As we approach the end of a tumultuous year for the county’s visitor economy, two leading national figures from the world of tourism and hospitality industry will headline Cumbria Tourism’s next major members’ meeting.

The CEO of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls will join Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), Bernard Donoghue in highlighting ways that businesses can look ahead to 2021 in a positive light.

As one of the sector’s leading trade associations in the country, UK Hospitality represents the interests of the UK’s hospitality businesses while ALVA’s members include many of the UK’s most popular attractions including museums, galleries, castles, zoos, historic houses and heritage sites.

Both Kate and Bernard will update Cumbria Tourism’s members on the work being done at national level to support the sector now and going forwards.

Free to attend for all of Cumbria Tourism’s 2,500 member businesses, the virtual event on 19 November aims to support businesses as we make our way through the rollercoaster year but also to inspire with new ways to innovate and stay competitive.

Cumbria Tourism’s Research Manager Helen Tate will also be sharing the latest analysis of Covid-19’s effects on visitor habits and attitudes to help businesses better-understand the market, while the organisation’s marketing and communications team will highlight how businesses can use this information to make the most of new and emerging trends and opportunities in a rapidly evolving tourism landscape.

Evidence from the shop floor will also be provided by six Cumbrian operators representing different sectors. Each will share their positive learning experiences of 2020 to help support businesses looking ahead to 2021. They include Travel Chapter for the self-catering sector, Lake District Estates for camping and caravanning, the Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa for accommodation, Forestry England for attractions and outdoors, Wordsworth Grasmere for culture and heritage, and Grasmere Gingerbread for food and drink.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This year has been the toughest in living memory for the sector. Thanks to support from Cumbria Tourism members, we have been able to feed evidence and information through to our national partners and directly to government, making sure our voice is heard at the highest levels  and so we are particularly delighted to welcome Kate and Bernard as our key speakers this month, both of whom have worked tirelessly on behalf of the industry, using their seats at the top table with the government, to help us repeatedly make our case.

“We’re also delighted to be revealing our fascinating latest visitor insight and helping businesses explore how the county and they can use this to positive effect as part of the industry recovery. I am personally really looking forward to hearing from our six businesses. Our members are the ones at the coal face and they know better than any of us just how tough this year has been but Cumbria is nothing if not resilient so it’s going to be brilliant to hear some of their insight into how they have navigated their way through and what they see as some of the opportunities for next year and beyond.”

Q&A sessions with every speaker will also be held during the meeting.

Cumbria Tourism members can book up to two free places here or by calling 01539 822222.


The Managing Director of Cumbria’s most popular paid-for attraction has joined the UK Government’s Tourism Industry Council, which acts as a point of dialogue between Ministers and the entire tourism sector.

Nigel Wilkinson of Windermere Lake Cruises, a Strategic Partner of Cumbria Tourism, joined the group for the first time this week, alongside other employers, small businesses and representative organisations from across the UK-wide tourism industry.

Described by the government as “leading figureheads drawn from across the tourism industry”, the Tourism Council was set-up in 2014 and brings together more than 20 leading figures from attractions, hospitality, accommodation, aviation, transport and other businesses whose services are actively marketed to inbound, outbound and domestic travellers. While coming from specific areas of business, each member of the council works to represent the tourism industry as a whole to the highest levels of government.

Speaking after the meeting, Nigel Wilkinson, who is also a Board Member at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Chairs the LEP’s Visitor Sector Panel says, “I’m delighted to have been invited to join the Tourism Industry Council by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston MP. While issues that affect the sector in the short, medium and longer term like Brexit and the reprioritisation of Tourism Sector Deal commitments are among the priorities, the most crucial issue we face currently is sustaining the sector through the forthcoming lockdown and the longer term recovery post Covid-19.

 “While speaking for the whole industry nationwide, I’m using my position to stress the critical importance of the visitor economy  to Cumbria, and raising awareness of the challenges we all face in doing whatever we can to make the industry sustainable as we move our recovery campaign forward over the coming weeks, months and years ahead.

 “The group aims to give the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector a louder voice and always aim to achieve increased collaboration with the government while making calls for more employment, better job security, and working to improve other issues like transport and deregulation. I’m very much looking forward to doing whatever I can to help not just Cumbria’s economy, but contribute to the development of the tourism sector across the country.”

