FOOD and drink is the theme of this year's English Tourism Week in Eden which was launched at the Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater.

Tourism businesses were joined by Lady Penelope Cobham CBE, chairman of VisitEngland and David Curtis-Brignell, chairman of VisitEngland’s English Tourism Week Committee, at the launch, co-ordinated by Eden District Council's Tourism Team.

Food and drink brought £300 million into the local economy in 2015 through it cafes and delicatessens, restaurants and pubs.

"English Tourism Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the success of the visitor economy in Eden,” said Jim Walker, chairman of the Eden Tourism Network. “This year's food and drink theme will highlight the high quality and wide range of food and beverages available locally.

"Eden provides outstanding sustenance locally for both local residents and visitors and we will be making sure this sector has a high profile in advance of the 2017 season."

Earlier in the day, Lady Cobham and David Curtis-Brignell were taken on a special guided tour of Penrith and the local area, during which they were able to see examples of locally produced food made in Eden. During the tour they discovered how Eden is home to a wealth of food and drink producers who are passionate about their products.

The final destination of the tour was the Sharrow Bay Hotel, where a range of tourism operators representing a wide cross section of the local industry had the opportunity to learn more about the importance of food tourism.

Chefs at the Sharrow Bay have been using the best of fresh local produce, the most knowledgeable and dedicated local suppliers, and the bounty of their lakeshore gardens, including the walled kitchen garden and glasshouses, since 1948.

During the reception, hosted by Jim Walker, chairman of the Eden Tourism Network, guests had the opportunity to hear of Lady Cobham’s passion for the tourism industry to embrace its food and drink offer to help attract more visitors to explore different parts of the country including the Eden Valley.

"It is a real delight to be returning to the Eden Valley as English Tourism Week begins and to again have an opportunity to experience the terrific hospitality offered by this beautiful area,” said Lady Penelope Cobham CBE. “English Tourism Week gives the chance for all in tourism to highlight the importance of both domestic and overseas visitors to their economies in terms of spend and jobs.

English Tourism Week runs from March 25 to April 2 and tourism businesses have been encouraged to put together special offers and discounts which will run during the week. It is hoped that the week will open people’s eyes to what the area’s tourism industry has to offer and encourage people to explore, discover and enjoy the area.

To find out more call into one of Eden’s Tourist Information Centres or visit