Great Yarmouth basks in warm weather

GREAT Yarmouth had a spring in its step this week after unbroken sunshine brought an Easter influx of people looking to explore its attractions.

All the borough’s beaches were reportedly busy with the settled spell of sunny weather triggering beaming smiles all round over the four-day holiday.

On Tuesday, cooler air brought the curtain down on six days of unbroken sunshine when temperatures consistently topped 20 degrees giving the seaside holiday industry an early boost.

Although no records were broken outdoor attractions benefited from the dry, sunny weather after last year’s soggy washout when four bank holidays in a row were wet.

And while the seafront did well the summery effect radiated inland to attractions like Thrigby Wildlife Gardens where Ken Sims said he did twice as well as last year and 15 times better than in 2008 when Easter was white and we had four inches of snow.

He said: “We could not have been more grateful for the good weather compared to last year when it was the exact opposite. Monday was a trifle disappointing because everyone had probably already been out. But overall we have been delighted. In 2003 we had an equivalent Easter and that was exceptional.

“I am fond of re-phrasing President Clinton – it’s not the economy stupid. It’s the weather stupid.”

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At Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach Albert Jones said the park had had one if its best ever Easter weeks, helped by new free parking for visitors and an on-line booking service. After last year’s sodden disaster people would be thankful to get just one sunny bank holiday under their belts he said, adding that tea stalls and beach concessions had also done well.

Given that the park was a long-time closed with a full programme of winter maintenance it was good to benefit from the early season bonus and also build a bank of memories that would encourage visitors to come back, he added.

Head of tourism at Great Yarmouth Borough Council Alan Carr said car parking was at a premium across the town with extra spaces commandeered in unmarked bays. Although Monday was usually the busiest day anecdotal reports suggest numbers peaked on Saturday which was also the warmest day with temperatures of over 25 degrees.

And while some attractions like the SeaLife Centre and Hippodrome Circus might prefer fewer rays to boost their takings, Mr Carr said the sunshine helped everyone by bringing more people into the town.

Christine Jay, at the Hippodrome Circus, was very pleased with the numbers making up audiences at the seaside circus but that the timing of the school holidays meant they struggled at the end of the run.

However, the spell of good weather had been a timely pick-me-up for people after the long, cold winter helping to put everyone in a good frame of mind, Mrs Jay said.

“Good weather reminds people that you cannot beat England. We have had people in from Spain who have said they have had a bad week,” she added.

As well as day-trippers the good weather lured people who wanted to stay longer with guesthouses putting up “No Vacancies” signs after a last minute flurry of bookings, many on the doorstep.

Sue Dodds, who runs Seashells Dog Friendly Guest House, said she had had a “brilliant” Easter after a poor winter and February half term.

Her seven-room guest house was fully booked over the weekend and looking busy from today too.

Chris Bell, forecaster at UEA based WeatherQuest, said easterly winds blowing off the sea would lower temperatures to more normal levels with highs of 15 degrees possible.