Three major tourism projects that will “ignite” south Cumbria’s culture heritage have reached crucial milestones.

Kendal's Abbot Hall Gallery, Windermere Jetty and the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere have all reached key stages as Cumbria continues to develop its cultural credentials to visitors across the UK and overseas.

The new £20 million Windermere Jetty attraction will open its doors to the public on Saturday (March 23) while ambitious £7.1 million plans to transform Abbot Hall Gallery into an 'exceptional' cultural attraction have now been submitted to South Lakeland District Council and unveiled to the public.

Meanwhile, contractors have been appointed to begin work on William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage at Grasmere, restoring the building to its former glory, along with an expanded museum.

Rhian Harris, chief executive of Lakeland Arts – which operates both Windermere Jetty and Abbot Hall said it was the most “exciting” time in the organisation's history.

Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories will open after a 10-year closure and redevelopment. It will have 40 vessels on display, with each collection telling a story.

Multi-award winning McInnes Usher McKnight Architects are leading the redevelopment of Abbot Hall into a stimulating” and “vibrant” place, with work potentially starting later this year depending on further funding awards.

Existing car parks on the site in Kirland will be replaced with courtyards, the hall’s museum and shop will be relocated, a new café developed and accessibility improved.

Ms Harris said: "It's really exciting to present redevelopment plans for Abbot Hall which will transform the gallery in time for its 60th anniversary in 2022. The redevelopment will be a catalyst for engaging local audiences and reaching new people."

The Wordsworth Trust has announced further plans for 'Reimagining Wordsworth', a £6.2 million project, which will preserve and enhance the significance of Dove Cottage in Grasmere.

The trust has revealed F. Parkinson Ltd as the contractor for the scheme and will start work next week with the aim to complete in time for the celebration of William Wordsworth's 250th birthday in April 2020.

Celebrated as a global centre for British Romanticism, Dove Cottage will be 'sensitively' redeveloped into the house that William and Dorothy Wordsworth would have known. The museum will also be expanded and modernised as well as new galleries offering visitors the chance to stop and reflect on the landscape that inspired Wordsworth.

Michael McGregor, a director at Wordsworth Trust, said the project "marked a key milestone in the process of realising the trust's vision of enabling more people to discover Wordsworth's poetry".

Progress on the three attractions was welcomed by Cumbria Tourism’s managing director Gill Haigh.

"These projects will ignite and bring our culture heritage to life for future generations," she said. 

"When you visit an attraction, you don't just want to see it, you want to learn from it and immerse yourself into the stories.

"It's important for sites like these to reinvent themselves constantly and bring fresh appeal to visitors while bringing another aspect of our culture to life."

Mrs Haigh said that each of the projects would bring a boost to the local economy as they would provide more motivation for visitors to come to the area.

"When tourists come to visit we want to encourage them to extend their stay," she added. 

"These attractions will provide another reason for them to do so."