Commenting, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism Gill Haigh, adds, “Nigel’s appointment to the Government’s Tourism Industry Council will come as welcome news to the sector in Cumbria, particularly at this incredibly challenging time. Nigel is a hugely respected figurehead within the county and nationally and I know it will be reassuring to businesses to know that we now have our own highly experienced voice and capable pair of hands representing us at the top table. Cumbria Tourism has given Nigel’s its commitment to provide any support and evidence he needs to assist all his endeavours on our behalf.”

 Lord Inglewood, the Chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership also welcomes the appointment, and says, “I am really pleased that Nigel has been appointed to the Tourism Industry Council. He is an excellent advocate and ambassador for the sector in Cumbria through his role as the Chair of CLEP’s Visitor Economy Sector Panel and his new role will give him the opportunity to do the same for all businesses in the sector, on a national platform.”

The Tourism Council meets regularly and is co-chaired by the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage and Simon Vincent, President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Hilton Worldwide.

New eco-friendly car hire for Cumbria’s mainline train stations

Rail passengers heading to Cumbria from around the UK now have an easy, eco-friendly way to get around, thanks to new low carbon car hire at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme railway stations.

With ultra-low CO2 emissions, the introduction of the three Toyota Yaris Hybrids as part of a wider car sharing scheme come thanks to a partnership between the ‘See More’ sustainable travel programme, Co-wheels car club, and Virgin Trains. The ‘pay as you drive’ vehicles enable visitors who join the car club to hop straight off a train and into the conveniently-placed vehicles for their onward journeys into the heart of the Lake District.

The cars’ arrival follows the success of two existing vehicles at Oxenholme and Windermere train stations (which are also now being upgraded to Toyota Yaris Hybrids). They have already proved popular with people visiting Cumbria on business, as well as holidaymakers travelling by rail. The majority of users come from outside the region, with 71% based outside the North West and 36% from the London area (Jan-July 2015).

Nicola Parker, Programme Manager for See More says, “Travelling by rail is a great way to reach Cumbria, but many visitors feel they need a car to get around once they’re here. These low carbon, ‘pay as you drive’ cars give train passengers more flexibility, particularly if they’re travelling longer distances and want an easier, more environmentally friendly way to travel deeper into the heart of this iconic region.”

Richard Falconer, Co-wheels Managing Director, says, “Co-wheels’ aim has always been to challenge perceptions of how people can travel and live a car-free lifestyle, without sacrificing practicality or adventure. The deployment of our new ultra-low emission hybrids allows people all over the country unimpeded access to the area, including the beautiful and remote Lake District landscape, whilst encouraging more sustainable transport choices both to and within Cumbria.

Simarjeet Kaur, Head of Responsible Business at Virgin Trains, says, “We care about the environment and are committed to reducing carbon emissions along the West Coast Mainline. This partnership is the latest step we’ve taken to help us continue our commitment and encourage our customers to think green. The low-carbon cars will enable customers to continue their onward journey with ease, whilst allowing them to see more of Cumbria.”

The low-carbon hybrid cars will also have roof mounted cycle carriers for two bicycles, so are ideal for cyclists arriving in Cumbria by train.

Visitors wanting to hire the cars can sign up online with Co-wheels ahead of their visit. They will then receive their own smartcard, which gives them direct access to their chosen car in the Co-wheels national fleet, including the vehicles at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme and Windermere railway stations.

Co-wheels is offering a special membership rate for anyone keen to use the new cars in Cumbria. The offer means people can use the code CUMBRIADRIVE to join the club for a one-off discounted membership fee of £10, with an additional £5 free driving credit added to their account automatically.


Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact: Heather Sewell, 01539 825002 / 07795 487003 /

There are five project strands within the See More Cumbria and the Lake District programme covering a wide range of activity, including enhanced visitor transport services, cycle route development, better information about travel options, comprehensive marketing and corridor travel planning activity. For travel information visit

1. Helping international visitors to use buses, trains and water transport, as well as walking, cycling and hiring low emissions vehicles will reduce the impact of their travel on the local environment and community, while making their trip to the area more enjoyable and relaxing.

2. More information about the National Park and the Authority’s work is available on their website

3. For further information on visiting the Lake District and other parts of Cumbria visit

Cumbria Tourism welcomes new investment in the county as hotel adds extra luxury to town centre

On Tuesday 19th January Applegarth Villa of College Road Windermere, will officially launch their latest development of seven luxury hot tub suites contained in the Coach House next door to the hotel.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, will officially open the suites and welcome the new development and investment in the county.

Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says:
The global tourism industry that we all operate in is hugely competitive, continuously improving and exceeding customers’ expectations is crucial to winning both new and repeat business. Quality is of upmost importance and the provision of new and upgraded facilities can be a key factor in gaining and maintaining custom. The new suites at Applegarth are doing just that – improving their customer offer and placing themselves in the highest division of luxury in England’s tourism offer.

All seven suites boast terraces and/or balconies with hot tubs, baths, mood lighting and a whole host of additional luxuries which the discerning traveller has now come to expect.

Commenting on their latest development owners Alan and Suzanne Mumford says;
We are absolutely delighted with the new luxury suites and would like to thank everybody who has played such an important role in helping us to make them so special. We are confident that guests will be able to escape and enjoy the highest level of luxury possible in the heart of the Lake District, Cumbria.

Breakfast and dinner will be available served to the suites together with drinks by their in house butler leaving more time to relax in the magnificent surroundings. To book a stay at Applegath Villa visit


PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – You are invited to attend the official opening on Tuesday 19th January and please confirm your attendance with Sarah Jones on 01539 825052 or email by Monday 18 January

1. 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.

2. In 2014, over 41 million people visited Cumbria contributing more than £2.44 billion to the local economy and support around 58,000 jobs. To find out more about the work of Cumbria Tourism, visit

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ back in business…

Ullswater ‘Steamers’ is gearing up to ‘pipe’ their first customer aboard in the aftermath of storms ‘Desmond, Eva and Frank’ later this week.

Despite a number of recent setbacks due to the severe weather experienced during the Festive period the iconic Lake District attraction is set to bounce back and offer cruises on England’s most beautiful lake, Ullswater, commencing from Thursday 14 January 2016. (First sailing departs 09.45hrs from Glenridding Pier).

Despite the area being subjected to three Storms in rapid succession the team at Ullswater ‘Steamers’ weren’t going to be kept down. Like many businesses in and around the Lake the team from ‘Steamers’ mucked in and helped local communities around Ullswater where they could, clearing away debris, ferrying supplies about and generally doing their best to ease the plight of those worse off than themselves.

‘Steamers’ fortunately got off relatively lightly at the hands of ‘Desmond, Eva and Frank’, with some damage caused to the stern of Lady Wakefield, flood damage to facilities and the carpark at Glenridding, minor damage to Pooley Bridge Pier and Pier House, and difficulty accessing Howtown due to high lake levels.

To further support the local communities affected by flooding ‘Steamers’ are offering the residents of Glenridding, Patterdale, Martindale, Howtown and Pooley Bridge a complimentary season ticket giving unlimited travel on scheduled services for 2016.

The business, which operates one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world, is an important link in connecting some of the most famous and iconic walking routes in the National Park and as such is a vital part of the local tourism infrastructure.

Mindful of this the team wanted to get services up and running as quickly as possible, to show that the area is open for business despite all that has been thrown at the area by the recent storms.

Tour groups wishing to access ‘Steamers’ sailings from Pooley Bridge can still do so at the normal drop off point at Pooley Bridge Pier, which is totally operational. It should be noted that access to refreshment facilities in the Village of Pooley Bridge is currently not possible, as a result we are recommending tour groups use the following facilities as alternatives in the interim, for the northern end of Ullswater – Dalemain and Rheged. Those seeking refreshments at the southern end of Ullswater should note Glenridding is open as usual.

Rachel Bell, Marketing Manager with Ullswater Steamers, said: ‘’As a company we pride ourselves in being part of the local community. The villages around Ullswater are an integral part of our business, which is why I want to take this opportunity to commend all of the staff at ‘Steamers’ for the work they have done to heIp our local communities in very difficult circumstances, I couldn’t wish to work with more caring set of people.’’

For further information about events and cruises with Ullswater Steamers please visit:


Notes to Editors:

1: For additional information or to arrange a press trip please contact Greg Stephenson on 01539 825060 or e-mail

Top 10 cultural things to see in the Lake District this spring

Keen to avoid the blues this January? Looking for ideas for a short break? Then we have a few cultural treats for you to savour. Maybe you are a bit of a cinephile but can’t afford to make it to Cannes this year? Or even a budding wordsmith in need of inspiration? Maybe just maybe snapping is your thing… Head to the Lakes, appease your curiosity and discover its cultural side. Check out our selection of top spring cultural treats, if you like art, history, theatre and literature treat yourself to a Lakes cultural break this spring.

