Cumbria’s tourism-related businesses have the chance to shine the spotlight on their companies’ unsung heroes in this year’s prestigious Cumbria Tourism Awards.

The competition enables tourism operators from around the county to share their stand-out success stories across 16 categories, with the Sheila Hensman ‘Unsung Hero’ Award recognising an individual who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the tourism industry.

Nominations in the Unsung Hero category can be new to the role or may have worked in tourism for some time. Although they are unlikely to be business owners or senior managers, they can work in any other area of the business - working above and beyond their jobs to provide unforgettable visitor experiences.

Last year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero Award was 21-year-old Ben McGregor from Lake District Estates, who originally joined the business as an apprentice and progressed to the role of digital marketing coordinator.  

Ben was recognised for not only helping his employer innovate and embrace new technologies, but also being a true ambassador for Cumbria. Alongside this, he demonstrated an ongoing commitment to fundraising and improving mental health and wellbeing for both his colleagues and young people in the wider community.

He said, “It came as a massive surprise and honour to be awarded this prestigious award, in honour of Sheila Hensman - such an influential member of the local tourism industry. I’m very lucky to work alongside such hard-working and supportive colleagues, who have helped me grow and explore my passions in the workplace and beyond.”

Head of marketing and business development at Lake District Estates, Rachel Bell, added, “We were all extremely proud of Ben, who epitomises not only a commitment and passion for showcasing the Lake District to the world, but also a positive ‘can do’ attitude to support others.

"We would definitely recommend other businesses take the opportunity to put forward an outstanding individual within their own company who they think deserves this special accolade.”

Details on how to enter the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2024 can be found at 

That includes further information on all 16 categories, spanning restaurants, guesthouses and B&Bs, self-catering accommodation, hotels, pubs, visitor attractions/experiences and ‘makers and producers’. There are also opportunities to highlight achievements around accessibility and sustainable tourism.

The deadline for all entries is 5pm on Friday, March 1 and the awards ceremony takes place on Tuesday, July 2 at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal.  

Winners in many of the categories will also automatically feed into the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2025. Businesses do not need to be a member of Cumbria Tourism to apply.