Discover England Fund Year 5 – Recovery funding

In September 2019 it was confirmed that the Discover England Fund would receive £5.5 million of new public funding to deliver a 5th year of the programme.

All existing Large Scale projects and Year 3 Small Scale projects were eligible to apply for additional funding. In light of COVID-19, the activity to be delivered in Year 5 is now focusing on the up-weighting of domestic activity to aid the recovery of the tourism products created and maintaining trade relationships for when key international markets re-open.

Eligible projects will do the following:

  • To scale up product across a wider geographical area, including collaboration with other DEF projects
  • To adapt and/or further develop product (deepen and broaden the offer) and consider approaches that extend the season, addressing low season and shoulder periods
  • To undertake additional market penetration in existing international markets – with a focus on embedding products with Travel Trade through trade engagement activity
  • Activity in a new market – in the current environment the focus should be domestic 
  • Plus - projects should demonstrate their products appeal to, and how it can be adapted for, the domestic market in the short term to aid recovery; help build a clear plan for long term sustainability and re-engagement with their chosen international markets.

Project delivery will be from September 2020 – March 2021.

Year 5 projects

12 projects have been awarded up to £158,000 from Year 5 of the Discover England Fund. Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new funding round was aimed at eligible applicants from existing large-scale projects and existing Year 3 small-scale projects to apply, with revised criteria that reflected the impact of COVID-19. The Year 5 projects will now focus on the up-weighting of domestic activity to aid recovery and to ensure they are in a strong position for when international tourism recovers. Project activities are due to be completed by 31 March 2021.

See the projects below:

Lead body: Cotswolds Tourism Partnership


The Uncover the Cotswolds project has brought together authentic local experiences within the Cotswolds, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley into an easily bookable format for tour operators.


In Year 5 of the fund, the project proposes to refocus activity to help businesses benefit from the domestic market and then move into international trade work in Spain, Italy and the Nordics. Activity will focus on further product development to deepen and broaden the offer, extending the season and adapting for a domestic market, alongside continuing to augment the bookability of the product, working closely with TXGB.

Lead body: Destination Plymouth


The Connections project has produced a series of immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences. Product has been developed around themes with significant appeal to US visitors. The project has also showcased the best of England’s culture and heritage through the development of a broad range of guided touring experiences.


In Year 5 of the fund, the project aims to retain relationships in the US market to encourage early bookings once the markets start to re-open in 2021/22, as well as develop further relationships with the Canadian market to amplify opportunities and extend market reach. The product will be adapted for the domestic market to encourage visits prior to international markets opening up. Relationships with cruise operators and the guiding sector will be retained to encourage early bookings once cruise restarts in 2021 and to develop guiding capacity nationally.

Lead body: Marketing Liverpool


This North of England City Experience project has created culturally-themed, bookable products across Newcastle, Hull, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. These former industrial cities are experiencing a regeneration-driven cultural renaissance.


In Year 5 of the fund, the project will target the domestic and near European millennial market with products such as cultural immersion experiences, food and drink, flexible inter-city travel, independent orientated hotels and retail. The programme of activity includes an audit, re-building of activity and scaling up of the product to drive immediate bookings. This will include targeted social media profiling and ensuring consistency of messages and narrative on digital platforms.

Lead body: Marketing Manchester


The Growing Manchester as an International Gateway to the North project has worked with destinations, travel trade and the tourism industry to lead a partnership to maximise the potential of the North of England as an international destination and gateway to the North.


In Year 5 of the fund, this project proposes to deliver a continued programme of support for newly created bookable products. Activities include the rebuilding and deeper engagement with travel trade and tour operator intermediaries; a product audit; B2B marketing activities and raising awareness to challenge perceptions of Manchester and the North. The project team will extend the focus of the project to include the UK short break market as well as continuing to work in the US and reaching out to a number of other overseas markets in recovery.

Lead body: National Coastal Tourism Academy


The England’s Coast project has inspired 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. 


