Bridlington enjoyed its busiest Bank Holiday for years as thousands of visitors headed to the coast on a record-breaking day.
The beaches were packed and fish and chip shops reported selling a month’s worth of meals in a single day – as businesses hope it is a sign of what’s to come for the rest of the summer.
Day-trippers queued for up to 10 miles to get to the seaside as Bridlington and anyone hoping to get a last-minute room was left disappointed with ‘no vacancies’ up in all the B&Bs.
Sewerby Hall and Gardens saw an increase in visitor numbers of almost 14% compared to the Bank Holiday weekend in 2017.
Every space at South Cliff Holiday Park – camping, touring and fleet caravans, shepherd huts and camping cabins – was full for the weekend.
And an estimated 10,000 people used Bridlington’s Park and Ride on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – with Monday the busiest day of the lot.
Staff worked with traffic wardens to fit in as many cars as possible, including out of bay parking, to ease the traffic pressure.
The promenades were choc-a-block on a record-breaking May Day, which was the hottest in the UK since records began more than 40 years ago.
John Hunter, owner of Busy Bees, which has three restaurants in Bridlington, said: “What a fantastic atmosphere. The town was buzzing and we didn’t stop all day.
“We must have cooked a month’s worth of fish in one day. It was great to see Bridlington busy again.”
At Notarianni’s in Prince Street, owner Dino Rossi had to make extra batches of ice cream to cope with the demand. He said: “There was an electric atmosphere in the cafe and sticky smiles on faces. We are geared up now for a long hot summer.”
Bank Holidays and beer gardens go hand-in-hand when the weather is good and customers at the Ship Inn at Sewerby drank the pub dry at one stage.
Owner Lou Kilburn told the Free Press: “We sold out of beer and had to go to Scarborough to restock.
“It was remarkable how positive people were, and really patient with good vibes and a feelgood factor. We had the best customers we could have wished for on a bumper weekend.”
Richard Preston, owner of Richie’s Cafe Bar, added: “That was the best May Day Bank Holiday that I’ve ever witnessed on Bridlington seafront.
“I had to send a van to Scarborough at 8am on Bank Holiday Monday to pick up more ice cream so that we didn’t run out.
“The sheer volume of people that arrived yesterday was incredible.”
Barbecues, burgers and booze were flying off the shelves of supermarkets.
Giles Baugh, manager of Tesco in Bridlington, said: “Sales were well up compared to last year and the weather really helped us, but fortunately we had enough stock to meet the demand.”
The sheer volume of visitors meant inevitable queues on the roads and Bridlington police Tweeted on Monday afternoon: “We’re aware of traffic chaos in Bridlington and accept it is not ideal, especially in hot weather.
“However, it is due to volume of traffic and the fabulous weather drawing hundreds of visitors to the seaside. It is not a police matter.”
Some people asked why the new coach park in Limekiln Lane was not opened up to cars to ease the parking problems, when only two or three coaches were using the new facility, but the council confirmed the old coach park in Hilderthorpe Road had been made available to cars.
Cllr Richard Burton, portfolio holder for leisure, tourism and culture, said: “After the recent appalling weather and especially the washout over Easter, it has been great to see so many people all coming out for the first time this year to take advantage of the superb beaches and facilities that Bridlington has to offer.
“The town’s economy has reaped enormous benefits from the huge tourist numbers this weekend, and I am grateful to motorists who used Park and Ride and the land trains into town, and also for the patience of motorists, as we continue the long-term work to make huge improvements to Bridlington’s road infrastructure.”