Mayflower 400 events programme taking shape in Harwich

Feb 07, 2019

Event organisers in Harwich - the historic home of the Mayflower and its captain - are busy at work preparing an exciting programme for the Mayflower 400 anniversary year.

The Mayflower ship, from Harwich and captained by Harwich resident Christopher Jones, took the first settlers to America in 1620 in a voyage marked annually by Thanksgiving in the USA.

A whole programme of events is being planned across 11 UK destinations, including Harwich, for 2020 to mark the 400th anniversary.

A heritage trail and new Welcome Centre have already been announced, while the historic home of Christopher Jones is planned to open as a museum later this year.

As well as bespoke and new events introduced specifically for 2020, organisers are being encouraged to look at if their existing event or activity can also get involved.

Paul Milsom, Chairman of the Harwich Tourism Group, said he was pleased at how many people were already building on the Mayflower theme.

“While big landmark events are of course a great way of drawing people into Harwich to enjoy all the area has to offer, it will be the vibrant, exciting activities and events which we deliver year-in year-out which will create that buzz and bring visitors back year after year,” Mr Milsom said.

“Harwich is already renowned for events such as the Maritime Festival and the Harwich Festival of the Arts, and it is so encouraging to see the organisations behind those already thinking ‘Mayflower’.

“I was impressed to learn from a recent meeting of our group just how many people are picking up this thread – and I would urge others to do the same.”

Last year Tendring District Council (TDC), which is part of the Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group, promoted a Get On Board campaign encouraging local businesses and organisations to think about how they can contribute to Mayflower 400 – and what it could mean to them.

Mick Skeels, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said he was thrilled to hear that message was being picked up.

“Mayflower 400 is such an opportunity, not just for 2020 but for years to come, for Harwich and Dovercourt,” Cllr Skeels said.

“As we’ve already announced, TDC is providing a lot of support and some exciting projects to help make Harwich an exciting visitor destination, and I am delighted that others in the town are also picking up the mantle.”

Read more about Harwich and what to explore in the town here

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