Bumper Easter for tourism businesses in Northumberland

Beadnell Bay was a popular spot over the Easter weekend.' Picture by Jane Coltman
Beadnell Bay was a popular spot over the Easter weekend.' Picture by Jane Coltman

Temperatures topped those in Spain as Northumberland basked in an unexpected Easter heatwave.

Thousands of tourists and day trippers flocked to the likes of Bamburgh, Seahouses and Beadnell to spend the day at the seaside.

The Easter market in Alnwick drew nearly double the number of shoppers on a regular Saturday.

The Easter market in Alnwick drew nearly double the number of shoppers on a regular Saturday.

Easter-themed activities in Alnwick and on Ford and Etal Estates also proved popular in the sunshine.

Even on the coast the thermometer at Letham Shank weather station in Berwick hit 21.8C on Easter Sunday – higher than Barcelona and Madrid.

It helped to provide an unexpected early season boost for local tourism businesses.

Harvest Harris-Jones, chairman of the North Northumberland Tourism Association, said: “It has been fantastic that the north Northumberland tourism businesses have had such a great Easter, in stark contrast to the one last year.

Queues outside a fish and chip shop in Seahouses on Good Friday.' Picture by Jane Coltman

Queues outside a fish and chip shop in Seahouses on Good Friday.' Picture by Jane Coltman

“Having spoken to a number of our members both on and off the coast everyone has been busy welcoming visitors and helping them to build memories.

“Thank you to all the hard work of Northumberland Tourism and partners who helped Northumberland be recognised as the best holiday destination, which has really helped to put Northumberland on the map.”

An Easter market in Alnwick with a programme of family entertainment attracted thousands of visitors.

Mel Corn, the event’s marketing coordinator, said: “We had forecast footfall of around 6,500 for the event. We counted nearly 8,000 – that’s close to double the number of shoppers on a regular Saturday.”

The event got a big thumbs up from traders as well – 70% described there trading experience on the day as good or very good.

Philip Angier, Alnwick Markets chairman. said: “Trader numbers have been growing steadily in April. New traders are telling us that they really appreciate the friendly welcome and our commitment to active promotion of the town on social media. And more local people seem to be buying in to the Keep it Local message.

Chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade Lisa Aynsley, who runs Hotspur 1364 designer menswear shop in Narrowgate, said: “The week running up to Easter and the weekend itself were absolutely amazing for us - we smashed the takings from last Easter - and Easter Day was a record-breaking Sunday.

“The Greenwell Road car parks were chock-a-block and the Garden looked really busy. We did our best to maximise the extra visitors to the town.”

Northumberland’s growing tourism reputation, along with uncertainties over Brexit, are also providing a boost to the county’s tourism trade.

Alnwick Castle enjoyed a happy and extremely busy Easter with visitor numbers up by a whopping 30 per cent on last year. Bank Holiday Monday was its busiest day with broomstick training and a special multi-coloured Dragon Easter egg hunt proving very popular.

In an interview with the BBC, Jeff Sutheran, who runs St Cuthbert’s House B&B in North Sunderland, said: “The uncertainty (of Brexit) is definitely is fuelling some sort of staycation increase.”

His wife, Jill, added: “Our guests have increased and are coming from different areas of the country.”