It’s official, Manchester is the number one destination to visit in the UK next year – which is convenient, as most of us won’t have to commute very far at all.
That’s right, while the United Kingdom has a vast bank of beautiful and interesting locations to visit, our fair city took the top spot.
This is courtesy of the good people at Big 7 Travel, who ranked the top 25 destinations in 2020.
The travel company asked their 1.5 million-strong social audience for the places they’re most excited to visit next year, and they combined this with their editor’s top picks.
A lot of the usual suspects made the list, including natural beauty spots like The Cotswolds (21), Scottish Highlands (18), Lake District (16) and Devon (15) – as well as the whole of Northern Ireland (7).
As well as that, a few gritty cities made the cut, like Nottingham (25), Newcastle (14), Birmingham (13), Liverpool (12), Glasgow (10), Leeds (8) and London (4), alongside some more picturesque offerings, like Edinburgh (22), York (19) and Bath (6).
But 2020 is definitely the year of the city break, with eight of the top ten being city destinations – which is why Manchester was destined to take the crown.
Here’s what they had to say about Manchester: “Manchester might already be popular, but it’s worth the hype. It has always been an important city in the United Kingdom, with a rich history and strong industrial heritage.
“These days, the city is a vibrant and cultural melting pot with amazing sports teams, restaurants and museums. Plus, the food scene in the city has been exploding over the last couple of years. What more could you ask for from a city getaway?”
The top ten in full:
7) Northern Ireland
You can check out the full list here, enjoy!
Ikea is reopening 19 stores on June 1st including Manchester
If you’ve been missing your Swedish flat-pack furniture fix we’ve got some good news for you.
Ikea is set to reopen 19 stores across the country and the Manchester branch is on the list.
The stores will open across England and Northern Ireland from June 1st, Belfast Live reports.
There’ll be strict new safety measures in place to ensure social distancing, according to the retailer.
Ikea says social distancing wardens will patrol the stores and the number of customers will also be limited.
Unfortunately, play areas and the legendary restaurants will remain closed, but you can grab some meatballs from the food market to make at home.
The full list of stores that are reopening on June 1st:
- Norwich collection point
- Milton Keynes
Sites in Scotland and Wales will continue to remain closed, in line with their regional government’s coronavirus advice.
Wetherspoons reveals plan to reopen its 875 UK pubs
Wetherspoons has revealed plans to reopen its pubs, including a reduced menu and temperature checks for staffs.
All pubs closed nine weeks ago now, on March 20th ahead of the lockdown on March 23rd due to coronavirus.
In the government’s latest advise regarding lockdown easing, pubs, hairdressers, cinemas and restaurants won’t be able to open fully until July at the earliest.
Many pubs and restaurants in the meantime have been offering takeaway and delivery services to keep going throughout lockdown.
Wetherspoons pubs like many others have been shut, but this week the chain has announced plans on how it will reopen when the lockdown is eased.
The chain has announced it will be investing £11 million into new measures to keep staff and customers safe.
Its pubs will have temperature checks for all staff before they are allowed back to work, and they will also be offering a massively reduced menu.
Wetherspoons will be employing two full-time staff per pub that will regularly clean surfaces and touchpoints such as door handles, allergen information screens, card payment machines and handrails.
The chain is said to be opening all of its 875 pubs across the UK and Republic of Ireland as soon as its given the official go-ahead from the relevant governments.
Wetherspoons’ chief executive, John Hutson, said: “At present the government have not confirmed any reopening date for pubs. However, it is important that we are prepared for any announcement.
“We have spent a number of weeks consulting with staff who work in our pubs, as well as area managers in order to draw up our plans.
“We have received more than 2,500 suggestions from our staff. The safety of our staff and customers is paramount.”
First look at what post-lockdown pubs could be like
Pubs will likely see some huge changes when they do finally reopen, including revamped layouts, tables separated by screens, disposable menus and ordering on an app.
One of the most popular conversations we are all having at the moment is where we’re going when everywhere is back open. Will you be heading straight to the pub, going for a slap-up meal or something else entirely?
Now that we have an end date in mind, with some pubs potentially opening from July 4th, it’s time for the hospitality world to come to terms with the new business-as-usual in post-lockdown life.
A pub in Buckinghamshire, the Betsey Wynne, has undertaken a revamp based on the coronavirus 2-metre social distancing rules, including putting up plastic separation screens on neighbouring tables.
Customers will read from disposable menus that will be used once, and are expected to place their orders through an app, or preorder where possible.
Peter Borg-Neal, the founder of Oakman Inns – which owns the the Betsey Wynne – hopes this pub can be used as the blueprint for when all bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen.
It’s predicted this could be as early as July 4th should the ‘R’ continue to decrease and we successfully enter the third and final phase of the government’s proposed lockdown exit plan.
The future of retail after Covid-19 remains uncertain, it has been one of the hardest-hit industries, placing a huge strain on the hospitality sector.
While many retail stores have relied heavily on online orders, concerns have been raised for the future of brick and mortar establishments as online orders have spiked exponentially in lockdown. E-commerce is on an upward trajectory that is unlikely to slow after lockdown eases.
Many retail stores we are used to seeing on the high street may no longer be there when the lockdown is lifted, with places such as Oasis & Warehouse, Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Brighthouse and Cath Kidston having all filed for administration. John Lewis is also expecting not to reopen all of its department stores after lockdown.
Ensuring the safety of staff and customers remains paramount for the successful reopening of any business when the lockdown measures ease.
However, COVID-19 has caused one of the biggest and most drastic shifts in consumer behaviour in recent decades meaning retail as we know it might be changed forever.
As of yet, there has been no government advice on the reopening of restaurants, which all currently remain closed for dine-in customers, but many people are assuming it will echo the measures currently in place.
Across the world, restaurants that have reopened have seen restrictions on capacity and strict measures of a 2-metre distance.
Many restaurants will likely need to have a massive overhaul to remain open and profitable. Including, rearranging kitchens so chefs can work back to back, fewer tables and seats spread further apart and increasing outdoor eating and drinking areas where possible.
The issue still remains though, will customers return when restaurants are back open? It’s unlikely that the industry will return to how we used to know it for a while and in some cases, never.
Will you be heading straight down to the local when it reopens? Let us know in the Facebook comments.