Following this week’s visit by HRH Prince of Wales to officially mark the National Park’s World Heritage inscription, and on the cusp of the busy Easter season, we have just released visitor figures that give even more reason for celebration.

Each year as the county’s official Destination Management Organisation, we run a visitor volume survey amongst visitor attractions across the county. The data collected is vital to give the county an indication of how businesses are performing across the region. Information was received from over 70 visitor attractions, telling us about their 6m+ visitors.

Figures just in from the annual visitor attraction survey report a 3.4% increase to Cumbrian attractions during 2017. These figures build on a 7.2% increase in 2015-2016, and 3.3% between 2014-2015.

Gill Haigh, our MD, says;

“This week’s visit by HRH Prince of Wales not only officially marked our World Heritage inscription but has also given us a fantastic advert for Cumbria at the start of the season ahead.  With figures just in from our most recent visitor attraction survey reporting a 3.4% increase to Cumbrian attractions in 2017, it makes us extremely optimistic for the year ahead.  We look forward to the Easter holidays and welcoming thousands of visitors to explore our world class county. We are particularly delighted that the survey findings demonstrate just how much visitors are enjoying attractions throughout the county – from Carlisle to Kirkby Stephen, Maryport to Flookborough, as well as the central Lake District.”

Last weekend we and our partners hosted a visit to the county by the new Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis MP, which coincided with his announcement of £3.3m from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund to enhance visitor experience at cultural attractions across the UK’s newest World Heritage Site. The multi-venue arts investment will help further cement the county’s international and national reputation for high quality attractions, offering visitors even more compelling ways to explore and experience with our world class landscape.

As part of English Tourism Week, we have unveiled exciting new plans to team up with VisitEngland – alongside local partners and other English regions – on four key projects to target international visitors.

As part of its role as the official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for the county, we revealed details of the ‘Discover England’ projects during a special tourism summit of member businesses at the Low Wood Bay hotel and resort.

The event yesterday ran under the theme of ‘Creating a World-Class Visitor Experience’ and appropriately, all four large-scale collaborative projects focus on enhancing a world-class experience for targeted international markets.

Our involvement will mean the county features strongly within each of the initiatives, which are all being supported through VisitEngland’s national ‘Discover England’ Fund. They include:

  • Discover England’s Great Walking Trails is all about promoting the great walking trails of England to visitors from Germany, the Netherlands, France and the USA. Itineraries will be designed to promote walking holidays offered by seven of England’s National Trails, including Hadrian’s Wall and the northern part of the Pennine Way. We are working with Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire, in conjunction with Carlisle City Council, to ensure Cumbria receives maximum exposure.
  • Growing Manchester as an International Gateway to the North: Working alongside Marketing Manchester, this project aims to increase the volume of visitors coming through Manchester Airport by creating itineraries that open up the North of England to the US market. Cumbria Tourism is developing one and two-day excursions to spearhead Cumbria as an unmissable rural destination.
  • The English National Park Experience Collection is a collaboration of the National Parks in England and will create a joined-up, internationally branded collection of experiences. We will be working closely with the Lake District National Park to provide business support, workshops and a trade marketing strategy which can be used by Cumbrian businesses targeting the Australian and German markets.
  • The World Heritage Sites Study is a research project being led by Cumbria Tourism on behalf of all the 18 World Heritage Sites across England. It will be identifying common themes, analysing which locations/activities have greatest resonance with different overseas markets and exploring where there are opportunities to cluster World Heritage themed routes and tours, possibly at a national level.

Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Sue Clarke, says, “14% of visitors to Cumbria are currently from overseas and with two internationally-recognised World Heritage Statuses, it’s a trend that is set to continue in the coming months and yearsOur role is all about cementing a world-class experience by bringing businesses and local authorities together in partnership with VisitEngland and other regions across the country, to ensure we are all working together effectively for maximum impact.

