As the February half-term holidays edge closer, families can help support hundreds of Cumbrian attractions at discounted prices with a MyCumbria discount card.

The cards, produced by Cumbria Tourism, are valid for anyone who lives or works in a CA or LA postcode area (including in north Lancashire), with exclusive special offers including half-price entry to Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, 50% off at South Lakes Safari Zoo and 20% off at Treetop Trek.

Also among the hundreds of discounts and exclusive offers are 2 for 1 deals at Lowther Castle, selected local cinemas, South Tynedale Railway, Rheged Indoor Play & cinema, Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, the Coniston Steam Yacht Gondola, the Senhouse Museum, Farfield Mill and afternoon teas at participating hotels.

Plus, for any holiday-weary grown-ups, stay with a friend or loved one at Lakeside Hotel & Spa any Friday night between now and 31st March for only £69 per person (based on two people). The brand-new offer includes dinner (with an allowance of £39 per person), bed & breakfast and unlimited use of the pool and leisure facilities throughout the stay.

Other brand-new offers added to the MyCumbria card just in time for the half term break include:

Mountain Adventure Lake District: One child goes free – on any activity, when accompanied by two paying adults.

Ruskin Museum, Coniston: Two adults for the price of one; with the same offer for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is £9 instead of £16 for card holders.

Grasmere Gingerbread spoon competition: Collect a free spoon to paint for their special spoon garden during the half-term holidays. All will be entered into a competition to win an Ultimate Cumbrian Hamper.

Gaynor Anderson – who oversees the MyCumbria card scheme at Cumbria Tourism, says, “This is a great card you just can’t afford to leave your home without. It’s not just great for families, but it’s a really strong way of supporting businesses here in Cumbria as 2019 gets into full swing. The team here has worked really hard to put together these offers, which should see big savings made really quickly over the half-term break and beyond.”

Details of every offer are online at

Thomson Hayton Winkley Solicitors have been unveiled as the latest organisation to be named as one of Cumbria Tourism’s official Strategic Partners.

The company joins a select group of influential tourism-related businesses who share Cumbria Tourism’s core values and desire to significantly grow the value of the county’s £2.9billion tourism sector for the local economy.

Thomson Hayton Winkley employ around 100 staff and provide legal services for tourism and hospitality businesses across Cumbria and beyond. As well as operating a legal helpline, it has five offices in South Cumbria: in Kendal, Windermere, Kirkby Lonsdale, Grange and the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre.

Director John Cooke says, “It’s easy to think of tourism businesses as hotels and guesthouses, pubs and restaurants, but it is of course much wider ranging than that. We recognise the value of all businesses to the Cumbrian visitor economy and we aim to support them and build longstanding relationships.

“We have a strong history of representing clients in the tourism industry, so becoming a Strategic Partner means we are cementing that expertise in a way which helps us support Cumbria Tourism, its member businesses and other like-minded organisations who want to see the visitor economy grow and prosper for the benefit of everyone.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “We are proud to be one of the largest member Destination Management Organisations (DMO) in the UK and our Strategic Partners are a core network of organisations who want to get behind us share their collective expertise to champion the delivery of effective destination marketing for the county. It is important to draw on the experience and enthusiasm of companies like Thomson Hayton Winkley who have an in-depth understanding of the different parts of our £2.9billion tourism sector and can help us drive forward for the future.”

Thomson Hayton Winkley has expertise in areas such as buying and selling property and businesses, helping start-ups, dealing with disputes, employment matters and terms of business and helping people plan for the future.

Cumbria Tourism’s other Strategic Partners include:

  • ABP (Associated British Ports) Barrow
  • The Cumberland For Business
  • Forestry Commission England
  • Inspired Energy
  • Lake District Estates
  • Lamont Pridmore
  • NFU Mutual
  • University of Cumbria
  • United Utilities (Cumbria Tourism patron)
  • Windermere Lake Cruises

More information can be found at

Event to feature Brexit-themed debate for businesses

It may be in its 44th year, but the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show  is shaping up to be the biggest yet with a record-breaking 140+ exhibitors now signed up for the event. It’s also been revealed that a series of free workshops and seminars will feature a topical Brexit-themed debate just two weeks before the UK’s planned departure from the EU.

