East Anglia: Summer sun gives late tourism boost to region

Back in time at Kentwell Hall at the weekend when Tudors celebrated Midsummer in the year 1559. Tudo

Back in time at Kentwell Hall at the weekend when Tudors celebrated Midsummer in the year 1559. Tudor children Ib, Harry and Vicky enjoy the Merry Tudor Midsummer event - Credit: Andy Abbott

The late summer sunshine has boosted visitor numbers at attractions across Suffolk during what some are describing as the best bank holiday weekend since the recession first hit.

Apart from a burst of torrential rain on Saturday, those running outdoor events this weekend were blessed with largely warm and dry conditions on Sunday and Monday. This was in stark contrast to last year’s summer holiday period, which was mostly cold, windy and wet.

The knock on effect has been to encourage visitors to carnivals, open days, festivals and shows to spend at local pubs, hotels and shops, which has in turn provided a welcome boost to the local economy.

According to Amanda Bond, brand manager at the county’s tourism body, Visit Suffolk, rising temperatures have cemented the bank holiday’s traditional role as a “good round-up to the summer” before the children return to school next week.

She said: “Clearly, our tourism businesses see a surge in activity when the weather improves and Suffolk gives visitors and residents many excellent opportunities to spend their hard-earned cash in the county.

“Following a difficult Easter, an overall positive summer has helped business confidence to grow from strength to strength.”

Patrick Phillips is the owner of Long Melford’s historic Kentwell Hall, which held its annual August bank holiday Tudor recreation event over the weekend. He said there were signs that the county’s tourist industry was improving after several years fighting recession.

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Mr Phillips said Kentwell was definitely “well up” on last year in terms of visitor numbers.

He said: “Last year was pretty dire mainly because the weather was such a washout. This year, our early bookings are up, the number of people who are turning up at events on the day is up, and our final recreation event at the end of September is already fully booked for schools.

“So I can say that overall, although we are nowhere near back to where we were in pre-recession times, there are signs of improvement and things are looking positive for the first time in about five years.”

Peter Osborne, general manager of the White Lion Hotel in Aldeburgh said the bank holiday period had encouraged weekend holidaymakers and day trippers to visit the seaside town.

He added: “The White Lion has been full all weekend with an extremely busy brassiere for lunch and dinner.

“The general footfall was up on last year and the weather has been a huge advantage to this summer season – we look forward for it to continuing into September.”