Britain’s thrillseekers and nature lovers are looking forward to the return of theme parks and zoos next Monday, which will be among the first major attractions to reopen from the third national coronavirus lockdown.
Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and London Zoo are all set to welcome visitors once more from April 12, but with various safety measures to make them ‘Covid-secure’.
New hygiene and safety measures in place to help protect guests will include temperature checks on arrival, enhanced cleaning, one-way systems and social distancing markers in ride queues, shops and restaurants.
The wearing of face masks is required on rides and in all indoor areas, while on-site accommodation will mostly be closed – and some sites are limiting ticket sales to six to avoid people breaching the ‘rule of six’ outdoors.
Zoos which have confirmed they are set to open from next Monday also include Chester Zoo, Blackpool Zoo, Colchester Zoo, Whipsnade Zoo, Bristol Zoo, Longleat Safari Park, Banham Zoo and Paignton Zoo.
Meanwhile English Heritage is reopening Stonehenge next Monday, along with Boscobel House and the Royal Oak in Shropshire, with all tickets having to be bought online in advance and indoor areas remaining closed.
Here, MailOnline looks at what visitors to five major attractions in England can expect on their first time back:
- Address: Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 4AY
- Ticket prices: £39 both for adults (16+) and children (90cm – 15 years)
- Opening hours: 10am to 6pm (from April 12)
The majority of the Legoland Windsor site is set to reopen next Monday although its hotels will remain closed.
The park has said most of its outdoor rides and attractions will be open and character meet and greets will also be going ahead. However, bosses said they cannot open their indoor rides and attractions or run live entertainment.
Additional hygiene and safety measures in place will include temperature checks on arrival, enhanced cleaning, one-way systems and social distancing markers in ride queues, shops, restaurants and other areas.
Bosses have also reduced the number of guests allowed in each day and everyone must pre-book their tickets, which cost £39 both for adults, defined as 16+; and children, defined as those above 90cm and up to 15 years.
Visitors aged 11 and over will have to wear face masks on all rides, although it is recommended they remove these on water rides, as well as in other locations throughout the park.
Those with Government-listed exemptions do not have to wear masks. Legoland is also asking people to follow the rule of six or two household rule for meeting outside, and using the NHS Test and Trace app to check in.
Legoland Windsor workers show how visitors will be required to wear face masks while going on rides at the park
Legoland Windsor staff test out one of the rides as finishing touches are made at the resort to welcome back visitors
Legoland model maker Nicola Parker adds a brick to a Lego model as finishing touches are made before the reopening
Legoland model maker Nicola Parker adds a brick to a model of a Lego giraffe at the theme park in Windsor, Berkshire
Legoland model makers Elliott Ayton-Smith (left) and Nicola Parker (right) clean and add bricks to a welcome sign at the park
CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES
- Address: Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NE
- Ticket prices: £37 for all those aged 3+ (under 3s go free)
- Opening hours: 10am to 7pm (from April 12)
Chessington World of Adventures has double reason to celebrate reopening next Monday, because it has both a zoo and a theme park on its site. It will also be giving visitors their first chance to try out its new ride, Croc Drop.
The 82ft (25m) drop tower has been two years in the making and is the first ride at the park in Surrey since 2013, representing a multi-million-pound investment, with thrillseekers set to plunge into the giant jaws of a crocodile.
Chessington said all visitors can expect to have their temperature checked on arrival and the frequent cleaning of rollercoasters throughout the day, including to ride seats and restraints.
The wearing of face masks will be mandatory on all rides, and Chessington said it would reduce the number of guests it welcomes each day, with pre-booking online essential. Tickets cost £37 for everyone aged at least three.
The main resort will reopen next Monday, before some overnight stays will be available from April 30. Some indoor aspects of the park will also remain closed for now, while ticket sales have been capped to a maximum of six.
Bosses at Chessington said if anyone in a ticket holder’s group or household is showing any Covid-19 symptoms, they should not visit – and their tickets can be moved to another day in 2021.
Thrillseekers wear face masks on board the Vampire ride at Chessington World of Adventures which will reopen next Monday
People wear face masks while riding the Scorpion Express at Chessington World of Adventures, which will reopen next week
Chessington said all visitors can expect to see the frequent cleaning of rollercoasters at the park throughout the day
Staff at Chessington will be wearing face masks as they direct people around the park when it reopens next Monday
- Address: Farley Lane, Alton, Staffordshire, ST10 4DB
- Ticket prices: £38 for adults, £32 for children aged 3-11
- Opening hours: 10am to 5pm (from April 12)
Britain’s biggest theme park Alton Towers, which spans 910 acres of land in Staffordshire, will reopen next Monday – along with selected self-contained accommodation. Park bosses advised that it is ‘essential’ to pre-book tickets.
