Record number of visitors flock to relaunched Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary

Michael Fish at the re-launch of Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, with youngsters from Redgate Junior and Hunstanton Infants Schools MLNF14AM10013
Michael Fish at the re-launch of Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, with youngsters from Redgate Junior and Hunstanton Infants Schools MLNF14AM10013

Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, which re-opened three weeks ago after being ravaged by last winter’s floods, recorded the busiest October half-term in its 25-year history.

The centre, re-opened by weather man Michael Fish after a £3 million re-fit, welcomed well over 6,000 visitors last week, more than double the expected number and triple the number for the same week last year.

Nigel Croasdale, manager, said: “We had lots of media coverage for our resident creatures returning, but even so the public response has been incredible and 97-per-cent of last week’s visitors who filled in customer surveys said they’d be back.”

The attraction has sold its entire stock of 5,000 guide books – usually enough to see it through to Easter – and also recorded record spends in its souvenir and coffee shops.

William Searle, chairman of Hunstanton and District Chamber of Trade and operator of Searles Sea Tours, based in front of the sea life sanctuary, said the relaunch of the attraction was a positive thing for all in the town.

He said: “We have had a fantastic season with the weather but we are very pleased to see the sea life centre open again. It brings fresh people into the town, which is good for all businesses.”

Searles Sea Tours has had a record season itself, carrying 20,000 passengers for the first time ever, having launched its seal safari.

The business would usually expect to carry between 15,000 and 17,000 passengers each year.