An Artist With A Camera, Brantwood, Coniston from 16 January – 20 March

The exhibition at Brantwood will show a selection of framed large format sepia photographs by multi-award-winning Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, mainly concentrating on his people studies and farming scenes which display both great sensitivity and creativity.

In 1873, Sutcliffe was invited to photograph around Brantwood after John Ruskin had admired a picture taken by the young photographer. After which Sutcliffe advertised that he was… ‘Photographer to John Ruskin’. Perhaps the ‘Sage of Coniston’ would have been very proud of the future success of a photographer who between 1880 and 1894, was awarded over sixty gold, silver and bronze medals at exhibitions as far afield as New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, Chicago and Vienna, as well as at major exhibitions in the UK.

Blue Monday 18 January & Prominent Lines from 25 January, Heaton Cooper Studios, Grasmere.

Blue Monday:

Grasmere art Studio, Heaton Cooper is putting on a one off show featuring just bright and sunny paintings on the most depressing day of the year 18th January. The Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere plans to mark ‘Blue Monday’ with an exhibition of sunshine and colour. The show will include a rarely-seen painting of Les Calanques in Provence by William Heaton Cooper, the grandfather of the gallery’s director Becky Heaton Cooper, who is arranging the event to raise money for MIND, the mental health charity.

Prominent Lines:

Prominent Lines is a new exhibition in the Lake District, which aims to explore the aesthetic appeal of rock climbing and mountain environments. The exhibition is a collection of work by climber and artist Tessa Lyons, highlighting the beauty of rocks and crags. It will open at the mecca of climbing art in Grasmere, the Heaton Cooper studio, on 25th January.

Canaletto: Celebrating Britain, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, until 14 February

Kendal’s Abbot Hall is the final and the only northern venue showing this spectacular exhibition. Through a series of astonishing canvases and drawings, Canaletto celebrated the accomplishment, success and wealth of the rising British nation and its latest achievements in architecture and engineering.

This is the first time that these outstanding paintings and drawings by Canaletto have been brought together to provide an overview of the artist’s time in Britain. It features significant works on loan from major collections, including the Royal Collection, the British Museum, Compton Verney and Dulwich Picture Gallery, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, and a number of private lenders.

Shepherds to Char-a-bancs, The Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, until 28 February

In 1810, Wordsworth described the inhabitants of the Vale of Grasmere as a, ‘republic of agriculturalists and shepherds’. But just 100 years later it had become a thriving centre for tourists with new residents, new tourism businesses and bustling flow of visitors.

Inspired by the presentation of an 1859 survey map of Grasmere to The Wordsworth Trust by Donald Woodburn, this new exhibition, curated by The Grasmere History Society explains this transformation through the stories of residents at the time.

Keswick Film Festival 25 – 28 February

This is your chance to experience around 30 of the best UK independent and international films over four days and all in the spectacular surrounds of Keswick.

Themes this year include the work of women film directors, a celebration of jazz – very apt for Keswick with its well-known Jazz Festival (12-15 May), and an exploration of the relationship between film and memory.

There will also be a showcase of the ‘best of the fests’ – a selection of award-winning films from prestigious festivals across the globe, including Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto.

Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas, Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, 04 – 13 March

For 10 days 04 – 13 March, writers and readers get together to share the pleasure of books, words and ideas in the pretty Lake District market town.

The Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas, held at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, may not be able to summon Wordsworth or Coleridge to take part in their programme, but there are many other literary giants heading to the Lake District this March to hold your interest… You never know you may spot James Naughtie on the shores of Derwentwater, Melvyn Bragg rambling in the nearby fells, dramatist David Hare deep in conversation with Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri in a local cafe…

Cumbrian Art: Picturing Places, Tullie House Museum & Gallery, 05 March – 05 June

This wide-ranging exhibition focuses on Cumbria’s rich artistic heritage represented in Tullie House Museum’s extensive collection of Cumbrian art. It features specific places depicted by nationally recognised artists from past and present  Highlights include Sam Bough’s atmospheric landscapes, William James Blacklock’s sensitive watercolours and Thomas Bushby’s chocolate-box images of Carlisle. More recent vibrant coloured paintings by Winifred Nicholson contrast with Sheila Fell’s more subdued tones. Julian Cooper’s massive painting of Honister Crag in the Lake District is the highlight of the contemporary artists on show.

