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How to Staycation in London during the Coronavirus pandemic

With more of us choosing to stay in the UK this year, rather than plan holidays to far-flung places, because of the pandemic, a Staycation in London seems the perfect solution. We talk you through how to stay safe on a Staycation in the capital. 

London river Thames scene with Millenium Dome
London has lots to offer Staycationers, including many great outdoor spaces

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to live in a very different way to how we’re used to. Restrictions on travel have meant holidays and long weekends away have changed, with trips abroad decreasing massively compared to last year. 

As a result of the pandemic, staycations have risen in popularity. For many, these breaks have offered the escape we all need as we adapt to the new normal. London has understandably become a popular staycation destination.

But a staycation in times of COVID-19 needs more consideration than a pre-Covid staycation - finding the fine line between safety and enjoyment is crucial. So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you should bear in mind when planning your London staycation during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Reasons to visit London even during the pandemic

Even during a worldwide pandemic, London is an amazing place to visit. Full to the brim with culture, food, entertainment, famous landmarks and even nature, there is something for everyone in the UK’s capital city. 

However, it’s true that how tourists can access what London is famous for has changed since the pandemic started. But, while a lot has been put on hold while social distancing measures remain in place, there is still a lot to enjoy in London. In fact, there are even some benefits of heading to London during the pandemic.

Positive changes in London since the pandemic 

Since the coronavirus pandemic took its hold on the world, international tourism has come more or less to a complete halt. In pre-Covid times, London attracted 30 million visitors from around the whole world each year, but these numbers look set to reduce by 79% in 2020. 

While this has had a negative impact on the tourism industry, for people looking for a relaxed staycation in the UK, London has never looked better. The streets that used to be packed with tourists have become quieter, and you’re far more likely to get a photo alone next to one of London’s most famous landmarks. From a hygiene and social-distancing point of view, fewer tourists also means you can walk through London’s streets with a lower risk of close human contact. 

Another positive change since the start of the pandemic is the reduction of pollution in and around London. While London’s levels of pollution have already seen a steady decline since 2016, the city’s pollution levels are expected to be at an all time low in 2020 as a result of fewer cars, fewer flights and less commuters.

There are even reports of more wildlife in London since the pandemic started, with a peak in sightings during the lockdown. For those looking to explore London’s parks and green spaces, it's more likely than ever that you’ll spot a deer, squirrel or fox. 

Affordable accommodation in London

Stay Central offers the ideal central London accommodation for a Staycation, close to key sights so you don't need to travel far.

Affordable Central London Accommodation

Things you can do in London during the pandemic

Aside from some of the benefits of a quieter London, there is still a lot on offer when it comes to enjoying London, despite the restrictions still in place.

As we slowly move away from the strict lockdown, more of London’s tourist attractions are beginning to open up. In fact, we’ve written an article about everything you can do in London post-lockdown. (which will depend on the government guidelines at the time of reading)

Some of the most popular attractions and activities that you can now enjoy, include: 

  • Eat out in restaurants 
  • Have a small gathering in a park 
  • Go to a Museum 
  • Ride the London Eye 
  • Go shopping 
  • Go to the theatre
  • Go to the pub 
  • Go to an english heritage site 
  • Enjoy an afternoon tea
  • Go to a spa 

So although London is certainly quieter, with less activities available, there is still a lot you can do during a weekend or week-long break - making it the perfect location for a fun staycation.

Planning your London staycation - how to keep safe

When it comes to planning your London staycation during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to do a bit more research and advance planning than you normally would. You’ll need to assess the risks before you go based on your own personal circumstances. 

Then, to ensure a good balance of safety and fun, you need to think proactively about how you can mitigate your risk to protect yourself and others. This means you’ll need to carefully consider travel, accommodation and the activities you want to do in advance of your trip.

Thinking ahead - Mitigating your virus risk while visiting London 

We’re all familiar with the public safety guidelines currently in place to protect us. When travelling, it goes without saying that you should stick to these. (Be aware that as the guidelines are always changing, you should keep an eye on the latest guidelines.)

Aside from the government guidelines, there are other precautions you can take to increase your safety and that of others when travelling to London for pleasure.

Buckingham Palace in the sun
Visit an impressive sight such as Buckingham Palace

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

If you're looking for bed and breakfast accommodation in central London we have a lot to choose from.

