Lottery Lotto players to redeem against a day out in the UK this autumn, backed by a national advertising campaign launching on primetime television in October.

Attractions must sign up to TXGB (a B2B platform connecting tourism suppliers and distributors) and VisitBritain Shop terms and conditions to take part. is a channel for TXGB, so it’s another great way to push ticket sales in the winter period.

For more information on this and other options for being bookable and selling on contact

What are the benefits?

  • Potential to boost sales and extend the season for your attraction
  • The £25 voucher value will be funded by the National Lottery and all the administration around this undertaken by the VisitBritain Shop
  • A promotional toolkit with campaign assets and messaging to support your marketing will be available
  • Opportunity to drive additional bookings by remaining on the VisitBritain Shop and TXGB distribution platform post the campaign
  • By connecting to TXGB, you will also have the opportunity to feature on a large number of partner channels, enabling you to easily reach more consumers and drive sales.  From TripAdvisor to over 70 destination websites and many unique campaigns, you can make your selections via a simple opt-in process

Who can take part?

UK-based attractions with paid admission fees are able to apply to take part.

You also need to:

  • Be bookable online (or be willing to be)
  • Have availability during the campaign period from October into early 2022
  • Agree to the TXGB and VisitBritain Shop terms and conditions
  • Be signed-up to the COVID-19 industry standard ‘We’re Good to Go’

 How do I get involved?

Express interest by emailing Once your application has been processed, the team will contact you so that you can load your product onto the VisitBritain Shop via the distribution platform TXGB.

Is there a cost?

There is no fee to be included in the campaign. You will need to agree to the TXGB and VisitBritain Shop terms and conditions, which include a booking fee of 2.5% and a commission rate of 15% on any sales generated.

Renowned food critic Grace Dent and farming personality James Rebanks are among the authors vying for the title of Lakeland Book of the Year 2021, with 18 books named in the prestigious award’s shortlist today.

Covering almost every genre and subject, from insights into infamous Cumbrian personalities (both past and present), explorations of the county’s capacity for outdoor recreation and brand-new thrilling fiction, this year’s shortlist has now been split into six categories by the judging panel. That includes author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE; broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson OBE DL; and BBC newscaster and author Fiona Armstrong.

The finalists will have a tense wait until 19 October for the winners to be announced at this year’s glittering charity event, held at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel near Penrith.

Alongside celebrating Cumbria’s vibrant literary heritage, the event will also raise awareness and funds for the Stroke Association and help them support those affected by strokes receive the care and support they need to rebuild their lives.

Jennifer Gardener, Associate Director for the North West at the Stroke Association, said: “Everyone at the Stroke Association would like to say a huge thank you for the money raised at this year’s Lakeland Book of the Year.

 “The Stroke Association is working tirelessly across the UK to support people to rebuild their lives after stroke. We believe that everyone deserves to live the best life they can after stroke.

From local support services and groups to online information and support, we are here for every stroke survivor.

 “However, our specialist support, research and campaigning are only possible with the generosity of our supporters like the Lakeland Book of the Year awards. Thank you again for your support and good luck to everyone who is shortlisted, we hope you have a fantastic day.”


The 2021 shortlist is:

The Zefirellis Prize for People & Business

A Lakeland Boyhood, David Clark

Hungry, Grace Dent

Made in Carlisle, Roger Bolton


The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

Boundary Songs, David Banning

Swimming Wild in the Lake District, Suzanna Cruickshank

The Fresh and the Salt, Ann Lingard


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscapes and Traditions

English Pastoral: An Inheritance, James Rebanks

The Stream Invites us to Follow, Dick Capel

Tommy’s Tyale, Tommy Coultard


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

Pooley New Bridge, Book of Memories, Various (edited by Sam Bunting)

Terry Abraham: Life On The Mountains, Terry Abraham

Through the Locking Glass, Various (compiled by David Felton and Evelyn Sinclair)


The Bookends Prize for Literature & Poetry

And, Like A Melody, It Flew Away, Stephen Matthews

Radical Wordsworth, Jonathan Bate

The Two Saras: Coleridge in Cumbria, Bethany Askew


The Gilpin Hotel and Lake Prize for Fiction

Dead Ringer, Nicola Martin

The Ghost of Gosswater, Lucy Strange

The Testimony of Sal Madge, John Little


As well as the six category winners, one of the above will also receive the ultimate accolade of ‘Lakeland Book of the Year 2021’.

