Cumbria Tourism, which has been lobbying for a package of winter support for the sector, has welcomed this afternoon’s announcements by the chancellor Rishi Sunak, as a step in the right direction.

The key announcement was that VAT will be temporarily cut from now until 12 January 2021, down from 20% to 5% for hospitality and tourism businesses. This applies to the food and drink sector, accommodation providers and attractions, and will benefit more than 150,000 businesses and their customers nationwide.

Describing the move by the chancellor as a “welcome direction” to aid the UK’s long road towards recovery in the aftermath of the economic effects of Covid-19, Cumbria’s official destination management organisation hopes it will bring much needed support to many businesses, as well as incentivising visitors, in the next few months.

Cumbria Tourism has been calling for an extension to the furlough scheme, however the Government has announced this will wind-down by October. Whilst the chancellor did introduce a new policy to incentivise employers to bring staff back to work with the new jobs retention scheme via £1,000 per employee who returns to work until January next year, the fear is that this will not go far enough to protect many thousands of the jobs at risk.

Further measures to get the tourism and hospitality sector moving includes the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme, designed to get customers back into cafes, pubs and restaurants. From August, every household will be entitled to dine at a discount at participating businesses, where meals from Monday to Wednesday will be sold at a 50% discount (of up £10), including children’s meals and non-alcoholic drinks.

Vice Chair of Cumbria Tourism, Dan Visser, says, “Cumbria Tourism has been lobbying hard to secure a winter package and listened keenly to today’s announcement.

“Our businesses have been working very hard behind the scenes to be able to re-open in a Covid-secure manner, with many of them qualifying to display the ‘We’re Good to Go’ quality stamp by VisitEngland, which means they have met the criteria to responsibly welcome visitors back.

“This afternoon’s announcements offer a series of positive initiatives and I am hopeful that the VAT and voucher announcements will result in increased demand for food, accommodation and attraction providers, which should be a real boost for our sector. We hope to see these moves stimulate demand and build on the good work that has been done by businesses already.”

The chancellor also announced a £2bn “kickstart scheme” to create more jobs for young people, which Cumbria Tourism hopes will help to bolster the local workforce.

Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh says, “Although the past weekend has gone reasonably well for the sector, overall demand hasn’t been anywhere near where we need it to be at this time of year. While some businesses have reported encouraging signs in recent days, there are many others which say the number of visitors is still a long way from where it needs to be. This extra support announced by the chancellor today is welcome and it will, we hope, support an immediate boost. However, it doesn’t remove business concerns about when the furlough scheme comes to an end.

“Cumbria is heavily reliant on tourism, which inevitably meant we had some of the highest furlough rates, so it’s encouraging that the government has listened to our lobbying and heard the concerns of our brilliant businesses across the county. However, it is absolutely essential that some businesses do not fall through the cracks again.

“Over the coming weeks and months, Cumbria Tourism will very closely monitor visitor volume and value as well as the impacts of the chancellor’s announcements, and we will be sharing our findings with the government on a regular basis so they can hear first-hand how well these new measures are working for this critical sector, which not only benefits those working in the industry, but every single person who lives here too.” 

This week, local MP Tim Farron, Cumbria Tourism and its hospitality leaders from the Lake District, Cumbria, held a call with Tourism Minister Nigel Huddlestone to make the case for long-term support for the hospitality and tourism industry.

Tim and Cumbria Tourism’s Managing Director Gill Haigh were joined by Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, Dan Visser, Director of Langdale Estate, Mike Turner, Director of Treetop Trek, and Jim Walker from Lake District Estates.

The group made a presentation to the minister, underlining the impact Covid-19 has had on the industry and continues to have as businesses and visitors adapt to the new normal. The panel thanked the Government for its support to date but made it clear that further grants and wage support would be critical to help businesses in the sector survive through to Spring of next year.

The Tourism Minister said that “there could be additional measures to give some boost to hospitality and tourism that may be sector specific.”

Speaking after the meeting, Tim said: “We had a very positive meeting with the minister who was really supportive of our case.