“In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it is vital that we continually increase the amount of bookable online experiences international visitors can enjoy and keep raising the quality of tourism services and products available to them. These projects are a fantastic platform for Cumbria £2.72billion tourism industry to keep driving forward over the next 12 months.”

Cumbria Tourism will be gathering together around a hundred businesses from across the county next week, as part of a major event to mark English Tourism Week (17-25 March 2018) and celebrate the theme of ‘Creating a World-Class Visitor Experience’ for our £2.72billion tourism industry.

As the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO), we have put together a highly topical programme of talks, inspiring speakers and interactive workshops for our upcoming members’ meeting on Thursday 22 March at the Low Wood Bay hotel & resort.

As well as hearing from the Managing Director at English Lakes Hotels, Simon Berry, about the £16million investment at Low Wood, the key speakers will also include the Director of Sustainable Development at the Lake District National Park, Steve Ratcliffe. He will talk about the work being done to help make sustainable travel an enjoyable part of the visitor experience in Cumbria, whether that’s by bus, boat, bike or foot.

Our team will also be updating tourism member businesses on the latest research into visitor expectations, alongside some exciting new projects targeting international visitor markets through VisitBritain’s ‘Discover England Fund’.

To get truly interactive, businesses will even have the chance to take part in three workshop sessions, to help them explore the opportunities resulting from Cumbria’s increasing profile as a world-class destination at home and abroad.

Our Managing Director, Gill Haigh, says, “The last Cumbria Tourism members’ meeting in November focused on how to maximise on the county’s two World Heritage Statuses. This time the focus has shifted to the subject of meeting visitor expectations and ensuring we are creating world class experiences in our world class environment. 

“Hosted in English Tourism Week, it’s the perfect time to shine the spotlight on this subject. We’ve already had lots of interest from our tourism member businesses about this event, which will enable them to dig deep into the practical significance of raising Cumbria’s profile as a visitor destination both domestically and internationally. Following the county’s second World Heritage designation, this is a perfect time to seize new opportunities and focus on becoming even more world class.”  

Cumbria Tourism member businesses should register to attend in advance by contacting Sam Tollerson at:

If you still can’t decide where to spend your Easter break, then check out our Top 5 things to do and places to stay in the Lake District, Cumbria.

Choose to stay in your own private lakeside retreat or get pampered at a sensational spa hotel. Once booked in its time to explore every corner of Cumbria with a Mountain Goat or celebrate a very special anniversary at one of the area’s most iconic motoring attractions…


Stay on the shores of England’s longest lake at The Boathouse, Pullwood Bay (from Heart of the Lakes)

A beautiful detached, fully modernised property situated on the edge of Lake Windermere, with sensational views all around. Built in the 19thC this charming detached property was once used by the owners of the original mansion house that is part of Pullwood Bay Estate. Today it has been beautifully renovated with all modern facilities and everything required to make it the perfect place to spend some quality time with friends or family. This Easter relax and unwind


Get pampered in the heart of a historic village at The Wordsworth Hotel & Spa

Escape to the picture-perfect village of Grasmere and you’ll find it’s easy to share William Wordsworth’s delight at the area. Situated right in the heart of the Lake District, surrounded by magnificent mountains and the shimmering waters of Grasmere lake. The Wordsworth Hotel, nestled within this picturesque village, is no less of a jewel. The Earl of Cadogan’s former shooting lodge, transformed into a country house hotel, is set within beautiful grounds and offers the finest cuisine and spa pampering. Rooms still available this Easter from £200 per night Bed & Breakfast (3-night minimum stay applies) Includes Easter egg hunt and full use of the leisure facilities.


Gear up to for motoring attraction’s 40th birthday

Mark a major motoring milestone with one of the North’s leading heritage attractions this Easter. The Lakeland Motor Museum celebrates its Ruby Anniversary, 40 years after first opening its doors on 1 April 1978.  With a unique collection of 30,000 exhibits, including well over 150 classic cars and motorbikes, this all-weather attraction also has a perfect pitstop with an adjoining riverside café. Star exhibits include the Isle of Man TT Tribute Exhibition, with a newly-arrived Superbike loaned by motorcycling legend John McGuinness. £24.00 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children).


