SCORES of visitors are expected to descend on a coastal town next month as an inaugural rum festival is hosted at one of the region’s historic tourist attractions.

Guests will board Britain's oldest warship still afloat, the HMS Trincomalee, to sample a selection of rums and cocktails during the event next month.

The ship celebrated its 200th anniversary last year in its dock at Hartlepool's National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), with the rest of the site also offering festival frivolities.

The town's quayside at Jackson Dock will be decorated especially for the event on August 11, with several rum producers including Alnwick, Pusser’s, English Spirit and Old J Spiced Rum confirming their attendance.

NMRN staff will also be on hand to deliver masterclasses about the history of rum, the Navy’s signature beverage, and tours of the quayside and NMRN Hartlepool site, with live musicians and entertainment taking place over the course of the festival.

Rachel Shepherd, museum events manager, said: “We are hoping to recreate the success enjoyed by our festival held in Portsmouth and are excited to be bringing the event to the North.

“The NMRN Hartlepool site and quayside are ideal locations for the festival, and we are grateful to the many, popular rum brands that are already confirmed and supporting our rum festival.

“It's shaping up to be a fantastic evening of entertainment, with plenty of activities and masterclasses scheduled to hopefully increase footfall in the town, while continuing our ongoing support of the region’s wider leisure and tourism economies.”

The rum festival will also support the Enjoy Tees Valley campaign, launched by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and led by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

Mr Houchen said: "Hats off to the National Museum of the Royal Navy for thinking outside the box with this event.

“Hartlepool is known nationwide for its rich naval heritage, so it’s excellent to see the team organising a bit of a knees up to rightly celebrate it.

“I hope as many people head down, have fun, and support our local tourist attractions.”

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