As excitement builds among thousands of local children ahead of their annual six-week summer break, families across Cumbria and parts of North Lancashire are being invited to make savings on unforgettable days out by picking up a ‘MyCumbria’ residents card, which offers discounts at a wide range of local attractions.

Here in the UK’s capital of adventure, a fun day out is never far away; and the same can be said about our special offers to keep your youngsters entertained. From Segway treks to waterfall climbing adventures and paintballing, the UK’s capital of adventure will again be #theplacetobe before youngsters go back to school in September.

“There’s nothing quite like the sight of a family enjoying what Cumbria has to offer”, says Sam Tollerson, who oversees the card scheme at Cumbria Tourism. “Not only do we offer great adventures and activities, but it also means Mums and Dads have the chance to sit back and relax while their children explore and have fun.

“As well as our many outdoor activities, the ‘MyCumbria’ card also offers discounts on countless indoor attractions to enjoy that the children will love too, from The World of Beatrix Potter to local cinemas right across the county.”

Special offers for holders of the ‘MyCumbria’ card include a 20% saving for a family of four at Brockhole’s Treetop Trek, discounts of between 10% and 15% on food at many of the county’s pubs and restaurants – including a 2 for 1 offer for afternoon tea at Broadoaks Country House in Windermere; and buy one get one free ticket offers at participating cinemas in Keswick, Bowness-on-Windermere, Whitehaven, Workington and Ulverston. Entry discounts to attractions also include 50% off at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

“We hope families will enjoy visiting their favourite attractions with the ‘MyCumbria’ card, but also explore places they may not have been before”, Sam said. “Not only do we have this internationally recognised national park, but more than 100 miles of glorious coastline to explore too; where offers include things like a discount at the famous Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway for example.

“We’ve always said Cumbria is both the perfect destination for a relaxing day out while being a great adventure hub at the same time, so whatever your family’s age-range, we’ve got it all covered here!

“’Mum, Dad, I’m bored!’ are the words parents dread to hear at this time of year, but we’re well-placed to keep your little ones entertained throughout July, August and September”, Sam added.

Hundreds of offers are listed at, where everything is broken down by category, including ‘Things to Do’, ‘Shopping’ and ‘Food & Drink’.

Residents who live in a CA or LA postcode are eligible to join Cumbria Tourism’s ‘MyCumbria’ discount card scheme which offers discounts at hundreds of participating businesses and attractions across the county. Full details are online at

Phil Rigby’s Portrait of Cumbria has been announced as the 34th Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year – one of the most prestigious literary awards outside London – at a star-studded literary luncheon at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal today (Tuesday 10th July 2018).

Photographer Phil, whose book was chosen from almost 50 entries, was celebrated as the overall victor alongside five other category winners at a charity event in support of St Mary’s Hospice, Ulverston.

The judges, author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE, broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism Chairman Eric Robson and BBC newscaster and author Fiona Armstrong, entertained 150 attendees as they discussed the finalists before celebrating the winners.

Following the announcement, Phil Rigby said, “I am thrilled and delighted to win this year’s Lakeland Book of the Year Award. The book wouldn’t have come about without the amazing team at Cumbria Life Magazine, who each month discover new characters and places in Cumbria for me to photograph.”

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism MD, added: “I am very proud of our continuing support for the Lakeland Book of the Year, an annual highlight in Cumbria’s events calendar. For me, the Lake District Book of the Year Awards underline just why our county continues to inspire millions of visitors each year, to enjoy the stunning landscape which inspired the Lakeland greats of Wordsworth, Coleridge and so many more, and continues to do so to this day. I feel excited too about the potential there is to link into many other outstanding events across Cumbria and in turn to help share the high-quality writing with the greatest possible audience.“


The Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year 2018

Portrait of Cumbria by Phil Rigby


The Zeffirellis Prize for People and Business

The Thunder of Guns by Alan Michael Whitworth


The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

The Yards of Kendal by Trevor Hughes and Arthur Nicholls


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition

The Story of Lowther by Charlotte Fairbairn


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

Portrait of Cumbria by Phil Rigby


The Bookends Prize for Art and Literature

The Blackbird Diaries by Karen Lloyd


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.

