Late surge in tourists in north Northumberland is a welcome boost

People enjoying the sunshine at Bamburgh Castle. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
People enjoying the sunshine at Bamburgh Castle. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A late season flourish has turned 2016 into a good year for visitor attractions and accommodation providers in north Northumberland.

Good weather over the school summer holidays, along with growing numbers opting for a post-Brexit stay-cation, attracted tourists in their droves.

Jeff Sutheran, chairman of the North Northumberland Tourism Association, said: “The message from right across north Northumberland is that it’s been a good season. The tourism economy is growing year on year which is very encouraging.

“There is a common perception that the season got off to a slow start but that’s possibly because Easter, the traditional start of the season, was so early this year. But our members have reported that business improved in June and really picked up in July and August. Visitor numbers are rising every year which is great to see.”

While the coastal hotspots have proved as popular as ever, it has also been a good season for other parts of rural Northumberland.

“We’ve received positive reports from members in Ford and Etal and Wooler so while the number of visitors may not be as high as in hotspots like Seahouses, they have still done well,” said Mr Sutheran, owner of the award-winning St Cuthbert’s House bed and breakfast in North Sunderland.

He attributes the growing popularity of the county to a number of factors. He said: “We’ve have more high profile media exposure this year, not just from Robson Green’s Tales from Northumberland.

“We’ve had fantastic coverage from other sources too, thanks in part to the efforts of Northumberland Tourism who do a great job on limited resources. The £1million of advertising we had at Heathrow Airport is a great example.”

A short film made by the North Northumberland Tourism Association, which is on YouTube, has also enjoyed great success.

“We have so many reasons to be cheerful for north Northumberland,” he added. “We can always do more but we know the iconic images of Northumberland work well.

“I think people are not travelling so far due to security issues and the Brexit vote so we need to keep singing our song and tell people what a fantastic place this is.”