Staycation hopes for East Anglian tourism as two landmark hotels saved from closure

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Raveena Ghattaura

The tourism industry in the East of England is gearing up for a summer boost as the pandemic travel restrictions potentially hit foreign holidays.

It comes as two seaside hotels in Norfolk have been saved from possible closure after new owners stepped in.

The staycation boom has meant a surge in bookings for holiday rentals and hotels across the Eastern region in stark contrast to last year. Hotels can't fully reopen until next month at the earliest, but the industry is getting ready to bounce back.

The Carlton Hotel in Great Yarmouth and Golden Lion Hotel in Hunstanton, are set to reopen as part of the Coast & Country Hotel Collection, a newly formed collection of former Shearings Hotels.

It was feared the hotels in Great Yarmouth and Hunstanton would remain closed indefinitely when Shearings Hotels went into administration in May 2020.

The Carlton Hotel in Great Yarmouth is part of a listed historic seafront terrace of houses built in 1851 Credit: ITV News Anglia

Overnight stays are already allowed at self-contained accommodation for single household bubbles and generally, from cottages to campsites, domestic tourism demand is rising. At the Searles Leisure resort in Hunstanton staff say visitors are back and are making the most of what our coastline has to offer. The holiday complex is among many continuing to adapt as the realities of a post-Covid world become clearer.

Andrew Searle at Searles Leisure Resort said: "Guests have adapted with us because we have obviously had the social distancing and wearing of your face mask when you're inside of the buildings.

"What we find out is it a lot of these people are staying because I think they just want to get away."

Hunstanton on the coast of The Wash in west Norfolk is hoping for a bumper summer season Credit: ITV News Anglia

Following a hotel management agreement with Bespoke Hotels, the Golden Lion in Hunstanton has already opened for outdoor dining. It is hoped it can fully re-open when the next set of government restrictions are lifted as part of the lockdown roadmap on 17 May. The Carlton in Yarmouth will open a later in the summer.

It hoped 80 jobs will be created at the two hotels. Paul FitzGerald, Portfolio Managing Director, said of the plans for the collection: "Given the enormous challenges of the last few months, we're delighted to bring these properties back to market.

"Integral parts of Norfolk's hotel offering, we know their initial closure was felt keenly amongst their respective communities.

"Now though, with reopening plans in place, we're able to offer not just jobs and wider tourism opportunities, but hospitality services that people can engage with as restrictions lift." The deal means hotels will reopen in 33 locations across England, Scotland and Wales.

The Golden Lion Hotel is Hunstanton has already opened for outdoor dining and is expected to fully reopen in May. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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