Cumbria Tourism is giving amateur photographers the chance to have their work grace the cover of the forthcoming Lake District, Cumbria Holiday Guide 2020 – which will be seen by more than 120,000 people in-print – as well as thousands more online.

Entries must be original images which capture the spirit and beauty of Cumbria, to help promote the county and the National Park to audiences right across the UK and beyond. The guide will be produced and distributed by Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation.

If you have taken a photograph that’s worthy of being seen by the world, send it in to Cumbria Tourism with details of why The Lake District, Cumbria is #theplacetobe for you. The winning image will be printed on the front cover of the glossy A4 guide, as well as online at

Whether it’s a tranquil shot from a lake shore, something that captures the beauty of our coastline or a stunning image from the top of a mountain, our judges can’t wait to see this year’s entries.

Last year’s winner, Ben Hutchinson, submitted a photo of Ashness Jetty on the shore of Derwentwater. Ben says, “I was thrilled and honoured to be featured on the cover of the guide. My Grandad who was evacuated to the Lake District during the war and gave me the knowledge of the lakes had a massive smile on his face when I gave him the news. The cover looks great. I love it!”

With beautiful shots of Buttermere and Honister Pass also winning the contest in recent years, the bar has been set very high – and the clock is ticking as the deadline for entries is just over three weeks away.

Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Rachel Tyson, says, “We welcome entries from all over the world and choosing the winner is always quite a challenge as the quality of the entries is always so high. It can be a photo you’ve taken yourself, or if you’ve seen an exceptional photo by someone you know, why not encourage them to send it in to us?”

You can enter here, before 1 September, 2019 – where you can also find the full terms and conditions. You can also email entries to along with the following information:

  • Where your image was taken.
  • Why is Cumbria #theplacetobe? Let us know why the image means so much to you and why you think it deserves to be on the front cover of the 2020 holiday guide.
  • Your name, email address, location & age.

 Cumbria Tourism has been given the go-ahead to offer 480 hours of free 1-2-1 business support to help businesses grow and innovate, thanks to the Cumbria Growth Catalyst programme.

An initial phase of funding earlier this year has already seen specialist Cumbria Tourism staff provide an array of personalised business support sessions across the county, from St Bees and Carlisle to Windermere, Walney Island and Penrith. This has included advice on business development, marketing, PR, accommodation quality and digital/website reviews.

Cumbria Growth Catalyst is delivered through Cumbria Business Growth Hub™ on behalf of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Now, Cumbria Tourism has been given the green light to deliver an additional 160 three-hour ‘diagnostic’ sessions with tourism businesses between now and March 2020.

The aim is to help Cumbria’s small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to strengthen their business. To be eligible, they must have been trading for more than three years and their primary focus must be working directly with consumers.

Cumbria Growth Catalyst is also enabling Cumbria Tourism to provide a series of ‘scale ups’ over the next nine months, giving 16 eligible tourism businesses up to 12 hours of additional intensive support sessions.  To qualify, businesses that meet the standard criteria must also have at least 5 employees, an annual turnover of £250,000 and the aspiration to grow their turnover by 50% in the next 3 years.

Finally, the programme means that Cumbria Tourism can offer FREE places for eligible businesses on nine workshops, with subjects spanning everything from social media and award-writing to customer service training and attracting international visitors.  Most of the workshops will be facilitated by the organisation’s in-house experts.

Cumbria Tourism’s Business Development Manager, Sarah Davies, says, “Cumbria Growth Catalyst programme is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to tap into the expertise of our advisors completely free of charge. Every personalised advice session will result in a follow-up report and practical suggestions to help them develop them business, so it is a really worthwhile exercise and gives them invaluable access to help develop constructive leads, knowledge and ideas for the future.”

Storrs Hall in Bowness is one of the businesses to benefit from the first phase of the programme. Marketing Manager, Amanda Shaw, comments, “Through the Cumbria Growth Catalyst scheme we worked with Cumbria Tourism to identify new and expanding markets. As a result of that research we are already seeing new bookings from India. Working with the team, we identified opportunities to enhance our online presence, which we are sure will help increase direct bookings.  Getting an independent perspective on our business from qualified advisors has been very useful and has definitely highlighted opportunities for growth.”


To apply, or to check if your business meets the qualifying criteria, please contact Beatrice Hooson at Cumbria Tourism: / 01539 822222.

Cumbria Tourism has today selected respected tourism leader Jim Walker as its new Chairman, following news that long-term Chairman Eric Robson has stepped into the honorary role of President.

The county’s official Destination Management Organisation confirmed the appointment at today’s meeting of its Executive Board in Staveley. Board members also elected the Langdale Hotel and Spa’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Dan Visser, as the organisation’s new Vice Chairman.

Between them they have more than six decades of experience working in Cumbria’s £3billion hospitality and tourism sector.

