Attractions ‘Spring into the Season’ as restrictions start to ease!
Following the Government’s ‘roadmap’ in further lifting CV-19 restrictions on 12 April, two thirds of Devon’s Top Attractions have now re-opened their doors and are welcoming many visitors back to enjoy their outdoor facilities. Although they are only partially open of course, with restrictions and limited capacity still in place, all of the attractions have reported a positive start in the first week of the season.
Whilst most attractions missed out on welcoming visitors for the Easter weekend, they did manage to open for the final week of the Devon Easter school holidays, and also catch the first of the self-catering holiday trade.
The Chairman of ‘Devon’s Top Attractions’ and South Devon Railway PR manager, Dick Wood, said: “Our member attractions who either re-opened on 12th April, or before for locals, are all thankfully reporting a good start in the first week of this short season.
“At the railway, for example, we saw 500 visitors to our Buckfastleigh site and gardens, who were generous with donations and spending money in our catering kiosk. We’d normally see that many people in a day, but it’s still a great start!
“The glorious weather and people’s eagerness to get out and about again has been really encouraging for all of our members. Several attractions have said that their numbers on the first day of opening were double that compared to the first days of opening after the first lockdown last July, and others reported better than expected visitor numbers.
“This just goes to show people’s sheer delight and desire to have a day out with the family, and to spend some money at last. Of course, with only outside attraction facilities open, and if the weather had been wet, this could have been a very different story! So, we now look forward to our remaining attractions being able to re-open their doors on the 17th May, and for more CV-19 restrictions to be lifted.”
The Devon theme parks that were open all reported a positive re-opening, Josh Haywood General Manager at Crealy said: “We reached our restriction maximum capacity for all seven days in week one, and we could have sold more tickets. There is definitely a sense of intent and desire by visitors to get out, enjoy themselves and spend!” At Woodlands Family Theme Park, it was a similar story which reported a positive re-opening and, even with limited capacity, they still had better than expected visitor numbers.
Zoo and animal attractions who re-opened all reported a good start, Lynn Reynolds, Exmoor Zoo owner said: “We had a great start, with people just pleased to get out and about, visitors were relaxed and happy to follow all the Covid-19 protocols. We were fully booked all the week.” Over at Wildwood Escot, they reported better visitor numbers than 2019, but income down due to restrictions in the shop and café. Whilst Pennywell Farm reported being fully booked all week to their capacity and a celebratory atmosphere every day with people just thrilled to be having a day out again.
Up in North Devon, Clovelly reported good visitor numbers with people exploring the village, Clovelly Court Garden, and the coastal walks. Owner John Rous said: “Our visitors were clearly relieved to be released with their families from lockdown and certainly enjoyed the fine Spring weather.” Meanwhile, RHS Rosemoor, which was already open for locals, had an Easter Trail event from 29th March and saw visitor number increase from a couple of hundred over the last three weeks towards numbers of a 1,000 a day.
The next key date for further lifting of restrictions is 17th May and this date will see the final 13 members of Devon’s Top Attractions re-open their doors, plus the attractions already open will then be able to re-open more of their indoor facilities. Even at this next stage, however, there will still be some restrictions and limited capacity in place.
By 21st June and Stage Four of the ‘Roadmap’, all restrictions will hopefully be finally lifted.
To find the full list of attractions re-opening dates see www.devonstopattractions.co.uk/whos-open
To find your next day out and to book tickets see here