Four-day weekend gives hotels and restaurants a Christmas boost
- Credit: Milsom's Hotels/Sarah Lucy Brown
The four-day Christmas weekend is set to bring a festive boost for the hospitality industry with many fully booked already.
Christmas this year falls on Saturday, with Boxing Day on Sunday and the bank holidays rolling over into Monday and Tuesday, giving most workers a prolonged break.
Many are taking advantage of this - and using the three days between this and the New Year weekend to have a getaway, making up for lost opportunities last year and earlier this year.
All 23 rooms at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall will be slept in on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, with the boutique hotel's three-night package proving extremely popular for groups over the festive period.
Alice Milsom, sales and marketing manager from Kesgrave Hall, said: "We're really pleased with how the hospitality industry has bounced back.
"This time last year there was a lot of caution and we chose to keep our marketing quieter to reflect that. But our diary tells a different story this year.
"Our Christmas three-night break is fully booked, with lots of families celebrating together at the hotel and guests taking three or four rooms for their party.
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"It's very exciting to be back celebrating Christmas properly for the first time for two years, this time last year it was outside dining for a maximum of six guests and no parties.
"Our events are selling in line with pre-Covid years too, with fully booked Christmas party nights in The Hangar, and only a couple of tables left at the New Years' Eve ball. Guests are ready to celebrate after what feels like a long wait."
And Damon Jeffrey, general manager of the Freston Boot, said that he and his team were feeling excited heading into the festive season.
Although he said that bookings were still slightly down on pre-pandemic levels, he expected them to pick up.
"We think they'll get to the same as normal, perhaps even a bit busier than previous Christmases, so overall we're feeling quite excited for a proper Christmas.
"We've done a lot to increase outdoor dining - and heating - because we have got people booking saying they still have concerns, and there are worries about what if there's another lockdown.
"But we've got to be positive, keep pushing forward and make sure we've got that festive feel."
Staff from both the Forge and the Last Anchor on Ipswich Waterfront said that the restaurants are also taking precautions when it comes to bookings, but that business was getting busier ahead of Christmas.