Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show a 15% rise in visitor numbers to England in April this year compared to the same period last year. The boost is attributed to the Royal Wedding but it continues a theme where England is increasingly viewed as a major destination for short breaks, whether for overseas visitors or stay-at-home fun and thrill seekers.
VisitEngland is keen to exploit this raised profile of the nation because of major events, not just the wedding, but also festivals and other cultural events which dominate the summer months. According to VisitEngland spokesperson Sarah Long, day trips, weekend breaks and four night visits represent the best way to experience the main attractions of the summer.
While much of the focus is on next year, with highlights being the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympics, Ms Long is careful to stay in the here and now and points out some very good reasons for checking out many of the main events over the coming weeks, right on our doorstep. The ‘huge rise’ in art and music festivals is one such reason for getting out and about and, as she explains, “There is so much (which) is easy to get to and great value for money. We have fantastic food and drink establishments, amazing countryside and great cities, all of which benefit from increased summer trade.”
Short break package deals certainly help too, by combining a hotel stay with a top event, whether a sporting event, such as Royal Ascot, Wimbledon or the Grand Prix, or a music event at the 02 Centre, the world’s most popular music venue. There are many more themed events and cultural happenings throughout the country over the next week, helping to cement England’s reputation for short break staycations.
Image “The Cross of St George by spjwebster, on Flickr”