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Good long-range weather forecast could boost Norfolk tourism in 2017

PUBLISHED: 14:18 26 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:41 27 March 2017

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham.

 Picture: James Bass

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham. Picture: James Bass

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A good long-range weather forecast looks set to boost visitor numbers to key Norfolk and Suffolk attractions this year as a week-long celebration of tourism gets underway.

English Tourism Week kicks off at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. Left to right: Councillor Frank O'Neill, Broadland District Council (Blofield and South Walsham), Louise Rout, manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, Martin Thirkettle, economic development officer, Broadland District Council and Councillor Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council. Picture: PAUL DICKSON English Tourism Week kicks off at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. Left to right: Councillor Frank O'Neill, Broadland District Council (Blofield and South Walsham), Louise Rout, manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, Martin Thirkettle, economic development officer, Broadland District Council and Councillor Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council. Picture: PAUL DICKSON

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, at South Walsham, kicked off the celebrations for English Tourism Week with its “Great Broadland Breakfast” to celebrate the best of the area’s produce.

And with temperatures hitting 12c at the weekend cafes, restaurants, museums and other attractions all started to see and early boost as British Summer Time officially got underway.

Norfolk Museums Service has 10 museums across the county including Norwich Castle, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, and Lynn Museum.

Colly Mudie, from Norfolk Museums Service, said: “We are on track to equal last year’s record-breaking visitor figures, both here in Norwich and across the county.”

Summer weather in North Norfolk. Cromer Beach. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Summer weather in North Norfolk. Cromer Beach. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

She said in the last year there had been about 400,000 visitors across Norfolk Museums Service’s 10 county-wide attractions, including 210,000 visitors at Norwich Castle.

“We had a very strong programme last year here at the castle with the Medieval Madness events, the Olive Edis exhibition Fishermen and Kings and the British Art Show.

“At the moment we have got Small Stories: At Home in a Doll’s House, which is proving really popular.”

She added: “We hope we are going to exceed the previous visitor numbers this year.

The Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach Big Wheel.

 Picture: NICK BUTCHER The Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach Big Wheel. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“We have a very strong exhibition programme this year at the castle, with one about Nelson and one about Rembrandt later in the year.

“They are really good themes and I know that they will be very popular, but I think throughout Norfolk we have got a reputation for being really good value places to visit with lots to appeal to all visitors.”

Cromer town councillor Andreas Yiasimi is expecting that tourism will once again prove a huge boost to the north Norfolk economy this year.

His family has run the Constantia Cottage Greek restaurant in nearby East Runton for nearly 37 years.

He said: “Cromer has got a lot of national press recently. We had the Bollywood movie filmed on Cromer pier. That got millions of hits on the internet.

“And the crab and lobster festival, which I’m involved in, has grown and grown. That has received international press. The carnival is one of the biggest in the country.

“I think the historical factor is one reason it’s so popular - there’s so much history and heritage that it’s attracted poets and artists throughout history, and it inspired them.

“I must not leave out Sheringham. There’s so much crammed in the area and each town offers something different.

“I’m a very holiday person. So much is here on our doorstep that you can take it for granted. My background is in the East End of London, and if I had been able to come here then, I would have thought I was in heaven.

“So if people ask where Cromer or Norfolk is and does anything happen there, then, yes, it does.

“There’s so much here and after 30 years I’m still trying to see everything.”

Bosses of two of Great Yarmouth’s most recognisable tourist attractions have high hopes for the summer ahead.

Albert Jones, who runs the Pleasure Beach says admissions to the attraction on opening day this year were up 20pc on the previous year, so is optimistic for the season.

He said: “Weather is such a big factor for Great Yarmouth, and the long-range forecast looks good.

“I think we are all geared up and raring to go. However, if there is one thing I would change it would be the cost of parking in the town.”

Peter Williamson, owner of Merrivale Model Village, which hosted its preview day on Sunday, added: “Last year was one of the best years we’ve had for a few years, probably due to the fantastic weather we had.

“With all the terrible things that have been happening across the world I feel the UK is becoming the tourist destination again.”

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