London pre-COVID was one of the top tourist hubs in Europe. With a dizzying number of museums, galleries and historic sites, the city spans over a thousand years, in which it has grown exponentially. Spanning just under 1600 square kilometres, the city’s 32 boroughs and well-connected tube lines made it a thriving hot spot for London getaway deals and last minute holidays. Unfortunately, the potential for spur of the moment experiences has been decreased, at least for now.
With the coronavirus forcing us to reassess the way we travel, London might seem diminished in what it could offer travellers. The reality, however, is that many industries in the city have found ways to keep on working in a COVID friendly fashion. If you’ve booked a holiday in London that coincides with what is soon to be Tier 2 regulations, there are still ways you can enjoy the UK capital.
The same goes for those living in London. Whether you’ve got a few days off work or are simply coming from out of town, there are still ways you can explore the city with fresh eyes. Below are just some of the ways you can explore London post-lockdown, and how you can do so safely in the upcoming tier 2 restrictions.
What Does Tier 2 Mean?
Compared to the previous lockdown, tier 2 in London represents a step down from the heightened vigilance, but still maintains the important aspects of what the nationwide November lockdown was trying to achieve. The main difference is that more shops, tourist attractions and customer serving restaurants and bars are open.
Whilst customer serving businesses may have opened their doors on December 2nd, restaurants, bars, theatres and event spaces will all have to be working at health and safety-certified levels of hygiene and offer COVID protection to match. Our Montcalm care protocols make sure that any event, dining reservation and stay is as safe as it possibly can be, but you’ll still need to plan and book your reservation further in advance than last year if you want to guarantee entry. The same goes for restaurants, bars and events as well, the strict social distancing of more than 2 metres is a vital benchmark that all of London’s customer-facing businesses must adhere to.
Avoid Public Transport Where Possible
You might get lucky with off-peak buses, trains and underground services, but being stuck in a rush-hour crowd on unventilated transport could be a hotbed for picking up the virus. Whilst not everyone can avoid using public transport in a city as large as London, you will be doing so at your own risk, so make sure you wear a face mask and use hand sanitiser!
Meeting Friends And Family
As it stands in tier 2, households cannot mix inside, whilst there is a maximum of 6 people allowed to meet outside. When you do meet outside, make sure it is not with more than one other household and your group in total does not exceed 6 people. Londoners are no stranger to this rule, it was introduced back in the summer in the wake of the last and much longer lockdown.
Where You Can Stay
Hotels and accommodation have reopened in the wake of the November lockdown, but you will have to book in advance to enjoy the luxury rooms of hotels like the Montcalm Marble Arch. If you’re travelling from abroad, you might be asked to take a COVID test, and if there’s a risk of your exposure to the virus, then you’ll have to quarantine for up to two weeks before enjoying what the city has to offer. Again, the decisions you make on visiting should be enacted with you and your parties health as the top responsibility.
Enjoying London In Tier 2
So with these regulations in mind, how can you enjoy London during the Tier 2 restrictions? Here are just some of the many options open to visitors, and how you can soak in the city safely.
Many museums reopened from the 2nd of December, including the Museum of London and the Science Museum. With tightened restrictions on capacity and social distancing, you’ll probably have to book in advance, but with many of London’s most celebrated museums being free entry, a little forward planning can go a long way.
It’s not just museums that opened their doors on the 2nd of December. The rich collection of London galleries are now allowing visitors and tours. Cultural gems such as the popular National Gallery on Trafalgar Square have gone to great lengths to make their historic displays as COVID friendly as possible, with face masks mandatory and their mapping out of special paths to follow to avoid congestions and crowds.
Open Event Spaces
Socially distanced seating has been allowed for theatre productions, music performances and cinema screenings. As long as you book in advance and wear a face mask when not seated, there are plenty of events you can enjoy all across the arenas, pub attics and fringe theatres of London.
Explore The Royal Parks
No London visit is complete without seeing at least one of the royal parks. With hundreds of years of history, some even dating back to middle ages, the eight royal parks of London all come with their own unique stories and diverse terrain. These oases of calm in the city are ripe for jogs, cycling and picnics with your loved ones.
Santander Cycles And Bike Rentals
Even if you’re just in the city for a London overnight trip, the rapidly expanding cycling superhighway, paired with the beautiful routes through and past parks, canals and rivers, makes for a truly singular way to see the sights. With cheap rentals and plenty of cycle paths, London really is best experienced by foot and two-wheeler.
Furthermore, cycling is a great way to remain COVID friendly whilst sightseeing, avoiding the close quarters and decreased ventilation of public transport, thus making the bike a certified COVID friendly tourist tool.