Norfolk tourist attractions benefit from sunshine Easter

Tourism bosses reported a record-breaking start to the Easter period after thousands of holidaymakers flocked to Norwich and Norfolk over the weekend.

Coastal resorts and outdoor attractions reaped the rewards of scorching temperatures and lots of sunshine during a cracking start to the first bank holiday weekend of the year.

The combination of the Mediterranean-like weather and the later than usual Easter resulted in many businesses experiencing a cracking start to the tourist season. Hotels, B&Bs and camp sites were full to the brim as Norfolk made the most of the usually sunny and fair Easter weather.

The owners of tourist businesses yesterday said they hoped that the 'staycation' holiday mentality will continue through the summer months.

Peter Williamson, of Merrivale Model Village at Great Yarmouth and chairman of the Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association, said the sunshine was 'absolutely fantastic' for the county's tourist destinations. He added that there was no sign of people spending less in the current economic climate.

'When the sun shines, people come to the coast and as far as I'm aware, it looks like the best Easter ever. We are having a cracking good time. It is a real good mix of tourists and locals. I wish we have seven more months of this!'

Temperatures peaked at 27C in Norfolk at the weekend as holidaymakers and residents enjoyed better weather conditions than the likes of Barcelona, Cairo, Majorca, and Ibiza. And Jim Bacon, forecaster for Norwich-based Weatherquest, said the weather would continue to be dry, but slightly cooler today.

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Denise Thompson, manager for Pleasurewood Hills in Lowestoft, added: 'We are having a bumper start to the holiday season. The weather is playing it's part to help us achieve one of the best Easters for a long time. With an increase in visitor numbers and the weekend still to come with more sunshine predicted we are looking to have a cracking good Easter.'

Ian Russell, director of Wroxham Barns, added that it was not just the coastal attractions that were benefiting from an early dose of summer-like temperatures.

'As an inland attraction, we normally suffer because of the lure of the beach is hard to beat, but thus far we have had an extremely good weekend and better than expected. A lot of people are staying at home and a lot of people who live in a two hour drive are coming to Norfolk for a short break or day out and there is an awful lot they can do. Fuel prices are persuading people to travel east rather than west,' he said.

Roly Butler, owner of Caf� Caf� at Whitlingham Country Park, near Norwich, said: 'It's been very busy. There have been a lot of people out and about. The weather has been good which has helped. I'm happy with how things are going and we're up on last year.'

However, the weather was not all good news for Norwich's indoor attractions.

Ian Woods, manager of the Norwich Puppet Theatre, said numbers were slightly down this Easter because everyone was enjoying the sunshine. However, the theatre had covered its costs and a Punch and Judy magic show had received a lot of advanced bookings.

'If it stays like this all the time, that is a positive thing for indoor attractions because people will get fed up of being outside all the time and it is quite cool in a medieval church. There is nothing worse than a theatre with wet and miserable people,' he said.