Discover England Fund Large-Scale Projects

This grant stream in Years 2 and 3 (2017-19) of the Discover England Fund aims to develop world-class bookable English tourism products, targeted at the right customers, at the right time and through the right channels.

Partners were invited to come together to apply to develop innovative and exciting projects to achieve the following:

  • Develop world-class English tourism products that respond to international customer demand and have the ability to be bookable and distributed through new and existing channels
  • Join-up the product offering across large geographies or nationwide through a thematic approach for the benefit of the customer
  • Drive a collaborative and partnership approach to delivery across Destination Organisations and LEP boundaries for the longer term

In Year 4 (2019/20): £5.45 million - an extended period was granted for delivery of the large scale projects to ensure delivery and/or amplification to September 2019

Awarded projects

The following projects have been awarded funding for Year 2 and 3:

People walking down a street under a bridge in OxfordEngland Originals (formerly The Collection), led by England’s Historic Cities 

Building on a project which gained Discover England funding in year one, The Collection tells the stories of 15 of England’s premiere Historic Cities and for the first time presents them as one product for US visitors.  The bid focuses on people and events and uses augmented reality to bring the cities and their stories to life, inspiring younger visitors to explore regional England. A set of itineraries will link the cities by rail so that visitors can plan a multi-destination visit and a hub will suggest places to eat, trips, tours and in-destination travel options.

A landscape view of fields in the Peak DistrictMake Great Memories in England’s National Parks, led by Peak District National Park Authority

This two-year collaboration of the National Parks in England will create a joined up, branded collection of experiences. It will also provide business support and a trade marketing strategy to create bookable tourism product across the English National Parks. Initially, the project will work with the travel trade to target the Australian and German markets.


Couple sat at a table outside a cafe in ManchesterGrowing Manchester as an International Gateway to the North, led by Marketing Manchester

This project will increase the volume of visitors coming through Manchester Airport by creating itineraries that showcase the city, and excursions that open up the North of England. Working with destinations, travel trade and the tourism industry and targeting the US market, Marketing Manchester will lead a partnership to maximise the potential of the North of England as an international destination and gateway to the North.


Couple walking in field with castle in distanceDiscover England’s Great Walking Trails, led by Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire 

Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire will promote the great walking trails of England to visitors from Germany, the Netherlands, France and the US. Three to 14 night itineraries, will be designed to promote walking holidays in England combining stunning scenery offered by seven of our National walking trails with the warm hospitality offered by English pubs and accommodation providers. These rural and coastal itineraries will either be booked in their entirety or amended to suit individual needs.

Yellow flowers with a row of old, sand brick houses in the backgroundThe Great West Way

The ‘Great West Way’ project, led by destination management organisation VisitWiltshire, is set to transform tourism along a 125-mile route between London and Bristol. The major investment will develop a new touring route and link a package of tailored visitor experiences, including destinations, accommodation, attractions and transport options. The ‘Great West Way’ will make it easier for international visitors to book personalised trips that take in more of the region, boosting tourism along the way.  

The ‘Great West Way’ project will receive £1 million over two years from the Discover England Fund (and is 40% match-funded by VisitWiltshire and partners). This follows a successful small-scale pilot funded by Year 1 funding.

A sandy beach with the sea on the horizonEngland's Coast

Led by the National Coastal Tourism Academy, the 'England's Coast' project will promote the coastline using interactive video technology which allows holidaymakers to create their own coastal itineraries. ‘England’s Coast’ will target German, Dutch and French visitors coming to Britain, and enable them to build personalised itineraries along the North East, South, South West and East coast. It will inspire visitors with a selection of each region's finest coastal locations and activities, allowing them to see destinations and retailers along each route, while also booking accommodation, activities and attractions.  

The project will receive £1 million from Year 2 of the Discover England Fund (40% match-funded by the NCTA and partners). This follows on from a successful pilot, the "Coastal Pass", which received funding from Year 1. 

People sail down a canal under a bridgeThe Waterways of England led by the West Midlands Growth Company

Following a successful Year One pilot, this project will target international visitors, inspiring them to explore the waterways of England and discover ‘England’s heartland’ – focusing on the areas in and around Birmingham and the wider Midlands. The project will undertake a programme of product development and awareness-raising among the travel trade to incorporate more of the country's waterways and the wider cultural offer into a portfolio of canal and river-centred holidays.


