Hot weather boosts visitor numbers

Heat and events attract visitors to outdoor attractions and gardens

Warm weather and special events brought in the crowds to parks, gardens and garden centres this August bank holiday, bringing a fitting end to a good season. Wyevale Garden Centre marketing manager Malcolm Sampson said: “It’s not been too hot, so people were out gardening. I’ve been visiting garden centres along the south coast over the past week and business is definitely brisk.” In Worcestershire, Stone House Cottage Gardens representative James Arbuthnot said: “Figures are up on last year but we had a write-up in the Daily Telegraph and the Saga holiday magazine, so they might have boosted attendance.” Royal Horticultural Society Garden Wisley marketing manager Sue Thompson said many people chose to go to Wisley’s August flower show rather than the gardens; it had a record 20,000 visitors from 19 to 22 August. “But overall, this year has been brilliant for all RHS gardens. At Wisley, visitor figures are up by 14 per cent on last year,” she added. In Cornwall, an Eden Project representative said that around one-third of visitors from the nearby Womad and Zest of the West festivals also visited the Eden Project. A representative of Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, reported: “We had our festival of wood and a festival of flowers. We are very pleased with the weekend.” At Exbury Gardens in Hampshire, things were quieter this year. Marketing manager Nigel Philpott said: “Last year, we had the opening of the steam railway. This year we had no special event.” Representative Kim Barr of Woodlands Garden Centre, in Kent, said: “The weather this year has certainly affected us in a good way, we haven’t seen as many peaks and troughs because of the consistent level of good weather. Business has done well, particularly with sales in garden furniture, barbecues and such. Plant sales have been average, perhaps dropping a little on wet weekends.

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