On Tuesday 13th February, VisitEngland unveiled the latest bids to secure funding from the Discover England Fund (DEF) with the aim of enhancing England’s competitive tourism offer to international visitors.

The Gourmet Garden Trails of England, delivered by destination management specialists Go To Places (the parent organisation behind Visit Herts and Visit Kent), was one of two new projects announced.

Building on their successful DEF Year One pilot project (the Gardens & Gourmet visitor pass), Go To Places will work with several destination partners to create bookable itineraries that package beautiful accommodation, artisanal food and drink locations, courses, winery and brewery tours, and stunning English gardens for an international audience.

The project will target visitors from Germany and The Netherlands and take them on a sensory journey around different parts of the country as they explore new tourist trails through both famous and little-known gardens and gourmet sites across rural England.

Locations and organisations currently involved in the project include Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex, Cheshire and The Peak District and Derbyshire. The project will also be supported by leading tourism and travel partners including Eurotunnel, P&O Ferries, The Camping and Caravanning Club and Southeastern.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive of Go To Places says, “We are delighted to share this news today, and that we can celebrate the hard work of all of our partners in making this bid possible. Gourmet Garden Trails will showcase the best of rural and coastal destinations.

Our pilot project in Year One gave us some invaluable learnings and showed the strong interest our target markets have in accessing high quality, authentic food, drink and garden experiences in the UK. We are excited to be creating a brand new bookable tourism product for these markets, and to further showcase the unique rural experiences that England’s countryside can offer. Congratulations to all the other successful bidders.”

Tim Burton, Hertfordshire LEP says, “Gourmet Garden Trails is a brilliant new offer from Go To Places that takes advantage of the growing appetite for experiential tourism across the UK. Hertfordshire has a lot to offer and this new venture presents a particularly exciting growth opportunity for smaller businesses in rural areas that offer fantastic fare with an emphasis on quality and provenance. We congratulate Go To Places on their successful funding bid and look forward to working with Visit Herts to take this forward.”