Norfolk tourist attractions enjoy ‘cracking’ Easter

'The best Easter ever'.

That was the verdict from Norfolk's tourist industry last night after sunshine, soaring temperatures, and the 'staycation' spring resulted in record visitor figures.

Tourism bosses were left beaming after reporting one of the busiest Easter bank holiday weekends after thousands of holidaymakers descended on the county's beaches, parks and outdoor tourist attractions.

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 with thousands of people hitting the roads leading to Norfolk's coast and attractions.

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

Simon Egan, co-owner of BeWILDerwood, near Wroxham, said the adventure park welcomed more than 2,000 visitors on Saturday.

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'Saturday was the best Saturday we have ever had. Two years ago, it was snowing and we could barely open. People have been talking about the staycation for a couple of years and it looks like it is here to stay. We sense a real pattern of people staying in Norfolk and coming to Norfolk and Norfolk and the Broads is booming,' he said.

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.

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!'

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.'

'I do not think it is solely down to the weather. 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.