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Hitchin Lavender, Hertfordshire

Gourmet Garden Trails of England

In August 2016, Go To Places secured a £240,000 grant from the national £40 million Discover England Fund to deliver the exciting Gardens and Gourmet project in partnership with five regions; Kent, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cheshire and Peak District & Derbyshire. The innovative pilot project inspired international visitors in London to experience each regions’ outstanding gardens and superb local restaurants, cafes, vineyards and breweries using new technology, insider tips and a bookable visitor pass. Go To Places directed and project managed the entire bid, creating a compelling campaign demonstrating the essential digital innovation and cross-region partnership working the Government was seeking.

After a lengthy submissions process in 2017 for a second round of Discover England Fund support, Go To Places officially secured £1 million of Government funding to expand the Gardens and Gourmet Trails project in February 2018. Working closely with the travel trade, the Gourmet Garden Trails of England builds on the pilot project work to create new bookable itineraries that package beautiful accommodation, artisanal food and drink locations, courses, winery and brewery tours, and stunning English gardens for visitors from Germany and The Netherlands.

Click here to find out more about the project's target audience, project and delivery partners.  

Gourmet Garden Trails 2021 and beyond

To kickstart the post-Covid recovery, Gourmet Garden Trails received additional funding from VisitEngland's Escape the Everyday (ETE) campaign and SELEP. GGT brought onboard new partner regions East Sussex and West Sussex, securing support from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the leading garden charity and organisation in the UK, and Produced in Kent, a trade organisation dedicated to local food and drink. 

The tourism industry has been incredibly hard by the pandemic, however with international travel limited, there will be a demand for domestic tourism where people can stay local and in the open spaces in gardens, vineyards and so on – a key aspect of GGT. Data from VisitEngland tells us that the most likely destinations to benefit from early visits will be those with wide open spaces, beautiful landscapes, local produce and engaging and innovative experiences. Garden Trails will engage high value domestic visitors looking for compelling, high-quality experiences and is therefore an ideal tool to drive visits to the hard-hit coastal and rural areas as well as extend the 2020 season beyond the end of the summer/autumn and into winter/spring.

If you are a tourism business, whether a garden, foodie experience or similar, and you'd like to take part - please find out more by taking a read of our Introduction Document here

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