Tangled up in Blue

Grasmere Gingerbread co-owner Joanne Hunter welcomed the county’s famous Blue Badge guides to the village to help them brush up their valuable local knowledge.

It was the culmination of her campaign to cement the village’s profile as a tourist destination following the 2015 floods.

“After Storm Desmond wreaked havoc across the Lake District I felt it was more important than ever that our fabulous Blue Badge guides knew all the latest information about the area,” she said.

“This ensures that groups of tourists get the best possible experience here and will hopefully visit us again.”

After giving a talk to the Blue Badge AGM in London, Joanne organised the familiarisation trip.

“Blue Badge guides are the crème de la crème of tourist guides; visitors really look to them for having that extra slice of local information,” she said.

Joanne, who has lived and worked in Grasmere since she was a little girl, knows every inch of the village.

As well as walking them around she arranged trips to local attractions Allan Bank, the Heaton Cooper Gallery and Forest Side.

Perhaps even more importantly, she pointed out vital facilities such as the post office, car and coach park, cash point ATM, chemist, disabled toilet and doctor’s surgery.

“So often people come into our shop asking where they can buy stamps for sending postcards home,” said Joanne.

“Or if there is a chemist to buy painkillers; small things maybe but which can really make or break a visit.”

“We were absolutely delighted with the reception and hospitality we were given in Grasmere,” said Geoff Cook, Chair of Cumbria Tourist Guides.

“As professional Blue Badge Tourist Guides we need to keep ourselves abreast of developments so that we can share them with our clients from Britain and abroad. Our visit certainly achieved that.”

Tess Pike, a Kirkby Lonsdale-based blue Badge Guide, explained that all visitor trails led to Grasmere during the tourist season.

“Each of us is a frequent visitor to the village and we were delighted to have the opportunity to benefit from Joanne’s up-to-date insider knowledge of Grasmere,” she said.

The Blue Badge guides visited the recently refurbished Grand Hotel for morning coffee and Grasmere Gingerbread® and lunch. Afterwards, Joanne gave a detailed talk about the history of the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop and what it could offer groups of tourists.