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.

Cumbria Tourism – the county’s official Destination Management Organisation – is planning to emulate the 25 million reach achieved in last year’s winter marketing campaign with the launch of a FREE marketing toolkit to support its 2,500 member businesses through the winter months.

The toolkit comprises a wide range of marketing resources including striking imagery and seasonal itineraries for businesses to integrate within their own marketing, to promote themselves and Cumbria as an all-year-round visitor destination.

The toolkit is available to download as part of Cumbria Tourism’s Winter marketing campaign that runs until mid-March 2018, and supports the trade through to the crucial Easter holidays. The aim is to showcase the wide range of events and attractions people can enjoy throughout the winter, by sharing content, images and itineraries to inspire staycations and drum home the message that visitors are welcome at any time of year.

Early indicators show this year’s campaign is already performing particularly strongly with visitors to the winter section of up compared to the the same period last year.

PR successes continue to gather momentum with national travel reviews featuring in The Independent, Evening Standard, The Times and The Sunday Post Scotland promoting Cumbria as the ideal winter destination.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism says: “We are committed to supporting our wonderful tourism businesses during the winter months. Cumbria Tourism is leading this bold high profile national reaching campaign which has real resonance with our target markets. Alongside this our free toolkit is specifically designed to provide practical advice and sharable content for businesses to use and add even more impact for themselves and Cumbria.”

For the second-year businesses are also able to be part of ‘LoveCumbria’, the winter rewards card for visitors. Businesses can put forward offers to the scheme or they can use the cards to encourage winter trade.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work Cumbria Tourism delivers to promote the destination and how to join as a member, please call 01539 822222 or visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Notes to Editors:

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

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

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

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