Appleby-based Jim Walker has a breadth of senior management experience in a range of public and private sector roles, with former jobs including Chief Executive of Lake District Estates and Head of Cultural & Tourism Services at South Lakeland District Council. A fellow of the Tourism Society, he is already Chairman of Eden Tourism Network and the North Lakes China Forum.

Jim has also been an enthusiastic supporter of Cumbria Tourism for many years, including a stint as the organisation’s Interim Managing Director in 2017.

He comments, “To be asked to Chair the Executive Board of the lead organisation for Cumbria’s visitor economy – which currently provides one in every 5 jobs in the county – is a great privilege and one which I’m very much looking forward to. Cumbria Tourism’s Board is committed to serving our 2,500 private and public sector members and working closely with our partners to overcome key challenges like Brexit and capitalise on the many opportunities which lie ahead – not least the upcoming Tourism Sector Deal.”

Dan Visser has lived in the Lakes for more than two decades, working in a range of hospitality marketing roles.

He has been with the Langdale Hotel for the past eleven years and is a key part of the Marketing Group for the English Lake District World Heritage Site.

Dan says, “I’m looking forward to taking up this new role and helping to support our £3billion tourism sector in competitive times. I’ve enjoyed being an active Board member and will continue to fly the flag for our industry, working with partners across the private and public sectors to identify new opportunities and ensure we do the best we possibly can for our county.”

Today was also the first meeting for Cumbria Tourism’s newly elected Non-Executive Directors, who will each offer specialist knowledge and expertise to the organisation.

They are: Carl Bevan, Associated British Ports (professional services or supply chain for the tourism industry), Justin Farnan, Lake District Calvert Trust (public relations and communications) and Mike Turner, Treetop Trek (small tourism business operation).


A full list of Executive Board members is available HERE.

Cumbria’s rich and varied heritage has been celebrated at the 35th Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, with the announcement of Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park’s The Corpse Roads of Cumbria as the 2019 winner. The award – one of the most prestigious of its kind outside London – was presented today (Tuesday 16th July 2019) by the judges at a charity luncheon at Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel.


Alan and Lesley, who also received the Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation at the event, bring to life a fascinating part of the county’s history. Corpse roads, the paths trodden by those transporting the dead across the countryside to their place of burial, still leave their mark upon the landscape today but Alan’s book brings them, and the stories they tell vividly to life.

Chosen from almost 60 entries, all set in or featuring Cumbria and published in the last year, Alan and Lesley’s book was celebrated alongside five other category winners at the luncheon, this year supporting local mental health charity Growing Well.

The judges, author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE, renowned broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson and BBC newscaster, presenter and author Fiona Armstrong, entertained almost 150 guests with their thoughts on the finalists before announcing the winners.

Following the announcement, Alan Cleaver said, “It’s absolutely fantastic to win such an esteemed prize, especially given the high calibre of the competition. It’s been an amazing celebration here today and winning really is the icing on the cake.”

Lesley Park added “We’d like to thank all of the judges and sponsors who help make these awards happen every year, there’s such a variety of topics showcased here and it’s truly fantastic to see them all recognised by a prestigious and long-running event – we can’t believe we won!”

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD, commented: “Cumbria Tourism is delighted to be a long-term supporter of the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, which every year showcase the full range and quality of writing inspired by our fantastic county. I am always impressed by the talent and dedication of all those who enter, and I never fail to learn something new! Alan’s book is a worthy winner and I can’t wait to take my family on some new adventures exploring Cumbria’s corpse roads and discovering more about their unique and fascinating history.”


The Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019

The Corpse Roads of Cumbria by Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park


Category Winners

The Bookends Prize for Literature and Poetry

This Place I Know: An Anthology of Cumbrian Poetry edited by Kerry Darbishire, Kim Moore and Liz Nutall


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

The Corpse Roads of Cumbria by Alan Cleaver and Lesley Park


The Zeffirellis Prize for People and Business

Bruffam: Henry, First Lord Brougham & Vaux 1778-1868 by David Crackenthorpe and Gin, Cake and Rucksacks by Beth Pipe and Karen Guttridge


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition

The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England by Graham Robb


The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House Prize for Fiction

Morph by Dr Jill Clough


The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

The Little Book of Cumbria by David Ramshaw


Cumbria Tourism provides administration and PR support to the Lakeland Book of the Year, which is organised by a team of external organisers and judges.


The much-appreciated partnership with James Cropper plc, based in Kendal, continued for this year’s awards. The association is particularly appropriate, as virtually all hard-backed books published in the UK are bound using paper produced by James Cropper here in Cumbria. In addition to financial assistance, James Cropper provided professional advice and, of course, all printed material required for the event was produced on their paper.

The Government’s announcement of a new Tourism Sector Deal is a real game-changer, according to Cumbria Tourism.