Central London B&B accommodation

Avoid public transportation if possible

When it comes to travelling to London from another location in the UK, it’s best to opt for private transport, and travel only with the people you’re going away with. Private cars will lower the risk of contagion en-route to London, especially when compared with planes, buses or trains. However, be aware of the congestion charge involved in driving through certain parts of the city, so plan your route accordingly. 

Once in London, you should avoid public transport to move around the city, too. London is huge, and for this reason, public transport is woven into the very fabric of the city’s design, but don’t be fooled - it's easy to move around without it! While the London Underground is something most tourists want to experience, it’s not vital for getting around the key parts of London. In fact, the centre of London is easy to navigate on foot without exhausting yourself. 

There are lots of maps that show that it’s quicker to walk the distance between key underground stops walking through the centre is actually a really good way to experience more of the city.

For longer distances, bikes are also a great alternative to buses or the tube. The Santander Cycles offer a great way to travel through the city without having to use public transport. 

If you do need to use any public transport, make sure you keep your distance, and wear a mask. 

Opt for self-catering apartments over hotels 

London is full of accommodation for tourists. However, with the covid risk higher in shared spaces, places like hotels may feel less comfortable than they did before.

Staying in self-catered apartments offers a safe way for you to stay in London. These sorts of properties are private, therefore reduce the risk of spending time in a confined space with other people during your stay. By preparing your meals at home you can also avoid busy restaurants or the risks of not preparing your own food.

At Stay Central, we offer a range of self-catered apartments in the city centre that are deep cleaned after every stay. Here, you’ll have control of your own meals and will have the space completely to yourself. Furthermore, the central location of the apartments means that you won’t need to worry about using public transport to get around London.

Spend a lot of time in London’s open spaces 

Despite being the capital city, London is very green, and is home to an abundance of open spaces and parks to enjoy. No matter the time of year, a brisk or sunny walk through one of London’s many parks is a safe option for tourists travelling in current times. Now, with fewer tourists in London because of the pandemic, this option has become even more appealing. We’ve written a whole article about the different parks available to enjoy in London. 

But walking in London doesn’t need to be limited to the parks. There is so much history to be experienced and interesting sites to see while walking through the streets of the city, too. A great way to do this with purpose is by going on a walking tour. These are incredibly popular in London, and allow you to see the city while on foot, avoiding public transport and enjoying fresh air. Just be careful to keep your distance when in groups. We’ve written an article about some of our favourite walking tours in London.

There are also lots of outdoor performances well into the autumn. While this might be chilly, wrapping up warm with a mug of hot tea and enjoying an al fresco concert will certainly be memorable.  

A nighttime scene of St Paul's Cathedral
Take a nighttime stroll through central London

Self-catered accommodation in London

Our self-catered apartments feature a kitchen and living space allowing you to make it a home from home

Self-catered apartments in central London

Only spend time with people in your travel bubble 

Right now, close contact with too many people is what is allowing the virus to spread more rapidly. So, when you travel to London, be sure to only spend time with the people you have travelled with. When it comes to everyone else, you should try your hardest to keep your distance.

If you’re travelling alone, you might feel more tempted to meet people while you’re away. Try to avoid meeting with people you don’t know. If you do, make sure you stick to the social distancing guidelines outlined by the government. 

As of writing, groups of six people can socialise together, so be aware that your travel party can’t be bigger than that if you want to do things together while in London.

Enjoy London safely with Stay Central 

London is a city jam-packed with remarkable things to see and do, making it a worldwide favourite getaway location. And while things are tough at the moment, a London staycation still promises an unforgettable experience - history, culture, sites, sounds and so much more. And right now you have a unique opportunity to experience London like it’s never been before: quiet, calm and more peaceful than ever. 

If you’re planning a trip to London, our range of affordable accommodation options are perfect for long weekends or week breaks. We offer self catering apartments that are ideal for independent travellers who want to avoid eating out and sharing spaces with other travellers.

Based in Bloomsbury, our accommodation is incredibly central, meaning you can reach all of the main tourist attractions by foot or by bicycle. We also have Stay Central group accommodation located near Russell Square Tube Station and popular areas such as Oxford Street, Covent garden and the West End. 

Our accommodation offers well-equipped and spacious apartments in beautiful Georgian buildings perfect for groups. We are also following all of the government's guidelines around COVID-19 safety and have introduced frequent and thorough deep cleaning processes throughout all of our accommodation. 

If you’d like to find out about our accommodation options visit Stay Central now.

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