In Year 5 of the fund, it will focus on boosting off-peak visits to the coast this winter and spring. This will be done through work with a PR agency, social media activity, webinars for businesses and a digital marketing campaign. Trade relationships will be maintained which will ensure the coast continues to feature prominently in the operators’ programmes. New content will be focused on experiences for the domestic and EU markets.

Lead body: Peak District National Park Authority


The National Parks Experience Collection project has created a joined up, branded collection of experiences. It has also provided business support and a trade marketing strategy to create bookable tourism product across the English National Parks.


In Year 5 of the fund, the project will build on the existing collection and extend its reach to appeal to domestic consumers, with the strategic focus for this funding to embed, transform and sustain a legacy. Relationships with the travel trade will be sustained to maintain awareness and promotion of the product across existing international markets, and the product will be adapted to ensure it is fit for purpose in today’s climate.

Lead body: Visit Wiltshire


The Great West Way project is a 125-mile route between London and Bristol. It has linked a package of tailored visitor experiences, including destinations, accommodation, attractions and transport options.


In Year 5 of the fund, the project will focus on the domestic market to rebuild demand and help businesses recover from the effects of lockdown. Activity includes the development of product and content for the domestic market, while protecting and maintaining existing product in support of international trade and press activity, with a thematic approach focusing on bookable product including accommodation. This will be supported by a domestic marketing campaign, a programme of business support and a continued level of international trade engagement.

Lead body: Welcome to Yorkshire


The Cycle England initiative has brought together bookable, end-to-end cycling holiday experiences across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and has targeted visiting cyclists of all levels.


In Year 5 of the fund, this project aims to take advantage of the increase of people taking exercise and enjoying the great outdoors since COVID-19 and focus its attention to the domestic market. They will work with current and new ground handlers to develop the product offering with the potential inclusion of new destinations Cumbria and Northumberland and a programme of business engagement workshops.  Alongside this, they will continue to keep trade relationships warm, working with operators to discuss the new and current product in time for 2021 season.

Lead body: Carlisle City Council


England Originals tells the stories of 15 of England’s premiere Historic Cities.


In Year 5 of the fund, it will focus on developing the product for the domestic market whilst continuing engagement in the US market. English Heritage Cities will be presented as individual propositions under the England Originals brand, rather than as part of multi-destination itineraries. The project will develop the product offer to be broader and deeper, more experiential and more relevant to millennial visitors, well beyond their heritage core and embracing products in the cities’ rural hinterlands.

Lead body: Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire


Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire has promoted the great walking trails of England to visitors.


In Year 5 of the fund, this project will support the recovery of the visitor economy through targeting the domestic market and building on the growing demand for countryside and coastal offers. It will also build on the established international routes of Germany and the Netherlands and boost ferry travel in preparation for the recovery of these markets. Destination-based walking itineraries will be designed, developed and on-boarded and the product will be refined across the seven identified trails.

Lead body: NewcastleGateshead Initiative


The Explorer’s Road is a 300-mile touring route that spans the length of Eastern England from London to Northumberland.


In Year 5 of the fund, this project will refocus to support domestic tourism activity and support businesses in their recovery, giving the opportunity to extend their season and attract new audiences in the wake of COVID-19. It will capitalise on the fact that driving will be a popular form of transport will also integrate cycling. Activity focuses on on-boarding businesses to TXGB to increase the bookability of the product. A programme of product development is proposed to ensure that businesses are recaptured and reintegrated onto the route and then broaden and deepen the product offer.

Lead body: Marketing Sheffield


The Outdoor City Adventure Breaks has allowed visitors to book accommodation, food and drink options, night-life choices and adventure sports activities based on their personal preferences.


In Year 5 of the fund, this project will broaden the market segment to encompass older Buzzseekers and outdoor enthusiasts through the adaptation or development of enhanced adventure break products, and to raise awareness of Sheffield as an adventure break destination. The breadth of businesses engaged with The Outdoor City will be widened with a view to provide richer experiences and packages with wider appeal to the travel trade and consumers.