Harwich’s Mayflower 400 has been named as 2021’s highlights by a new campaign to boost tourism on the East coast following Covid-19.
The campaign is being run by England’s Coast, an new tourism initiative which includes Visit England, P&O and tourism groups from around the country.
It has highlighted a number of tourism opportunities this year, including exploring Harwich during the Mayflower 400 celebrations, which were postponed from last year due to the pandemic.
The campaign said: “2021 marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims setting sail from Plymouth to cross the Atlantic to reach the New World – America. The port of Harwich played a key role in the story, It’s where the Mayflower was built by the Pilgrim Fathers, and where its captain, Christopher Jones, lived and was twice wed”.
“Visitors can explore the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre and its workshop, where a full-scale shore-based replica of the famous ship is being built”.
“It’s a town full of maritime history – visitors can also enjoy Harwich’s fascinating Maritime Heritage Trail, starting at the Low Lighthouse Museum on the Quay, taking in the Redoubt Fort, built in 1808 to protect the harbour from a Napoleonic invasion, and ending at the Barge Murals, overlooking the site where iconic Thames Sailing Barges were built until 1930.”
A 1km-long visitor trail exploring Harwich’s links to the Mayflower opened in September to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the vessel’s historic voyage and Christopher Jones’ House has been opened as an attraction, along with a new visitor centre at Esplanade Hall, which is due to open in the spring.
The initiative is also promoting ‘the east coast seafood trail’, offering some of the world’s finest seafood. It said: “On idyllic Mersea Island, fresh native oysters have been bred since Roman times. Leigh-on-Sea is full of character and charm, home to the famous cockle sheds as well as plentiful pubs in which to enjoy this local delicacy”.
The campaign has also highlighted Suffolk’s Sutton Hoo, the site of the new Netflix period drama The Dig, where a 7th century Anglo-Saxon king’s ship burial was uncovered in 1939.
Samantha Richardson, director of the National Coastal Tourism Academy, which delivers the Discover England-funded England’s Coast project, said: “Essex alone offers 350 miles of coastline. You can head to art galleries at the Naze Tower or Southend-on-Sea, escape the urban hustle at Thorpe Bay, with its water sports to enjoy, and tuck into fantastic seafood on Mersea Island. If you don’t know the east coast, this is the year to explore and discover.”
England’s Coast said it advises visitors to adhere to the national lockdown and plan their travels after lockdown, when it is safe to do so.
To find out more about what’s on offer along with guides and walking routes, go to www.englandscoast.com/en.
(Information taken from the Clacton Gazette 03/02/2021).