HALSTEAD is hoping to cash in on its record-breaking Britain in Bloom success by boosting its tourism trade.

Delegates have been flying the flag for the town at a major exhibition in London.

Halstead won the town crown in Anglia in Bloom for a record 11th time last year.

Halstead Chamber of Trade and Commerce and In Bloom hoped to use that in a charm offensive to promote the town.

Members travelled to Alexandra Palace in north London for the Excursions 2020 exhibition.

The event helps promote local holiday destinations in the UK.

More than 300 destinations had stalls at the event, which was hosted by Tourism South East.

Halstead in Bloom secretary Julia Smith was among the team at the exhibition.

She said: “We promoted Halstead as an award-winning floral town that has had great success both regionally and nationally in the In Bloom campaign.

“It was noted that the town is florally decorated all year round and we took photos that were displayed on our stall to show what an attractive place Halstead is to visit.

“Visitors to the stand were told that Halstead has many places to eat and drink, and that there is free coach parking.

“The Dorrington Hotel gave us leaflets and asked us to tell delegates that special cream teas or lunches can be provided and that coach drivers eat for free – always a welcome bonus we were told.

“We also spoke about the annual flower festival at St Andrew’s Church, which celebrates its 700 year anniversary in 2020.”

Other attractions used to promote the town included Holy Trinity Church, its famous designer George Gilbert Scott and its special Father Willis Organ, as well as the town’s rich weaving history and links with the Courtauld family.

Visitors were particularly interested in the town’s links with the Lovejoy TV show.

Mrs Smith said: “We are pleased to do anything to promote Halstead and it was so good to have people come to the stall and say how pretty the town looked in the photos and hear that it would make a good venue for at least a half-day tour.

“It is important to promote the town from within, especially as we were told that one coach company visited Halstead with a view to bringing visitors, but when he and his wife had a cup of tea in a local café and asked what there was to see and do he was told that there was nothing here.

“We hope now that we have persuaded some tour operators and parties that Halstead is a great place to visit.”

She added: “About 100 groups visited our stall and showed interest in visiting the town.

“They were impressed by the photos and leaflets we had to show and seemed to be very taken by our flower-bedecked hats and floral dressing.

“Let’s hope we have managed to promote Halstead and all that the town has to offer.”