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Tourism bosses and event organisers in East Anglia reap the rewards of the best bank holiday Monday weather in the country

19:11 26 May 2014

Scenes from Downham Market Carnival Parade 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Scenes from Downham Market Carnival Parade 2014. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Tourism bosses hailed a successful bank holiday weekend after businesses across East Anglia reaped the benefits from the warmest temperatures across the country today.

Three generations of the King's Lynn Venni family eat lunch on their model steam lorry while waiting for the weather to improve. From left: Roger Venni, grandson Jack and son Shane. Strumpshaw steam rally. Photo: Bill SmithThree generations of the King's Lynn Venni family eat lunch on their model steam lorry while waiting for the weather to improve. From left: Roger Venni, grandson Jack and son Shane. Strumpshaw steam rally. Photo: Bill Smith

The region bathed in glorious sunshine and temperatures of up to 20C as the rest of the country was hit by bank holiday Monday showers.

However, Norfolk and Suffolk is set to get its share of heavy rain tomorrow and showers on Wednesday as the half-term school holidays continue.

Phil Garner, of the University of East Anglia-based Weatherquest said rain from the east will have hit the region by tonight.

“It is going to be showery on Tuesday and Wednesday, but people should not be put off too much. It will be dryer and brighter by Thursday.

The Fairy Fair 2014 at Holt Hall.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYThe Fairy Fair 2014 at Holt Hall. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

“There have been showers in Essex and London today [Monday] and Norfolk and Suffolk has had the best weather in the country for sunshine and temperatures,” he said.

The long bank holiday weekend began with rain. However, the tourist industry was not badly affected by the wet start.

Ian Russell, owner of Wroxham Barns, said: “We have had a bank holiday weekend that has lived up to our expectations. We get the best of the weather in East Anglia. We had a pretty good Saturday. Sunday and Monday have been very favourable and sets things up for the rest of the half term holiday. Visitors are still looking for value and that will not change for a long time,” he said.

Peter Williamson, owner of Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth said it had been a good weekend, despite rain on Saturday.

“There have been lots of people and it has been a nice bank holiday. It is not quite as good as last year because of Easter being so late. If the weather holds, I think it will be a very good half term. If the forecasters say it is going to be bad and it turns out to be good, it is very damaging for us,” he said.

Barbara Greasley, of Norfolk Broads Direct and Broads Tours, added she was “very pleased” with the demand for day boats and hire boats during the bank holiday weekend.

Visitors enjoyed floral surroundings at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in South Walsham, near Acle, where the final days of the spring bluebell walk made way for the blooming candelabra primulas and rhododendrons.

In Great Yarmouth, volunteers from the East Coast Truckers charity parked HGVs on the Golden Mile and, today, collected cash in the Market Place while raising money for the annual rally in aid of EACH.

Car parks at the National Trust’s Sheringham Park - famous for its colourful rhododendrons - were full after nature lovers flocked to the picturesque area.

Another tourist attraction which benefited from the good weather was the Bure Valley Railway, which held its annual Everything Goes weekend.

The 15in gauge railway, which runs between Aylsham and Wroxham, put on an intensive service for the special event.

Susan Munday, business manager for the railway, said: “It has been very busy. This weekend has been good for us. We have had a lot of different age groups visiting from babes in arms to people in their 80s. There has also been a lot of families, which has been nice to see. We are hoping for a busy half term.”

William Searle, who runs Searles Sea Tours, in Hunstanton, said his craft had enjoyed a busy bank holiday despite the dire weather forecasts.

“It’s been a pretty good weekend apart from the weather they forecast. They were saying that was going to pour down with rain all day Monday and Tuesday and they only changed it at the last minute. The town’s pretty full, all the car parks are full. We did four or five trips on Saturday and that was supposed to be a washout as well.”

More than 3,000 gathered on the Howdale in Downham Market for the town’s carnival. Festival committee member Mark Etherington said: “I don’t know what the population of Downham is but I bet you most of them are here.”

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