Visitor numbers at Halstead’s tourist attractions soared over the weekend as temperatures rose to record levels.

The early May Bank Holiday saw highs of 25 degrees hit across the district, with East Anglia being amongst the warmest places in the country.

Hundreds of people flocked to Halstead Public Gardens to enjoy the traditional May Day celebrations, in what was a real celebration of the town’s community.

Many other attractions saw a rise in footfall, with Gosfield Lake Resort, in Church Road, reporting one of its busiest bank holidays ever.

Emma Tarp, one of the owners of the business, said: “The sunshine brought people to the lake without a shadow of a doubt.

“People want to come because we have the open space and it is peaceful. The activities and water sports become very busy so then they have something to watch whilst they are here.”

The lake estimate they had upwards of 1,000 visitors over the weekend, with the attraction being a hotspot for picnickers.

Mrs Tarp also said she believes many residents chose to stay in Halstead after seeing the bank holiday gridlock across many of the county’s roads.

“We had a lot more people come from the area this weekend than we have had in the past,” she said.

“There were lots of accidents and things like that around Essex and I think people just decided to stay nearby.

“We were particularly busy on Monday. We thought people would visit us over the weekend then go somewhere else, but a lot of people seemed to come back again which was lovely.”

Hedingham Castle, which held a medieval siege weekend, also celebrated big visitor numbers.

General manager Simon Orr said: “We had a very good day on the Monday, and across the two days the attendance was about 2,100 people.

“May is a very busy month for us generally with the bank holidays. We like to put our big events over the bank holidays to bring people in.”