A discount card scheme, exclusively for those who live and work in Cumbria, could see thousands of pounds raised for St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston.

Our ‘MyCumbria’ card already offers residents the chance to enjoy some of the county’s best attractions at a reduced cost, but now all cards purchased directly from St Mary’s will help to raise vital funds for the hospice’s work.

The ‘MyCumbria’ discount card is packed with offers on attractions, shopping and food & drink, exclusive to people who live in the county – meaning they can take advantage of great offers on their doorstep.

Each card is a one-off price of £20 per year – with 25% from every card sold at St Mary’s Hospice from this week going directly to enable their staff to continue their work to provide palliative care to its residents.

To put that in perspective, if every Ulverston resident bought a ‘MyCumbria’ card from St Mary’s Hospice itself, it would result in a funding boost of more than £58,000 for the charity!

Every hour of patient care at St Mary’s Hospice costs £19, which means proceeds from the sale of just four ‘MyCumbria’ cards would more than cover that cost.

Taking a look at the bigger picture, St Mary’s Hospice also relies on £2m of supporters’ money every year to keep the service up and running.

Sam Tollerson, who oversees the card scheme at Cumbria Tourism, says, “Most people have a discount card of some kind buried in their wallets or purses, usually for a specific shop or attraction, but the ‘MyCumbria’ card covers so many different things.

“It means plenty of discounts throughout the year – and encourages people who live here to take advantage of all the great things to see and do right on their doorstep in this county we’re fortunate enough to call home. Not only that, but by buying a card directly from St Mary’s Hospice, you’ll also know that you’re helping a cause close to all our hearts.

Caroline Welch, St Mary’s Hospice Head of Retail, says, “We are proud that all St Mary’s services are free to support our patients and their families. However, our services are not free to provide and that’s where we rely on the generosity of our local community.

“Through benefiting from the MyCumbria Card scheme, the 25% donation St Mary’s will receive enables us to continue to be there when patients and their loved ones need us most. To give you an idea £1 covers the average cost of a Hospice at Home visit, and £4 a delicious breakfast on our Inpatient Unit. So every card purchased through the St Mary’s link will be converted into care.”

You can buy a ‘MyCumbria’ card via the St Mary’s Hospice website, here.

Cumbrians who buy a card from St Mary’s Hospice can enjoy discounts on a range of activities and attractions in and around the town. The full list is online at

Just ahead of the first anniversary of the Lake District attaining World Heritage status, Tourism Minister Michael Ellis has confirmed exciting plans for Cumbria Tourism to lead a major project to help attract international visitors to World Heritage Sites across the North of England.

The ‘Northern World Heritage Collection’ is one of a select number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund, which is administered by VisitEngland and aims to ensure England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry.

The new £250,000 project will tell the story of England’s culture and heritage through the North’s outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites and will enable Cumbrian businesses to better target both groups and independent travellers from the USA and Ireland.

Cumbria Tourism plans to work with Northern World Heritage sites such as Liverpool and Durham, surrounding businesses and other tourism bodies over the next 9 months to help maximise a joint approach to attracting and welcoming these two key markets.

Activities will include business and itinerary development, a programme of training and trade shows, alongside marketing, online content, film and PR.  It will also include working alongside tour operators and agents to help visitors book their trips to multiple World Heritage sites across the north quickly and easily.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “World Heritage status has huge resonance with overseas markets and it’s been shown that many international visitors treat World Heritage Sites as ‘must dos’ as they travel around the globe. It’s great timing with the imminent opening of Carlisle Lake District Airport, as well as new routes coming into Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

 “We are proud that Cumbria Tourism has been chosen to bring together key sites from across the North to work more collaboratively and help attract higher-spending international visitors who want to tick these prestigious locations off the list. With two World Heritage Sites in the county, we feel we are perfectly placed to up the ante both for Cumbria and our Northern neighbours on the global stage.”

