Record-breaking Easter weekend boosts UK parks and attractions

ICON at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Good weather across the country meant a busy Easter for UK attractions. According to the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA), many of its members enjoyed a record-breaking Bank Holiday.

The sun shone for much of the extended holiday weekend, which began on Good Friday, April 19. And according to the Met Office, Bank Holiday Monday, April 22, was the hottest Easter Monday on record in all four nations of the UK. Temperatures in the early to mid-20s (°C) were experienced in many places.

Continued investment and a rise in both ‘staycations’ and inbound tourism are already helping the industry in England. A ‘Trip Tracker’ survey released earlier this month by VisitEngland revealed that 7.4 million residents were planning an overnight Easter holiday trip in the UK over the weekend. This in turn was expected to result in an estimated £1.8 billion boost to the economy. The latest figures are the highest since the survey started six years ago.

“The good weather meant more people were looking to enjoy some quality days out,” says BALPPA chief executive Paul Kelly. “Shared experiences with friends and family are becoming ever more important in today’s busy world. A visit to a UK attraction not only creates the opportunity to spend time together, but represents great value for money compared to many other activities.”

Lord Vampyre – star of Legoland Windsor's new Haunted House Monster Party

Lord Vampyre – star of Legoland Windsor’s new Haunted House Monster Party

Located close to Heathrow Airport, one of the hottest places in the UK on Easter Monday at 25°C, Legoland Windsor opened a major new attraction the week prior to the Bank Holiday. Haunted House Monster Party features the character Lord Vampyre. The focal point of the experiences is a Mad House ride from Vekoma. After families take their seats at a banquet table filled monster party food, cauldrons potion bottles and goblets, they see the room revolve. Or are they the ones moving?

Since last season, British theme parks have launched several ground-breaking rides, entertainment activities and new accommodation offerings. Roller coasters such as ICON at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (by Mack Rides) and The Wicker Man at Alton Towers Resort (by Great Coasters Interational) are still fresh. Meanwhile at Paultons Park in Hampshire, visitors can enjoy an enlarged Peppa Pig World featuring the Queen’s Flying Coach Ride and Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club – as pictured below – which opened last year.

Family Rides Europe Peppa-Pig-World-Grampy-Rabbits-Sailing-Club-Paultons-Park-x

“This Easter has been extremely positive for the business,” said Blackpool Pleasure Beach managing director, Amanda Thompson OBE. “Blackpool Pleasure Beach is such an amazing place when the sun is shining and the atmosphere this weekend has been phenomenal.”

Over Easter, we are informed, the Pleasure Beach sold enough candyfloss that it that could cover the pitch at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium! Meanwhile Paultons enjoyed one of its busiest ever Easter weekends and Longleat in Wiltshire also experienced huge crowds in the sunshine. On the South Coast, the free-to-enter Brighton Palace Pier, which celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, welcomed around 250,000 visitors.

Other new experiences enjoyed by families over Easter included Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey at Chessington World of Adventures Resort in Surrey. Following in the footsteps of the park’s Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, it brings to life author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s stories.

Longleat in Wiltshire has also opened the new Koala Creek, home to Europe’s only collection of southern koalas. The marsupials share their naturally-themed habitat with a pair of wombats and a group of potoroos (mini-kangaroo-like creatures).

Down in Devon, Crealy Adventure Park has invested significantly in new accommodation, which reached 100% occupancy over the Easter period. The family-friendly park also saw a 50% increase in business compared to last year.

“The early signs for the season are extremely positive,” says BALPPA chairman, Richard Mancey from Paultons Park. “The visitor attraction industry has never been more diverse and dynamic. Visitors of all ages and interests can look forward to enjoying world-class experiences here in the UK.”