Madame Tussauds and London Eye to welcome back tourists - but it's a new normal

28 July 2020, 12:51 | Updated: 28 July 2020, 13:02

Madame Tussauds is gearing up to welcome back socially-distanced visitors
Madame Tussauds is gearing up to welcome back socially-distanced visitors. Picture: PA
Ewan Somerville

By Ewan Somerville

Madame Tussauds, Sea Life London Aquarium and the London Dungeon are among the major attractions welcoming back tourists for the first time since lockdown. 

The London Eye and Shrek's Adventure! London will also reopen with enhanced hygiene and safety measures on 1 August, Merlin Entertainments said. 

But visitors will have to pre-book tickets and a time slot online and use cashless payments.

And things will look far from normal, with temperature checks and hygiene stations in force, and staff wearing face masks and protective equipment. 

Sunny Jouhal, general manager at the lastminute.com London Eye, said staff have been "working hard behind the scenes”.

Temperature checks will be lurking in the London Dungeon
Temperature checks will be lurking in the London Dungeon. Picture: PA

"We fully recognise, along with many other businesses, that after months of closure the London tourism sector has a long road to recovery ahead of it,” he said.

"As we start to welcome guests back through the doors, and get back to what we do best, we ask the Government to continue supporting our industry and working with us to get the capital back on its feet.”

Anyone who is aged over 11-years-old will be "required" to bring and wear their own suitable face covering for the London Eye, The London Dungeon and Shrek's Adventure! London, or buy one at the venue.

Hygiene will be front and centre at the London Eye
Hygiene will be front and centre at the London Eye. Picture: PA

Meanwhile at Madame Tussauds London and SEA LIFE London Aquarium, anyone aged above 11 will be "encouraged" to bring and wear their own suitable face covering.

Conservation work is underway at the Natural History Museum on exhibits including its blue whale skeleton ahead of the venue's reopening.

The London museum is set to welcome back visitors on 5 August following months of closure, with the one-metre-plus social distancing measures in place. 

The UK's largest living coral reef display will be back at SEA LIFE London
The UK's largest living coral reef display will be back at SEA LIFE London. Picture: PA

Staff have been cleaning the 25.2 metre-long blue whale skeleton named Hope, which is suspended in the entrance to the museum, and are analysing the condition of the other objects on display.

The museum's head of conservation Lorraine Cornish said that "quite a lot of dust" had accumulated on exhibits while the venue was closed because of coronavirus.

Strict hygiene measures will be in force at London's SEA LIFE aquarium
Strict hygiene measures will be in force at London's SEA LIFE aquarium. Picture: PA

Clare Matterson, the Natural History Museum's executive director of engagement, said visitors will have a "really different" experience to the one they may have had before the lockdown because of a decrease in visitor numbers.

The venue's capacity will be reduced to around 15% of what it was previously, but the sheer size of it means distancing will be relatively easy, she said. 

Coronavirus has meant museums are facing a "really difficult time financially", she said, adding the museum is grateful for the support it has received from the Government.

Venues such as the Tate galleries and The National Gallery have already welcomed back visitors.

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