Outlook bright for Easter spending spree

Easter. A time of quiet Christian contemplation - and commerce. For many businesses it is the start of their busiest time of year, and the Monday bank holiday could be seen as a barometer reading on how well they will fare this spring and summer season.

Easter. A time of quiet Christian contemplation - and commerce. For many businesses it is the start of their busiest time of year, and the Monday bank holiday could be seen as a barometer reading on how well they will fare this spring and summer season.

And the prospects of a busy start look promising for them, for forecasters expect the sun to shine from Good Friday to Monday.

Tourist attractions hope this will bring out hordes of families, while DIY and garden stores are hoping for bumper sales as blue skies inspire people to spring-clean and decorate their homes and get out into the garden.

Chris Bell, a forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, expects the Easter weekend to be warm and sunny.

He said: “By the weekend, the airflow is becoming more south- westerly, bringing in milder air from the Atlantic.

High pressure will dominate the weather, with very low winds and temperatures reaching 15LC to 17LC.

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“There will not be much cloud. If anything it could be a bit misty and hazy on Friday and Saturday morning, but this will clear by Sunday and Monday.”

Indeed, rising temperatures could make East Anglia warmer than some traditional hotspots on the European mainland.

Michael Nutt, managing director of Visit Norwich, said: “Good weather is good news for tourism because it encourages people to get out and enjoy themselves. Easter is when the peak season kicks off, and it sets the scene for the whole season.

“There is a lot happening in Norwich this Easter, including the French market and the Easter funfair at Chapelfield Gardens.”

This positive vibe is echoed across the region, with council tourism departments in west and north Norfolk looking forward optimistically to the coming long weekend.

In the borough of Yarmouth, council head of tourism Alan Carr said: “We are confident Yarmouth is poised for a great year and ready to entertain the six million visitors expected to visit over the next few months.”

Meanwhile, the sales pitch from Hilary Franzen, of the Broads Authority, was: “In warm, sunny weather you cannot beat being out on the Broads.

“We are hoping for a great Easter with lots of people out enjoying the water.”

An upbeat Mark Noble, at Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park, near Fakenham, said: “The sun comes out and all the families come out too, which is brilliant.

“Because of the warm weather recently, everything seems to have been happening early too.

“Goslings have begun hatching and the daffodils are all out and looking stunning. This is going to be one of our best Easters for some time.”

DIY stores and garden centres expect the sunny spell will prompt folk to pick up their garden spades and paintbrushes and to splash out on their homes and gardens.

Barry Godfrey, managing director of Godfrey DIY which has stores across the region, said: “Easter is the best time of year for us, and when it coincides with perfect weather it is even better.

“We have doubled our stock this April in barbecues, garden appliances like lawn mowers and outdoor furniture because they are all selling so well.”

Both Peter Underwood, owner of Bawdeswell Garden Centre, and Bob Fenner, of Stalham DIY and Hardware, said they were expecting brisk trade this Easter too.