Cumbria’s Lake District is a world-renowned landscape attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every summer.
It has its cultural icons in Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, but how do you get visitors to expand their horizons to discover, experience and explore a broader cultural offer – including the many theatres, festivals, museums and galleries, art-trails and projects that operate year-round, outside of the traditional hotspots and summer season?
We worked with the fledgling cultural tourism partnership set up by Cumbria Tourism to tease out how to present what the county has to offer beyond the obvious set-pieces.
Pulling out some of the stories unique to the arts, heritage and people of this inspirational landscape and looking at gaps in the calendar, we encouraged the partnership to develop new cultural products, to test out ideas with real cultural tourists.
One example was Wray Castle’s Audio Weekend, which linked one lake, two attractions, two festivals, eight local arts organisations and numerous tourism partners in a single, family-focused experience. This went onto inspire Stuart Maconie’s Cockermouth Weekender with opportunities to eat, walk, meet and chat with locals for a richer cultural experience. The whole pilot programme paved the way for a successful Arts Council/Visit England Cultural Destinations bid awarded in 2014.