Laura Ford: Seen and Unseen, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House: 11 March – 4 September & Abbot Hall Art Gallery: 11 March – 25 June

Blackwell and Abbot Hall will host an extraordinary exhibition of work by sculptor, Laura Ford. Located at Blackwell on the lawns, with select pieces in the main house and at Abbot Hall, this exhibition will comprise Ford’s earlier work together with new sculptures.

Born in 1961, Laura Ford’s imaginative creations explore aspects of the human condition. She describes her work as sculptures dressed as people who are dressed as animals, as they meld together ideas of childhood memory with a disturbing edge.

The Professor of Adventure, by Peter Macqueen, Theatre By The Lake, Keswick 19 March – 05 April

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, adapted by Chris Monks, Theatre By The Lake, 26 March – 23 April

The theatre will play host to two world premières this spring, the first is The Professor of Adventure, actor Peter Macqueen’s one-man play based on the extraordinary life of Millican Dalton, who fled a stifling life in the City to find freedom living as a hermit in a Lake District cave.

The second is The Shepherd’s Life, adapted by Chris Monks, former Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, from the best-selling book by Matterdale sheep farmer James Rebanks. The production will feature puppet sheep and sheepdogs – designed and choreographed by the associate puppetry director of the internationally acclaimed War Horse…

Book your Lake District cultural break now at

Images enclosed:

Laura Ford – Days of Judgement – works on show at Abbot Hall & Blackwell the Arts & Crafts House (copyright the artist)

Sam Bough – Borrowdale 1846 on show at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery (copyright Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Trust)


Note to Editors:

For more information contact Greg Stephenson –  / 01539 825060 or visit

  • Lakes Culture aims to bring together the area’s tourism and cultural sectors to better promote the wealth of cultural activities on offer reaffirming the area as the UK’s leading rural cultural destination.
  • The Lake District is one of only ten locations in the country to benefit from Cultural Destinations initiative a focused programme set up by Arts Council England and VisitEngland. The aim of Cultural destinations is to enable arts and culture organisations working in partnership with destination organisations to increase their reach, engagement and resilience through working with the tourism sector. Closer working between the two sectors will contribute to the economic growth of the cultural and tourism visitor economies.
  • Organisations involved in the project include Kendal Brewery Arts Centre (Lead Organisation), Lakeland Arts, The Wordsworth Trust, Theatre by the Lake, The Forestry Commission – Grizedale, Cumbria Tourism, The National Trust, Lake District National Park, South Lakeland District Council and Lake District Summer Music.
  • The Lakes Culture project will also form a supporting strand of the World Heritage Status bid being submitted by the Lake District National Park Partnership. For more information visit:

Top Ten Things To Do in Cumbria

There’s plenty of things to see and do and we’ve selected just a few top suggestions for a perfect winter break. Come join us and enjoy this truly remarkable landscape. To find out more visit: and book yourself a break away.

1. The Snow Queen, Theatre by the Lake – Keswick

Treat the family to a Christmas performance of The Snow Queen at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake. A tale of friendship, kindness and adventure set amongst the coldest season, based on Hans Christian Andersons classic can warm the heart.

Running until 16th January 2016

2. The Big Sleep in aid of Cumbria Community Foundation

Join Cumbria Community Foundation for a night of entertainment and fund raising for the Winter Warmth Appeal; to support vulnerable older people in Cumbria.

Cumbria Community Foundation is currently in the midst of raising millions of pounds for the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund.

We’re asking you to leave the comfort of your warm home, brace the cold Winter air and spend a night sleeping under the stars.

In a bad winter 300 older people in Cumbria can die because of the effects of the cold weather – by spending one night camping out at the Low Wood Bay Hotel overlooking Lake Windermere, you could help keep one older person safe and warm over the winter months.

Entertainment, food and refreshments and overnight parking is all available; just bring yourself, your tent and sleeping bag and your winter woollies to keep you warm

January 30th 2016

3. Lakes Artist Society’s Winter Exhibition, Rheged Centre – Nr Penrith

The Lake Artists Society was founded more than 100 years ago, by artist W.G.Collingwood, secretary to John Ruskin. The society consists of a range of Cumbrian painters and sculptors working in a variety of styles and mediums. The annual Winter Exhibition is an opportunity to see a large selection of artworks, and is an ideal chance to add to your collection, at this festive time of year.