Before then, its gardens have been open for local families since last Monday. Additional hygiene and safety measures will be in place throughout the resort including temperature checks on arrival and enhanced cleaning.
One-way systems and social distancing markers will operate in the ride queues, shops and restaurants – and people are asking to support NHS Test and Trace by using the QR codes around the resort throughout their visit.
Park bosses said they had reduced the number of people allowed into the resort each day, to allow for social distancing and additional cleaning – while indoor rides and attractions will remain temporarily closed.
The resort said all guests should maintain good hygiene, keep a safe distance and wear face masks on all rides and any other locations where they are required – if the guest is aged 11 or over and does not have an exemption.
Alton Towers plans for its Woodland Lodges to be open from next Monday, which offer self-contained accommodation with the necessary amenities – and can only be used by members of the same household.
An Alton Towers employee wears a face mask and visor as they check a visitor is safely strapped into a ride
Alton Towers staff are operating an enhanced cleaning regime to help protect visitors from coronavirus
Visitors must wear face masks on rides unless they are aged under 11 or have a Government-listed exemption
Staff clean rides in between visitors using them at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, which is set to reopen next Monday
Temperature checks will be in place at the entrance to Alton Towers when the theme park reopens next Monday
- Address: Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY
- Ticket prices: £30 adults (16-64), £19.50 children (3-15) and £27 seniors (65+)
- Opening hours: 10am to 6pm (from April 12)
London Zoo is set to become of the capital’s first major attractions to reopen after being closed during the third lockdown – and the first week is already sold out, with tickets now only available from April 19.
Three one-way routes have been implemented around the zoo, and certain indoor areas have been closed. The on-site restaurant is only operating a takeaway service, along with the smaller catering kiosks around the zoo.
The park is also only accepting contactless payments including debit cards, credit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay, while it has placed hand sanitizer and handwash stations at regular points around the site.
Social distancing markers have been laid out in areas where queues might occur, such as the zoo entrance, will all visitors must pre-book tickets online – including members, fellows and patrons.
Indoor enclosures and walk-throughs are closed, but in any indoor areas which area open, people must wear a face covering. The zoo has also postponed several promotions so it can control numbers more effectively.
There is no time limit on how long people can stay during their visit, but to manage capacities and ensure safe distancing, bosses have recommended that people stay no longer than four hours.
At London Zoo the Animal Adventure play equipment is open, but the Splash Park remains closed. The on-site shops are also closed, but the open-air picnic areas are open with tables space two metres apart.
London Zoo workers Eddie Donovan and Jamie Turner measure out two metres to help with social distancing at the site
Three one-way routes have been implemented around the zoo which will help with maintaining social distancing
Social distance markers are laid out at London Zoo which reopens next Monday, with tickets already sold out for the first week
Staff at London Zoo have placed hand sanitizer and handwash stations at regular points around the site to help with hygiene
- Address: Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN
- Ticket prices: £39 for all those aged 3+ (under 3s go free)
- Opening hours: 10am to 6pm (from April 12)
Thorpe Park will be reopening most of its site next Monday, although some indoor or enclosed areas such as 4D cinemas may remain shut or only allow limited guests at any one time.
Additional hygiene and safety measures will be in place included enhanced cleaning, temperature checks on arrival, one-way systems, and social distancing markers.
Bosses said they will have a pre-book ticket system to manage visitor numbers and different seating configurations on rides, while visitors will be encouraged to use credit or debit cards rather than cash.
Visitors over the age of 11 will be required to wear a face mask in order to go on a number of rides and rollercoasters, into the shops and arcades or when queuing in indoor locations.
Face masks will also be available for purchase at the attraction, and bosses said only securely fitted masks should be worn on rides for safety reasons. They recommend removing face masks on water rides in case they get wet.
New hygiene screens will be installed at service counters and food stalls, while bosses are changing standard operating protocols to reduce the proximity of employees to guests, such as with security searches at the gate.
A Thorpe Park worker carries out cleaning of the restraint on The Swarm ride as the park prepares to reopen
Cleaning is carried out on Stealth at Thorpe Park in Surrey before the attraction reopens next Monday
Face masks will also be available for purchase at the park, and bosses said only securely fitted masks should be worn on rides
Bosses said they will have a pre-book ticket system to manage visitor numbers and different seating configurations on rides
Visitors to Thorpe Park will be given a temperature check at the entrance before they are allowed into the site