Momentum is building for Cumbria’s longest-running trade show, which will bring together a diverse range of hospitality businesses from across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire at the Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2019.

For the second year running, the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) is teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to stage the event, which this year coincides with the final countdown to the Brexit deadline.

Cumbrian hotelier and Director of the Lakes Hospitality Trade Association, James Tasker, says, “Businesses are telling us that Brexit is the hot topic they cannot ignore, so we’ve decided to stage a special panel debate as part of the show where businesses can explore how Brexit might impact them. That includes the steps they can take to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives.

 “It’s just one of a series of workshops and seminars being held across the two days looking at industry news and trends, from tackling chef shortages and diversifying your business to creating a digital marketing plan and working with social media influencers. With more than 1,200 people attending last year’s show, the event is an annual focal point for the region’s hospitality industry and it is a real opportunity to build relationships, showcase new developments and prepare for the year to come.”

Attendance for the 2019 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show is free and delegates can book ahead for the workshop sessions, including a place in the audience for the Brexit Panel Debate at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 March.

Cumbria Tourism is urging businesses, residents and visitors alike to voice their love for the county as part of this year’s Cumbria Day this Wednesday 23 January 2019.

Cumbria Day will see businesses from across Cumbria being brought together by the county’s six MPs in the Palace of Westminster, alongside representatives from key organisations including Cumbria Tourism. To support this high-level celebration of all things Cumbrian, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation has launched an online campaign across its 300,000 followers on social media to get #cumbriaday trending.

At the same time, Cumbria Tourism is urging its 2,500 member businesses and partners to throw their weight behind the event by sharing #cumbriaday and showcasing why it is #theplacetobe. The organisation is also encouraging Cumbria fans to share their best images, anecdotes and fun facts about the county – whether that’s someone who’s visited in the past, has family connections to the area or simply admires the Lake District, Cumbria from afar.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It’s little wonder that visitors come back to Cumbria again and again. It is a unique and dynamic county full of diverse businesses, world-class landscapes and authentic people who are staunchly proud of this special place.

“As an organisation, we’re also immensely proud to be part of the event at Westminster, which gives us a chance to showcase some thriving Cumbrian businesses to decision-makers at the heart of government. Importantly, Cumbria Day also gives anyone with a passion for the county a real opportunity to shout about our successes and explain why Cumbria is so vibrant, surprising and unique.”

 She adds, “This is a great opportunity to share how proud we are to live, work or just love this wonderful part of the world and raise awareness with visitors – old and new. Let’s get #CumbriaDay trending!”

People can get involved by following @golakes and @cumbriatourism and sharing stories on social media.

Amateur and professional writers from across Cumbria and further afield are in with a chance to receive widespread recognition with the 2019 Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.

Entries are now open for the prestigious competition, which can include any book published in 2018 set in or featuring Cumbria. Founded by Hunter Davies OBE 35 years ago and supported by Cumbria Tourism and main sponsors James Cropper, the Lakeland Book of the Year celebrates the amazing variety and quantity of writing that the Lake District, Cumbria inspires. The winner is whittled down from around 70 books each year, clearly showing that Cumbria is just as inspirational as when it was the setting for the work of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey.

Each category winner (five in total) will receive a prize and recognition of their high-quality publication as one of the best from the last 12 months. However, only one of these will receive the ultimate accolade of the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019.

The all-star judging panel with the task of reading all entries and selecting the shortlist and final winner are:

  • Head judge and founder Hunter Davies OBE (prolific author and regular contributor to The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and the Daily Mail)
  • Eric Robson (broadcaster and Chairman of Cumbria Tourism, The Wainwright Society and Gardeners’ Question Time)
  • Fiona Armstrong (ITV and BBC newscaster, author, journalist and Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries).

