Bank holiday bonanza

St George's Day fun and games in Warkworth.
St George's Day fun and games in Warkworth.

ATTRACTIONS across north Northumberland saw a bumper boost to visitor figures over the double Bank Holiday weekends.

Thousands flocked to National Trust properties across the area as the recent spell of good weather and days off sent people out and about.

St George's Day fun and games in Warkworth.

St George's Day fun and games in Warkworth.

At Cragside, the best turnout was on Monday when more then 2,600 people enjoyed Lord Armstrong’s estate.

Bumper figures were also seen on Good Friday when 2,500 went through the doors.

Justine James, customer development manager, said: “We were surprised to still have as many as 700 visitors on the wedding day as we thought folk would be glued to the TV.

“The rest of the weekend held well, with around 1,500 each day, not bad as it was the end of a long spell of days off.”

Favourable tides and the warm, sunny weather between Good Friday and Easter Monday saw 2,724 visit Lindisfarne Castle, which was 403 more than during the same holiday period last year.

This year’s May bank holiday weekend, which included an extra day for the Royal wedding on Friday, , saw 1,235 visitors to the castle – down 491 on the same four day period in 2010.

But while the tides last year favoured visitors to Holy Island, this year the causeway was closed in the morning, only re-opening late afternoon.

Daniel Wilson, Lindisfarne Castle’s house steward, said: “Considering the adverse tides we had over the May bank holiday weekend and the fact that 24 million people stayed at home to watch the Royal wedding on April 29, we have done phenomenally well.

“The Easter weekend was a spectacular success for us here at the castle, and after the disappointment we suffered over the festive season last year with the weather forcing us to close to visitors, this is the positive start to the season we were all hoping for.”

Wallington saw figures soar from 8.359 at Easter last year to 14,272 this year and 10,158 last weekend.

The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle also had a boost.

Easter weekend saw nearly 7,500 ticket sales for both attractions, which included more than 2,000 combined tickets. And last weekend nearly 6,500 tickets were bought with more than 3,000 visitors to the Garden.

A spokeswoman said: “It has been really good. It is a very promising start to the season. The weather has really brought everyone out.”

Sunday also saw The Black Bull at Warkworth hold its St George’s Day celebrations with fancy dress football, a wheelie bin grand prix and River Coquet raft race, while also raising £1,600 to be shared between the Great North Air Ambulance and Amble Lifeboat.

Organiser Peter Mailer said: “It was a fantastic day. The sun shone down upon us and there were lots of people out on the streets. We did our best to empty their purses and wallets to the best of out abilities. All in all it was a fantastic day.”

The celebrations were delayed by a week because of tide times, which affected the raft race. On Easter Saturday, St George’s Day, high tide was at 9am and 7pm whereas last weekend high tide was at 2.30pm, perfect timing for the raft race.