TOURISM Minister Nigel Huddleston MP has praised Cumbria as a 'year-round' destination after he was in the county to see the wide range of businesses already welcoming visitors.

Organised by Cumbria Tourism, the trip showcased a wide-ranging Cumbrian experience, both inside and outside the Lake District National Park, and the variety and quality of food and drink, accommodation, culture, heritage and adventure activities set within the dramatic background of Cumbria’s lakes and mountains.

It was a busy day starting at the Lingholm Estate near Keswick where the Minister met various business owners from the area as well as some furry alpaca friends.

Next stop was Pooley Bridge where Mr Huddleston saw the new award-winning bridge replacing the previous one washed away by Storm Desmond. He also met with local business representatives from the village and wider Ullswater Valley before enjoying a Ullswater ‘Steamers’ ride on the lake.

Crossing over Kirkstone Pass, the Minister then visited Wordsworth Grasmere, the home of the eponymous poet, to meet the museum’s director and representatives from nearby Grasmere Gingerbread before enjoying lunch (provided by Storrs Hall Hotel) aboard a Windermere Lake Cruises service and ending the day with a visit to Levens Hall near Kendal.

TOURISM: Nigel Huddleston MP speaking to local representatives abord an Ullswater ‘Steamer

TOURISM: Nigel Huddleston MP speaking to local representatives abord an Ullswater ‘Steamer

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, said: “The Minister was hugely impressed by what he saw and found the discussions with business owners and local representatives very valuable.

"I am confident that we left him in no doubt that, despite the current challenges, the businesses and sectors that make up Cumbria’s visitor economy are fully focussed on creating safe, world-class experiences and thereby playing a significant part in supporting the county and country’s recovery.

“I am also confident that the strong two-way communications between Cumbria Tourism and Government will continue to play a key role in informing and shaping government policy on behalf of our members and the wider sector."

Posting on social media during and after his visit, the Minister highlighted the county’s appeal as a year-round, all weather destination as well as recognising the efforts made by businesses and attractions to reopen safely in line with the current stage of the Government’s roadmap.

“I would like to personally thank all the businesses and individuals for their support in arranging the day, they really pulled out all the stops to offer a wonderful example of Cumbrian hospitality," Gill Haigh continued.

"As visitors begin to return to the county, I know they’ll appreciate this world-class welcome.”