Teddies and kids go FREE at two heritage visitor attractions
From the 30 March – 15 April 2018 kids travelling onboard the historic Ullswater ‘Steamers’ and the Ravenglass & Railway Railway can travel for FREE when they bring along their best teddy bear friend. Visitors aged between 5 – 15 years old can take their pick from travelling by steam rail or by steam boat for an outdoor Easter adventure not to be missed.  After the journey either by rail or by water, it’s time to continue the fun and take Ted on a very special ‘Teddy Trail’ just waiting to be discovered. For further information about the events please visit:  or


Take a whistle-stop tour of two World Heritage sites

Jump on board a Mercedes mini-bus with specialist tour operator Mountain Goat for their new ‘World Heritage Tours’, giving visitors an easy, convenient way to see some of the inspirational places which led to the Lake District being awarded World Heritage status. For the first time, passengers can also combine a tour of Hadrian’s Wall in a two-day package, for a snapshot of some of the world’s most iconic Roman landmarks. The double World Heritage Site Tour package costs £85 per person with discounted rates for groups of 10 or more.


Cumbria’s longest-running trade show has been hailed a massive success, after welcoming well over 1,200 delegates through the doors during the two-day event.

The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show was established 43 years ago, and this year was run by the Lakes Hospitality Association in conjunction with Cumbria Tourism at the J36 Rural Auction Centre near Kendal on 7 and 8 March 2018.

Massive exhibitor demand ahead of the show lead to extra marquee space being added to the main exhibition hall, increasing the floor space by 30% and providing room for 120+ stands. Exhibitors spanned a wide range of hospitality businesses, including tourist attractions, food and drink suppliers and support services such as IT technology and catering equipment.

 Special workshop sessions were a new addition for 2018, with the social media and marketing seminars provided by Cumbria Tourism proving particularly popular. The workshops run by top hotelier Nigel Sandiford, formerly of The Dorchester and The Savoy, were also a big draw. There was even a wine tasting a session with TV wine expert Joe Wadsack, best known as Tom Kerridge’s co-presenter on the BBC’s flagship Food and Drink Show.

Director of the Lakes Hospitality Show, James Tasker, comments, “This was the biggest Lakes Hospitality Show ever, representing an amazing growth of 30% since last year. Plans for next year are already looking bigger and better, and the popularity of the event really underlines the strength and optimism across hospitality industry for the main holiday season ahead.  So many visitors and exhibitors told me that this was THE hospitality show to attend in the area, and there’s no doubt the event has really become one of the key events of its kind in the north of England.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “There was a fantastic buzz across both days of the show. Talking to stall-holders, one of the key themes was people’s desire to constantly improve and provide the best possible visitor experience, whether that’s through top-notch catering equipment, better travel links, slicker marketing, and so on. I certainly saw lots of new connections and relationships being made, which is what it’s all about. We’re proud to have worked closely with the Lakes Hospitality Association to help make the event such a big success.”

Nigel Sandiford, an associate for a new training academy just launched by one of the world’s most iconic hotel operators, will be bringing his expertise to Cumbria, as part of this week’s Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March 2018.

The new Dorchester Collection Academy is the first of its kind in the UK luxury hospitality market and unveiled its state-of-the-art facilities in London’s Mayfair last week. Using Dorchester Collection’s expertise as a global leader in the ultra-luxury market, the academy will provide training to help hospitality professionals deliver the ultimate in customer service.  Now one of the academy’s key associates will be heading to Cumbria to help inspire businesses here too.