The awards, one of the most prestigious of their kind outside London, are also kindly supported by The Cumbria Community Foundation Hunter Davies Fund.

Tickets to attend the in-person awards and charity event (in support of the Stroke Association) on 19 October are now available to purchase from for £30 per person. Attendees will be treated to a two-course meal alongside an afternoon of sparkling insights as the judging panel discuss the shortlist and present the coveted awards.



The Cumbria Tourism team are out in force at the Westmorland Show today and tomorrow (8 and 9 September 2021), to officially launch the latest stage of #theperfectplacetobe Recovery Marketing campaign aimed at supporting tourism businesses through the crucial autumn and winter months.

With a traditionally quieter time of year just around the corner, the county’s official Destination Marketing Organisation is forging ahead with a series of high-profile marketing activities to help build on the momentum for staycations and generate forward bookings for the rest of the year and beyond.

 Alongside partners Northern Print Distribution (NPD), a strong Cumbria Tourism presence at the Westmorland Show is a launchpad not only to speak directly to would-be visitors, but also to invite more businesses to join the latest phase of the campaign.  It’s a chance to talk to residents too, who have had the chance to rediscover what’s on their doorstep and highlight the money-saving MyCumbria card which offers discounts on a wide range of shopping, food and drink, and things to do throughout the county.

The next phase of #theperfectplacetobe will include a major focus on supporting local high streets between now and the run-up to Christmas, alongside an online Christmas Market featuring quintessentially Cumbrian products and experiences on Cumbria Tourism’s official destination website:

Promoting the return of large-scale events will also be a key priority for Cumbria Tourism in the coming weeks and the organisation is currently promoting a ‘Love Culture Fortnight’ (until 19 Sept), to tie with the national Heritage Open Days (10-19 Sept).  Other upcoming highlights include Carlisle’s City of Light (14 Oct-16 Oct), The Winter Droving (28-30 Oct) and Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival (6-14 Nov), alongside a series of winter markets and Christmas Fairs across Cumbria.

There will also be plenty of competitions to get people engaged, digital activity to promote special offers over the festive period and practical support to help businesses with targeted winter marketing. With Cumbria Tourism’s research underlining the importance of new experiences to would-be visitors, that includes a series of ‘experience’ workshops to help tourism operators make the most of these opportunities and a ‘Dark Skies’ accreditation scheme to help them promote overnight stargazing stays.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “The latest stage of #theperfectplacetobe is all about promoting the county as a safe and spacious place to rediscover, reconnect and recharge through the winter months, with the overall aim of extending the season and encouraging overnight stays.

 Many tourism businesses have had a positive summer, but we need to set this in the context of a pandemic which has already cost the Cumbrian visitor economy in excess of £2billion – alongside an ongoing recruitment challenge for the industry.  It’s vital that we maximise the momentum of summer staycations and continue to fight hard to support the tourism sector to inspire all-year-round bookings across the county.”

Cumbria Tourism’s Marketing Manager Sue Clarke adds, “We’re expecting another challenging winter ahead for businesses and our campaign is geared up to helping them secure as many forward bookings as possible, both for this year and well into 2022. We face stiff competition from other UK destinations, so it’s vital that we continue to be as proactive as possible to ensure the Lake District, Cumbria is the number one choice for visitors.”

Cumbria Tourism’s attendance at the Westmorland Show is just part of a renewed presence at face-to-face shows and events post-lockdown. The team has already been showcasing the county at the Great Yorkshire Show, the Royal Lancashire Show and the Cheshire Show in recent weeks, and there is a packed programme of trade shows lined up for autumn including: the British Tourism and Travel Show, UKInbound Convention, and the Group Leisure and Travel Show.

Cumbria Tourism is welcoming the return of England’s largest festival of history and culture this weekend, with dozens of free events taking place across the county as part of the annual ‘Heritage Open Days’ campaign.

It’s a chance to rediscover Cumbria. Between 10-19 September you can explore the wealth of arts, crafts, industry, and culture that have shaped and continue to influence our communities today.

 Established in 1994 this year’s Open Day programme includes various guided tours taking you behind the scenes of castles, churches, Turkish baths, a grand town hall and an immersive self-guided sound walk. From railway restoration projects to vintage recipes and a medieval festival at a corn mill there are opportunities a plenty to discover old industrial buildings that have been brought back to life with new purpose. Events are taking place right across the county from Carlisle and Barrow, to smaller communities such as Beetham, Backbarrow, Kirkby Stephen, Sedbergh and Waberthwaite.