Running until 31st January 2016
4. Canalleto – Exclusive After Hours Tour at Abbot Hall

Join an exclusive tour of the Canaletto: Celebrating Britain exhibition after hours. Take in the exhibition in the company of only a dozen people before joining the curatorial team to hear more about the paintings and discuss the work.

Canaletto, is today remembered as one of Italy’s greatest view painters. His images of Venice were particularly popular with the well-bred English gentlemen undertaking the Grand Tour of Europe. When war caused the flow of British visitors to Venice to dry up Canaletto followed his patrons home to Britain

After Hours Tour: Thursday 14th January 2016
Exhibition: Open now until 14th February 2016
5. Distillery Tours at The Lakes Distillery

Set in the backdrop of the beautiful Cumbrian hills and mountains, The Lakes Distillery, the largest distillery in England, is set in an area of unimaginable beauty next to Bassenthwaite Lake. Overlooked by one of the Lakes’ highest peaks, Skiddaw, our location has been an inspiration to many people over the years including the poets Wordsworth and Tennyson.

We welcome visitors to learn about their spirits via their cutting edge distillery tours. Visitors will be taken on a tour through the ages, exploring the history of distilling, learning about what makes The Lakes Distillery’s products so special and unique, and of course having a sample of the spirits themselves!

Open every day except Christmas Day
6. Health and Wellbeing Fair

Come along to The Rheged Centre and meet with fitness experts, nutritionists, beauticians and join us in our quest to get fit, feel great and wipe away those winter blues
The event also features gluten free products in association with the Cumbria Coeliac Society

January 3st 2016, 10am – 4pm, free entry

7. White Noise Festival, the Brewery Arts Centre

Brand new for 2016, The White Noise Festival aims to inspire young people under 26 to reflect on & question the world around them through an eclectic mix of theatre, spoken word, music & art.
More information and acts to be announced soon. See all White Noise events for only £20 (Under 26s) or £5 individually.

February 5th and 6th 2016

8. Burns Night at Tullie House

A night of dialect poetry and Burns Night traditions to celebrate the birthdays of Robbie Burns and Robert Anderson, the famous Cumberland Bard. The Lakeland Dialect Society and local poets will deliver a night of entertaining and wide ranging dialect performances. There’ll also be the chance to view the Picture the Poet exhibition.

January 29th 2016

9. Polar Exploration: An illustrated talk with Geoff Somers
Geoff Somers is one of the Worlds most accomplished Polar travellers. He has completed several “Firsts”- including in 1990 the first and only traverse of the entire Antarctic Continent by its greatest axis – a seven month, near 4000 mile (6000 km) journey. Keswick Museum hosts this expedition icon on Tuesday 26th January, for more info and booking, please contact Helen Keogh on 017687 73263 or email:

January 26th 2016

10. Blue Monday at Heaton Cooper Studios

Grasmere art Studio, Heaton Cooper is putting on show just bright and sunny paintings on the most depressing day of the year. The Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere plans to mark “Blue Monday” with an exhibition of sunshine and colour on the third Monday in January (18th). The show will include a rarely-seen painting of Les Calanques in Provence by William Heaton Cooper, the grandfather of the gallery’s director Becky Heaton Cooper who is arranging the event to raise money for MIND, the mental health charity.

January 18th 2016

Notes to Editors:
All events correct at time of release, may be subject to change, please check with event venues and accommodation providers if you’re unsure.

1. For further information please contact Cumbria Tourism Press Office on 01539 822222 or on

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

Lake District skipper nominated for VisitEngland’s ‘Tourism Superstar’

One of the youngest ever skippers of a Windermere ‘steamer’ has made the national shortlist in a competition to find VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2016.
The campaign recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry and is awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors to England have an unforgettable experience.

VisitEngland has just revealed details of the national finalists for 2016, with Cumbrian boatman Rob Beale making the top ten who will go forward to a public vote. 27 year old Rob, who lives in Kendal, is the only nominee in the North West to make the shortlist.

Rob started working for Windermere Lake Cruises in 2008 and is one of the youngest employees to regularly skipper an historic ‘steamer’ on England’s largest natural lake. An avid photographer of Windermere and the surrounding area, he is a keen researcher into the Lake District’s proud boating heritage and has also written three books on the history of Lakeland steamers.

