Sunshine brings a record Easter

STEPHEN PULLINGER Tourist attractions across the region were last night celebrating a record-breaking Easter as temperatures higher than Spain brought families flocking to the coast and countryside.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Tourist attractions across the region were last night celebrating a record-breaking Easter as temperatures higher than Spain brought families flocking to the coast and countryside.

Albert Jones, boss of Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach, reported his best Easter attendances for 10 years, with his car park packed each day, while along the coast, Yves Delhommeau, manager of Lowestoft's rival theme park, Pleasurewood Hills, painted a similar buoyant picture.

“Attendances have been almost 25pc up on last year and Easter Sunday was particularly busy, breaking all previous records”, he said.

Hugh Crossley, the owner of Somerleyton Hall and Gardens, near Lowestoft, and nearby Fritton Lake, said: “Easter Sunday smashed our 21-year record with more than 1,000 visitors enjoying the hall and gardens, and attendances were also significantly up at Fritton Lake.”

Resorts along the coast were all packed over the extended weekend, even on Good Friday when a stronger wind brought temperatures down.

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Peter Willamson, managing director of Yarmouth's Merrivale Model Village, said it had been a record- breaker for him, with visitor numbers 30pc up on previous Easters.

“The whole of Yarmouth has been bursting at the seams and all the businesses seem to have benefited from the influx of visitors,” he said.

Tourism officer Alan Carr said the completion of the town's new-look seafront had clearly helped.

Nigel Croasdale, manager at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, said: “We've been packed, much busier than last year... the seafront has been heaving with people.”

Meanwhile, attractions and traders at Wells also enjoyed a bumper Easter, with resident Joyce Trett describing the town as packed over the weekend. “The indications are that if the good weather continues the town will be busy for the rest of this week,” she said.

Pinewoods holiday park at Wells reported brisk business and said it was likely to remain that way for the rest of the week.

Numbers were up on last year for the Harling Easter Festival Weekend, which sees the village near Attleborough put on a series of events over four days, including a car treasure hunt, egg race, yard sales, children's craft workshops and a family fun day.

Organiser Liz Jones said: “We've had hundreds of people over the weekend, it's been really successful and very busy, with some events heaving.”

In Norwich, yesterday morning's sunny skies brought crowds flocking to the Easter fair at Chapelfield and the French Market. Whitlingham Broad was also busy, even when the sun disappeared.

Wroxham Barns was so busy that visitors were left queuing on the road to get in, while at West Runton, Jonquil Bakewell, who runs the Norfolk Shire Horse Centre with her husband David, said the weekend had been “very encouraging”.

Alan Gray, who runs the East Ruston Old Vicarage garden with Graham Robeson, said the Easter weekend had been “absolutely brilliant”.

“We are very much weather orientated, so a lot of people have been visiting. There is plenty to see here even at this time of year: magnolias and cherries in bloom, and the underplanting of bulbs are giving a good show,” he said.