The county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) says Cumbria can now go ahead and bid to become a ‘Tourism Zone’ – potentially unlocking major investment and strategic policy support for the county’s tourism industry.

An official Tourism Sector Deal puts tourism at the top of the Government’s national policy agenda, with the ambition of driving economic growth and increasing productivity. A select number of newly-created ‘Tourism Zones’ across the country will also play a vital part in helping to improve skills and connectivity, as well as aiming to enhance the visitor experience and helping to extend the annual tourism season.

A competitive process will begin shortly to choose which destinations become ‘Tourism Zones’. There is already a joined-up, county-wide approach being developed by Cumbria Tourism, Cumbria County Council, the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and the Lake District National Park to secure the new status.

The news comes less than a day after Cumbria Tourism welcomed high-level speakers from both the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and VisitBritain to its Annual General Meeting (AGM) near Penrith. Last night also saw a special networking event for the keynote speakers with key partners and leading tourism operators.

 Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says,Make no mistake, this is a real game-changer. With tourism now worth £3billion to Cumbria’s economy, we have been lobbying vigorously for an official tourism Sector Deal for the past 18 months and firmly believe that Cumbria is the right location for a new Tourism Zone.

 “The Sector Deal focus is about increasing productivity, which fits perfectly with Cumbria Tourism’s existing strategy to grow the value of tourism through higher-spending visitors and to market the county as an all year round destination. It also complements our ongoing ‘attract and disperse’ policy, which draws on the strength of the Lake District brand to attract staying visitors who want to discover and explore the wider county.

 “Being a Tourism Zone would open up great opportunities to further develop the value of Cumbria’s tourism industry, as well as helping us to tackle some of the challenges businesses are facing – not least around skills and labour supply, travel and transport, housing and digital connectivity. Our focus now is working collaboratively with partners to put forward Cumbria’s case and to keep up the pressure on key national decision-makers.”

Nigel Wilkinson, Chair of Cumbria LEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel comments, “We very much welcome the announcement of the Tourism Sector Deal, which will support Cumbria LEP (CLEP) and our partners to deliver the growth ambition that we have outlined in our Local Industrial Strategy. We attract 47 million visits per year and are committed to growing the economic benefits from our tourism sector and extending the visitor experience to all parts of Cumbria, as we have an excellent offer in place. We particularly welcome the Tourism Zone pilots and believe that Cumbria is ideally placed to become one, given our recent growth and exceptional visitor offer.”

 Councillor David Southward, from Cumbria County Council, says, “We all recognise the value of the tourism sector to the Cumbrian economy.  A thriving visitor economy supports and underpins thriving communities and we therefore welcome the Government’s announcement on the Tourism Sector Deal.  We look forward to working with local partners in the development of proposals for a Tourism Zone.”

Steve Ratcliffe the Lake District National Park’s Director of Sustainable Development adds,Given the importance of the visitor economy to the Lake District and Cumbria we are delighted by the Sector Deal announcement. The Lake District National Park is a Park for all and we’ll continue to work towards ensuring it is accessible and that visitors can move around this UNESCO World Heritage Site sustainably. We are already committed to working with Cumbria Tourism, the Cumbria LEP and other partners in bidding for a Tourism Zone to cover the Lake District and Cumbria.”

The Family Business Network is the latest organisation to move into what is fast becoming a thriving hub of businesses at Cumbria Tourism’s headquarters.

As well as being home to the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, the building in Staveley is already a permanent base for long-term tenants Land & Lakes and Lambert Smith Hampton. The Family Business Network now joins two other recent additions: wealth management business Raymond James and placemaking, destination marketing and business development specialist Tapir Ltd.

There is also room for further expansion, with a newly converted 600 sq ft (56 sq m) office space currently available for lease and offering desk space for up to 10 people.

The Family Business Network, founded by Sue Howorth, represents a large and growing community of family businesses, which began in Cumbria in 2014 and now covers Yorkshire, Lancashire and Lincolnshire.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It’s a pleasure to be welcoming another leading organisation like the Family Business Network to our impressive and contemporary Staveley HQ. Not only does having a variety of businesses in the building help generate a real buzz and sense of community, but it is also great to be working alongside complementary businesses which all share a common goal of working towards a stronger, more forward-looking Cumbrian economy.”

Founder of the Family Business Network Sue Howorth, add, “The move to a new office space within Cumbria Tourism has given us a rather exciting start to what promises to be a very busy new year for The Family Business Network. The location is perfect for us with its proximity to the M6 and a big advantage of the new premises is the ability to use the internal Conference room. Many of the businesses that we work alongside are already familiar with the building and it offers pleasant surroundings for hosting meetings and events”.

Social media analytics reveal that #cumbriaday reached an estimated 16.5 million people on Twitter in less than 48 hours.

