City soaks up sun-kissed boost to trade

BUSINESS has been booming as the Capital basked in sunshine, but residents have been warned the clouds are on their way.

Crowds soaked up the rays at parks and beaches as temperatures sizzled, with the city’s attractions making the most of a surge in visitor numbers.

At the Botanics, the number of people passing through the gates nearly quadrupled to more than 15,000 over Saturday and Sunday – up from almost 4500 on the same weekend last year.

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Dozens of families flocked to Portobello beach, while Edinburgh Castle enjoyed a huge increase in visitor numbers compared with this time last year.

Heather Jackson, director of enterprise at the Botanics, said: “After some cold and wet weather earlier in the month, the weekend’s brilliant sunshine was a welcome boost.

“We are delighted some 15,000 people decided to visit us over the two days – the garden is a fantastic place to be. And, when the sun shines, we are always more likely to see our visitor numbers increase.

“We are also aware that our numerous events and exhibitions do attract additional visitors at any time of the year.”

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However, the Met Office has warned that temperatures were set to drop today, with cloud forecast for the rest of the week.

Spokesman Dan Williams said: “Temperatures will dip to around 12 to 15 degrees and there will be a fair amount of cloud around.

“There may be some bright spells every now and then but generally it will be quite cloudy. The weather at the weekend will be cloudy with similar temperatures and the risk of showers developing.”

Espy, a bar on Portobello Promenade, said customers were taking beer in plastic cups to the beach, while the Castle saw an increase in visitors of 57 per cent compared with last year, as 4143 passed through the doors.

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Lynn Jack, regional manager for VisitScotland at Edinburgh’s VisitScotland Information Centre, said: “We’ve been extremely busy with an influx of inquiries throughout the sunny weather, both from visitors from home as well as abroad. As you can imagine, there have been lots of inquiries about the various open-top bus tours on offer.”

Ruth McKay, chair of the Edinburgh Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “From a small business perspective, having good weather like this definitely does affect everybody’s sales.

“Even from a retail perspective, people are more likely to go out into town, and the night-time trade does very well from it as well. People are much more likely to go out and enjoy other leisure activities, which is a very welcome boost in Edinburgh.”