“The support we’ve had from the Government so far has been really welcome, but we do really need that extra support if jobs and businesses are going to make it through the Winter.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism said: “We’re very grateful to Tim for arranging this meeting and to Nigel Huddleston for taking the time to hear our concerns on the impact of Coronavirus to our industry and the actions now required to support businesses through the next stages. Whilst many have now opened and are seeking to make the most of what’s left of the summer season the lost four months, coupled with lower capacities due to social distancing, mean that tourism businesses urgently require assurances of long term support through to 2021.”

Nigel Wilkinson, who also sits on the Board of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and leads CLEP’s work on the visitor economy added: “Our sector is facing the equivalent of three consecutive winter seasons and unless programmes are put in place to retain jobs and skills within the sector beyond October, to increase training opportunities and to market the county to new audiences and extend the main season, Cumbria will be facing widespread redundancies and the loss of key skills that cannot easily be replaced.”

The group also took the opportunity to welcome this week’s announcement of £1.57 bn of funding for the cultural sector and were reassured by the Minister’s commitment that this funding would be extended to all relevant institutions and venues and is not swallowed by the “London Bubble”.

With large parts of the tourism sector beginning to re-open over the weekend, Cumbria Tourism joined several of the county’s MPs on a tour of local businesses to witness first-hand, the steps which have been taken to keep the health and wellbeing of visitors at the top of the agenda.

Also joined by members of the organisation’s Board of Directors, more than 20 businesses across the county were paid a visit to help raise awareness of their official “We’re Good To Go” seal of approval from VisitEngland; A stamp of assurance which is being used to spread the message among potential visitors that the county is ready to welcome them back over the rest of the summer, autumn and winter months.

Taking-in businesses from serviced and non-serviced accommodation, camping and caravanning, food and drink, indoor and outdoor attractions, as well as culture and heritage, the tour was used to restore confidence and highlight Cumbria as the perfect place to visit after a difficult first half of 2020.

Cumbria Tourism Chair Jim Walker says, “We wanted to join our MPs on this tour to mark the beginning of what is a critical phase for our industry and to show potential visitors how seriously our businesses take their wellbeing. The tours, co-ordinated by Cumbria Tourism, also provided a great opportunity for our local MPs to hear from operators throughout the county about the huge challenges the industry is currently facing and the work that is going on to start to open again.

“Our MPs were really interested in every effort that’s being made at more than twenty businesses which were visited. We hope the tour also provided a real insight into the losses suffered by businesses so far, and the help they need from the government to prevent further hardship. This tour also followed a recent petition which Cumbria Tourism jointly launched with Tim Farron MP, calling for a new package of financial aid. The businesses which took part in the weekend’s tour are fully behind those calls and it was absolutely essential for our MPs hear the concerns from those businesses first-hand so they can ensure the issues are heard at the highest level.”

MPs on the tour included Simon Fell, Neil Hudson, Mark Jenkinson, John Stephenson and Tim Farron – the latter of whom visited Grasmere Gingerbread, Castle Green Hotel, Dome House B&B, Tree Top Trek, Skelwith Fold Caravan Park and The Coppermines and Lakes Cottages.

Meanwhile, Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington and the surrounding area got off to a head start on his tour early with a visit to the Lake District Calvert Trust on Friday morning where he was met by Justin Farnan, a director of Cumbria Tourism and a manager at the charity, along with trustee Stuart Lothian.

Cumbria Tourism Chair Jim Walker joined Neil Hudson MP and John Stevenson MP in North Cumbria, during which they visited English Heritage staff at Carlisle Castle and The Halston Aparthotel where Mr Stevenson heard about the accommodation’s vital work in hosting key workers to date, along with the dynamic and innovative way in which the Directors are responding to the impact of the crisis. The Tranquil Otter luxury lodges, Askham Hall, Tullie House, Lanercost, Artlegarth Lodges and Ullswater Steamers were also included in their tours.

Cumbria Tourism Director Carl Bevan joined Simon Fell MP on a tour of the Ulverston, Barrow and Walney area, which included West Point House, Holiday Inn Express, the Sandscale Haws National Trust nature reserve, the Laurel & Hardy museum and Shed 1 Distillery.

All businesses were invited to join the celebrations by posting photographs on social media using the hashtags #theperfectplacetobe and #weregoodtogo. The tour was also covered on Cumbria Tourism’s own social media channels throughout the day. You can see photographs of the tour and participating businesses on Cumbria Tourism’s social media channels by searching for the hashtag #protecttourismjobs.

