Inn invites Northumberland businesses to cycle tourism event

Lindisfarne Inn.
Lindisfarne Inn.

A north Northumberland pub is inviting tourism businesses to a cycle tourism event to help them gear up their offering for bikers and stake their share of the growing market.

The Lindisfarne Inn, at Beal, is hosting its free Welcoming Inn Cyclists event on Thursday, May 12, at 11am to mark the completion of their cyclist-friendly project and share best practice with other businesses to help put Northumberland on the UK cycle tourism map.

Gary Turner, from The Lindisfarne Inn’s parent company, The Inn Collection Group, said: “Introducing cyclist-friendly facilities doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can make a big difference to your business.”

Located on the edge of Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and on the 120-mile Sandstone Way Berwick-to-Hexham cycle route and the Coast and Castles Cycle Route between Newcastle and Edinburgh, The Lindisfarne Inn has experienced an upswing in cycling tourism since putting the spotlight on this expanding sector.

Businesses wishing to attend should email claire.thorburn@impactpr-m.co.uk by Tuesday, May 10.

Mr Turner added: “In the past year, we’ve seen a rise in the numbers of cyclists coming into The Lindisfarne Inn, from professionals and amateurs to family groups that have hired bikes to explore the new Sandstone Way. But this has increased considerably since we have put in place our new facilities for cyclists.

“Clearly, we benefit from our location, but we wanted to make a real effort to put in place additional facilities and measures to make us more accessible and to meet the needs of cyclists whether they are staying overnight or stopping by en route.

“We know Northumberland has amazing scenery and routes for cyclists, but we want to be the county wearing the yellow jersey when it comes to leading the way in providing facilities for cycle tourists.”

The inn secured funding from The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership’s Sustainable Development Fund to roll out the project. It has invested in safe and secure bike storage, bike stands, repair kits, pumps, bike wash-down areas and distinctive signs to show passing cyclists they are welcome.

The inn has also worked with 24-hour mountain bike endurance rider, Rich Rothwell, to create a special Explorers menu for cyclists – and other guests getting out and about – with high-energy, healthy options to eat at the inn or take away as portables to eat on the go.

Iain Robson, from the AONB Partnership, said: “Getting visitors out of their cars and onto two wheels is part of our tourism strategy for the AONB so we were delighted to contribute to this pilot project from our Sustainable Development Fund to help The Lindisfarne Inn put its cycling facilities vision in place.

“The Lindisfarne Inn is a fantastic example of how a little thought about the needs of this type of tourist can be met and it offers plenty of ideas that other tourism businesses can take away and use themselves to gear up their cycling offering.

“The more cyclist-friendly facilities we have in the county, the more the word will get out that Northumberland is a great cycling holiday destination – not just because of its superb scenery and cycling trails, but because businesses are welcoming and equipped for them.”

Backing The Lindisfarne Inn’s initiative is Cycle Northumberland, a not-for-profit organisation helping individuals, groups and businesses get the most out of cycling. They are launching a new Cycle Tourism Toolkit at the event, to help businesses become cycle-ready.

Director Graham Vickers said: “The Cycle Tourism Toolkit has been created to help businesses, whether they provide food, accommodation, services or are a visitor attraction become cyclist ready and friendly.

“Becoming cyclist-ready means not being caught out by their needs. The toolkit is packed full of resources to help businesses make the cyclist’s experience of Northumberland good and memorable, which will encourage repeat business and recommendations. This is an expanding segment of the visitor market and one which can really benefit Northumberland’s tourist industry.”