SIX outdoor art installations scattered across the Lake District proved to be a major visitor attraction this year.

The artworks, which included performance, sculpture, virtual reality and an inflatable installations, formed the programme for Lakes Ignite 2018.

A face-to-face survey of nearly 500 people showed that 64 per cent of the visitors to the festival were from outside the county - a 16 per cent increase on 2017.

Thirty-seven per cent of those interviewed said they had booked overnight accommodation and organisers say that many of the installations will now be free to view for longer.

Di Mainstone’s installation Time Mirror will be staying at Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House at Bowness, until September, with plans to tour the installation at venues across the county beyond the autumn.

Arctic Char, a sculpture depicting a shoal of fish, handmade in steel by Brian and George Fell will become a permanent attraction at the Salutation Hotel in Ambleside.

Charlie Whinney’s installation, Mountains We Made at Grizedale, will become part of the permanent collection in the forest as it celebrates its 50th year hosting landmark environmental sculpture.

And Michael Shaw’s giant inflatable Slung will stay at Rheged until the end of November.

The Lake District National Park was awarded World Heritage Site status for its cultural landscape in July 2017 and the Lakes Ignite installations were commissioned to respond to the historic event.

Richard Foster, Chief Executive of The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, which also acts as lead organisation for Lakes Culture, said: “Lakes Ignite is about uniting the arts and tourism sectors. The Lake District has a defined culture, rich in music, theatre, poetry and visual art.

"We want to show that Cumbria is also a great place to experience new contemporary culture and that the iconic landscapes of the Lake District continue to influence artists today.

“Over the course of the project we have had a lot of success working directly with the tourism sector. Our efforts appear to be having an effect with more visitors coming to our festivals, galleries, museums, literary destinations and experiencing the landscape, boosting the economy.”