Crowds enjoy Norfolk sunshine
11:14 28 May 2013
Wall-to-wall sunshine yesterday brought out bumper bank holiday crowds to enjoy the best the region has to offer.
Jim Bacon, a forecaster for the UEA-based Weatherquest service, said: “Inland, temperatures soared close to 20C. On the coast it was a shade cooler but this time of the year the sun is very strong so it still felt very pleasant.”
He said the hordes of visitors to the region’s coastline and attractions had been wise to make the most of it as the weather outlook is unsettled for the rest of the week.
Albert Jones, boss of the Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth, said Saturday had been disappointing because it was very cold but Sunday and yesterday had been very busy along the whole of the seafront.
“Bank Holiday Monday started early for us and it has been like a summer’s day with people in t-shirts and shorts,” he said last night.
David Thompson, head of Visit North Norfolk said: “Visitors have obviously had enough of staying at home, seen the weather forecast and picked North Norfolk as their destination of choice.
“Wells was extremely busy yesterday and it was the same story in Hunstanton, Cromer, Mundesley and Holt, where the sun really brought out the visitors. It’s certainly a positive start to the main visitor season.”
Michael Timewell, director of Blue Sky Leisure said: “Another magnificent weekend. It was good to see so many people enjoying the range of activities on offer at Kelling Heath; simply walking among the woodland and rare open heathland and relaxing in the sunshine.”
Mark Noble, commercial manager at Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens said: “The fine weather certainly brought the families out to enjoy our newest half term activity ‘Nature Wonderland’.
“Pensthorpe was up by 21pc on the same period last year and enjoyed the busiest day so far this year on Sunday.”
Banham Zoo, near Attleborough, Africa Alive, near Lowestoft, and Dinosaur Adventure, on the Fakenham Road out of Norwich, have also reported a bumper bank holiday.
Martin Dupée, director of operations, said: “All three of our parks have more than doubled the number of visitors against last year. This, and the last Bank Holiday weekend, have helped us make up for the quiet Easter.”
Wroxham Barns has been celebrating its 30th Birthday and Ian Russell, director of the Hoveton retail and craft centre, said: “We are 44pc up on last year with our best ever whitsun in 30 years.”
Blue skies ensured Hunstanton enjoyed a busy weekend with the downside that there were traffic jams stretched along many roads in the west of the county, while the Hardwick Roundabout, on the outskirts of King’s Lynn, was at a virtual standstill under the volume of traffic heading north for the coast.
“We’ve been busier than a normal Sunday but we’re not chock-a-block,” said William Searle, whose Searles Seatours operate the resort’s famous Wash Monster.
“We’ve been fairly busy, it’s been a bit breezy but we’re not doing too bad.”
Hannah Jackson, sustainability project officer at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham, said the sunny bank holiday weekend had been the perfect start to half term week.
She said: “We have had an excellent turn out. People are up early and out and about and looking to enjoy the warm weather.”
Cromer beach was packed with happy families and Robbie Kirtley, manager of the Rocket House Café which overlooks the sands, said he had been busy throughout the weekend.
“We’ve been absolutely rammed to the hilt from the time I opened to the finish - we’re working flat out. I walk out on the balcony, the beach is full, the sky is blue - Cromer is booming and people are really enjoying this weather.”