Nigel Sandiford will lead two free workshops at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show, outlining what it takes to develop – and maintain – five-star standards. Previously of The Dorchester and The Savoy, he has a career spanning three decades and is the only person in The Dorchester’s prestigious 86-year history to have achieved their ‘Manager of the Year’ accolade twice. Now he is also directly involved with Dorchester Collection Academy as one of its key facilitators.

Nigel says: “The Lake District, Cumbria, is well-known for its high concentration of hotels and restaurants, but skills and training continue to be key challenges facing the hospitality industry nationwide and it’s vital that businesses take these issues seriously in an increasingly competitive visitor economy. I’m looking forward to showcasing what it takes to deliver a five-star service to guests and offering some insights into nurturing the next generation of hospitality professionals.”

James Tasker, a Director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, says, “Nigel is by far and away the most exceptional individual I have ever had the privilege of working with and to have an hour of his time is an opportunity that is not to be missed. In my opinion, and indeed many others, he is one of the top food and beverage operators in the UK, if not Europe.”

Free workshop places with Nigel Sandiford can be booked online, along with details of the full workshop programme.

The two-day Lakes Hospitality Trade Show will take place at the J36 Rural Auction Centre, Crooklands, on 7 and 8 March. This year’s event is being run by the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) in conjunction with Cumbria Tourism.

Excitement is building for the ‘Oscars’ of Cumbria’s £2.72 billion tourism industry, as more details are revealed about the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2018 – including a high-profile celebrity host.

Alan ‘Deadly’ Dedicoat became known to millions as the voiceover for the National Lottery, as well as being the announcer for both Strictly Come Dancing and its American counterpart, Dancing with the Stars. He was also previously a newsreader on BBC Radio 2 and has worked alongside some of the biggest names in showbusiness throughout his 40 year broadcasting career.

Alan will be lending his dulcet tones to this year’s Cumbria Tourism Awards, which take place at Cartmel Racecourse on Wednesday 20th June.

There are a record-breaking 18 awards to enter for 2018, including new accolades for ‘Culture and Heritage Experience’ and ‘Adventure Experience’. The extended entry deadline of 5pm this Thursday 8 March is now fast approaching, with businesses ranging from restaurants, small guesthouses and B&Bs, to self-catering accommodation, hotels and visitor attractions being encouraged to throw their hats in the ring.

The finalists will be chosen by an independent panel of tourism experts later this Spring, and the main awards ceremony will take place at Cartmel Racecourse alongside Alan Dedicoat and hundreds of tourism businesses and professionals. Catering on the night will be provided by The Ilex at Holker Hall.

The ultimate winners will then have the chance to put their business forward for the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2019.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “Now in its 16th year, the Cumbria Tourism Awards go from strength to strength and we’re thrilled to confirm one of the most instantly recognisable voices from TV and radio as our host for the night.

 She adds, “Of course, there’s still also time for tourism operators to put in their applications and give their businesses the recognition they so richly deserve. This will be my first Cumbria Tourism Awards, and I’m looking forward to celebrating some of the best success stories from right across the county. Following on from Cumbria’s second World Heritage designation for the Lake District, this truly is a Year of Celebration!”

Businesses wanting to showcase their excellence and innovation can download their entry form at: or contact or for further information.

Wine expert Joe Wadsack – best known as Tom Kerridge’s co-presenter on the BBC’s flagship Food and Drink Show – will be headlining next month’s Lakes Hospitality Trade Show. Meanwhile, a leading hotelier who has previously worked at The Dorchester and The Savoy is also lined up to host two workshops at the event.

The former wine columnist for the Daily Express, Joe Wadsack is an internationally respected wine judge and has made expert appearances on a string of TV shows including Saturday Kitchen and Great Wine Walks.

Joe has just been confirmed to officially open the two-day Lakes Hospitality Trade Show on Wednesday 7 March and will also host a free wine tasting workshop for attendees to book on the opening day.

At the same time, top hotelier Nigel Sandiford has been signed up to share his 5-star expertise with Cumbrian hospitality businesses with a workshop on both days.