The tour ended with the firing of a cannon at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa: A symbolic event to signify the end of more than three months of lockdown, marking the rebirth of The Lake District, Cumbria, as the perfect place to visit this summer – and all year-round.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “It was fantastic to be able to join our MPs on this tour of Cumbria, during a crucial re-opening weekend of activity. It gave the MPs the chance to see each business in action, as well as giving them the opportunity to see how their hard work in recent months is now being put to good use, to enable visitors to be welcomed back. It also gave them a first-hand insight into the work that still needs to be done, but also reassurance that the determination to succeed here in Cumbria is stronger now than it ever has been. The Board of Directors and myself would like to say a huge thank you to our MPs and all participating businesses for their involvement in this tour as we move into the next chapter for the tourism sector right across the county.”

Destination Management Organisations from across the country have joined together to back a campaign encouraging government to ensure the tourism sector is supported through Winter 2020.

Last month a petition was launched by Tim Farron MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale alongside Cumbria Tourism, the county’s destination management organisation, asking visitors, businesses and partners to show their backing for a government winter support package. The petition has quickly gained momentum including support from cross party politicians as well as National Park leaders. Now, Destination Management Organisations the length and breadth of the country are adding their weight.

Malcolm Bell, Managing Director of Visit Cornwall said: “Hospitality and tourism is critical to our local economy, here in Cornwall one in three private sector jobs are in the visitor economy and this crisis has been devastating to thousands of businesses.  Having lost most of the 2020 season and summer trade though welcome is only going to be damage limitation as these businesses are now facing three winters in a row.”

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The Tourism industry in Yorkshire is worth £9billion and employs 225,000 people. It is a huge part of the Yorkshire economy and as England’s biggest county we are able to attract huge numbers of domestic and international tourists coming for our countryside and coast, national parks and vibrant cities, history and heritage as well as our arts and cultural offering. We stand shoulder to shoulder with every other major DMO in the country in the request for support so that we can provide the support and confidence to thousands of businesses struggling now and give them the opportunity to survive this period and return to profit when the sector returns to its former position.”

Chris Brown, Chief Executive of Marketing Liverpool, added: “As destination management organisations we have worked together to support businesses over the last four months and more and it is clear that what all of our businesses have in common is the urgent need for confirmation of an extension of existing government support into the winter. This will provide the confidence to businesses who are struggling to make their businesses viable and give them a chance to be able to stand on their own two feet again next Spring.”

Managing Director of Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire said: “The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on the Peak District and Derbyshire’s £2.3 billion visitor economy, and our hard-hit tourism and hospitality businesses have already missed out on a large part of the critical summer season. Whilst many businesses are eager to reopen, the restrictions in place mean it will be difficult for them to sustain their offer as they all juggle financial viability with limits on capacity and levels of investment to adapt their business. Without a winter package of long-term financial support, many businesses and associated jobs will simply not survive.”

Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “We have been very grateful for the government support made available to date, however, too many of our businesses are still falling through the gaps and some have already sadly had to close. We have to secure a longer term package of support to make sure that all the effort these businesses have put in to weather the initial storm isn’t simply wasted as they struggle through the winter.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director from Marketing Manchester highlighted: “City destinations are also facing a very tough period ahead: hotels in Manchester are forecasting a slump to 30% occupancy levels through the autumn and winter, when they would normally trade at 80%. This will have a massive impact on the wider Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure economy, as cities are often the gateway for visitors to explore the wider region. It is therefore vital that Government provides destination organisations with an appropriate package of support that enables them to address local issues and priorities.”

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “I’m massively grateful to tourism leaders from right across the country for adding their support to the campaign. This is very much a national issue with hospitality currently the UK’s 4th biggest employer. I am in regular conversation with MPs from across the House about gathering cross-party support so we can continue to push the Government to help this crucial industry through the winter.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism said: “Throughout this crisis, Cumbria Tourism and our fellow Destination Management partners across the country have worked tirelessly to support tens of thousands of businesses. We share a common understanding not only of the challenges these businesses face but also the critical importance they play to local economies and place. That is why we are uniting in our call to government to work with us to help ensure businesses can survive, save jobs and be able to play a strong part in the UK’s economic recovery.”

