JUBILEE joy is on the cards for York and North Yorkshire this bank holiday, say tourist chiefs.

Despite gloomy weather reports for Monday and Tuesday, attractions anticipate a bumper session as the Queen celebrates and Sven's men go into battle.

Many York attractions saw a drop in visitors this year, as the reopened countryside clawed back tourists, but York Tourism Bureau is anticipating "the best bank holiday weekend ever".

Chief executive Gillian Cruddas said: "York Live Music Festival and the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations are a fantastic opportunity for visitors and residents alike to experience the city at its most vibrant."

Della Rhodes, tourist information centre manager, said city hotels will be packed.

At York Dungeon, Helen Douglas said: "We have seen a drop, but hopefully a good bank holiday will smash that."

Jorvik spokeswoman Gillian Neild said: "We'll be showing how the Vikings celebrated a royal occasion, and we've got loads of promotions and discounts, especially for people who come at the start and end of the day."

York Castle Museum will host a 1950s-style street party.

The Highways Agency is suspending all routine road maintenance in Yorkshire, leaving a clear run to the coast.

Scarborough Borough Council's executive member for tourism, David Jeffels, said: "It depends on the weather, but it should be a great bank holiday. Scarborough is doing plenty of things, while Whitby has the new abbey visitor centre, and Filey has its new seafront. The Moors are reporting massive numbers, which is brilliant."

But travel agents say thousands are flying to the sun. Rebecca Brown, for Thomas Cook in York, said: "We're especially seeing people going on World Cup-related holidays. They're going to Greece, where they can watch the matches in beach bars."

World Cup fever hits York at 10.30am on Sunday, when England square up to Sweden in Japan. Extra police will monitor all-day drinking.

A PA weather spokesman said the weekend would be mainly dry with occasional showers, temperatures about 21C inland, and slightly cooler on the coast. Monday and Tuesday bring more rain and squally, sometimes heavy, showers.

Updated: 11:11 Friday, May 31, 2002