Visitor Economy

The Visitor Economy sector employs almost 52,000 in the D2N2 area, and there is the potential to increase employment by increasing opportunities and markets, such as the growth of cycling as a leisure pursuit, (L’Eroika and the Monsal Trail) The development of assets in the area which include to name a few: Sherwood Forest, Cresswell Crags, Derwent Valley Mills, Newark’s National Civil War Centre and the Nottingham Castle Project. Following the launch of the Sector Action plan in 2014 there have been developments through The Grand Tour and Accommodation Strategy.

Larwood and Voce Stand at the First Test, between England and India at Trent Bridge July 2014 Credit Duncan Harris on Flickr

Nottingham Trent Bridge Cricket Ground

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House

The visitor economy sector includes activities that are directly connected to tourism such as visitor attractions, accommodation and restaurants. Sporting activities and venues are also included and in October 2015 Nottingham was voted England’s Home of Sport. The sector also includes museums local heritage and art galleries that service and attract domestic and international visitors.

The D2N2 economy has some key assets including the iconic landscapes of the Peak District and Sherwood Forest including the Major Oak. We also have a variety of stately homes and historical buildings which include the Derwent Valley Mills Unesco World Heritage Site, Nottingham Castle, Southwell Workhouse and Chatsworth House. Sporting venues across the area are host to a number of big sporting events and in 2017 Derbyshire County Cricket Ground will be the host to some of the Women’s Cricket World Cup Games, Trent Bridge in Nottingham sees a Test Match annually and Holme Pierrepoint is a favoured training site for a number of different water sports and particularly was the training programme used for nearly a third of all Team GB’s rowing successes in the 2012 Olympics.

Grand Tour 3

The Grand Tour


Promoting the Visitor Economy sector - Latest Activities


‘Five star’ study into D2N2 LEP area visitor accommodation

In July, 2017, consultancy Hotel Solutions – a specialist in helping UK local authorities and public sector bodies understand and realise the potential for hotel and visitor accommodation development in their area – was commissioned to research the current state of and future possibilities for visitor accommodation in the D2N2 LEP area.

The study was commissioned by D2N2 and partners Visit Nottinghamshire and Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire; and Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire County, Derby City and Derbyshire County councils.

Around 250 accommodation business owners – including of hotels, holiday cottages, touring caravan and camping sites, holiday lodge parks, outdoor education centres, youth hostels, and B&Bs – were interviewed. Peak District National Park Authority, major tourist sites and local authorities in the area were also consulted.

Researchers found more than 2,000 visitor accommodation businesses operated across the LEP area; managing 70,000 ‘bed spaces’ – capable of providing almost 26million overnight stays annually.

Key research findings included that: 

  • The LEP area leads others in provision of ‘super’ cottages for larger groups, high quality caravan and camping sites, holiday lodge parks, youth hostels and outdoor education centres (particularly in the Derbyshire Peak District); with Nottinghamshire also benefiting from major visitor accommodation assets in its Center Parcs’ Sherwood Forest site and Warner Leisure Hotels’ Thoresby Hall Hotel.
  • The two counties lag behind other destinations in developing sufficient branded boutique, budget boutique and lifestyle hotels in their cities; and in luxury and boutique country house and market town boutique hotels, boutique inns, B&Bs, holiday cottages and glamping provision.
  • There’s potential to develop more non-serviced – or self-catering – accommodation (holiday cottages, fishing lodges, eco lodges, caravan and camping sites, glamping, treehouses, etc). 
  • There’s further scope for new budget hotels.

To read key documents form the research:

A plan to accelerate Visitor Accommodation development, derived from the research, will inform a plan of action for those involved with promoting the sector in the D2N2 LEP area, for the next three years (2017-2019).


Major Cycling Events 

  • June 2016 - 'The Women’s Tour' passed through Derbyshire and Nottingham at stages 3 and 4 of the race.  Stage 3 was in Derbyshire with stage 4 starting in Nottingham before moving back through Derbyshire to Stoke on Trent.
  • September 2015 - 'The Men’s Tour of Britain' passed through Nottingham at stage 6 of the race before carrying on south. Stage 6 saw the cyclists starting in Stoke on Trent and coming through Derbyshire before crossing the finish line in Nottingham.

The Grand Tour - Seasons One and Two (2015/16)

The “Grand Tour” is a revival of an original event of the 18th century which saw the aristocracy travel across Europe and beyond in search of culture and art. D2N2 LEP supported the return of a new, publicly accessible version of this educational and cultural experience. The current Grand Tour is a collaboration between Chatsworth House, Derby Museums, The Harley Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary, Marketing Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire, Arts Council England, Visit England and D2N2, to showcase entertainment and the arts across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire by exhibiting new and traditional artworks.

The first season ran from July to September 2015 at Chatsworth House, Derby Museums, Nottingham Contemporary and The Harley Gallery. The second season of the Grand Tour began on Friday 18 April, 2016, at Derby Museum and Art Gallery and ran to October 2016, following a successful first season. This event ran across Nottingham Contemporary, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Chatsworth House and the Harley Gallery at Welbeck and opened the door to local art to the public, as some art and sculpture displayed had not been seen by the public for a number of years. For more information on the Grand Tour please visit:


To view a copy of the D2N2 Growth Plan for the Visitor Economy, click here 


Through the D2N2 Growth Hub a number of visitor economy businesses have been helped.

To read what these businesses thought about the support received from the D2N2 Growth Hub, click here