Cumbria Tourism, the county’s Destination Management Organisation, has welcomed today’s Government announcements regarding the reopening of the industry, which it says will bring incredible relief for hundreds of Cumbria’s businesses and thousands of employees.

Jim Walker, Chair of the organisation which represents approximately 2,500 member businesses, said: “By 4 July the county’s hospitality sector will have been closed for three and a half months, during the busiest part of the year, with close to £2bn lost from the county’s economy and hundreds of jobs lost with thousands more at risk. Our evidence to government was clear that the difference between 2m and 1m was the difference between operating viably and not and today’s relaxation announcement will make a significant difference to business viability and save local jobs. Cumbria Tourism has stood firm alongside the health professionals and police when this was required to protect the health of local residents and we are now keen for a safe and phased recovery towards some type of normality to begin.”

Gill Haigh, Managing Director added: “I am particularly proud of the sector’s response throughout this pandemic, locking down sometimes large and complex businesses overnight, safeguarding communities, adapting business models where possible to support jobs and provide much needed services to the community, supplying accommodation for Covid-19 key workers, and rigorous planning to develop innovative approaches and collaborating with one another to ensure staff and customer safety combined with enjoyable  and memorable experiences. We await the government guidance which, at long last, will allow them to make the final preparations before reopening a week on Saturday.

 “Now, at long, long last, we look forward to warmly welcoming back our visitors and working with them to ensure they take additional measures themselves, alongside businesses, to be guaranteed safe and enjoyable experiences. This will include planning ahead, booking in advance, thinking about where to visit and when, paying by contactless, washing hands regularly, keeping to the social distancing guidelines. We also welcome the new national visitor reassurance accreditation scheme which Cumbria Tourism has championed and as Destination Management Organisation for the county, have been tasked by Visit England, to help roll out throughout Cumbria.

 “Inevitably we don’t expect is a sudden return to normal, it will be phased. Our visitor research tells us that only about half feel confident to return immediately. That’s why Cumbria Tourism’s Recovery Campaign – ‘The Perfect Place’ – encourages us all to do what we can to support our tourism sector, to think about planning our holidays at home this year, when the time is right; to invite our friends and families to reconnect, to recharge and to rediscover what’s on our doorstep; to reinvigorate by trying new experiences and explore more; as well as to continue our lockdown passion for buying local food, drink and crafts.

 “We are very lucky to have a large rural location with many off the beaten track areas which makes social distancing easier. We are the perfect place to recharge, reconnect, reflect and rediscover. And with less than half of the main season left, and with stringent safety measures in place, it is important now that we  get behind our businesses, support local jobs, and back the industry that underpins many of our communities and ways of life too.”


More than a week-on from encouraging signals made by the prime minister, Cumbria Tourism is increasing its lobbying for the government to provide vital financial support for the county’s hospitality and tourism businesses to help them survive the coming winter.

A recent survey among the organisation’s 2,500 member businesses has found that whilst 78% are confident they will be able to survive the next three months, this falls to just under 50% when looking ahead over the next six months and plummets to just one third of businesses feeling confident of surviving the next two years.

Whilst most businesses are expecting to be able to open in some form from early July onwards, necessary social distancing restrictions and other Covid-19 considerations will mean the vast majority of businesses will have to reduce the number of visitors they can welcome and meet increased costs. For the summer months at least the current government support package offers some comfort but it is the uncertainty of what happens beyond October which is clearly a massive worry to businesses and of course the impact that might have on their ability to retain their staff long term.

Cumbria Tourism welcomed the announcement last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Government were looking at packages to help the tourism industry over the winter period, but as yet the detail of what the support will look like has not been made available.

Cumbria Tourism says its survey results reflect just how key it is to provide that business clarity reassurance now and is calling on the Government to do so quickly.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “At the moment, around a third of businesses expect to fully reopen in early July, while others will partially reopen. While they are eager to welcome visitors back though, the average opening capacities of around 60%, based on the current two-metre social distancing ruling, will mean that for many businesses it will be difficult for them to make a profit. This is why it is absolutely crucial that financial support for the sector is forthcoming. Our survey also found that increased costs are a major worry for three quarters of businesses, with a fifth expecting to make redundancies or reduce staff wages.”