Nigel’s career spans three decades at some of the world’s best-known 5-star hotels; he was Food and Beverage Manager at The Dorchester until last month and is the only person in the hotel’s prestigious 86 year history to have achieved their ‘Manager of the Year’ accolade twice. Nigel was instrumental in shaping the food and beverage businesses at both The Dorchester and Coworth Park over a 13-year period, and is also a former finalist at the hotel Cateys – the Oscars of the hospitality industry.

Drawing on his experiences of the luxury London hotel market, he will lead two workshops aimed at inspiring the local hospitality sector around maintaining standards and the culture of customer service. Nigel is also one of the key managers at the Dorchester Academy, linked to their graduate programme, and will provide attendees with a unique insight into training the next generation and developing the skills needed to deliver a five-star service to guests.

James Tasker, a Director of the Lakes Hospitality Association, adds, “It’s a real coup to get two speakers of Joe and Nigel’s calibre to talk directly to businesses and give them practical, first-hand advice.

“Joe has a phenomenal CV and is known to millions as a TV drinks expert with an energetic and passionate style. Meanwhile, Nigel will be drawing on experience working with some of the country’s most successful and respected hotel brands, who invest millions of pounds into researching and test-driving new trends and developments each year.

“We hope local businesses will make the most of this unique opportunity to sign up for these free workshops and access insider knowledge that simply isn’t available anywhere else.

The Lakes Hospitality Trade Show will take place on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March 2018, at the J36 Rural Auction Centre. Being held by the Lakes Hospitality Association (LHA) in conjunction with Cumbria Tourism, the event is expected to be the biggest in its 43-year history, with well over 100 exhibitors already confirmed and an additional marquee added to meet exhibitor demand.

As well as Joe and Nigel’s expertise, the full workshop programme will include specialist speakers covering everything from the impact of new data protection laws and the launch of Carlisle Lake District Airport to social media, PR, and the latest on making the most of the Lake District’s World Heritage inscription. Participants can book for free online.

Check out nine of the most romantic hotspots

Frequently voted as the UK’s most romantic destination, The Lake District, Cumbria is renowned for its wild and emotive scenery, providing the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day or a romantic break away any time of year. Choose from luxurious hotels with state of the art spas to centrally located city chic apartments or remote retreats tucked away to relax, unwind, and enjoy some extra special time together.


Fulton’s Lakes Jewellery Works (Keswick): Choose the most important diamond of your life at Cumbria’s first Jewellery Works – If you are looking for a diamond ring in time to pop the question this Valentine’s Day,  then look no further than Fulton’s Lakes Jewellery Works, who opened its doors in October 2017 and is looking forward to their first Valentines season and welcome customers to not only buy a ring of their dreams – but to help design it, see how it is made and meet the skilled craftsman behind the scenes himself – Brain Fulton. The brand-new attraction is headed up by husband and wife team Brian and Zoe Fulton. Brian has been designing, making and selling exquisite bespoke jewellery to both the trade and public for 35 years since his training began at Openshaw College in Manchester.


The Leathes Head Hotel (Borrowdale): For an Edwardian Country House Hotel – This

magnificent award winning 11-bedroom Country House Hotel situated in the unspoilt Borrowdale Valley, just four miles South of Keswick is set amongst three acres of private grounds and is surrounded by stunning scenery and meandering rivers. This February enjoy a two-night Valentines break including a 7 course tasting menu by award winning Head Chef Noel Breaks – with matching wines whilst listening to beautiful harp music.

Valentine’s breaks start from £500 for 2 nights from the 16 to 18 February.


The Boathouse, Pullwood (from Heart of the Lakes): For a romantic room with a view – There can be few more idyllic locations in the Lake District than this stunning boathouse right on the shores of Lake Windermere in the heart of the Pullwood Bay Estate. Built in the 19thC this charming detached boathouse was once used by the owners of the original mansion house, now it has been beautifully renovated with all modern facilities and everything you need for a unique break away. Perfect for that special occasion or even just for a treat – this is truly a place to relax, unwind and take in the beautiful surroundings. If you are looking to get away to somewhere truly special this Valentines, then we are sure you will love The Boathouse.