Figures calculated by Cumbria Tourism confirm a spike of online activity centred around #cumbriaday. It coincided with the county’s six MPs inviting 15 Cumbrian businesses to showcase the very best of Cumbrian produce to Lords, MPs, parliamentary staff and even the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, in the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday 23 January.

Cumbria Tourism was one of the organisations at the event and to support the high-level celebration, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation threw its weight behind an online campaign to get #cumbriaday trending.

From local residents and visitors, to people with family connections or anyone who simply admires the county from afar, Cumbria fans were encouraged to share their best images, anecdotes and fun local facts.

In total around 4,000 online contributors generated almost 2,500 original tweets featuring #cumbriaday – reaching an estimated audience of 16,499,084 people in the Twittersphere between 22 and 24 January.

Social media big hitters ranging from the Daily Mirror and BBC Breakfast to Virgin Trains and national tourism body VisitBritain were among those getting behind the popular hashtag.

#CumbriaDay also featured in tweets in several foreign languages, including Spanish, Estonian, French, Swedish, Italian and even Indonesian.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Cumbria Day was a fantastic success, thanks to the great work of our six MPs and hardworking businesses from across the county. We had a brilliant day with them down at Westminster and have been overwhelmed by the response to our #cumbriaday social media takeover.

 “A massive thanks to every single person who liked, commented, shared pictures or retweeted. So many people got behind Cumbria Day and it really has helped spread Cumbrian pride far and wide.

 “It’s ideal timing to promote the county, as Cumbria Tourism is currently mid-way through a five month seasonal marketing campaign to highlight the benefits of visiting our stunning county out of the peak holiday period. This latest flurry of online activity has undoubtedly brought the Lake District, Cumbria, to the attention of new and diverse audiences.” 

Cumbria is proving it’s the place to be once again, with the publication of an all-new guide dedicated to the county’s dog-friendly accommodation and attractions.

30,000 copies of the pocket-sized ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide have been produced by Cumbria Tourism especially for people who don’t want their four-legged friends to miss out on their next holiday or day trip.

More than a quarter* of households across the UK have a dog in the family, putting pet-friendly queries among the most frequent types of enquiry from potential visitors.

Our latest campaign is expected to get tongues – and tails – wagging, with the best of what the county has to offer for dogs compiled in this single, handy guide.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “Our new guide summarises just how dog-friendly our beautiful county is, and we felt it was hugely important to show what a dog-friendly destination we are. They are, after all, part of the family, so why should they miss out on a great day out, or indeed the holiday of a lifetime?”

Waternook lakeside accommodation is one of the tourism businesses to feature in the guide. Owner Dominic Gordon says, “For us, our dogs form a vital part of the family. They’re loving, loyal to a fault, and bring so much happiness into our lives. We would never leave them at home when we holiday in the UK and I believe this is the same for the millions of loving dog owners around the country. The Lake District, Cumbria, is the perfect place to holiday year-round for all the family – especially for ‘man’s best friend’”.

Responsible dog ownership is a key part of the guide, especially during lambing season, when dogs should be kept on leads. Owners are also urged to always make sure they clean up after their dogs in a responsible manner, so the county remains clean and safe for others to enjoy.

You can download a copy of our ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide on Cumbria Tourism’s official visitor website, GoLakes.

Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation – is planning to emulate the 25 million reach achieved in last year’s winter marketing campaign with the launch of a FREE marketing toolkit to support its 2,500 member businesses through the winter months.

The toolkit comprises a wide range of marketing resources including striking imagery and seasonal itineraries for businesses to integrate within their own marketing, to promote themselves and Cumbria as an all-year-round visitor destination.

The toolkit is available to download as part of Cumbria Tourism’s Winter marketing campaign that runs until mid-March 2018, and supports the trade through to the crucial Easter holidays. The aim is to showcase the wide range of events and attractions people can enjoy throughout the winter, by sharing content, images and itineraries to inspire staycations and drum home the message that visitors are welcome at any time of year.

Early indicators show this year’s campaign is already performing particularly strongly with visitors to the winter section of up compared to the the same period last year.

PR successes continue to gather momentum with national travel reviews featuring in The Independent, Evening Standard, The Times and The Sunday Post Scotland promoting Cumbria as the ideal winter destination.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says: “We are committed to supporting our wonderful tourism businesses during the winter months. Cumbria Tourism is leading this bold high profile national reaching campaign which has real resonance with our target markets. Alongside this our free toolkit is specifically designed to provide practical advice and sharable content for businesses to use and add even more impact for themselves and Cumbria.”

For the second-year businesses are also able to be part of ‘LoveCumbria’, the winter rewards card for visitors. Businesses can put forward offers to the scheme or they can use the cards to encourage winter trade.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work Cumbria Tourism delivers to promote the destination and how to join as a member, please call 01539 822222 or visit