‘Bumper weekend’ for tourism industry

The Easter bunny visited the Aln Valley Railway.
The Easter bunny visited the Aln Valley Railway.

Crowds of people flocked to Northumberland hotspots during the Easter period, with one observer describing it as a bumper weekend.

However, the busy four-day break has reiterated concerns that parking provision in certain parts of the county needs to be overhauled to cater for the influx of visitors.

With the sun shining for most of the long weekend, north Northumberland was reportedly heaving, especially in seaside areas, such as Bamburgh, Seahouses and Amble.

Jeff Sutheran, chairman of the North Northumberland Tourism Association, said: “From a personal point of view, I would say that on the coast, we had a bumper weekend and it was a great way to start the season.

“I really do believe that the county has benefited from recent exposure, such as the More Tales from Northumberland programme with Robson Green, and there is a strong sense that the star is rising for tourism in Northumberland,

“However, in areas such as Bamburgh, we do have a problem as far as parking is concerned and it needs to be confronted and solved, because there aren’t a lot of places to park and it has an impact on the visitor experience.”

Ann Burke, who is chairman of Amble Business Club, said that Amble was packed over the Easter weekend, adding: “The new Harbour Village was a big attraction and the rest of the town was also busy. There has been some good feedback from traders.”

People also flocked inland. Elspeth Gilliland, from Ford and Etal Estates, said: “We had a good weekend and the Estates was very busy.”

Cragside, in Rothbury, fared well, pulling in more than 8,000 visitors over the course of the four days. On Easter Monday, just over 3,000 people came through the doors, compared to 1,803 on the same day last year.

It was the same for the Aln Valley Railway, in Alnwick, which was nearly 50 per cent up on visitors compared to the 2014 Easter weekend.

However, Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni felt traders in the town were impacted by the nearby A1 roadworks and the Bondgate Tower closure, coupled with people heading to the coast.