Barrow Borough Councillor and lead member for wildlife and heritage Helen Wall says, “We are so pleased to be able to take part in Heritage Open Days with an event like this. It’s important the town is recognised for its history locally and nationally. Furness people love Barrow town hall and are always keen to come inside and have a look round when we are able to open it. There is no other town hall like it in Cumbria and visitors are always impressed. I never get tired of showing people the stunning banqueting room, drawing room, Queen’s Hall and impressive council chamber.”

Whilst in Barrow visitors to find out about the town’s changing high street via the immersive sound walk created by artist Dan Fox which can be downloaded via Historic England’s website from 10 September.

“Heritage Open Days shines a spotlight on the wonderfully varied history and culture of Cumbria” says Gill Haigh Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism. “Encouraging visitors to explore beyond the well-trodden paths is a key part of our tourism strategy and this festival provides many opportunities to do that. Across the county there are many arts exhibitions opening in September offering the chance to see contemporary work that draws on the area’s rich artistic heritage, vibrant communities and dramatic landscapes.”

 “The families, charities and volunteer bodies, all just temporary custodians, of Cumbria’s great houses, castles, gardens and cultural attractions, are always delighted to share the places and stories of the people who have shaped our cultural heritage” comments Jeanette Edgar, Cumbria’s Living Heritage. “Their resilience, creativity and openness continue to make them relevant to today’s visitors and make heritage attractions some of the most exciting and beautiful places in our county to visit. I hope when we say – heritage – people don’t always just think about the past – but join us in the present – to make the future.”

With so much going on Cumbria Tourism have picked some of the highlights from this month’s arts calendar to provide inspiration for your next cultural day out. Open studio and art trails not to miss this month include Eden Valley Artistic Network (4-19 Sep), Egremont on the Easel, the Green Door Art Trail (25-26 Sep). For a large group show under one roof head to the Lake Artists Society Annual Exhibition (18 Sep-21 Nov) at Rheged’s Gallery or for an intimate experience go see Mark Woods ‘Absorption’ at Cross Lane Projects (until 18 Sep). Enjoy a relaxed stroll along the Victorian Promenade at Grange over Sands and soak up the atmosphere at Prom Art (26 Sep) one of the largest outdoor art and crafts fairs in Cumbria, or explore the enduring legacy of artistic exchange between Britain and Japan in ‘House of the Setting Sun’ (until 10 Oct) at Blackwell House.

You can see Cumbria’s full Heritage Open Day listings here, and remember to book-ahead, directly with the organisers of each event before attending. For arts and culture events take a look at the what’s on listings on #LoveCultureFortnight


A series of new ‘Rail Trails’ have been unveiled by Cumbria Tourism to help inspire more people to get out of their cars and explore some of the county’s hidden coastal gems by train.

The eight downloadable Rail Trails all start and finish at a train station and feature an array of highlights along Cumbria’s west coast, including one of Wainwright’s lesser walked fells – Black Combe – which has some of the best long-distance views in the county.

Historic Roman forts, wide open sandy beaches, nature reserves bustling with rare wildlife and dramatic red sandstone cliffs are among the coastal features waiting to be explored.

All the routes are accessed from the Cumbrian Coastal line, with easy train connections through from Manchester, Lancaster and Carnforth.

 The aim is to open people’s eyes to the range of possibilities offered by train travel, giving them practical ideas and inspiration to incorporate more sustainable forms of transport into their travels around the county this autumn.

Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “Using the train is about more than just getting from A to B. It’s about enhancing the overall experience, helping people to kick back and relax while they soak up Cumbria’s glorious scenery and letting someone else take care of the driving, navigation and parking. It’s also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect our world-class landscape at the same time.

 “What’s more, these Rail Trails show how much there is to see and explore as soon as you step onto the train platform. Our visitor research clearly shows that walking, spending time near or on the water and exploring safe, quiet and captivating landscapes are some of the main reasons people visit our county. As 2021 is also Cumbria’s Year of the Coast, it’s the perfect time to download one of these new Rail Trails and explore our stunning coastline in all its autumnal glory!”

