Summer staycation boom also helped Suffolk churches

Rev'd Simon Pitcher said churches in Southwold and Walberswick have seen a 'staycation boom'

Rev'd Simon Pitcher said churches in Southwold and Walberswick have seen a 'staycation boom' - Credit: George Adey

The boom in staycations and people holidaying in Suffolk has led to churches benefitting from more visitors.

Simon Pitcher, vicar at Southwold’s St Edmund Church, said both St Edmund and St Andrew’s Church in Walberswick saw a surge in visitors over the summer, which he attributes to the coronavirus pandemic impacting international travel.

Rev'd Simon Pitcher from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Rev'd Simon Pitcher from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich - Credit: George Adey

Rev Pitcher said: “We have certainly seen an increase in the number of tourists both in Southwold and Walberswick, from summer through to now. 

“People come here because of our gorgeous coastline and countryside, it is a nice and safe place to bring the family for that ‘home from home’ feeling. 

“Southwold is a very pretty church so it is nice to see tourists coming to admire it. We have seen significant increases in donations and souvenir sales.”

Towns and villages across Suffolk have benefited from increased tourist footfall over the summer, with east Suffolk proving a popular destination for those looking to get away.

Churches are not only beautiful places for the tourists to visit, they also provide refuge for those in need of prayer or support.

St Edmund Church in Southwold

St Edmund Church in Southwold - Credit: Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

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Rev’d Pitcher said he and his congregation are always happy to see more people visit the church, be it for quiet prayer, to use the prayer tree or just for a look around.

He said: “We have seen a lot of returning faces who visit on their holiday every year, so it has been nice to see them again. And we are seeing a lot of new faces too.

“Many people come in for private prayer or to have a look around, but our prayer tree has been very popular among newcomers.

“So many of the cards on the prayer tree are written by people we don’t know, and we share them on their behalf.”

The churches are expecting to see an increase in visitors during the October half-term, with Suffolk’s churches proving a popular place for families to visit.

St Andrew's Church in Walberswick is a grade I-listed building

St Andrew's Church in Walberswick - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Rev Pitcher added he believes it important to visit churches while on holiday.

“There are some really lovely churches out there,” he said. “They really make you feel at home.”

Tourist trails for Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich churches can be found on the Angels and Pinnacles website: www.angelsandpinnacles.org.uk.

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