Security fears and Brexit making more people choose holidays in Norfolk and Suffolk

Caravans at Mundesley.

Caravans at Mundesley. Picture: SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

East Anglia's caravan, camping and holiday parks are seeing a surge in holidaymakers as they look closer to home because of security fears and the falling value of the pound.

General manager Andrew Hird of Woodland Holiday Park in Trimingham. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

General manager Andrew Hird of Woodland Holiday Park in Trimingham. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE - Credit: Archant

Brexit is also among the reasons for a significant increase in short breaks being booked in Norfolk and Suffolk, according to research.

Kelling Heath operations manager, Mark Durrant.

Kelling Heath operations manager, Mark Durrant. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The research conducted by Ortus Secured Finance revealed that revenue at the UK's 100 largest holiday parks had increased from £2.46 billion in 2012 to £2.7 billion last year due to a growing trend for 'staycations'.

Lowestoft-based UK self-catering specialist Hoseasons said Brexit UK holidaymakers were increasingly attracted to safe, secure and convenient getaways a short drive from home.

Short break bookings across the company's portfolio of luxury lodges with hot tubs have jumped 18pc so far in 2017 compared to the same time last year, with figures for the Eastern region, including Norfolk and Suffolk, up 14pc.

The number of customers booking more than one short break with the company is also up, rising 6pc year on year.

Simon Altham, ‎managing director - revenue, said: 'Our customers' holiday habits are changing. Taking several UK short breaks that allow them to relax, recharge and catch up with family or friends is very appealing, especially when continued investment in accommodation standards means they can enjoy a luxury experience they wouldn't otherwise get at home.'

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Andrew Hird, general manager for Woodland Holiday Park in Trimingham, said the business had shown 'signs of an upturn since 2012'.

Mr Hird said there were various reasons for more visitors to the park, which offers caravan, cabin and lodge accommodation options. 'The trend at the moment is for shorter vacations. People are taking more breaks of less duration.'

He said the park had also benefitted from the A11 being upgraded to a dual carriageway in 2014 which allowed 'ease of travel'.

Tiggy Moore of Old Brick Kilns in Barney said the uncertainty of Brexit was also playing a role in holiday-makers opting for local vacations. 'Our bookings are up on last year,' she said. 'With Brexit people are looking for more affordable holidays as the financial implications are still unknown. People are being more cautious with their money.'

Old Brick Kilns received the Campsite of the Year for the Heart of England award for 2017 at the AA's annual Caravan and Camping Awards. The site was in March also named in the top 100 sites in England in an annual list drawn up by Caravan and Practical Motorhome magazines.

Mrs Moore said caravan holidays were popular for a variety of reasons including affordability and flexibility. 'You're completely independent and can come and go as you please. You can do you own catering or eat in a restaurant while parks like ours let you be closer to nature which appeals to many people.'

Mark Durrant, operations manager from Blue Sky Leisure which runs Kelling Heath Holiday Park located between Sheringham and Holt and Woodhill Holiday Park between Cromer and Sheringham, said bookings had continued to be 'strong' since 2012.

'The short break market is increasing where people are looking for Friday to Monday getaways,' he said. 'The impact of the pound versus the euro has also played a role and more people are looking to stay locally instead of travelling abroad.'

Visit Norfolk manager Pete Waters said the popularity of the county as a caravan and camping destination was partly down to it having the combined sunniest and driest climate in the country, the beaches and coastline and an extensive array of activities on offer.

'As a result we're seeing a lot of investment going into visitor attractions,' he said.

Jon Salisbury, Ortus managing director said: 'Like many other businesses in the tourism, leisure and hospitality industries, operators need to commit to continued capital investment in order to maintain competitiveness and stay ahead of the game.'

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