Lake District Hotel Association Chair, Cumbria Tourism member and General Manager of the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal Ben Mayou, says, “Our member hotels and attractions are working hard to reopen and capture at least some of the summer season. The introduction of flexible furlough is on face value a positive step but with the requirement for employers to contribute to this over the coming months we are already starting to see redundancies.

“It is essential that the government comes forward without delay to share their plans to support tourism businesses over the winter period and avoid further job losses. Owners need information and guidance as a matter of urgency to formulate battle plans to have any chance of surviving into 2021”

Gill Haigh continues, “It’s also important to recognise the impact that losing businesses from the hospitality sector will have on other businesses which benefit from tourism. It’s not just tourism operators who will lose-out if businesses fail, but this will affect the whole community and other businesses on a wider scale due to secondary spend dropping. This is clearly unsustainable, and we need to know more about the government’s plans as soon as possible which is why we’re applying more pressure than ever, on behalf of our members.”

An example of such a business is Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, who recently announced significant redundancies and the cancellation of their winter programme to ensure the producing house is able to reopen in 2021.  The venue has to generate 80% of its revenue from earned income, receiving just 20% from public subsidy and as such has been severely affected by the closure and lost income.

Liz Stevenson, Artistic Director and James Cobbold, Executive Director said, “We have added our voice to our industry’s calls on Government to consider specific support for theatres.  We must see further investment quickly and, like the hospitality industry, further clarity from the Government”.

Theatre by the Lake is a producing house of national importance, is one of the largest employers in Keswick and contributes significantly to the cultural offer of the region in attracting visitors, as well as serving its community of residents

Major investment in Hadrian’s Wall will boost Cumbrian tourism and improve visitor experience

Following a £400,000 investment from the government, the Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project is set to boost tourism numbers in 2016 through a range of improvements to make it easier for visitors to access the unique World Heritage Site.

The Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project is being delivered through the Hadrian’s Wall Marketing Partnership which includes Northumberland County Council, Carlisle City Council, Northumberland National Park Authority, Northumberland Tourism, Cumbria Tourism, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and English Heritage. All these organisations have been working together to develop transport links and enrich business and tourist information along the corridor of Hadrian’s Wall.

The £400,000 grant led by VisitEngland has helped to secure the popular Go North East AD122 bus service for a further four years and will also see the introduction of ‘Hadrian’s Wall Welcome Hubs’ at key visitor locations including Carlisle, Haltwhistle and Hexham railway stations.

The Hubs will provide visitors with direction at key points and improve access and information about some of the lesser known sites on Hadrian’s Wall such as the Epiacum Roman Fort at Alston and the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport.

The Project has also invested in the design and development of new website and marketing materials to promote the Wall as a leading tourist destination.

The new website at is optimised to function on mobile devices to help visitors plan their trips in real-time. It offers everything from pre and post arrival information, to event details, places to visit and travel information to improve connectivity between historical and local business sites along the Wall.

Other improvements include new road signage at key points and increased promotion of existing public transport options to fill gaps in the current provision of public transport.
Councillor Val Tyler, Policy Board Member for Community Infrastructure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “Northumberland is a proud county with a proud history. Hadrian’s Wall marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire for nearly 400 years and we take our duty to protect it, manage it and educate people about the monument very seriously.

The Wall draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the North of England every year and we owe it to businesses and service providers to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to enable visitors to access our key attractions. I would like to thank VisitEngland for their funding and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver some big improvements in a short time scale.

The 150 mile Hadrian’s Wall frontier zone runs from the western Roman coastal defences at Ravenglass, through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall through Carlisle and Hexham to Newcastle, Wallsend and South Shields.

There were over 30 forts on the Roman frontier across the North of England, including 16 along the line of the 73 mile wall itself plus coastal, outpost and supply forts. Along the wall there were around 80 milecastles and 160 turrets, a ditch to the north and the great defensive vallum earthwork to the south.

VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates said: “Hadrian’s Wall is one of England’s greatest tourism assets and this investment to improve the visitor experience will drive more domestic and inbound trips, benefiting local businesses and communities and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the region.


