Northumberland prepares for bank holiday influx with a plea for visitors to 'Live It, Love it, Leave it unspoilt'
Northumberland is bracing itself for a busy bank holiday weekend with many campsites fully booked.
It is the first bank holiday since lockdown restrictions were eased and an influx of holidaymakers and day trippers are expected.
Julie Milburn, co-owner of Proctors Stead Caravan Park, near Craster, said: “We’re fully booked for this bank holiday weekend. It’s been choc-a-block at weekends since we reopened on April 12.
"Our facilities aren’t fully open again until May 17 but there’s no doubt people are very keen to get out and about again, although a lot are leaving their bookings until the last minute, perhaps while they wait and see what the weather is going to be like.”
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At the Barn at Beal restaurant and campsite, near Holy Island, its 20 campervan pitches are fully booked every weekend until September.
Owner Rod Smith, who has removed some of the tent pitches to increase space for campervans, said: “There’s definitely been an increase in demand.”
Visitors are being welcomed with open arms but Northumberland County Council and Visit Northumberland are calling on them to not to spoil it.
David Hall, chairman at Visit Northumberland explained: “We are delighted that certain restrictions have been lifted and people can enjoy our beautiful rural region once more.
“Although the government advice is to stay local, we do expect an influx of visitors across the May bank holiday. Many people from outside the county may not know Northumberland well and we want to welcome them while gently reminding people to help keep our glorious county pristine for others to enjoy.
“Our ‘Live it. Love it. Leave it unspoilt’ message is based on the Countryside Code and being so simple, we are hopeful that people will understand it.”
To help tourists leave no trace, Northumberland County Council has made a significant investment in improving facilities.
Paul Jones, the council’s director of local services, said: “We’re working with landowners to provide overflow parking in some of our busiest areas, have installed more bins with extra collections, and have all of our public toilets open with extra cleaning visits to help alleviate some of the common issues visitors face.
“However people must remember that many of Northumberland’s towns and villages are small, with limited facilities and narrow access roads and to maintain public safety we’re still operating social distancing arrangements at facilities like public toilets, so at busy times there may be long queues.
“We are expecting the coast, in particular, to be extremely busy, so be prepared for that and consider a Plan B if on arrival it’s too crowded. It’s a big county and there are plenty of great places to visit inland as well.
“And with the recent spell of dry weather fire risk is now a significant concern, so we’re also asking visitors to leave their BBQs at home and to be careful when putting out cigarettes.”
Mark Brassell, director at The Alnwick Garden, added: “The stunning landscapes and wide-open spaces make Northumberland a must-visit destination and we are expecting an influx of visitors over the bank holiday weekend.”