4 men in black, smart trousers and waistcoats walk out of a bar, The CavernUrban Collective and Renaissance Collection: Cultural Collections in the Cities of Northern England led by Marketing Liverpool

This project will create culturally-themed, bookable products across Newcastle, Hull, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool for audiences in near European markets - the Nordics, Germany and the Netherlands. These former industrial cities are experiencing a regeneration-driven cultural renaissance and the new ‘Collections’ will package up transport, accommodation, art, music, literature, theatre, dance, architecture, festivals and events that showcase the artistry thriving in the northern cities of England.

A young Arab family looking at Lion King leafletExperience England, led by London & Partners in partnership with Marketing Manchester and the West Midlands Growth Company

This project will create and promote a new England tourism experience, making it easier for first-time visitors from China, India and the GCC to visit London and discover other parts of England as part of the same holiday. Experience England offers a variety of iconic, immersive itineraries spanning cities and countryside and enabling visitors to discover real icons of England and the real English way of life. The project will remove barriers to multi-destination travel and will include open jaw-ticketing, travel between destinations and seamless baggage transfer. Visitors will depart from a different English city to the one they entered ensuring minimal travel and maximum holiday time.

Black grapes in a gardenThe Gourmet Garden Trails of England, led by Go To Places

Go To Places will take visitors from Germany and The Netherlands on a sensory journey as they explore new tourist trails through England’s gardens and gourmet sites. Building on a successful Discover England Funded year one pilot, the project will package beautiful accommodation, artisanal food and drink locations, courses, winery and brewery tours and English garden attractions, and allow visitors to explore locally-grown produce and new rural experiences in England’s countryside.


Angel of the North statue with 3 people in the distance recreating its poseEast of England Touring Route, led by NewcastleGateshead Initiative 

This bid will target the German market and create a 300-mile touring route that spans the length of Eastern England from London to Northumberland. Packaging up well-known destinations with those that are off-the beaten track the project will develop itineraries that include attractions, accommodation options, places to eat and activities to provide a rich cultural and quintessentially English experience.



Men cycling in rural YorkshireCycle England, led by Welcome to Yorkshire 

Cycle England will develop cycling tourism breaks aimed at the Dutch and German markets. Led by Welcome to Yorkshire, the initiative will bring together bookable, end-to-end cycling holiday experiences across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and will target visiting cyclists of all levels.




Year 3 projects (up to £250K)

By its third year, the Discover England Fund had already seen some outstanding and innovative products delivered through over 40 projects. These projects reflect the immense variety of high quality tourism product that England has to offer and it has been inspiring to see the industry react so positively to the challenge of scaling up the inbound offer.

Early successes have brought 14 new, market-ready products across all England’s regions, from the packaging of itineraries along the South West Coast Path to an innovative augmented reality experience in Durham Cathedral and 13 other historic sites across the country. These new tourism products increase the competitiveness of England’s tourism offer both for the consumer and the travel trade.

We have been reflecting on these successes to ensure that the third year of the Discover England Fund delivers additionally and benefits in areas that have so far not significantly featured in grant funded activity.

As such, funding was allocated in Year 3 of the Discover England Fund to support a limited number of projects that could move quickly from development to delivery i.e. achieve outputs and agreed expenditure by 31 March 2019. In this round, there was a focus on projects that responded to identified market gaps and opportunities that are not being explored by current projects, as well as, amplifying existing Discover England Fund activities where value added and sustainability beyond March 2019 can be clearly demonstrated.

These projects would:

  • Be of a value of up to £250K
  • Develop world class bookable English tourism products to meet the needs of international consumers
  • Join up tourism product through a geographical or thematic approach, capitalising on England’s international gateways and hubs
  • Drive a collaborative and partnership approach to delivery involving the public and private sectors
  • Deliver solutions to barriers to international travel to England.



The following projects have received new Year 3 funding:

Southampton Solent. A large ship rounding the corner of a dockLeisure excursions in Southern England for Cruise and Conference - led by Southampton City Council 

This project will maximise the economic impact of the rising number of international cruise passengers who already dock into Southampton and Plymouth. The partnership will target visitors from Germany, the Netherlands, the Nordics and the USA with a suite of bookable, commissionable leisure excursions encouraging visitors to step ashore and explore the ports and surrounding counties.


Leeds Corn Exchange, (c) Leeds & Partners, Martin Brent. The entrance of an old round building International market product placement - led by Real Yorkshire Tours DMC 

In this project Real Yorkshire Tours DMC (Destination Management Company), a new company launched by Leeds-based Real Yorkshire Tours and tourism marketing agency All About the Story, will develop high-end, themed, experience-driven multi-day Yorkshire packages for international visitors who want insider knowledge-led itineraries. The project will target the Australian and US markets with an aggregate of Yorkshire's luxury all-inclusive tourism products. 


Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle (c) NGI. People with torches walk through a dark mineUndiscovered England - led by Globus 

Aiming to attract visitors from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the USA, this project will develop off-the-beaten-track authentic tours for intrepid travellers showcasing the lesser known parts of England.


Cornwall (c) Ben Selway. A sail boat on the water, with a background of fieldsEngland's GREAT South West Peninsula - led by Visit Cornwall 

Tourism organisations have joined together to create a South West Peninsula Overseas Partnership made up of Visit Cornwall, the Islands’ Partnership (Isles of Scilly), Visit Devon, Visit Somerset and Visit Dorset to deliver targeted experiences including accommodation for family and friendship groups from Australia and the USA. 


Ceiling of Watts Chapel, Surrey (c) VisitSurrey. A ceiling of blue, read and white patternsAttracting Faith Tourists to England - led by the National Churches Trust 

This project will develop a bookable product based on faith venues across England to appeal to the US market. 

Boats on shore in Lancashire, with a background of the seaDiscover more than just a holiday, led by Marketing Lancashire

This project targets 18-34 year old visitors from the Nordic region with culturally distinct experiences, inspiring them to explore the North West of England whilst acquiring new skills, discovering new tastes or undertaking self-improvement activities. 



Cumbria heritage site. 4 people walking in the distance in a field. A background of the sea and a farm houseThe Northern World Heritage Collection, led by Cumbria Tourism

Targeting the US and Irish markets this project will tell the story of England’s culture and heritage through our Northern UNESCO World Heritage sites, launching bookable products to the travel trade for both the group and fully independent traveller (FIT) markets.


A crowd of people watch a band playing on stage at the Cavern, LiverpoolBuzzing for the weekend, led by Warrington Council

‘Buzzing for the Weekend’ focuses on 18-25 year olds from Spain and Portugal.  This project will get tourists flying into Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and exploring the Liverpool City Region as well as Cheshire and Lancashire with fun, short-break packages revolving around dance, exploration, food and drink.


People sitting a watching a man sing and play a guitar at night with fairy lights around themManchester Musical Gateway, led by Marketing Manchester

This project will evaluate the appeal of Greater Manchester as a music tourism destination, assessing the city’s music ecology (venues, studios, heritage locations, etc.) and identify opportunities to promote Manchester as the Gateway to the North for music lovers.


a child jumps and poses for a photo in front of an old brick tower on a hillUncover Cotswolds, led by Cotswold District Council/Cotswold Tourism Partnership

Responding to feedback from tour operators, the ‘Uncover the Cotswolds’ project will create tours that bring together authentic local experiences within the Cotswolds, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley into an easily bookable format for tour operators.



A tour group in Lincoln stand and listen to a tour guide wearing a red jacket in an old town streetAuthentic Collections, led by Hotels and More

The ‘Authentic England’ project will develop tours for up to 16, tailored by target market. The small group touring product will allow for bespoke experiences supporting smaller and privately owned accommodation providers as well as local restaurants.


The following 'test and learn' pilot projects from Year 1 and Year 2 have received amplification funding in Year 3: 


A scientific jet plane on display at a museumBrilliant Science, led by Marketing Cheshire 

Amplification funding will focus on extending the stay of delegates attending scientific conferences in Manchester with thematic packages and bringing new scientific association conferences to Cheshire and Staffordshire. 


Horsracing at Ascot. A large crowd watches the parade of horses pulling carriages of people along the trackHorseracing - Sport of Kings, led by Marketing Cheshire

Extending this project, which puts together itineraries incorporating England’s race-courses, ensures that they are precisely targeting GCC visitors by working with destination management companies (DMCs) and Travel Bureaus.


A man in Shakespearian costume entertaining two ladiesEngland's Literary Greats, led by Visit Nottinghamshire

The ‘England's Literary Greats’ project will fine tune titineraries based around literary figures, adding associated film locations and deepening trade engagement.


A person placing a plate of seafood onto a wooden tableEngland's Seafood Coast, led by England's Seafood Coast BID

Building on years one and two of the project, ‘England’s Seafood Coast’ is set to transform the profile of England as a world-class seafood destination, curating and showcasing what is available to international visitors and tour operators.


A chef sprinkling pepper onto bacon Developing the Urban Food Hub, led by Destination Bristol

The  ‘Developing The Urban Food Hub’ project will focus on food and beverage products and activities from businesses that might normally be considered outside the tourism landscape, promoting Bristol as well as the rural area surrounding the city, as a destination of excellence in food and beverage experiences.