West Norfolk tourism chiefs hail strong year

Penguins take their first step.'' at the Hunstanton Sea Life Centre after it is restocked September 23, 2014 ANL-140924-112409001
Penguins take their first step.'' at the Hunstanton Sea Life Centre after it is restocked September 23, 2014 ANL-140924-112409001
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West Norfolk’s tourism industry has enjoyed another strong year despite the changeable weather and a bank holiday washout.

Tourism remains strong in the region with the Sea Life Centre in Hunstanton reporting high numbers of visitors coming up to a year since it reopened its doors.

Nigel Croasdale, manager of the Sea Life Centre, said: “In the last two weeks we have had the busiest two days we have experienced in over 20 years.

“Footfall throughout the August summer holidays has been higher than ever before. Every day in the school holidays has been busy, seven days a week.

Mr Croasdale admitted that although the rain has been good for trade, the number of visitors have been up since the centre reopened it’s doors.

“We are extremely pleased and the visitor levels we have experienced hsave surpassed all of our expectations, week-after-week.

“If it’s hasn’t been beach weather then holiday makers try to look for an indoor activity to do, but saying that we have also seen a big increase in the number of day-trippers driving to the resort too.

“Hopefully the increased activity in the number of day-trippers will benefit the resort of Hunstanton as a whole.”

Business has also been good at The Pavillion on The Green, although the weekend downpours led to manager Jane Wallis taking the bank holiday Monday off work.

“The August bank holiday is a really important one to us. We got fully stocked up but the weather was appalling,” said Mrs Wallis.

“I have been here 11 years and we were up against it the whole weekend. I would never normally take a bank holiday Monday off but this one I did.

“People just didn’t venture out in the weather, which you can’t blame them for.”

Despite one of the wettest August’s on record, Mrs Wallis reported that trade had generally remained brisk.

“Although it was a great shame about the bank holiday weather, I would say that when we look at the figures overall that it will balance itself out,” said Mrs Wallis.

“It’s swings and roundabouts really. We’ve still had a good year and some really busy days during the hot spells of weather.”

Church Farm at Stow Bardolph, which is currently extending its indoor play area, has also remained busy.

Manager Debbie Benns said: “It has been another positive year.

“The beginning of the year was brilliant, especially the half-term week in February and during Easter.

“We’ve also had a good number of visitors over the summer. It was fairly quiet over the bank holiday, but we are lucky in the fact that a lot of our facilities here are under cover.”