A TRIPLE whammy of unseasonably warm weather, consecutive bank holidays and a royal wedding has turned Sheppey into a tourist hotspot.

Holiday traders did their best business in years last month as thousands of people flocked to the island from across the UK.

​They spoke of "phenomenal" and "record-breaking" turn-outs at the start of the holiday season – a reversal of previous years when the outlook was bleak. Merlin's Entertainment Complex had its busiest ever bank holiday over the Easter weekend. Tommy Dunn, who co-owns the club in Leysdown Road with wife Lee, said: "It's our best ever weekend in 12 years. I've never seen so many cars coming into Leysdown. "I put it down to the long winter which started in October, which has given the people the chance to pay off their credit cards, and now families are saying 'let's go out'."

Workers at nearby Ron Wood's Fish and Chips had their work cut out due to holiday crowds. Owner Ron said: "We were on our knees by the end of it. I've been here seven years and I've never seen so many people. "Trade was up by 10 per cent, which doesn't sound like a lot but it is, especially when the last two years have been quiet."

Holiday and chalet park owners were having an equally good time. Leysdown Chalet Services' Peter Goodspeed described the bank holiday influx as "phenomenal". He went on to say: "The build-up to Easter was the best we've had in many years. The weather helped but there's also the possibility that the pound's so weak abroad." Mr Goodspeed said having two bank holidays in a row meant attendance was lower on the royal wedding weekend. "People only have so much disposable income," he noted.

There were still plenty of visitors on Wills and Kate's big day. Anyone driving into Leysdown was greeted by the sight of the landmark giant spaceman suited and booted in wedding attire. Muswell Manor Holiday Park co-owner Sharon Munns said it wasn't just London holidaymakers making the trip but people from as close as Sittingbourne and as far away as Sheffield. "I think people are deciding to stay in England instead of going abroad," she said. Priory Hill Holiday Park sales manager John Sissons thought things were improving but acknowledged it was still tough for holiday-based businesses."People are trying to let off a bit of steam so they're coming down here. The rest of the year should be interesting."

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