Tourism set for sunny Easter

A DAY of sunshine brought huge crowds to the coast and other tourist attractions in Suffolk and Essex as the Easter holidays started with a very Good Friday.

By John Howard

A DAY of sunshine brought huge crowds to the coast and other tourist attractions in Suffolk and Essex as the Easter holidays started with a very Good Friday.

And with the warm weather set to continue throughout the weekend, many businesses hope it will be a bumper period which will continue through until the summer.

Temperatures rose to 16C (61F) yesterday, which will be repeated today - with tomorrow and Monday expected to be even better still.

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Phil Garner, a forecaster with Weatherquest, said: “Fine weather is expected right through the weekend, it will be dry throughout.

“Ten or 11C (52F) is average for this time and we are doing very well indeed, it will be a nice weekend. One possible problem is mist and fog that may linger in the mornings making it cool, but by the afternoons it will be pleasant and warm.”

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At historic Landguard Fort in Felixstowe managers are hoping for a record Easter after a tremendous start.

Dave Morgan, operations manager, said: “We have had a very good start to the year and I am hoping with the weather like this we can attract really good crowds during the weekend.

“We will be open for tours and people will enjoy all the history of the site, there will be a very good atmosphere.”

At the National Trust Anglo-Saxon burial site Sutton Hoo in Woodbridge, staff said Good Friday proved busy.

A spokeswoman said: “We have an Easter egg trail around the burial mound and through the woodland and people are having a really good time.”

Chrissy Harrod, president of the Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce and manager of the town's Cornhill Walk shopping centre, said she was delighted with the warm Easter holiday weather and hoped it would herald a good summer for traders.

Ms Harrod said shops had experienced a tough time over the past few months with the closure of the main car park behind Woolworths to make way for the multi-million pound Cattle Market shopping centre.

However, she stressed: "Although we have been through one of our most difficult times I think traders are hoping that we have weathered that storm and people are more used to parking in different places and getting used to a different regime.

“But we're hoping for a good summer and people are very positive. I had a little walk around town today and its very busy. It's lovely weather and there is a great feel about the town."

John Shipman, assistant manager at Clacton Pier said he estimated thousands of people had used the pier with many thousands more expected during the weekend.

He said: “It has been pretty busy through the week and now the holidaymakers have started coming down.

“The nice weather is good news for us as it brings more people to the seafront and then more come to us at the pier, so we are keeping our fingers crossed the weather will be kind to us.

“We have the fireworks to look forward to on Sunday night at about 8pm which we do every Bank Holiday Sunday.”

At Colchester Castle Museum hundreds of people were enjoying the history and heritage on display.

Stephen Bowers, duty officer, said: “It has been very busy, we have had a lot of families coming in today and I think over the weekend the visitor numbers will go into the thousands.”

At Dedham people took advantage of the sunshine to hire out rowing boats and head out onto the River Stour in the heart of Constable Country.

Josh Brennan, a waiter at The Boathouse restaurant, said: “It has got a lot more popular today, we have had the boats open for a week but it has really kick started now.

“And it will really pick up over the Easter weekend - it gets so busy on the boats.”

Visitors to Marks Hall gardens and arboretum near Coggeshall took advantage of the warm weather to enjoy strolling around the landscaped woodland walks, footpaths, lakes and 17th Century walled garden.

Julia Fosker, visitor services manager, said: “We are very weather-dependent when it comes to the families because of the nature of the location, but we do have members and visitors that will make it regardless of the weather too.”

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