The upcoming bank holidays and coronation weekend are "vital" for Suffolk's pubs after coming under huge financial strain over the winter, landlords have said.

Several of the county's pubs have closed in recent months as soaring energy prices and a downturn in customers put pressure on the industry.

The pub closures confirmed in Suffolk so far this year include The Cock Inn in Little Thurlow, The George at Cavendish and The Bunbury Arms in Great Barton.

A number more have shut but have since reopened under new owners – including The Swan in Monks Eleigh.

Pub landlords have said they experienced a boom over the Easter weekend and are quietly "optimistic" about the coming summer months – starting with the weekend of King Charles' coronation in early May.

Chris Mapey runs three pubs in Suffolk, including The Duke of York in Ipswich, and said the hospitality industry is "due a bit of good news".

East Anglian Daily Times: Local councillor Chris Mapey owns three pubs in Suffolk and said the hospitality industry is due a bit of good news.Local councillor Chris Mapey owns three pubs in Suffolk and said the hospitality industry is due a bit of good news. (Image: Newsquest)

In regard to the coronation of King Charles in May, he said: "We could see people wanting to come down and experience it together.

"It's a landmark occasion and we'll be showing it at all three of our sites."

Despite taking on £100,000 of debt during the pandemic to cover his costs and feeling "let down" by the government's response, Mr Mapey said that a "good value for money and social environment will always survive".

"Take our quiz nights, for example," he added.

"Pre-Covid they were busy, but now we can fill the whole pub up on quiz nights.

"It's great that people still value the community spirit that only the pub environment can offer."

East Anglian Daily Times: Graham Taylor, co-owner of The White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash.Graham Taylor, co-owner of The White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash. (Image: The White Horse Inn)

Graham Taylor, co-owner of The White Horse Inn in Badwell Ash, said the King's coronation would be a calendar event which "enables local pubs to showcase their offering".

"At The White Horse, we're very humbled to have our local community behind us and think we get the best of both worlds when it comes to the weather," said Mr Taylor.

"In the winter, people like to snuggle up by the fireplace and in the summer we put out the umbrellas and make the most of the sun."

Mr Taylor added that he's hoping that the warmer months will bring more pub-goers from the towns and cities into the rural areas.

"There are so many good walking opportunities around here," he said.

"So people can come for a whole day and bring their four-legged friends with them for a nice drink and good quality food."

Tom Royall, who runs The Swan in Worlingworth with his wife Emma, said he was feeling "nervous" and believes the weather will play a factor.

East Anglian Daily Times: Tom and Emma Royall of The Swan in WorlingworthTom and Emma Royall of The Swan in Worlingworth (Image: Charlotte Bond)

He said: "There's quite a lot of pressure on the weather being good over the next few weeks.

"We simply don't know how it will go. We had a really good Easter up to the Monday, when the weather meant it was a write-off. If the weather's kind, then we're rolling out the bunting.

"I'm nervous about it, if I'm honest. It is a vital time. It will define 2023."

Andy Wood, chief executive of Southwold brewer Adnams, said the whole summer period is "critical" for the industry.

East Anglian Daily Times: Andy Wood, chief executive of Suffolk brewer AdnamsAndy Wood, chief executive of Suffolk brewer Adnams (Image: Adnams)

He said: "If we turn the clock back to last year, with the cost-of-living crisis and high energy costs, pubs lost a 'golden quarter'. That has continued into 2023.

"Easter has been good and that's given pubs a lot of optimism.

"But it will be a vital time. Energy costs and consumption will be down and the nights are getting longer.

"It is critical. It's more than the next few weeks, though – we're hoping for a nice, long summer ahead of the winter."