A jewel in the crown of the Furness peninsula, visited by thousands of people every year and boasting a king and queen, was nominated as top tourist attraction in Cumbria in 2009.

‘When people talk of Piel Island, they do so with a real passion about the small plot of land which hangs off the Barrow coastline’ reported The Mail in a special feature.

Around 50 people had so far nominated Piel as their favourite tourist attraction in Cumbria as part of the CN Group Business Awards 2009.

Piel, stated the report, had a castle, eight pilot cottages, was open to campers and had a pub, the Ship Inn.

The island had recently received celebrity status after actor Martin Clunes visited for TV programme Islands of Britain to witness the investiture of pub landlord Steve Chattaway as the King of Piel.

Ship Inn landlady and Queen of Piel Sheila Chattaway said of Piel: “Bring your family, it’s safe, it’s clean, it’s friendly. Since the Islands of Britain programme we are getting loads of locals as well who have never been here before, which is really nice to see.”

When asked about the biggest attraction of Piel, she said: “I think the island as a whole, it’s the whole concept of Piel.

“It’s lovely that everybody seems to be nominating us for the tourist attraction.

“We are very busy. Last year we had about 7,000 visitors.”

Jackie Clements, who shared a pilot cottage with her family, said she loved the island: "It is just the tranquillity of the place. It's just brilliant, it's just a lovely place to go."

She highlighted the 14th century castle as a major attraction.

One person who nominated Piel as Cumbria's top tourist attraction was local enthusiast and guide John Murphy.

He said: "It's the isolation and charming uniqueness of the island."

One of the highlights for John was the plants which grow around the perimeter of the island, which he found very attractive.