Scorching spring signals cracking Norfolk tourism season
The barbecue spring weather is set to continue over the Easter weekend with the region's tourist attractions bracing themselves for a bumper season.
The unseasonably dry and warm weather will continue for the first bank holiday of the year, with East Anglia set to benefit from Mediterranean-like temperatures.
Forecasters said the warm, dry and sunny weather was set to continue across the long weekend, with top daytime temperatures of between 20C and 24C.
The Easter forecast will provide a welcome lift for the tourist industry. While more than two million Britons are expected to go abroad this weekend, East Anglia has been touted as one of the top 'staycation' destinations.
Richard Ellis, chairman of Norfolk Tourism, said the weekend was shaping up to be a great Easter for the industry and the county was seeing 'significant' interest in last minute bookings.
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'It is set to be a cracking Easter. There is just a fantastic range of things to do and we are seeing particular interest in royal tourism and we expect to see a huge amount of people going to Sandringham.'
'One of the advantages of a later Easter is the potential for better weather. For the industry, it looks set to be one of the best on record. Why go abroad when we have similar weather to the Mediterranean?' he said.
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Steve Western, senior forecaster for Norwich-based Weatherquest, said high pressure over Scandinavia was drawing in warm air from the Mediterranean at a time when the average temperature for mid-April is 12.5C.
'I think we are heading for the driest spring since 1929,' he said.
Over the April 21-26 period, around 600,000 passengers will fly from Heathrow, 250,000 from Gatwick, 160,000 from Stansted and 60,000 from Luton.
Travel organisation Abta said the Canary Islands and the Costa del Sol were the most popular foreign destinations. However, cottage breaks in the east were proving popular alongside city breaks in London and resorts in Blackpool, Bournemouth and Brighton.
The AA, warned that an estimated 10 million cars will hit the roads over Easter with traffic congestion hotspots on the A11, around Elveden and Thetford, the A47 and the M11 around Stansted Airport. However, most roadworks restrictions will be lifted to ease the volume of traffic.
National Express East Anglia will be running a Sunday rail service on Friday and on Monday. However, no trains will run between Liverpool Street and Ilford due to engineering works, with passengers asked to use the Underground or buses.
Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar also reported a surge and will be carrying 8pc more passengers from the UK to Europe this Easter than a year ago.