NORTH Devon tourist attractions and businesses have reported record-breaking figures over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The Big Sheep, at Abbotsham near Bideford, said the weekend was its best bank holiday on record and described visitor numbers as “phenomenal”.
Anne Tattersall, PR manager at the family-friendly attraction, said: “I thought the good weather might mean people would migrate to the beach, but I think the fact we were featured on Radio 1 with Sarah Cox and also mentioned in the Daily Express helped boost publicity.
“The amount of people visiting the park has been absolutely phenomenal.”
Hocking’s Ice Cream also reported a “bumper” bank holiday weekend.
Neil Hocking, partner of the company, said: “We all gear ourselves up around the Bank Holiday and its nice when it pays off.
“We’ve had a bumper weekend. Sunday was a bit downcast but on Monday it was absolutely glorious and that certainly helped.
“We’ve had tourists come down and buy four litre tubs of ice cream to take back with them. It’s not just sticks of rock people take back from holiday anymore.
“Hopefully people who have come down for a week or two will have enjoyed it so much they come back next year.”
Docton Court Gallery in Appledore also benefited from the bank holiday boom.
Owner Jenny Carter said: “It’s been a very good bank holiday. The weather has encouraged a lot of people to come to North Devon.”
According to the Met Office, North Devon saw above average temperatures over the weekend with the mercury rising to 23.5C on Monday.
Industry chiefs estimate a grand total of £172,524,363 was spent in the Westcountry across the entire August Bank Holiday week.
Laura Holt, from North Devon+, said the record-breaking tourism figures could be attributed to “great weather, great hospitality and smart use of tourism budget to attract visitors into the county”.
Carolyn Custerson, chairman of Visit Devon, said key hotels and destinations have reported bookings are up by 20 per cent on this time last year.
She said: “Tourism is one of the leading industries in Devon – and we have proved this year that we can really deliver economically for the region.”