All six prizes will be presented at a charity awards event at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal on 16th July 2019. Attended by authors, publishers and book lovers from throughout Cumbria and beyond, this annual event has raised thousands for well deserving local charities.

Award Categories:

  • The Zeffirellis Prize for People and Business
  • The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places
  • The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition
  • The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation
  • The Bookends Prize for Art and Literature
  • The Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2019


Judge Eric Robson says “The Lakeland Book of the Year Awards – now in their 35th year and still going strong – are one of the most prestigious awards in the country and I am proud to be a long-term supporter. Cumbria and the Lake District are home to some of the most inspiring landscapes in the world and every year I am blown away by the staggering range and quality of entries we receive – it’s a delight and a privilege to read every single one of them”.

The awards were founded by Hunter Davies and Cumbria Tourism (CT) and are managed by organisers Chris Tomlinson OBE, Affra Hartree and Vicky Robinson MBE, with support from CT. Last year’s winner was “Picture of Cumbria” by Phil Rigby.

The deadline for submissions is the 22nd March 2019. Entry forms are available at or from Cumbria Tourism (01539 822 222).

Cumbria Tourism has thrown its weight behind growing calls for the Government to rethink the proposed route for new high-speed HS2 rail services, which are currently not scheduled to stop in Cumbria.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, it says the provision of direct services to and from London is vital for our £2.9billion visitor economy. Without this strategic connectivity, there are increasing fears that Cumbria will appear less accessible and potentially lose the competitive edge.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, comments, “With two World Heritage Sites and increasing numbers of international visitors to the region, it is unacceptable to see the proposed HS2 route – which is purportedly designed to benefit the ‘North of England’ – will not stop in Cumbria.

“Cumbria is a world-class destination and visitors to the county support almost 65,000 jobs. We also want to see more people actively using sustainable modes of transport to get to the county; this should not be ignored by the government and franchise plans for the North of England.

“What’s more, people who live and work here also need easy access to both the Capital and other parts of the country, in order to do successful business and build strategic relationships in a challenging and competitive marketplace.”

She adds, “We stand alongside Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and several of our local MPs, as we collectively lobby national decision-makers to reconsider the current plans.”

The Cumbria Tourism team have been promoting the county at Ireland’s largest travel show, as they kicked off a month of trade events which will see them travelling not only the length and breadth of the UK – but also flying the flag for Cumbria in New York and Boston.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, representatives from Cumbria Tourism attended Holiday World in Dublin.  It’s the most prestigious annual event of its kind, bringing together more than 1000 holiday experts under one roof and was a prime opportunity to highlight the North of England’s World Heritage Sites to both potential visitors and tour operators.

Cumbria Tourism is also heading to London for the Britain and Ireland Marketplace (29 January 2019) and then to Glasgow for the UK Inbound Convention (6-8 February). Both are key dates on the calendar for travel trade buyers and tour operators planning their itineraries over the next 18 months.

Later in February, Cumbria Tourism will be going transatlantic as representatives fly to New York and Boston for high-level meetings with international group buyers and decision-makers from across North America.  Like Holiday World Dublin, the visit is part of a major project being led by Cumbria Tourism to help attract international visitors to World Heritage Sites across the North of England.*

Then in March, the team will be attending the British Tourism & Travel Show at Birmingham’s NEC, which is known as the leading event for the domestic tourism and travel industry.

Sales and Marketing Manager at Cumbria Tourism, Sue Clarke says, “These high-profile events and meetings are vital for convincing both potential visitors and tour operators that the Lake District, Cumbria, is a ‘must see’ destination. Strengthening relationships with influential contacts will help us stimulate our £2.9 billion tourism sector’s future growth and prosperity, and we are extremely proud to be out there representing the county’s tourism businesses.”

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.”