Coastal businesses report 'record breaking' summer for visitors
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
From Wells to Lowestoft people along Norfolk and Waveney's coastline have reported their seaside towns are brimming with holidaymakers leading to a bumper summer season businesses but congestion on the roads.
In Cromer, Stu Thompson, one of the co-owners of North Sea Coffee on The Promenade said the town was as busy as last year with a "constant" flow of visitors.
He said: "It's as busy as we expect for this time of year. It's on par with last year, and probably busier than it was four or five years ago."
Mr Thompson said there was a mixture of visitors to the town but because it was the summer the coffee shop was currently seeing more families but would expect older visitors come September and October.
"There's a good atmosphere around the town there always is. It's nice to see everybody back again on the beach and in the town."
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Along the coast, Charlotte Stubbs, who co-owns Creativity and Stubby's Pizza in Sheringham with her partner Ben Stubbs, said both businesses had been "incredibly busy."
She said because Creativity had been in the town for so long they had a number of returning customers each year but were also aware of new shoppers coming into the store.
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Mrs Stubbs said: "There's definitely a lot of new visitors this year. There's a lot more people here and a good buzz around the town."
She said Stubby's Pizza which opened in April 2021 was equally as busy.
"We're incredibly busy [at Stubby's Pizza] it's a good summer but we're all going to need a holiday at the end. We're lucky because we've got a good team but it's hard getting staff especially in hospitality but we have got a good team, it's just been incredible because we're getting online orders as well.
"This week. it's been record-breaking days every day then the next day even more. I think September is going to be even busier, all the holiday homes will still be booked," Mrs Stubbs added.
Kira Phenix, manager of Smallsticks Cafe in Cart Gap, said they had no shortage of customers over the past few days.
She said: “It’s been very busy, I haven’t even had time to see the beach!”
Kathleen Fait, a waitress at The Edinburgh Inn in Wells, said the pub had been "very busy."
She said: "It has been non-stop recently, you turn customers away as you don’t have enough staff to cover them and so many people come in saying they have gone everywhere for food and can’t get in.
"We don’t have staff or captivity to get everyone through the door. You get big tables at the minute, people of 16 asking for tables.
"It is good for business, having so many people through the door we cannot complain, it is so hard just to please everyone and seat everyone. It is busy from lunchtime onwards up until half eight at night - it is very busy."
But the extra visitors to the coast is also causing congestion on the roads.
Amy Loose and Val Carpenter have recently set up a Brancaster Parking and Safety Team to help alleviate parking and traffic problems in the popular village.
Mrs Loose, 36, said Brancaster had seemed particularly busy over the past week because the tide times have meant the beach car park has been inaccessible by road for a large part of the morning, causing “gridlock”.
She said: “It has been busy before but not to the degree where it has been complete gridlock at this time.
“For quite a few years people have been realising what a beautiful beach Brancaster has, and obviously with the lockdowns and rise in staycations more people have been coming here.”
Mrs Loose said the group, which was working in partnership with the parish council, urged visitors to be respectful when parking, and ensure there was enough space for vehicles to pass if parking on the curb.
Down in Lowestoft, however, the disappointing summer weather has seen little increase in crowds.
Ben Llewellyn, one of the directors at Claremont Pier, said: "Because of the weather it hasn't been brilliantly busy.
"For the first 10 or 12 days of the school holidays the weather was awful, and even now it is still quite windy.
"Thankfully it has got a bit busier lately, but considering we are into the school holidays it should be even busier."