Website aims to encourage spend in rural economy

Chief executive Andy Woodward.
Chief executive Andy Woodward.

A new website launched last week is designed to connect all aspects of rural tourism and present it in one place.

It’s thought to be the first time that farm shops, rural tourist attractions, accommodation providers and events across Britain have been brought together to allow visitors to plan their entire countryside break on one website.

The site – www.letsgotothecountry.co.uk – is being managed by leading farm-tourism brand Farm Stay UK, but has been developed with the help of the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association (FARMA) and the National Farm Attraction Network (NFAN).

The farm accommodation co-operative’s chief executive, Andy Woodward, said that the website delivers what fans of the countryside have always wanted but, to date, have been unable to find.

“Staying in the country gives you great views and fantastic places to stay, but we want to make sure that visitors go to a local farm shop to buy food for dinner or plan a great countryside experience at a local farm attraction,” he said.

“They may also want to visit a stately home, have a day out at the races or a gentle roam around a market town – all of which the website can help them do.

“We anticipate that this website will very quickly become the go-to source for all things countryside and will encourage visitors to spend money in the rural economy.”

Visitors to the site can search for anything from holidays where the family can feed farm animals to secluded retreats boasting a luxurious hot tub.

A simple postcode range-finder also flags up nearby tourist attractions and lists events that are taking place during the dates of the stay.

And to link in great British food, drink and accommodation, country pubs will also be shown in search results in a feature being managed by Cask Marque, which provides accreditation and training for real cask ale pubs.

Funding for the development of the site was provided by Defra through a Rural Economy Growth grant.