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe, says, “The calibre of submissions reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England. The ‘Northern World Heritage Collection’ will attract a higher quantity of international visitors, stimulating sustainable growth around World Heritage sites in the North of England. This opens up the potential to extend the visitor season and encourage more people to stay longer.”

 Work will be getting underway on the ‘Northern World Heritage Collection’ this month, with Cumbria Tourism announcing how business can get involved in the coming weeks.

News that Cumbria Tourism’s calls for a national marketing campaign to restore confidence in the Lakes Line have won Government support are being welcomed across the county.

As the official Destination Management Organisation for Cumbria, we have been calling on the Transport Minister to take urgent action to resolve the ongoing issues with Northern train services.

During a conversation with Transport Minister Jo Johnson this week, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism Gill Haigh stressed the impact that the long-term disruption – and recent cancellation of all Northern services – is having on the county’s £2.9billion tourism industry. She also highlighted the critical need for the return of a long-term, reliable and quality service, backed by funding for a nationwide marketing campaign to help restore visitor confidence.

The discussion comes ahead of a Parliamentary Rail Summit at the Houses of Parliament early next month, including Mr Johnson and the Managing Director of Northern David Brown. Gill Haigh has been invited to attend, alongside Northern MPs and key businesses leaders.

As part of the lobbying process around performance levels on the Lakes Line and elsewhere in the county, Cumbria Tourism has also been involved with a number of national TV interviews in recent days, including BBC Breakfast and ITV News.

This activity builds on national lobbying work Cumbria Tourism has been undertaking over many months, working with partners such as Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership and the county’s MPs and politicians. Sustainable transport options are vital for supporting our 47million annual visitors and the wider £2.9billion tourism industry.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “We appreciate Jo Johnson taking the time to make contact and discuss the ongoing issues and latest position regarding Northern and in particular, the issues on the Lakes Line. Tourism businesses have invested heavily to create world-class visitor experiences and the Lakes Line – alongside other public transport services to and within county – is critical in providing an effective and sustainable way to increase the reach of the Lake District and wider county.

“The issues with Northern’s management of the franchise have been deteriorating for months and have now led to this unacceptable position where the service has been cancelled and, worse still, the initial two-week closure now looks set to continue until the end of July – the worst possible time for the tourism sector.

She adds, “While we are pleased to see a return of a shuttle train service provided by West Coast Railways, it was made clear – and Mr Johnson was supportive – that full services must be returned as soon as possible. It is now imperative that we quickly get a fully timetabled and reliable, quality service and confirm the extent of this funding, so we can ensure an impactful campaign is ‘live and ready’ to launch alongside the resumption of the normal timetabled services next month.”

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

Cumbria’s longest-running trade show is expanding for 2018, thanks to a new partnership between the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) and Cumbria Tourism.

The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show was established more than 30 years ago and is now one of the longest-running events of its kind in the North of England, committed to re-investing profits back into the tourism industry.

As part of a brand-new agreement, the LHA is joining forces with Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official destination management organisation – to host the next Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March 2018.

Free to attend, the two-day event at the J36 Rural Auction Centre is expanding to include an even wider range of hospitality businesses, including tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment.

For the first time, the show will also include a series of interactive workshops run by Cumbria Tourism aimed at giving participants a new insight into topics including digital marketing, PR and new data protection regulations.

James Tasker, a Director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, says, “The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show has a fantastic heritage and has built up a strong reputation for giving business-owners and decision-makers direct access to a range of products and services which can help them grow and develop. It’s important that the show continues to evolve, and we are teaming up with Cumbria Tourism to help diversify what’s on offer to businesses and reach further into new and emerging markets.

“Our ultimate aim is to make the 2018 Lakes Hospitality Trade Show the biggest and best yet, so we can re-direct profits from the event back into the hospitality sector. Most recently, the money generated has helped to ensure that the Windermere Tourist Information Centre remained open, and we are committed to providing that practical support that the industry needs.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, comments, “The new partnership between the Lakes Hospitality Association and Cumbria Tourism is an exciting development, which will bring a fresh dimension to an event which has continued to grow and expand over the past three decades. The Lakes Hospitality Association is well-regarded by businesses and we believe that working together will help us to provide the maximum impact and support that our vibrant and diverse tourism sector deserves.”