Photo caption: The funding has secured the Go North East AD122 bus service for a further four years and created a new website to help visitors plan their trips in real-time.

For images, interviews and information relating to The Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project, contact Round Table Solutions Ltd: Amy Maughan E: M: 07980 703566 Office: 01670 338 391, John McCabe E: M: 07527 150 824 Office: 01670 338 391.

Notes to Editors:

Hadrian’s Wall Marketing Partnership includes:
English Heritage
Northumberland County Council
Carlisle City Council
Northumberland Tourism
Cumbria Tourism
National Trust
Tyne & Wear Museums
Vindolanda Trust
Northumberland National Park

English Heritage – is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

The Hadrian’s Wall frontier is part of the transnational World Heritage Site – Frontiers of the Roman Empire – which includes the Antonine Wall in Scotland and the Upper German/Raetian Limes. This represents the borderline of the Roman Empire at its furthest extent in the 2nd century AD. It stretched from the west coast of northern Britain through Europe to the Black Sea and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.

The Hadrian’s Wall Partnership Board is responsible for coordinating management of the Hadrian’s Wall component of the FRE WHS including protection, public understanding and sustainable development. The 2015 – 2019 Management Plan was published on the website earlier this year. It sets out the significance of the World Heritage Site and policies and priority actions to protect this significance and to provide benefit to visitors and local communities. John Scott is the Management Plan coordinator and can be contacted at Hadrian’s Wall Connect provides an ideal opportunity to deliver Management Plan objectives, to strengthen partnership working, to assist businesses by addressing some key issues.

Hadrian’s Wall Country is the brand used to promote the World Heritage Site to visitors. The brand was introduced in 2002 by the Hadrian’s Wall Tourism Partnership and conveys and reinforces values that encourage visitors, linking the World Heritage Site to the rural and urban landscape through which it runs. Larger than the official boundary of the WHS, Hadrian’s Wall Country covers an area approximately ten miles north and south of the frontier and five miles in from the Cumbrian coast. The Hadrian’s Wall Country identity helps to locate and promote the WHS via information on the website, and the Hadrian’s Wall Country bus, railway line, volunteers, walking and cycling routes, and local produce sub-brands.

Uniquely for a heritage site, travelling and movement are key parts of the Hadrian’s Wall experience. Filling in the gaps of transport provision, ensuring sustainability of current transport provision, orientating visitors and ensuring the standardising of pre and post arrival information are essential to a quality visitor experience.

VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), VisitBritain/VisitEngland* plays a unique role in building England’s tourism product, raising Britain’s profile worldwide, increasing the volume and value of tourism exports and developing England and Britain’s visitor economy.
Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. See more at:
* VisitBritain/VisitEngland are legally constituted as the British Tourist Authority (BTA) under the Development of Tourism Act 1969. – See more at:

Finalists unveiled for the 14th Cumbria Tourism awards

Over the last month the Judges have been meeting to go through the entries submitted for this year’s Cumbria Tourism Awards to draw up a shortlist of finalists across the 16 categories.

The award categories celebrate the huge range and diversity of Cumbria’s tourism industry and are open to a whole range of tourism related businesses including; hotels, B&Bs, holiday parks, pubs, visitor attractions, events, businesses and tourism staff, which make up the county’s successful tourism industry.

The majority of the winners from the awards will go on to represent the county at the Visit England Awards for Excellence in 2017.

Brand new categories for 2016 include the Wedding Venue of the Year Award, recognising those businesses which host weddings of exceptional quality and provide an outstanding service or create unique and innovative experiences for the couple and their guests.
The B&B of the Year Award will celebrate Cumbria’s best smaller, family or owner run B&Bs with 5 or fewer letting rooms and the Guest Accommodation of the Year Award will now be aimed at those larger guest houses, inns or restaurants with rooms which may offer a wider range of services to their guests.

The lucky shortlisted businesses in each category will attend a glitzy black tie award ceremony and compete for the honour of being recognised as the best in Cumbria in their respective category at the awards presentation. This year the awards evening will take place on Wednesday 22 June at Cartmel Racecourse and catered by Rowley’s Offside.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director at Cumbria Tourism, said:
“It has been a fantastic year for entries with exceptional quality shown across all the categories. This has made it very difficult for the shortlisting panel to select the finalists and has resulted in an unprecedented number of businesses going forward as finalists. We appreciate that recent months have been a very difficult time for businesses but the overwhelming response to promote themselves and enter into the awards process shows once again the commitment and determination of tourism businesses in Cumbria and the immense pride in what they do.”