Rob Beale says, “I’m a bit stunned, but also honoured to be nominated by VisitEngland. I know I’m the only person from Cumbria on the national shortlist, so I’m proud to be flying the flag for the North West of England. It’s another great opportunity to show the rest of the country what a great place this is to visit.

CEO of VisitEngland, James Berresford says, “Showcasing the passion and commitment of highly skilled individuals within the English tourism industry, is precisely why Tourism Superstar 2016 will be a success. This award recognises the people on the ground who meet and greet visitors on a daily basis, and whose consistent vision and dedication ensures that visitors to England have a memorable and fulfilling experience.

Managing Director at Windermere Lake Cruises, Nigel Wilkinson, adds, “We’re really pleased for Rob. Not only does he have an in-depth knowledge and passion for Windermere and the Lake District as a whole, but his friendly, easy-going nature means he knows how to put our passengers at ease. Recently married with three young children, we still can’t work out when he’s found the time to do his boating research, write his books and continue giving numerous talks to community groups on local history.”

The Daily Mirror will host an online public vote from 16 January 2016, which shows a short film of all Tourism Superstar nominees. Readers will then be able to vote for their favourite.
The winner will be announced during English Tourism Week (5-13 March 2016) and will be invited to accept their title at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.


Notes to Editors:

Hi res image attached: Rob Beale (left) with Nigel Wilkinson, MD of Windermere Lake Cruises.

The full list of shortlisted superstars includes:

• Rob Beale – Boatmaster at Windermere Lake Cruises, Cumbria
• Dr John Bevan – Chairman, The Historical Diving Society in Gosport, Hampshire
• David Cameron-Young – Express Coach Driver at Oxford Bus Company, Oxfordshire
• Rachel Duffield – Learning and Engagement Officer at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in Norfolk
• Lilian Groves – Senior Guide at Durham Cathedral in County Durham
• Alex McLennan – Recreation & Public Affairs Manager for the Forestry Commission in the North East, Northumberland
• Rose MacInnes – Visitor Centre Supervisor at Blackfriars Distillery, Plymouth Gin in Plymouth
• Aaron Orman – Travel Ambassador at Visit Isle of Wight Visitor Information Centre on Isle of Wight
• Allison Prin – Pier Manager at City Cruises in Greenwich, London
• Diana Rosset – Receptionist at Smiths Court Hotel in Cliftonville, Kent
• Tracy Slator – Tour Guide at Oxford Castle Unlocked in Oxford

For more information or images, please contact: Heather Sewell on / 07795 487003 / 01539

2016 brings national TV spotlight to Honister

Honister Slate Mine gets the New Year underway with two major appearances on primetime TV, following visits by a couple of very famous faces.

Politician turned broadcaster Michael Portillo visited Honister last Spring, as part of a trip through the Lake District for the new series of BBC2’s Great Railway Journeys. As England’s last working slate mine, Honister is an important heritage site and Co-owner Joe Weir took his special guest underground to see the modern-day mining process. He was also shown an original electric train used by miners in days gone by and followed in the footsteps of Victorian miners on their way to work. The programme, which celebrates the country’s railways, will be transmitted tonight Monday 4 January 2016 at 6.30pm on BBC 2.

Also starting tonight is a new weekly ITV series called Griff’s Great Britain, presented by Griff Rhys Jones. One of the eight programmes to come later in the series will focus on the Lake District, with Griff taking on the daunting challenge of ‘skywalking’ across the so-called ‘Infiniti Bridge’ at Honister – thought to be Britain’s longest Burma bridge, suspended more than 2,000 feet above the valley floor. He will also be exploring the terrain in a variety of other ways, such as driving across Wrynose pass in a vintage car and taking to the waters of Derwentwater in a canoe.

Joe Weir, Co-owner of Honister Slate Mine, says “We’re getting used to welcoming famous faces to Honister and it’s great that TV documentary crews are so keen to come and film here. We had great fun with both Michael Portillo and Griff Rhys Jones, who had already filmed down the mine a few years ago. Michael took a real interest in what we do and Griff was definitely up for the challenge of Skywalking!

He adds, “With some other TV programmes already in the pipeline for 2016, it’s fantastic to see interest in the iconic Lake District landscape still continues to grow. Honister really is becoming the ultimate filming location.


Notes to Editors:

Hi res images attached: ITV crew film Griff Rhys Jones ‘skywalking’ across the Infiniti bridge at Honister.

Additional images available. For more information, please contact: Heather Sewell, / 01539 825002 / 07795 487003