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Photo gallery: 'Hot-tober' half-term - visitor numbers swell at region's attractions as Norwich gets warmer than Athens

PUBLISHED: 08:44 29 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:12 29 October 2014

Eaton Park basks in autumn sunshine during half term as families enjoy the warm weather.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Eaton Park basks in autumn sunshine during half term as families enjoy the warm weather. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

A hotter than normal start to the half-term holiday has proved a real boost to the area’s outdoor attractions, with some reporting double the number of visitors.

Eaton Park basks in autumn sunshine during half term as families enjoy the warm weather.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Eaton Park basks in autumn sunshine during half term as families enjoy the warm weather. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

While office workers took lunch breaks out in the autumn sunshine across Norwich yesterday, enjoying temperatures higher than in Athens and even the odd ice cream, families from all over the UK were holidaying in the region.

Dan Holley, a forecaster for Norwich-based Weatherquest, said: “The average temperature for this time of year is 13 degrees. The highest temperature ever recorded for October 28 is 20.6 degrees in Huddersfield in 1958. It was 19 degrees in the Brecklands area yesterday, so we were not that far off that.”

The Dinosaur Adventure Park in Lenwade recorded its busiest day ever on Monday and there were more than double the number of visitors to Banham Zoo and Africa Alive.

Director of operations, Martin Dupree, said: “It has been superb. Helped by the extra two days holiday the schools have had this year and the weather. I am extremely encouraged for the rest of the week.”

Eaton Park basks in autumn sunshine during half term as families enjoy the warm weather.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Eaton Park basks in autumn sunshine during half term as families enjoy the warm weather. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Tom Blofeld, owner of Bewilderwood, the Curious Treehouse Adventure in Hoveton, said he was “gobsmacked” by the increase in people they had seen through the gates in the last few days.

“It has been quite exceptional - different to everything we have ever seen before,” he said.

“We make quite accurate predictions on visitor numbers, but we are seeing double the number of people we normally do, 1,000 more a day. I have never seen anything like it and I am gobsmacked.”

He said the warm, dry weather had definitely helped and praised the attraction’s Halloween lantern parade, which was “a gentle event for the young ones, rather than scaring the life out of them”.

Ian Russell, director of Wroxham Barns said a good weather forecast, good weather and Halloween celebrations had made for a great start to the half-term holiday.

“The weather has been incredibly favourable and the good forecast for this part of the country has meant a definite increase in the number of holidaymakers,” he said.

“The East of England, particularly Norfolk, enjoys such favourable weather and it really makes a difference. We have had visitors from across the country.”

And visitors to Whitlingham Broad yesterday were enjoying trips out on the water, courtesy of the solar powered boat, the Ra.

Information assistant, Albert Ward, said: “The weather is certainly encouraging people to come out and to use the Ra - and it is the last week of the year they can.

“We have been very busy since the start of the holidays. There is a more relaxed atmosphere when the sun is out. People stay longer as well.”

Norwich’s parks and gardens were also busy - and there were plenty of people sat in enjoying a break from work on the grass in Cathedral Close.

“We are not going to beat record temperatures today, because it is turning much cooler,” said Mr Holley.

“It’s a brief blip though, because it will be warm again by Friday.

“We will eventually get the weather fronts coming in from the Atlantic over the weekend.

“There will perhaps be some rain from the west on Saturday afternoon and by Sunday the weather is a bit more unsettled and not so warm.”

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