Visitors can access the Rail Trails at: More handy tips to help people get around by train is also available at:

The new Rail Trails have been supported by Cumbria’s Tactical Visitor Management Group, to help manage the flow of visitors around the county. Chaired by Cumbria Police, TVMG is a collaboration between a range of organisations including the county’s local authorities, the Lake District National Park, Cumbria Tourism, The National Trust, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria LEP and Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association.

The latest data from the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) reveals how important Cumbria Tourism’s #ThePerfectPlaceToBe campaign will be to help ensure a strong autumn and winter season, alongside its recruitment campaign seeking to lessen workforce issues harming the sector.


Despite domestic visitor numbers often hitting the headlines over the summer, there is much business still to make up as a result of lockdown and restrictions for the first part of the year and ongoing capacity issues due to subdued staffing levels. So far, for the year overall, 44% of tourism businesses in Cumbria report booking levels down, with a fifth significantly so.


Autumn and winter are ordinarily key times for international visits and group travel, which between them would usually make up to around 30% for many businesses. However, with many international travel restrictions remaining and a knock-on effect for group travel, it is even more vital that the staycation trend extends into the shoulder months to help top up much depleted cash flows and support businesses through the winter months.


Positively, businesses are reporting a continuing increase in new visitors (74% of those surveyed), as well as young couples (48%), and also longer stays (60%). There have also been increases in family groups. The DMO’s destination marketing campaign will focus on these groups, as well as traditional visitors, to inspire everyone with reasons to return and experience every corner of the county and its attractions in all seasons.


Commenting, Managing Director Gill Haigh said: “It’s been wonderful to see so many visitors enjoy a much-deserved break in the county, relaxing and rejuvenating after a very difficult year. It’s particularly pleasing to have seen so many new visitors, young people, couples, families and more choosing longer stays. We now need to build on this momentum and encourage them to return and enjoy all that beautiful Cumbria has to offer through the autumn and winter, and our campaign aims to do just that.”


Full details on the next stage of the #ThePerfectPlaceToBe campaign will be unveiled at the Westmorland Show (8th and 9th September), where the Cumbria Tourism team will be showcasing the county as a visitor destination, meeting business representatives and highlighting how locals can enjoy their county through the MyCumbria discount card scheme.


Recruitment the number one issue affecting businesses

The latest survey data also highlights the ongoing impact of the industry’s large-scale recruitment crisis, with recruitment issues identified as businesses’ primary concern (85% mention recruitment as a problem, with 66% of those surveyed naming it as a significant one). Post-Brexit immigration policy changes, coupled with the side effects of furlough and the ‘pingdemic’ have led to many employers struggling to attract staff, forcing reduced capacities, service and ultimately income.


On average, 14% of available roles are vacant (up to 50% for some businesses), with 86% reporting a lack of applicants for roles – a significant problem for almost three quarters of those surveyed. Over half cite the loss of European staff post-Brexit, with the issue compounded by others choosing not to return from furlough.


Cumbria Tourism is continuing its #ThePerfectPlaceToWork recruitment campaign, showcasing the diverse and rewarding employment opportunities available to those of all ages, backgrounds and experience. The organisation is also working closely with the industry on several campaigns designed to simplify transport logistics and other barriers unique to the county’s rural visitor economy, with a recruitment fair in Barrow (in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses, Inspira, LocaliQ and Jobcentre Plus) on the 29th September scheduled to help encourage residents to consider career opportunities within the Lake District National Park.


At a policy level the DMO is maintaining a constant lobbying presence as it calls for Government recognition of the crisis’ impact and support to mitigate business impact, including a recent meeting between industry representatives and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey MP. Cumbria Tourism also continues to update key institutions including the Bank of England on the sector’s challenges and priorities.


“It’s frustrating, after so much closure, to see businesses once again forced to limit opening hours and capacities due to a lack of staff” continues Gill Haigh. “In many ways there’s never been a better time to consider a career within the sector. Our survey shows that 81% of businesses have recently increased salaries, almost half are offering improved shift patterns and a third are providing staff accommodation and other benefits – all coming at a cost but necessary to compete in a very demanding labour market.”


“We and the industry are working hard to retain and recruit staff and offer brilliant careers in one of the best locations on earth. However, it’s clear that businesses can’t do this alone – we need effective and joined up Government support to make sure that come the 2022 season businesses are in a position to trade normally and to be able to offer their customers a world class service.”