Not only does the Lake District have fabulous fells, luscious lakes, and an extraordinarily rich cultural heritage, but now it can boast of one more achievement; having its own currency. The Lake District Pound was launched in May last year in order to encourage visitors and residents to support local businesses. It quietly grew in popularity, with around £140,000 worth in circulation that is accepted by 350 businesses.

This January, the organisation behind the Lake District pound, the Lakes Currency Project, have launched a range of new designs for the currency that are sure to grab even more attention. Mountaineer, Sir Chris Bonington, is the face of the ten pound note, whilst beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter can be found on the five pound note, along with her most famous creation, Peter Rabbit.

The founder of the National Trust and former Lake District resident, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley is featured on the twenty pound note, whilst educator, Charlotte Mason, whose training school would later form part of the University of Cumbria, appears on the one pound note.

The 2018 editions of the Lake District pound are valid until 31st January 2019 and you can exchange them for the 2019 versions or for regular British pounds at one of the exchange points that are dotted around the Lake District.

How Does It Work?

Lake District Pound Website

Visit the to Purchase LDP

The Lake District pounds act like any other currency in that you can use them to purchase items in shops that are willing to accept them. Each Lake District pound is worth the equivalent of one British pound and it does not cost anything extra to purchase them. Therefore, when you swap your British pounds for Lake District pounds, you don’t lose any cash value.

Local Businesses

You can swap them back for British pounds at any time in one of the exchange points. Alternatively, you can use them like cash in 350 businesses around the Lake District, including cafés, pubs, outdoor gear retailers, gift and souvenir shops, and even campsites and activity centres, such as the Kong Centre in Keswick. The pounds are also accepted by several major tourist attractions, such as the Ullswater Steamers and the Lakeland Motor Museum.

At the end of your stay in the Lake District, any unspent pounds can be swapped back to sterling. Alternatively, you can keep them as a souvenir from your time here. The money raised by Lake District pounds that are kept in this way goes towards local community projects. As a result, by purchasing Lake District pounds you not only have the opportunity to support local businesses, but you also get the change to make a difference to the people that live and work here.

Where Can I Buy the Lake District Pound?

There are three ways to get hold of Lake District pounds. You can simply ask supporting businesses to give you some in your change when you spend money there. Alternatively, you can visit an Exchange Point where you can swap your sterling for LD pounds. A full list of exchange points can be found on the Lake District Pound website, but they include the post offices at Bowness-On-Windermere, Ambleside, Coniston, Patterdale, Pooley Bridge, Keswick, Staveley, Sandylands at Kendal, and Holmrook.

Several tourist information centres are also providing exchange points, including Bowness Bay, Glenridding, Keswick and Kendal. However, if you prefer to have your Lake District pounds ready before you visit the area, or simply want to purchase some as a collectors’ item, then you can buy them online.

What is the Lake District Passport?

In addition to the Lake District pounds, the project is also offering a Lake District passport that can accompany the currency. When you spend the pounds in a select number of Lake District businesses you can obtain a special stamp in a Lake District Passport. There are over 30 different stamps to collect in seven different colours.

You can try and collect as many as possible during your break by visiting a vast range of Lake District businesses, and once more show your support for the community. The passports can be obtained at any exchange point or for free with purchases of currency online. The website has a full list of retailers accepting the pounds here and the list identifies those businesses with the passport stamps.