Lake District launches its own currency

More than 200 locally owned businesses in the Lake District are taking part in a new scheme to support tourism with a regional currency.

Called the Lake District Pound, the new currency can be used alongside sterling, but can only be spent in locally owned, independent businesses and tourist attractions.

Each note features prominent figures from the history of the Lake District.

Ken Royall, founder and director of the Lakes Currency Project, made the inaugural purchase with the currency to buy a ticket to take a steamer across Ullswater, from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge.

The Lake District Pound team also promoted the launch by travelling in Mountain Goat tour buses around some of the Lake District’s main centres, making purchases with the currency on their way.

They visited Windermere Tourist Information Centre; Windermere Lake Cruises in Bowness; Rattle Ghyll Cafe, in Ambleside; Sam Read Bookseller, in Grasmere; and Keswick.

Royall said: “We want the currency to create a fun experience which enables visitors and local people to explore the unique culture of the Lakes.

“At the same time, this will act to raise awareness of our local businesses and drive footfall to them. This will help preserve, protect and promote these individual businesses which are the backbone of our communities.

“Finally, if people choose to keep the currency as a memento of their time here, then this creates proceeds for the company which we will split equally between two fantastic local charities which care for our people and landscape – Cumbria Community Foundation and the Lake District Foundation.”

People can exchange their sterling for Lake District pounds at exchange points across the region, including most Post Offices.

It is estimated that 18 million people visit the Lake District each year.