THE springtime sunshine has been bringing visitors to Minehead over the past couple of weeks, confirming Somerset is open for business.

Not only did the West Somerset Railway enjoy a successful Spring Steam Gala from March 27-30, but they’ve reported the Easter period has been busy, too.

WSR general manager Paul Conibeare said: “The sunshine has definitely been bring out our local supporters as well as holidaymakers.

“Last Monday we had 600 passengers and Tuesday was particularly good with just under 800 travelling on the railway.

“This is well above the average ticket budget and, when the weather does change, we have fully-heated carriages should we need them.”

Marcus Kravis, who owns Arkade on Minehead’s seafront, added: “West Somerset is as beautiful as anywhere else in the world and we have a beautiful beach.

“There’s certainly a little bit of a buzz going around, and there are more people and more traffic on the roads.

“I’m not as busy as I’d like to be but it is busier and I think people are starting to realise that Somerset is open for business.”

Nicola Sutcliffe, who runs Bethany Guest House, said: “It’s been great; we’ve definitely had improved bookings and I think the lovely weather has helped.

“There was a big event going on at Butlin’s over the holidays, so I had more people staying with me and a few other bed and breakfasts have said the same thing, too.

“There have been lots of people in the town and, hopefully, they’ll have been spending money and helping to boost the local economy.”

Simon Stokes, from Styles Farmhouse Ice Cream, added: “This is the busiest start to a year we can remember. Ice cream is just flying off the shelves.

“We’ve had some new customers as well.”