To find out more about exhibiting at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on 7 and 8 March 2018, contact Show Co-ordinator Sarah Tasker on: 015394 44495 / 07709 152398 /

The long-running Lakes Hospitality Trade Show for business providers, suppliers and supporters should not be confused with the similarly-named North West Hospitality Show taking place at the same venue in early 2018; this is a completely separate event.

Cumbria Tourism is welcoming today’s news that The Department for Transport is to invest in upgrades to the county’s railway infrastructure, as a major step forward for our £2.72 billion visitor economy.

Today, Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport announced further funding to railway infrastructure within Cumbria. In a letter from Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee, it was announced that from May 2018, passengers to the Lake District will benefit from double the number of direct services to Manchester Airport.

From 2019, Northern Rail intend to introduce brand new trains with more seats and better on-board facilities including air conditioning, toilets, free wi-fi and plug sockets. It will work to explore the deployment of alternative-fuel trains on the route by 2021, improving comfort and on-board facilities for passengers while protecting the sensitive environment of the newly designated Lake District World Heritage Site.

Jim Walker, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says:
“We’re delighted to hear the Government are investing in the Lakes Line from Oxenholme to Windermere. In recent years the service from Windermere to Manchester Airport has decreased so it’s a very welcome move from Northern and the Government to improve the number of services and the quality of the rolling stock. Cumbria is a world class destination and offers world class facilities to its residents and visitors, so it’s only right that our transport infrastructure should be equally as good. Cumbria Tourism is firmly behind the development of new sustainable travel solutions, to help create greener ways for visitors to enjoy our epic and diverse landscape.”

This package of investment is a part of the Government’s Great North Rail Project, which aims to deliver more frequent trains and new direct services on the West Coast Main Line, with faster journeys and increased frequency into and through Manchester from across the North West. It is hoped the project will improve services for visitors while boosting access to jobs and new opportunities, growing the Northern Powerhouse by improving connections between the Lake District and the Manchester Airport international gateway.

Cumbria Tourism has confirmed Gill Haigh as its new Managing Director.

Currently Director of Marketing and Recruitment at the University of Cumbria, Gill has a 25 year career as a marketing and communications professional and she is a highly experienced, innovative and motivational leader.

Gill brings with her substantial experience across both the private and public sectors, including travel and tourism. Throughout her career she has worked closely with a wide range of Cumbrian partners in various roles supporting economic investment.

Previous jobs include a senior local government position, heading up destination marketing and tourism services for Lancaster City Council. She also spent four years as North West Public Relations Manager for the National Farmers’ Union, having begun her career as a journalist.

Gill says, I am extremely proud to have been appointed as Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, representing a county and sector I have such a strong affinity with.

“Cumbria is a world class visitor destination, and with a second World Heritage site just confirmed for the county, we are entering an exciting new phase that will bring with it enormous benefits for the visitor economy.

“I very much look forward to bringing my experience, enthusiasm and drive to work with the team, the board, members and partners to ensure that together we are in the strongest position to build on and benefit from the great achievements already made and the many opportunities ahead.”

Gill lives near Kirkby Lonsdale with her husband and two children. Together they share a passion for the county where they spend much of their leisure time relaxing and actively enjoying the wide variety of experiences it has to offer.

Gill is due to take up her new position at Cumbria Tourism in September.  In the meantime, Interim Managing Director Jim Walker will continue to head up the team at Cumbria Tourism’s offices in Staveley, near Kendal, following Ian Stephens’ departure earlier this month, after almost 25 years at the helm.



Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact Cumbria Tourism Press Office on: 01539 822222 or email

Cumbria Tourism is the county’s official destination marketing organisation and is at the heart of the Cumbria Visitor Economy. It is also the largest membership organisation in Cumbria with more than 2,400 members. In 2016, more than 45 million people visited Cumbria, contributing more than £2.72 billion to the local economy and supporting around 63,000 jobs.

For more information about visiting the Lake District, Cumbria, visit:

To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit