With the recent announcement of a national lockdown across the UK, many people have had to put their work, educational and holiday plans on hold. With reports claiming that the lockdown could last until March, the lockdown will see many people reframing their time off work, special occasions and general plans for the next few months. This has had an especially strong effect on the hospitality industry, which with recent financial support from the government, might see the next two months with far less business than usual. Despite hotel cleanliness hygiene strategies having been pushed to a whole new level over the coronavirus crisis, it’s still the case that luxury accommodation and many hotels across London are closed to the public except for specific reasons.
Whilst many London visitors might not have the chance to enjoy hotels such as The Chilworth London Paddington over the next two months, there are still many ways that locals and those living near London can enjoy lockdown in the city. If you’d booked some time off the day to day and want to make the most of your time off, then follow this simple guide to enjoying London culture and activities.
What Does Lockdown Mean For Travel?
The third official lockdown in England has meant that many London getaway deals and plans have been postponed for the foreseeable, whilst flight corridors continue to be reassessed and narrowed. Whilst this isn’t a surprise, it might impede on those living further outside of cities from visiting larger urban areas, putting tourism in a lockdown imposed stasis.
Remain Within Your Local Area
The fact that we all have to stay within our local areas over lockdown means that sightseeing and exploring the wider reaches of not only London but the country are off-limits. If you’re living further afield in other areas of the UK or even abroad, there are still ways you can enjoy the sights, excitement and thriving culture of London though.
Customer Facing Services And Non-Essential Shops Will Remain Shut
It’s not only the tourism industry being dented by the lockdown, but also commerce too. Non-essential shops and dining establishments have been closed, meaning that we’re all resorting to online orders and purchases. Whilst we can’t visit the London staples such as Harrods and Fortnum & Masons, we can still purchase local London goods online. Even your favourite London restaurant will most likely be taking delivery orders.
Use Public Transport Only When Necessary
The London Underground network is among one of the most expansive and efficient in the world. Without it, the near-1400 square kilometre expanse of London is rather difficult to traverse. At the moment, government lockdown guidelines advise that you only use public transport in an emergency or as part of key-worker commutes, which can certainly hinder any outer London exploring you might want to do.
It is for this reason that many of those locked down in London are falling back on cycling as their preferred mode of non-vehicle transport. Cycling using rented bikes such as Santander Cycles gives you the opportunity to see London from the ground up, and with the city’s expansive cycling superhighway paved past many of the best London attractions and sights, you can still enjoy the rich history and architecture of the city all from two wheels!
Keeping Active During Lockdown
There are other ways to keep active and physically fit during the London lockdown. Whether it be jogging or a simple walk in the park, seeing the outside world can expand yours during closed off lockdown months. You can get creative too, why not visit a park to do some yoga or circuit training, all while soaking in what sunlight you can.
Always Pack PPE
However far you’re walking, driving or cycling, always make sure that you’ve packed PPE. Despite the advice to stay indoors except for exercise and food shops, the streets can still be very crowded, thus increasing the transmission rates of COVID-19 and it’s more infectious variants. Packing PPE will help decrease the chances of spreading the virus, and provide peace of mind when venturing out of the house during a London lockdown.
Enjoy Your Local Nature
London has officially been labelled a forest city, with 40 percent of its area being made up of green space. There are 35,000 acres of parks, land and nature reserves across London, and it’d be hard not to find an oasis of green in your local area. Whether you’re nearest to East London’s Hackney Marshes or Epping Forest, the Sydenham Woods of Southeast London or the West End’s conglomeration of historic royal parks, there’s a lot of nature trails for you to tick off over this lockdown.
Enjoy London Lockdown Culture
Whilst we may not be able to physically enjoy the live energy and excitement of London’s theatres, galleries and venues, you can still get a taste of it online. From absorbing art tours of the National Gallery to video-on-demand recordings of new comedy at the Soho Theatre, the sea of London born content that you can watch on lockdown proves that the city’s spectacles can transcend even physical audiences.
Adapt Your Socialising For Online
An important aspect of nurturing your mental health is to keep sociable and open with friends and family. Over 2020’s London lockdowns, we all missed pub and restaurant visits with loved ones and trips with friends and family to museums, galleries and entertainment venues. London’s famed culture, hospitality and entertainment scenes are simply off-limits right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt socially to the temporary normal. To keep connected, try shared film screenings with friends, online visits to your favourite museums and galleries, virtual cooking with family and even virtual dates. However you’re keeping connected, you can still retain the London spirit and continue to enjoy what the city has to offer, even if, for a little while, it’s from the comfort of your own home. The most important thing is to stay connected to the people you care about wherever and whenever possible.