New tourist centre opens

Haven for tourists ... From left, Clare parish councillor Phil Gryce, St Edmundsbury mayor Christopher Spicer, tourism officer Sharon Fairweather, Aleric Pugh, from the Clate Tourist Forum, and Haverhill mayor Maureen Byrne.
Haven for tourists ... From left, Clare parish councillor Phil Gryce, St Edmundsbury mayor Christopher Spicer, tourism officer Sharon Fairweather, Aleric Pugh, from the Clate Tourist Forum, and Haverhill mayor Maureen Byrne.
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RECOGNITION that Clare is officially a tourist attraction came last week when a new tourist information centre was opened by council officials.

And a new tourist guide for the old wool town, which is the smallest town in Suffolk, has been printed to coincide with the launch of the centre – called the Tourist Information Point – which is based at Clare Library.

It will be open five days a week, including weekends, and has been set up by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in conjunction with Clare Parish Council and the Clare Tourism Forum.

The forum was formed following a meeting of the town’s businesses and representatives from the Ancient House Museum, galleries and churches, as well as Clare in Bloom and parish councillors last year.

Parish council chairman Keith Haisman said: “It’s a true joint venture. We are happy that something concrete has come out of the original meeting and that now, in addition to the Clare website, visitors are able to visit a tourist point in order to get as much information as they need.

“Our next step is to get some of those brown heritage signs around the town to let visitors know we have a tourist centre.”

Sharon Fairweather, from St Edmundsbury Council, said: “Clare is an undiscovered hidden gem, as there is so much to see and do.

“The centre will be manned by library staff, and the council’s tourism staff will keep it stocked with leaflets. It brings all the information about the town under one roof.”

She said Clare’s attraction was its historic past and its large array of independent retailers as well as galleries, cultural activities and buildings.

“Many people, of course, are attracted to the Clare Castle County Park because of its medieval history.

“But there is a great cafe culture building up in the town with people being able to sit outside cafes and tea shops when the weather is good.”