For visitors to the UK capital, the talk is all about embracing the ‘new normal’ of these complicated times. And, frankly, why not? Because London is without a doubt open for business once again, with so many of its terrific shops, markets, pubs, restaurants and other establishments having reopened their doors.
Yes, our own Montcalm hotel spa may be yet to be welcoming visitors once again, but there’s so much to see and do in your patch of London and further afield (wherever you choose to stay), so just what’s open again – and what guidelines should you follow…?
Restaurants, pubs and eateries
Foodies and those who enjoy sampling the British institution that’s the pub can do so once more because all eateries and pubs have been allowed to reopen in the capital. That means you can now visit a coffee shop or a café for coffee and a croissant or experience the taste of that terrific restaurant at the end of the road of the Montcalm Marble Arch hotel.
And, of course, you can enjoy that tipple you’ve always wanted to try and that oh-so traditional London city pub that’s caught your eye – maybe on previous visits or maybe on your way to your accommodation. There’s nothing like lounging outside a city-based public house or basking in the summer sunshine in its beer garden out the back.
Moreover, don’t forget to take advantage of the UK Government’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, which is available every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until the end of this month (August 31st), entitling everybody to a 50% discount at participating restaurants and cafes. Its aim being to get diners and pub-visitors back into food and drink establishments and aiding their recovery following the UK-wide lockdown measures.
Talking of guidelines, don’t forget – of course – that when you visit pubs, restaurants and cafés, you’re obliged to follow the safety measures they’ll all have in place, which include site at widely spaced tables, following queuing systems, reading safety signage and using table service, handwashing stations and contactless payments.
It’s taken a few months but, at last, many of London’s premier retail outlets have once again reopened their doors to visitors, buyers and browsers. That means it’s time to get that retail therapy fix again in the capital. So, head out to the West End’s Oxford Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street and Mayfair department stores, boutiques and exclusive shops for all their cool, summer frocks and designs, their awesome fitness gear and craft supplies – or, indeed, for those über-cool face coverings.
It’s worth noting, too, that markets across the city are beginning to re-opening (many were among the first, in fact, owing to their open-air layouts), so you’re free once more to seek out those trinkets and treasures and foodie delights from local traders’ stalls.
Of course, make sure you’re shopping with confidence, too, when you’re moving around retail establishments by following their safety measures, which will be similar to those outlined above for food and drink businesses.
Theatres, cinemas and concert venues
As of early August 2020, the lockdown on these establishments has also been lifted across the capital. So, you’re free once more to catch arts performances al fresco, via outdoor theatre, dance, music and opera performances – and outdoor and drive-in cinemas. Do note, though, that indoor theatres and concert venues are yet to be allowed to stage live performances – but rules are, of course, subject to change.
Art galleries and museums
Great news for culture vultures because London galleries and museums have now been given the green-light to reopen. That said, it’s worth checking just which of them have taken the initiative and are receiving people once more if the will takes you and you feel like an impromptu visit. Naturally, all these venues are required to ensure their visitors follow similar safety measures to those outlined above (and similar to, say, our own Montcalm care protocol) – including the wearing of face masks/ coverings.
And, finally… what about face coverings?
If you weren’t aware of the fact already, you’ll find that, at present, across London it’s absolutely mandatory to wear a face mask/ covering when you’re inside many public places – whether that be a shop, supermarket or whatever the enclosed public space (restaurants, pubs, cafés and coffee shops have more specific rules to follow depending on what area of the establishment you’re in and what activity you’re engaged in).
As noted, you’re now required to wear a face mask/ covering in the likes of museums, galleries and cinemas, too. Our best bet, then, is to check-out the UK Government’s own, fully laid-out guidance on when and where to wear a face covering in public ahead of your stay in the capital.