High demand for staycations expected to keep Northumberland busy through autumn

Demand for holidays in Northumberland continues to soar, even as the traditional end of the visitor season approaches.

Monday, 24th August 2020, 4:46 pm

Holiday parks are reporting sky-high interest in staycations, with bookings being taken well into the autumn as UK holidaymakers abandon thoughts of a foreign break.

The news is a major boost to the county’s tourism industry which would normally see a winding down of visitor numbers after the looming bank holiday weekend.

“We are actually booked up in our hire accommodation until October 30 for any duration of stay and our touring pitches are fully booked until the middle of September,” revealed Carolyn Britton of Seafield Caravan Park in Seahouses.

Druridge Bay, Bamburgh and Seafield Caravan Park, Seahouses.

"We would usually expect to be fully booked in our hire caravans and tourers in the summer holidays but demand is certainly higher for the autumn.”

She also said demand for caravan sales is ‘exceptionally high’ at the moment.

It is a situation mirrored at Amble Links Coastal Retreat & Holiday Park where there has been a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in holiday home sales.

“There has been a real boom in holiday home sales, from entry level caravans right up to luxury lodges,” revealed general manager Brian Docherty.

Bamburgh beach.

“An impact of the whole pandemic is that people are reviewing their lifestyle choices and wondering whether to holiday in Britain rather than take their chances on foreign travel.”

He also believes the continuing regeneration of Amble has helped to attract customers.

"The investment in Amble from a business and commercial perspective, especially the development around the harbour, has certainly made the area more attractive for buyers,” he said.

Seafield Caravan Park, Seahouses.

And Verdant Leisure, which operates Riverside Leisure Park in Wooler, has reported that its October bookings are double those of last year.

Graham Hodgson, Verdant chief executive, said: “We’re continuing to see record-breaking bookings across all our UK parks. This is really helping to boost the local economies, as each park provides the customer base for numerous other regional businesses, including local suppliers, shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes and visitor attractions.”

The busy scenes of recent weeks along the coastal strip have been in stark contrast to the spring and early summer.

“Our beaches and villages are bustling along which is great to see having been deserted for so many months due to lockdown,” said Carolyn Britton. “All in all, everyone has maintained their social distancing and been more than obliging with the new rules we have had to enforce both here at the park and at The Ocean Club.”

Druridge Bay beach.

However, concerns remain about the ability of small towns and villages to cope with the influx.

Craster resident Marion Gallon believes the village has been getting ‘at least the number of visitors normally associated with a bank holiday every day’.

"Our newly extended car park has been bursting at its seams and the overflow car park has been struggling to cope with demand,” she said. “There are still cars parked indiscriminately in the village and along the roads into the village.”

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