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Travel

Alton Towers announces plans to reopen but with lots of new measures in place

Just in…

Alex Watson

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Alton Towers has announced the new guidelines which will be put in place when guests return to the theme park.

The theme park will remain closed until at least July 3rd, but the parent company, Merlin Entertainments, has announced new guidelines which detail how the park will run when it reopens.

The new measures introduced, described by Health, Safety & Security Director, Jonathan Ellis, include social distancing practises, temperature checks, reduced capacity, additional hygiene stations and advising guests to wear face masks in indoor spaces.

Credit: rogerbarker2 / Flickr

Alton Towers remains many people’s best trip out, especially during the summer months, and naturally many people are wondering when such places will reopen and how they will ensure staff and guests are safe. 

The new measures that will be put in place include: 

  • Temperature checks will also be conducted at the gates, on both staff and guests – anyone who has a temperature which is too high will be turned away (but the park will allow you to rebook your trip for another day).
  • Spatial markers are being installed at queue lines and communal areas, while one-way system will be enforced at shops.
  • Riders will only be able to go on roller coasters and rides within their groups, with a row between each family – which could result in longer queues but emptier rides.
  • Additional hygiene stations will be built across the park, and staff will be given additional Covid-19 training.
  • Face masks won’t be mandatory as current guidance is “only advising face masks for indoor spaces”.

It’s reported that these measures will be practised for the long run. 

Credit: CIs With Attitude

Mr Ellis explained: “In order to stick to these limits, we are considering a system of online booking, similar to our Fireworks events, in which we would ask all guests to book their trips in advance to guarantee entry.”

He added: “Once it is safe to reopen, we ask you to please support us in the simple steps of respecting each other when you visit; in terms of giving each other sufficient space, in keeping the resort clean and most of all in washing your hands.

“We see these not as short-term measures, but as the ‘new normal’ way that we will operate until such time as the health risks of COVID-19 are fully addressed.”

No official date has been given as to when Alton Towers will reopen but the government is expected to make a new announcement regarding the hospitality industry this evening.

Many theme parks in Europe have reopened throughout May, including Disney World announcing plans to reopen on July 11th.  

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Travel

New geothermal heated sea pool like Iceland’s Blue Lagoon has opened in Cornwall

Perfect for a staycation!

Alex Watson

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badwolfhorizon & porthlevenholidaycottage/Instagram

The UK’s first geothermal sea pool has now opened up in Cornwall and we need to go asap!

The pool is set at a lovely warm 35C and will be heated all year round making it a perfect destination for a weekend away in winter.

The pool has opened up in the old art deco Jubilee Pool in Penzance, and is giving Iceland’s Blue Lagoons a run for their money.

The warm water is heated through a geothermal well which transfers the cooler water back into the ground and the warm water into the pool.

The pool also offers fantastic sea views, including a glimpse of St Michael’s Mount across the water. 

Around 50 people will fit into the pool at once, making it the UK’s largest lido. Currently, due to social distancing measures, only 15 are allowed to visit at a time. 

Ryan Law, managing director of Geothermal Engineering Limited, told local media: “The system we have drilled and installed is one of the lowest forms of carbon heating available and is part of the growing movement to use sustainable heating sources across the UK.

“I’m delighted that the geothermal pool at Jubilee Pool, Penzance, is now open. It’s the first geothermally-heated lido in the UK and is a flagship for geothermal energy in general.”

The pool is part of a wider project worth £1.8m, which was supported partly by the local community which provided £540,000.

First to swim in the pool were the family of local swimmer and project supporter, Joyce Cooper. Joyce was at the opening of the original lido 85 years ago but sadly died before she got the chance to see the project completed. 

All ages are welcome to visit the pool during the afternoon, with kids under four going free. An adult ticket will start from £11.75. 

There are also dedicated adults-only spots for the pool between 10am and 12:30pm, and select evenings after 5:30pm. 

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Travel

Thomas Cook is set to relaunch ‘in the next few weeks’ but with some big changes

The UK’s oldest tour operator could be back soon…

Alex Watson

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Anna Zvereva/Wikimedia & Brian Robert Marshall/Geograph

Thomas Cook, the UK’s oldest tour operator, could be making a return to the travel industry a year after the company folded. 

The owners of Club Med and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chinese conglomerate Fosun, saved the brand from completely vanishing after it went under in September last year. 

According to some reports it looks like Fosun could be bringing back Thomas Cook as a travel agent. 

Sky News has reported that Fosun is awaiting necessary regulatory approvals and for any quarantine updates on British citizens.

Jan Hagelskamp1/Wikimedia

Thomas Cook looks set to relaunch as just an online travel agent and will be dropping the Thomas Cook airline, high street shops and branded hotels previously operated by the company.

The relaunch is reportedly set to go ahead this month, exactly a year after the company collapsed. 

The firm filed for administration on September 23rd last year. The news left 150,000 UK holidaymakers stuck abroad and caused the biggest peacetime repatriation of Britons abroad, totalling to an estimated cost of £150m. 

The 178-year-old firm was bailed out by Fosun. Chairman Jiannong said: “The group has always believed in the brand value of Thomas Cook.

“The acquisition of the Thomas Cook brand will enable the group to expand its tourism business building on the extensive brand awareness of Thomas Cook and the robust growth momentum of Chinese outbound tourism.”


Ken Fielding/Flickr

He added: “Following the acquisition, the group will focus on business expansion, using the newly acquired Thomas Cook brands to create synergies with the existing businesses of the group.”

The Chinese firm bought the assets including the trademarks, domain names, software applications, social media accounts and licences. However, 555 stores were sold for just £6m to rival Hays Travel. 

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Travel

A new giraffe hotel is coming to the UK which lets you get up close to the animals

This is amazing!

Alex Watson

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Aspinall Foundation

A brand new hotel where you share the resort with giraffes is coming to the UK. 

Kent Online has shared the news of a new hotel, Giraffe Hall, that is set to open at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve in Kent.

It’s not yet open but 9,000 people have already signed up to the waiting list, so this is definitely going to be a popular spot.

The accommodation is set in a Grade II listed building that dates back to the 15th and 16th century.  

Aspinall Foundation

There will be ten bedrooms, five cabins and incredible views of the nature reserve where lions, giraffes and wolves will be living. 

It’s set to be the first of its kind in the Western hemisphere, as giraffes will be able to wander right up to the hall and check out what’s happening inside through the windows.

The website explains: “Get closer than ever before and make friends with your giraffe neighbours, as the resident herd peer into the lofty ceilinged drawing room, or amble up to the bedroom windows, where you may be lucky enough to feed them.”

Aspinall Foundation

Guests will also be able to stay in ‘Lion Lodge’ which is the first of its kind in the world. It sees a timber clad, Manhattan loft-style building, set within the lion’s natural enclosure.

There will be ‘floor to ceiling windows in both the master bedroom and the open plan living area’ meaning ‘guests will be just a whisker away from lions’.

Prices are yet to be revealed for Giraffe Hall, however an overnight stay at Lion Lodge sees prices starting at £1,750.

You do get a golf buggy to move around the reserve, a bottle of bubbly on arrival and a full English breakfast, though. 

Find out more or sign up to the waiting list here

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