Planning a day out? What to expect in a COVID-secure world

While planning has always been an essential part of a day out, it’s now even more crucial as many venues have implemented a range of new measures to keep their visitors safe, and some may not be offering many of the facilities and services we are used to. This article outlines the new measures you’re likely encounter on your days out, and how you can prepare and plan ahead. 


The new, refreshed edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is out now and is here to help you plan your next day out. With over 200 reviews and suggestions, the new edition is the perfect planning tool for one of the many inclusive days out available across the country. With ideas for visits to parks, gardens and beaches as well as museums, galleries and wildlife parks, the guide also features routes for some of the most stunning scenic drives and details of towns to visit – all with comprehensive accessibility and inclusivity information in each review.

In an ever-changing world, with new social distancing and COVID-19 safety measures in place, more detailed planning is recommended ahead of enjoying a day out. Some new measures that visitors can expect to encounter are:

Restricted facilities

While venues and attractions are reopening, some might have restricted facilities and services for the time being. For example, some may not have reopened their cafes and visitor shops or will have cancelled some entertainment elements. And if you’re planning a day out, even at an outdoor venue, such as a park or a beach, it’s important to check whether the usual toilet facilities are going to be open.

Booking systems

In order to maintain social distancing measures, many attractions are limiting their capacity and implementing a booking system to keep the number of people visiting at a manageable figure. Even venues that usually don’t require a ticket to enter might have started asking people to book a time slot for their visit, so it’s best to check their website to make sure you’re able to enjoy a relaxed and seamless day out.

Additional website information

As well as online booking systems, most attractions now include a page on their website dedicated to making sure you have a safe visit. These pages will include all of the most up to date information about what rules and measures to expect.

Enhanced cleaning

As we know, one of the best ways to ensure our safety is to keep our hands and surroundings clean. Many venues will have installed hand sanitiser stations and introduced an enhanced cleaning regime. So, don’t be surprised to see more staff using antibacterial cleaning systems and cleaning methods.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Some venues will have installed screens at customer engagement points and staff may be wearing PPE such as visors, gloves and face coverings. There may also be places where visitors are required to wear face coverings, such as in attraction shops, so check ahead and come prepared.

New signage

To ensure social distancing, many venues will have new signage in place reminding visitors to keep a safe distance from other household groups. This may also mean that one-way systems have been implemented and that certain doorways are for entrance or exit only. So even if you’re visiting a place you’ve been to before, you may have to take a different route around the venue.

Contactless payment

Like many shops, some venues will only accept electronic card, or even contactless, payment.

Attractions 

To get an idea of the current new measures in place, we spoke to a few of the attractions featured in the new edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain to tell us what visitors can expect:

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

“We have made a number of changes to ensure safe and comfortable travel on board our boats through the capital. Passengers can expect social distancing at piers and on our boats – we are limiting the on-board capacity and can only accept contactless payment. We’ve enhanced our cleaning regime and have added hand sanitiser stations on all boats too. For passengers who feel safer in the outdoors, they can enjoy their journey from our outside deck and we’re keeping the cabin doors open to allow good ventilation whilst the boat is underway. It is currently a government requirement to wear a face covering on transport, to protect crew and fellow passengers. All of the measures implemented are to make sure passengers can enjoy sailing through London, taking in the iconic sights and travelling between landmarks while feeling safe and secure. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.”

Eden Project

“With the introduction of new pre-booked timed tickets for all visitors to stagger entries throughout the day, and limited guest numbers, you’ll experience Eden as you’ve never seen it before and be able to enjoy the wide-open spaces of our beautiful site. We’ve introduced a wide range of other measures to make sure that the safety, health and wellbeing of all staff and visitors remains top priority, such as: one-way systems to help manage social distancing; protective screens at kiosks; hand sanitiser at key points on your journey; a new cleaning schedule; and we are now contactless and cashless. There are all sorts of new ways to enjoy the Eden Project beyond our Biomes, and to explore our 30-acre Outdoor Gardens, including a new family trail to follow, brand new audio and storytelling apps, and a special map to explore our outdoor art.”

RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve

“The team at RSPB Conwy are delighted to be able to welcome back visitors once again! We want you to feel welcome and enjoy getting back to nature at the reserve. Some changes have therefore been made to help keep everyone safe. We have adapted the site to ensure that social distancing can be maintained at all times. Most of our trails are wide enough to allow for this, but we have implemented one-way systems where paths are too narrow. Our hides remain closed for now, but you can still enjoy fantastic views of wildlife and the picturesque Conwy estuary from our viewing screens where signage is displayed to remind our visitors to consider others and maintain a safe distance. Although our other facilities (coffee shop, hides playground, shop/visitor centre) remain closed for now, our toilets are open. We are operating a ‘one household at a time’ rule and have a thorough cleaning procedure in place, ensuring that all of our toilets are sanitised three times daily, with a deep clean at the end of each day. We hope that by implementing these new measures we can give our visitors peace of mind, so that they can focus on reconnecting with nature in a safe outdoor environment. Our car park, trails and toilets are open 9.30am-5pm daily. We endeavour to reopen our other facilities as soon as possible, and as we do this, circumstances may change. We therefore recommend you check online for the latest information before visiting, to avoid any disappointment on arrival. Please follow us on Facebook (RSPB North Wales) and Twitter (@RSPBConwy) for regular updates.”

The Deep

“The Deep crew have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure government guidelines are adhered to, offering a safe and clean environment for visitors to enjoy. During your visit you will notice a one-way system is in place. Please follow all directional signage around the attraction to ensure you do not miss any exhibits. Social distancing must be maintained for the duration of your visit. In some areas, you may need to wait to be able to view the exhibits at a safe distance to others. Hand sanitising stations are provided at points around the building, particularly before and after using interactives. All visitors to The Deep are now required to book a time slot for their visit, this includes those with a Day Plus Pass permitting free entry. To find out more about our safety measures and how to book your timeslot and tickets, please visit www.thedeep.co.uk. Enjoy a safe visit!”

All attractions featured in The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain were assessed in detail pre-COVID-19 by the Rough Guides’ team of reviewers, who either have a disability themselves or have visited the venue with a friend or relative with accessibility needs.

The new edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is now available to read online and download for free at www.accessibleguide.co.uk

Image credits

Rough Guides would like to thank the following individuals, companies and picture libraries for their kind permission to reproduce their photographs (in order of appearance on the web page):

Header image: The Eden Project: © VisitBritain/Adam Burton

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