Cumbria Tourism would like to thank their sponsors for making the event possible, they include: Armstrong Watson, Colliers International, Lamont Pridmore, Cumberland Business, Out of Eden, G1 Colourmedia, H&H Reeds Printers, Burnetts Solicitors, Enterprise Answers, NatWest Commercial Banking, Napthens Solicitors, University of Cumbria and Chris Brammall Ltd.

The 2016 finalists are:

Large Hotel of the Year sponsored by Armstrong Watson
• North Lakes Hotel & Spa, Penrith
• Castle Green Hotel, Kendal
• Waterhead, Ambleside

Small Hotel of the Year sponsored by Colliers International
• Appleby Manor Hotel & Garden Spa, Appleby
• The Leathes Head Hotel, Borrowdale
• Sharrow Bay, Ullswater
• Merewood Country House Hotel, Windermere

Guest Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
• The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale
• Augill Castle, South Stainmore
• Askhall Hall, Askham
• Applegarth Villa & Restaurant, Windermere

B&B of the Year sponsored by Cumberland Business
• Whitrigg House, Clifton
• Rivergarth, Eamont Bridge

Self-Catering Holiday of the Year sponsored by Out of Eden
• Waternook Lakeside Accommodation, Howtown
• Mill House Cottages, Kirkby Lonsdale
• Hollybank Holiday Cottages, Gilcrux
• Beech House Holidays, Dalston

Holiday Park of the Year sponsored by NatWest Commercial Banking
• Park Cliffe Camping and Caravan Estate, Windermere
• Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park, Pooley Bridge
• National Trust Great Langdale Campsite, Great Langdale

Tourism Experience of the Year sponsored by Cumbria Tourism
• Zeffirellis and Fellinis, Ambleside
• Lakeland Segway, Cartmel
• The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite
• Go Ape Grizedale, Grizedale Forest

Tourism Event of the Year sponsored by G1 Colourmedia
• Big Chill Swim International World Cup & World Open Water Swimming Awards
• The Winter Droving
• Muncaster Halloween Week
• Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater Yacht Club

Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by H&H Reeds Printers
• The Lake District Coast Aquarium, Maryport
• Steam Yacht Gondola, Coniston
• Lakeland Climbing Centre, Kendal

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year sponsored by Burnetts Solicitors
• Wray Castle, National Trust
• Grizedale Forest
• Ullswater Steamers
• Windermere Lake Cruises

Taste Cumbria sponsored by Enterprise Answers

Taste Cumbria Dining Experience of the Year
• The Lamplighter Dining Rooms, Windermere
• The Forest Side, Grasmere
• Bistro at the Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite
• The Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter Forest
• George and Dragon, Clifton

Taste Cumbria Retailer of the Year
• Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall, Penrith
• Grasmere Gingerbread, Grasmere
• Low Sizergh Barn, Nr Kendal

Wedding Venue of the Year sponsored by Napthens Solicitors
• Augill Castle, South Stainmore
• The Daffodil Hotel & Spa, Grasmere
• The Wild Boar Inn, Grill and Smokehouse, Windermere
• Askham Hall, Askham

Sustainable Tourism Award sponsored by University of Cumbria
• Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere
• Rydal Hall, Rydal
• Ullswater Steamers
• FSC Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld

The Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Excellence
• Hilary Hutchinson, Lakeland Chauffeurs, Windermere
• Nico Chieze, Askham Hall, Askham
• Tom Panter, Merewood Country House Hotel, Windermere

Tourism Pub of the Year
• The Wheatsheaf, Brigsteer
• The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
• The Beer Hall at Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley

New Tourism Business Award
• Threlkeld Coffee Shop, Threlkeld
• Casterton Footgolf, Casterton
• Claife Viewing Station, National Trust, Claife

To find out more about the Cumbria Tourism Awards visit


Notes to Editors:

1. For more information please contact Cumbria Tourism Press Office on 01539 825019 or email

2. The Cumbria Tourism Awards are organised on behalf of Cumbria Tourism on a ‘not for profit’ basis by 3 local businesses. The competition and event is financed is solely through the generosity of the sponsors and ticket sales

3. The 2016 Cumbria Tourism Awards sponsors are:
Armstrong Watson – Large Hotel of the Year
Colliers International – Small Hotel of the Year
Lamont Pridmore – Guest Accommodation of the Year
Cumberland Business – B&B of the Year
Out of Eden – Self-Catering Holiday of the Year
Cumbria Tourism – Tourism Experience of the Year
G1 Colourmedia – Tourism Event
H&H Reeds Printers – Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
Burnetts Solicitors – Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
Enterprise Answers – Taste Cumbria
NatWest Commercial Banking – Holiday Park of the Year
Napthens Solicitors – Wedding Venue of the Year
University of Cumbria – Sustainable Tourism Award
Chris Brammall Ltd – Awards maker

4. Cumbria Tourism is the lead organisation for tourism in the county 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 2015, over 43 million people visited Cumbria contributing more than £2.62 billion to the local economy and support around 61,000 jobs.

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

The 2016 Official Guide to the Lake District, Cumbria is out now!

Cumbria Tourism the official tourist board for the county, is pleased to announce that the 2016 Official Guide to the Lake District, Cumbria is now available and ready to inspire holiday makers to book their visit and plan fantastic days out in our stunning county.

This year’s front cover image was chosen through a highly successful online #theplacetobe competition where we invited fans of the area to share their favourite image on our Facebook Page
The Lake District, Cumbria. The competition took place in 2015 and attracted more than 400 entries capturing the true beauty of the area through the eyes of fans from all over the world. However it was Mike Whitehead’s stunning image of Buttermere from the summit of Fleetwith Pike that made the short list before coming out on top in the public vote.

Competition winner Mike Whitehead says;

I am delighted to have won the Cumbria Tourism 2016 Holiday Guide photography competition. Especially as so many other fantastic photos were submitted and shared on the official Lake District, Cumbria Facebook Page. The first time I ascended Fleetwith Pike was from the Honister Pass direction, and I will never forget the moment I reached the summit to be greeted with this view. Breathtaking! I am really looking forward to seeing my image on the front cover of the guide and it being distributed so far.

The 2016 guide features key information on what to do and where to stay. From luxury lakeside retreats, cosy country inns, beautiful B&Bs and quirky pod retreats not forgetting the many museums, independent shops and mouth-watering cafes and restaurants we have on offer.

Produced by Cumbria Tourism, over 150,000 copies of the guide have been printed and over 160,000 e-mail alerts have also been sent to our visitor database letting them know the all new guide is out.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says;
We are extremely pleased with the 2016 Official Guide to the Lake District, Cumbria and congratulations to Mike Whitehead for sharing his fantastic photograph with us. The image captures the true beauty of the Northern Lakes and it will definitely help to influence many to book their holidays here.”

Ian continues;
Despite the dominance of internet in travel and tourism, Cumbria’s Official Holiday Guide continues to play an important part in decision making when consumers are planning their holidays or short breaks, many people still prefer the printed format and we continue to receive a high volume of requests for the guide throughout the year.”

Copies can be downloaded direct from or by calling Cumbria Tourism on 01539 822222

The 2016 guide is also supported by a range of other marketing materials including; 420,000 copies of the 2016 Attractions Guide, distributed throughout the county in high footfall areas and at a number of key locations outside the county. Along with the increasingly popular Food and Drink Guide that showcases a whole host of tasty places to eat and drink across Cumbria, including tempting tearooms, fantastic farm shops and award winning restaurants.

If you want to know more about the work of Cumbria Tourism and how you can get involved benefit from these key marketing initiatives please call the team on 01539 822222


Notes to Editors:

1. For more information please contact Sarah Jones in the Cumbria Tourism Press Office on 01539 825052 or email
2. With over 40 years of continuous service, Cumbria Tourism is the lead organisation for tourism in the county and is at the heart of the Cumbria visitor economy. It has a membership of more than 2,600 members who in turn employ thousands of employees.
3. In 2014, over 41 million people visited Cumbria contributing more than £2.44 billion to the local economy and support around 58,000 jobs.
4. To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit