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“Certainly in the last three years we have not had these kind of levels” - North Norfolk celebrating a busy summer holiday season

12:55 21 August 2014

Cromer Carnival duck race from Cromer Pier.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Cromer Carnival duck race from Cromer Pier. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Summer has been a roaring success, say north Norfolk tourism bosses.

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Tom Blofeld almost lost in his own Skymaze, a new attraction at Bewilderwood. Photo: Bill SmithTom Blofeld almost lost in his own Skymaze, a new attraction at Bewilderwood. Photo: Bill Smith

Bolstered by sunny weather for most of the season, resorts, accommodation providers and attractions are reporting a boost in visitors.

Beaches and inland tourist haunts alike enjoyed the lift in fortunes.

And it is spurring investment, with Forest Park holiday park at Northrepps spending £130,000 on a revamp buoyed by a surge in bookings.

Bruce Stratton, of local tourism-based business Creative Tourism Ideas and Solutions, said the fine weather had a great part to play in the season.

Andrew Hird, chief executive at Woodland Holiday Park. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYAndrew Hird, chief executive at Woodland Holiday Park. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

“There is a little way to go, but there is confidence growing in the economy, giving people the confidence to spend money,” he said.

“I think also the fact is a lot more people have perhaps chosen to holiday at home this year. It is easier and maybe cheaper to stay at home and choose an English holiday than pay the premium price abroad because of school holidays.”

Away from the coast, Bure Valley Railway at Aylsham has seen a 7pc rise in visitors. General manager Andrew Barnes, said this Monday was the second busiest day of the year so far.

“We are not out of the recession yet – people are still a bit cautious,” he added. But there were more people choosing to have a second, shorter break in the UK and he said there was a return in group bookings.

Bewilderwood in Hoveton saw its biggest ever opening summer weekend with overall figures up 10pc on 2013.

Operations manager Bob Ottaway said the new sky maze had proved popular, and any showery weather had not stopped families seeking fun.

At Woodland Holiday Park, Trimingham, director Andrew Hird said accommodation levels were about 12pc higher than 2013, with on-site spend increasing by about 5pc per head.

Mr Hird said: “For the whole of August we have been more than 90pc full.

“Certainly in the last three years we have not had these kind of levels, and the shoulder months are looking as strong.”

Cromer’s Amazona zoo reported a 28pc increase.

Owner Benjie Cabbell-Manners said current season ticket sales were double the 2013 figures.

He said: “I think the warm weather has definitely made a difference and the increase in ‘staycations’ has bought more local and UK tourists to attractions in the UK.”

Chris Lynch, 68, owner of Fancy This Fancy That gift and beach toys shop in Cromer, has been in retail for 53 years. He said: “From the start of the six-week holiday business has been absolutely unbelievable. It is better than last year.”

North Norfolk District Council cabinet member for tourism Russell Wright said he was optimistic things had been going well.

Holiday park invests after surge in bookings. Page 45.

Has your holiday business been performing especially well this year? Write to sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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  • At Woodland Holiday Park, Trimingham.... Mr Hird said: "For the whole of August we have been more than 90pc full. Except for when some of our customers were in hospital."

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