Felixstowe: Stephen Hawking’s day-out at the Suffolk seaside

EVEN the world’s greatest brains need to switch off sometimes – and just take time-out to relax.

For genius scientist Stephen Hawking that meant putting his mind-boggling research on the origins of the universe to one side for a day, and simply heading for the seaside. He joined thousands of other day-trippers and paid a visit to Felixstowe on one of the hottest weeks of the year – causing a real stir when he popped into a seafront restaurant for his lunch.

Accompanied by his two carers, Mr Hawking, 70, who lives in Cambridgeshire, visited the Regal Fish Bar and Restaurant in Sea Road.

Most seaside visitors love a plate of traditional fish and chips, but the scientist enjoyed mussels for his starter, followed by steamed fish with garlic and herb dressing and a jacket potato.

Dawn Barrett, who runs the restaurant with her husband Kevin, said: “It was incredible, a real surprise and we were all a little bit shocked.

“All the staff kept coming and saying that they thought this man looked like Stephen Hawking, so in the end I went across and asked.

“He had sunglasses on, and I think he was hoping people wouldn’t recognise him, but the glasses weren’t doing a very good job.

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“He spent about two hours in the restaurant and then I think he was going on to Old Felixstowe because he asked how to get there.

“I think it was lovely that he could just come in and have a meal and relax. People left him alone. It was a real privilege to have him here.”

Mrs Barrett’s son Jamie Airey, 22, who has just graduated with a degree in computers at University Campus Suffolk, chatted to Mr Hawking, who congratulated him on his success in his studies.