Ice cream sales hit high as Bristol enjoys sun
SUMMER'S here and the time is right... for ice cream sellers to cash in and zoo animals to enjoy lollipops.
As the Bristol area basks in glorious sunshine and with forecasters predicting the heatwave will last into next week, tourist attractions, supermarkets and others have been benefiting as the city's residents get out and about.
The forecast is for the sun to stay with us, with temperatures peaking at 28ºC (82ºF) on Saturday.
Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier recorded its busiest ever Saturday last weekend as temperatures soared.
Around 27,000 people visited the attraction, with 9,000 of them buying ice creams while they were there.
Further up the coast, Portishead Open Air Pool had one of its busier weekends with more than 3,000 people visiting the lido for a dip or to sunbathe on the terraces.
In Bristol, Jess Hellens, from Brunel's historic ship the ss Great Britain, said that although as an outdoor attraction they always do well this time of year, the sun was helping things tick over.
"Everything is going extremely well and our visitors are certainly enjoying more ice creams than usual at the moment.
"It does feel like we're in the Mediterranean, being next to the water and having lunch on the Dockside Cafe Bar balcony overlooking the Harbour."
Not surprisingly, ice cream sellers have been enjoying the high temperatures, with queues forming at their vans all day long.
Outside Bristol's M shed museum, Enza Puccio who owns the Enza's Super Whip, said the arrival of the sun at the end of last week had brought to an end a dismal run for the ice cream business.
She said: "The last couple of years have been awful until this last weekend. The hot weather has brought us a lot of business, with tourists and people travelling into Bristol which is great."
North Somerset Council said the beach at Weston had been packed out and traders and hoteliers are reporting a surge in business due to the heatwave.
Darren Fairchild, North Somerset Council seafront and events manager, said: "The car parks have been very busy and local traders have reported an upturn in business. Hoteliers are telling us that room bookings are up.
"It's not even the school holidays yet, but the seafront's been packed every day this week."
Visitor attractions, including Noah's Ark at Wraxall, said the sun had brought visitors to the zoo farm in their thousands with visitor numbers up 22 per cent on last year.
Keepers at the zoo have been employing a number of techniques to ensure the animals are kept cool in the hot weather – including supplying them with large fruit ice lollies made in buckets.
The parrots are also being regularly sprayed with water to keep cool while the tigers have been out in their pools.
Noah's Ark spokeswoman Sammi Luxa said: "All of the enclosures are purpose built for all weathers and provide areas of shade for the animals.
"The tigers have been out in the pool in their enclosure a lot more due to the heat and the rhinos have been enjoying their mud wallows.
"We have also been giving fruit ice lollies to some of the animals, including the gibbons, to help them keep cool."
As well as tourist attractions and the seaside doing well, supermarkets in the Bristol area have also seen some products fly off the shelves in the high temperatures.
Brenda Wright, who works at Asda in Bedminster, said the store had sold out of swimming pools this week.
A spokesman for Sainsbury's on Winterstoke Road said: "We've seen increased sales on weather-affected lines, for example ice creams and soft drinks. Trading times are busier and we're getting deliveries all the time. We are pre-warned about good weather so get more stock in.
"We've seen an increase in burgers and buns so people are obviously barbecuing."
At the Co-operative in Bristol's Broomhill Road, ice creams, barbecues and alcohol have all been good sellers this week.
A spokesman said: "Compared to this time last year we're doing much better. The locals are spending more than usual.
"Our best sales are in ice cream as we're next to a school."