The chair of VisitEngland’s Advisory Board, Lady Borwick, has visited Cumbria for a special two-day trip as part of the celebrations for English Tourism Week.

The trip was organised by Cumbria Tourism in its 50th anniversary year and came exactly a year after the organisation was officially awarded Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) status by VisitEngland. 

The visit saw Lady Borwick meeting businesses from around the county, to find out more about their successes, opportunities and challenges for the future. It included a morning in Kirkby Lonsdale, with a visit to the community-run Tourist Information Centre and Shop, before a whistle-stop tour of the historic market town. 

She then headed to The Yan at Broadrayne to talk sustainability, before hearing direct from cultural representatives from around the county who gathered at Wordsworth Grasmere.

The final stop of the day was a visit to Bassenthwaite Lake Station – trailblazers in accessibility and finalists at the national VisitEngland Awards 2023 – ahead of a ‘round table’ discussion with a group of leading tourism business leaders and Cumbria LEP (Local Economic Partnership) and local government partners at Armathwaite Hall.

The visit culminated in the official launch of a new Destination Management Plan (DMP) for the county during Cumbria Tourism’s members’ meeting. VisitEngland Advisory Board chair Lady Victoria Borwick said: “I was delighted to be in Cumbria and to see for myself the businesses and attractions at the heart of this community that make this region an outstanding visitor destination.”

Managing director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, added: “We’re honoured that Lady Borwick chose to visit Cumbria during English Tourism Week. It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our world-class destination and crucially, to bring a national industry leader to meet directly with local tourism businesses on the ground to hear about their current challenges, hopes and innovations.”

Kirkby Lonsdale was one of the locations Lady Borwick specifically asked to visit. The Tourist Information Centre and Shop is run locally by volunteers and is a vital focal point for visitors and residents alike.

Chair of Kirkby Lonsdale Community Interest Company (CIC), Allan Muirhead, commented: “Kirkby Lonsdale is a truly resourceful town which has come up with a unique, local solution to offer tourism support and information through a network of dedicated volunteers. 

“By working together as a community, the CIC not only maintains the shop and its interactive visitor attraction but it also runs regular heritage walking tours, puts on public events like the annual Christmas fair, maintains public toilets and looks after local rental properties to generate income.

"We’re delighted Lady Borwick had the opportunity to see this first-hand!”