HEREFORDSHIRE is preparing for a tourist boom this summer as people look closer to home for holidays with restrictions meaning trips abroad are uncertain.

Bed and breakfasts are optimistic this could be their best year yet, and the group behind the promotion of Herefordshire as a staycation destination is expecting a bumper year.

Heidi Chamberlain Jones, managing director of Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire, said 2020 had been a tough year due to Covid-19, but places to stay were now booking up very quickly.

She said self-catering places were fully booked over the Easter period, and with the school summer holidays now looming, bookings were flooding in.

Herefordshire Council previously said tourism contributes £416 million to the economy a year, equal to £2,311 a resident.

Steven Craddock, who run Charades Guest House in Hereford’s South Bank Road with his wife Helen, said he was at least 70 per cent booked until the end of August, and it was good to see visitors coming to the city and spending.

He said he used to have a lot of people staying for business, but the majority are now tourists booking for longer periods, up to a week, whereas before it was mainly two nights just for a wedding.

In the north of the county, newbie to the industry Isabelle Watts, who bought Lyonshall Lodge last year, felt people were avoiding the hassle of holidays abroad and visiting “more trusted” places in the UK.

Ms Watts, who runs the B&B with her son Ethan Roberts-Watts, said visitors appreciated the beauty of Herefordshire, and every weekend until September was fully booked.

In Kington, the Walking Hub, a shop and B&B targeting people wanting to explore Offa’s Dyke, was also having a boom.

Owner Ali Allen said there had been a big uptake in walking during the coronavirus pandemic, with people keen to get outside.