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Holidaymakers flock to Norfolk as bookings rise for Christmas period

PUBLISHED: 10:24 15 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:24 15 December 2017

Dark skies over Happisburgh looking along the beach from Eccles-on-sea. The Stripped Lighthouse and Church standing out.

Dark skies over Happisburgh looking along the beach from Eccles-on-sea. The Stripped Lighthouse and Church standing out.

(c) copyright newzulu.com

Several of the UK’s leading holiday rental companies have listed Norfolk as one of the country’s most popular places for a getaway over the festive season.

Cottages.com area manager Victoria Schofield. Picture: Courtesy cottages.com Cottages.com area manager Victoria Schofield. Picture: Courtesy cottages.com

English Country Cottages, cottages.com and Welcome Cottages said based on booking volumes, Happisburgh was Norfolk’s most-sought after town for Christmas and New Year getaways followed by Hunstanton, North Walsham, Cromer and Wroxham.

The three brands – owner by Hoseasons’ parent company Wyndham Vacation Rentals – reported a 17% rise in bookings compared to last year, while Tom Ellis of Norfolk Country Cottages said its bookings were nearly 30% up on the same period.

Mr Ellis said: “This has been tracking strongly all year as families getting together have been securing our larger properties and booking early.

“In the last couple of months we have seen our smaller properties attract more bookings, especially for short breaks around New Year’s Eve.” He said one factor influencing the positive trend was owners offering more flexibility for holidaymakers to take short breaks.

Tom Ellis, 33, director of Norfolk Country Cottages in Holt.

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Tom Ellis, 33, director of Norfolk Country Cottages in Holt. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

“Other factors playing a part are Europe remaining expensive and people wanting to travel shorter distances to enjoy a holiday.” He said many owners had increased investment in accommodation ahead of the festive break – including seasonal touches.

Victoria Schofield, area manager for cottages.com in Norfolk and Suffolk said properties decorated with a Christmas tree were attracting 12% higher occupancy rates.

She said: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, not least for our local property owners who have achieved fantastic bookings this festive period.”

The company said holidaymakers after all the trimmings from their rental accommodation were still most likely to choose a property with a hot tub, with tubs achieving a 44% higher occupancy rate than the national average.

Sunday morning at Happisburgh Sunday morning at Happisburgh

Large properties for celebrations with groups of friends and family are also proving popular – with houses sleeping 12 people or more achieving 74% higher 
occupancy rates than the national average.

Unique and unusual properties, which include everything from lighthouses to railway carriages, have also seen higher occupancy rates.

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