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Strong festive tourism trade as visitors seek to escape hubbub at home

PUBLISHED: 12:22 16 January 2018

Tom Ellis, director of Norfolk Country Cottages.  Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Tom Ellis, director of Norfolk Country Cottages. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2016

Families keen to escape the stress of the festivities have helped Norfolk-based tourism businesses to a strong Christmas season.

From left to right: Jamie Moore, Mark Eames and Mandy Eames at The Bridge American Restaurant. Picture: Andrew Stone From left to right: Jamie Moore, Mark Eames and Mandy Eames at The Bridge American Restaurant. Picture: Andrew Stone

Norfolk Country Cottages said bookings for the Christmas and New Year weeks were 28% up on the previous year.

Director Tom Ellis said this reflected a trend of more people taking holidays over the period.

He said: “It is a great time for families to get away and spend time together and anecdotally our customers tell us it can be a stressful time to have all the family together at one person’s house.

“If you are hosting then it can be quite exhausting; whereas in a rented holiday cottage, everyone pitches in to cook and it removes a lot of the pressure that the festive period can bring.”

John Potter from Potters Resort.  PHOTO: Nick Butcher John Potter from Potters Resort. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

He said the company had experienced significant demand for short breaks of three to five nights over the New Year weekend.

John Potter, of Potters Resort in Hopton-on-Sea, said the firm had grown from a traditional summer season business to the point where December was now the busiest month of the year.

The growth was partly due to the Christmas Spectacular show, which formed part of its festive season breaks packages.

Mr Potter said: “As we celebrate our 98th year in business we can also celebrate another year of record annual sales growth.”

Chris Carr, director of operations at JR’s in North Walsham. Picture: Courtesy Chris Carr Chris Carr, director of operations at JR’s in North Walsham. Picture: Courtesy Chris Carr

Jamie Moore, manager of the Bridge American Restaurant in Wroxham, said its first festive season trading period was better than expected. The American-themed restaurant and diner opened in August after being closed for two years.

Mr Moore said: “December was very good. We were really busy on weekends while we also ticked over nicely on week days. It was much better than expected for our first Christmas.”

It was also a strong festive trading season for JR’s in North Walsham. Chris Carr, operations director of the family-orientated indoor attraction, said the investment made by Rossis in developing the new “Stomp Dine Strike” operation had resulted in significant growth.

“December saw lots of new customers coming through the doors alongside our existing loyal customers. Tenpin bowling in partnership with the new American Diner in particular proved JR’s is now a destination for the whole family.”

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