Gallery: Visitors brave bitter temperatures over Easter weekend

Easter open day at the Suffolk Punch Trust in Hollesley.
Claire Cogar saying hello to the tiny hors

Easter open day at the Suffolk Punch Trust in Hollesley. Claire Cogar saying hello to the tiny horses. - Credit: Archant

DESPITE the bitterly cold temperatures businesses and attractions have seen a busy Easter weekend – heralding encouraging signs for the coming season.

With activities taking place at venues across the region and many people enjoying a last-minute long-weekend getaway, traders and tourist sites have been reporting strong signs so far.

Sue van der Meulen, general manager of the Suffolk Punch Trust at Hollesley, near Woodbridge, said the centre had been “fantastically busy”.

“Obviously with the weather we weren’t expecting huge crowds but we have made a big effort to tell people of the things we have to do indoors and that if people have children, they will find lots going on,” she said. “This weekend visitors have stayed for longer than I can previously remember them doing in years.

“We’ve had egg painting, an Easter bunny trail and a lucky dip bucket full of treats for the children. We have never seen so many children and families and the cafe has done record business.

“This weekend is very important for the year’s trade and we have started a new season ticket offer this year.”

Naomi Tarry, who runs holiday lets firm Best of Suffolk and is chairman of the Aldeburgh Business Association, said she had experienced one of her busiest Easters ever.

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She said: “People want to get out and have a good time and it’s been great to see so many people enjoying the coast and joining the fish and chip shop queues. We’ve seen some Great British spirit.

“Bookings have been good – this year has been more last minute than we are used to but we have been as full as last year. The restaurants in Aldeburgh are telling us that they have been busy and it’s been a long winter for them.”

The team at Woodbridge’s recently-refurbished Tide Mill had a good showing, with particularly strong attendances on Saturday, despite the inclement weather.

Tony Hubbard, chairman of the trust that runs the Mill, said: “We were very pleased. We had well over 100 people in through the doors on Saturday. There’s so much to see at the Mill with all the displays and one or two installations. We had a lot of people in who were visiting the area, which was very nice. It’s all going very well.”

There was a fun day for the many visitors to Kentwell Hall in Long Melford and in Essex plenty of children enjoyed meeting the latest arrivals at Layer Marney Towers, which was hosting a lambing event.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury, the town centre business improvement group, said: “There really were a lot of people in town on Saturday and, yes, it has been a good start but we need people to continue to support our traders.” His comments came on the back of a recent survey in a national newspaper which put the town at No. 13 in the top 20 places to dine out in the UK.

It said that “the enjoyment of food and drink is integral to the life of this prosperous market town” and that there were many events throughout the year.

Mr Cordell added: “I know it’s been cold but it’s dry and that’s helped to get people out and about. The only thing is they are probably not staying as long as they would have if it was a bit warmer.

“The market days on Saturday and Sunday draw people in, which make it the busiest times and Sunday has now become our second busiest period.

“Now we need to promote the other parts of the week and we’re hopeful that the free parking period on Tuesdays will support that. All we need is for people to take up the offer.”

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