Attractions' bid to help visitors struggling with rising living costs

Flashback: People enjoying the grounds at Thriby Hall in the pre-lockdown era. The wildlife park is

FLASHBACK: People enjoying the grounds at Thrigby Hall in the pre-lockdown era. The wildlife park is trying to make its passes more attractive to visitors. - Credit: Archant

Tourist attractions in the Great Yarmouth area have said the continued rise in the cost of living is leading to "challenging times".

Yarmouth's Sea Life Centre has frozen all of its prices for 2022, to help visitors as family budgets feel the pinch.

It has also launched its new Explorer Plus Annual Pass - which allows guests to visit all-year-round for the price of less than two visits.

A turtle at Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre which is once again open to the general public. Picture: D

Great Yarmouth's Sea Life Centre has also launched its Explorer Plus Annual Pass. - Credit: Archant 2021

General manager Nathan Barnett said: "With everything going up, this allows people to still have a great day out with the family.

“But when you think the cost of fuel has gone up, the cost of living, the energy prices, everything seems to have hit in April this year.

“Our fear is, either our visitors will opt for a cheaper holiday abroad or people will see tourist attractions as more of an occasional treat.”

Mr Barnett has written a letter to Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis highlighting the need for the change in VAT after it shot up from 12.5pc to 20pc in April, further adding costs to businesses and customers.

The Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth.

Great Yarmouth's Sea Life Centre is not putting prices up this year. - Credit: James Bass

At Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, the team have made several improvements throughout the pandemic - including reinsulating its newly refurbished crocodile house - to make it both energy efficient and more attractive to visitors.

Thrigby Hall's new crocodile as she emerges from the tube she was carried in. Photo: Sarah Bird at T

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Garden has renovated its crocodile house, making it more energy efficient. - Credit: Archant

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Zoo director Scott Bird said: “Although we could foresee the gas and electricity increases, the impact of heating oil costs is still an ongoing concern for rural businesses.

“Our last purchase of kerosene to heat the crocodile house was twice as much as what it was the previous time we ordered.

"If the costs continue to rise it will become a real challenge."

Thrigby Hall’s season ticket is £55 for adults and £40 for children and includes a 10pc discount on food and drink in the cafe and on purchases in the shop.

 Asa Morrison, Lyndon Bevan, Sarah Bird, and Scott Bird at Thrigby Wildlife Gardens

From left to right: Asa Morrison, chief executive of Visit Great Yarmouth, Lyndon Bevan, chair of Visit Great Yarmouth, Sarah Bird, education and conservation director at Thrigby Wildlife Gardens, and Scott Bird, zoological director at Thrigby. - Credit: TMS Media

Asa Morrison, chief executive of Visit Great Yarmouth, said: “The rising cost of living is on everyone’s minds and the return on 20pc VAT has made the situation more challenging for our businesses.

"Our visitors and businesses are being put under mounting pressure."

If the rise in cost of living is affecting you, get in touch by emailing anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk or call 074882 515 72.

You can also help us build a better picture of what is happening in the local area by filling out our survey on our website.