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East Anglia Future 50

Sunny skies make for Norfolk half-term footfall frenzy

PUBLISHED: 11:48 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55 27 February 2019

Eleana, 7, left, playing with her older sister Katerina, 12, right, in Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Eleana, 7, left, playing with her older sister Katerina, 12, right, in Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Unseasonably mild weather has sparked a boom half-term for Norfolk's tourist attractions - with some reporting a 30pc hike in revenue.

Flowers in bloom at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodFlowers in bloom at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

The likes of Amazona Zoo, Roarr Dinosaur Park and Wroxham Barns all confirmed that footfall over the latest school holiday had jumped.

Ian Russell, director at Wroxham Barns, said revenue at the farm facility had leapt 30% over the trading period, and 20% across the whole park.

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Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodChapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

“The weather was a huge success, and has an impact on businesses like these for a number of reasons,” Mr Russell explained.

“Firstly, thanks to our technology our customers can see the weather is going to be good, and therefore know for certain they can plan a day out where otherwise they may not end up attending.

“Another is that the weather has been glorious for this time of year.”

He continued: “The problem with last summer was that it was too hot, and it had adverse effects on businesses like these because everyone was at the beach or staying in their garden.

“It was too hot to go out and people were lethargic.”

Mr Russell said that holidays also allow for VFR (visiting friends and relatives) tourists.

“I’d say that it’s about a 50/50 split between the two,” he said.

Maxine Culleton, marketing co-ordinator for Sea Life Great Yarmouth, said: “This time last year the beast from the East was here so we have increased our numbers, however comparing half term school holidays we are trading above budget with lots of happy customers who are enjoying becoming Lego Sea Explorers in our new Lego event.”

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The news was the same across the board, with Andrew Munden, the general manager at North Norfolk Railway saying: “Train services recommenced last Saturday and up to yesterday (Thursday) passenger numbers are 20% above 2018.

“That is perhaps not surprising given the extremely good weather we have experienced this week whereas 2018 saw a pretty dismal half term week preluding the Beast from the East at the end of the month.

“We are very pleased with how well the season has begun and are eagerly looking forward to the Easter holiday period.”

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