The Wordsworth Hotel & Spa (Grasmere): Nestled in the enchanting village of Grasmere and surrounded by some of the region’s most iconic scenery this hotel is simply made for romance with all the necessary elements to celebrate the most romantic time of the year. Stay in a luxurious superior room where you’ll find a chilled bottle of Champagne and locally handmade chocolates waiting on your arrival. Head out for a walk taking in some of England’s finest scenery before enjoying a phenomenal 4 course dinner with canapes in the award-winning Signature Restaurant. A Bucks Fizz breakfast will be delivered to your bedroom the following morning making it the perfect start to the day.

Valentine’s breaks start from £229 Sundays to Thursday and £249 Saturdays and Sundays.


Askham Hall (Askham): A rural retreat fit for royalty – Dating back to the late 1200s, this Grade I listed hideaway was previously home to the Earls of Lonsdale and has open roaring fires, comfy sofas and intimate areas to create a warm, relaxing and luxurious feel. Couples can stroll hand-in-hand in the 12 acre gardens and enjoy a candlelit meal in the award-winning restaurant – menus are prepared using an abundance of fresh produce from the hall’s extensive kitchen garden, vegetable gardens and orchards.

Room rates start from £150 per night for 2, including breakfast.


The Belsfield, Laura Ashley Hotel – Overlooking England’s longest lake and with beautiful Laura Ashley interiors The Belsfield oozes romance inside and out and with flowers, chocolates and fizz ready in the room on arrival the fuss is taken away and couples can encapsulate themselves in each other’s company. With perfectly designed bedrooms, lake-view restaurant and idyllic gardens The Belsfield has romance in the Lake District to a tee.

Valentines Weekend Packages start from £237 per night or for Valentine’s Day itself from £299 per night, but on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.


The Lodges at ArtlegarthIn the peaceful Yorkshire Dales, Artlegarth’s brand-new log cabins are perfectly designed and styled to provide modern and original valentines get away. Each with their own private hot-tub and a concealed cocktail bar the three lodges also have extensive glazing to ensure the spectacular views, of open countryside and fells, can be enjoyed inside as well as out, with a log burning stove to snuggle up in front of too. Guests can also choose for a range of exclusive extras including fresh flowers, hampers of local and artisan foods and spa and beauty treatments to be enjoyed from the privacy of the lodge.


The HalstonExperience the best of a serviced hotel with the privacy of your own apartment at The Halston Aparthotel in Carlisle. Cumbria’s only five-star apartments are the perfect city/country get away this valentine’s day. Only a short distance from the Lake District and from Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Sites whilst having original bars and restaurants within walking distance The Halston offers the best of both worlds.

The Ultimate Romance overnight stay for two in a one bedroom luxury apartment, complete with a pair of mini Bottega bottles and rose petals is £225, including a 3 course set menu for both in brand-new tapas and lounge bar Penny Blue, and breakfast in Bartons Yard.


The Cottage in the WoodCottage in the Wood is a 17th century restaurant and inn located in the heart of Whinlatter Forest and provides a secluded get-away for the foodies. The three AA Rosette, Inspectors Choice, restaurant provides breath-taking views of the mighty Skiddaw mountain range and the surrounding forest and offers a daily changing menu using local and seasonal ingredients. With Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater, Buttermere, and Crummock Water all near-by ‘The Cottage’ provides a tranquil and relaxing ambience and is the perfect base for exploring the magic of the Lakes.

Rooms are from £110 a night with three course meals starting from £45 per person and with their January Sale, guests can save up to £60.


For more ideas and inspiration on romantic escapes to the Lake District, Cumbria, visit: