As shopping centres up and down the country prepare to re-open following the government’s announcement that non-essential retail can begin to trade again from next Monday, 15th June, The Mall Luton have unveiled the specific measures being put in place to ensure the safety and comfort of shoppers.
Social distancing restrictions and hygiene precautions are being introduced within the walkways and facilities at The Mall, alongside those planned by centre retailers.
Roy Greening, General Manager at The Mall, Luton commented: “The Mall has remained open to provide access to essential retailers over the past few months. From the outset, the safety and security of shoppers and staff has been our priority. Throughout this period we have been carefully managing the flow of people through our centres in line with government guidelines. As we prepare for increased numbers of visitors with the opening of all our stores, we are implementing enhanced measures to make sure the centre is a safe place to visit.”
The centre has considered each part of the customer’s visit, in advance of the wider opening.
A traffic light system will provide shoppers with a guide on how busy the centre is. Managers at the centre will use footfall technology to manage capacity and instigate green, amber or red alerts.
“Green means the centre is free-flowing, with no queues to enter the centre – a good time to shop,” Roy explained. “Moving to amber means the centre is approaching capacity and visitors need to prepare to queue before being able to come into the centre. Red means the centre has reached capacity and visitors will be required to queue outside until such time that we can safely allow them in.”
The traffic light status will be updated on the centre’s Facebook page facebook.com/themallluton and customers are urged to check there for the most up to date status before they visit.
Nearly all entrances to the centre will be open from 15th June, with each having a separate entrance and exit door to enable social distancing. The Bute Street entrance (by Halifax) will become exit-only, due to space constraints and the entrance to the hotel will remain closed until the venue re-opens.
A one-way system will guide shoppers to turn left when exiting shops and follow the arrow markers on the floor.
Sanitiser stations have been installed throughout the centre for customer use.
An enhanced deep cleaning regime has also been implemented throughout the centre, at key touchpoints, including toilets and baby change facilities.
Lifts in the centre will be restricted to one household group at a time.
Car park chip coins will be cleaned after every use before being placed back into the dispenser machines, and all shoppers will be asked to use contactless payment methods wherever possible for their parking and in stores.
Roy continued, “We want everyone who chooses to visit The Mall to feel as safe as possible and ask our shoppers to please adhere to the government’s guidance on social distancing to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus, including of course staying at home should they have symptoms of COVID-19. We would also ask visitors to be polite and respectful to centre and retail staff who have had to adapt very quickly to support and implement these systems and precautions.”
Information on accessibility and visiting the centre will be available on the centre website www.themall.co.uk/luton and via social media channels.
Outdoor culture comes to Waddesdon Manor for late summer
This summer, open-air cinema screenings, picnic theatre and a food festival will come to Waddesdon Manor for some fantastic seasonal culture in the outdoors.
The Luna Cinema will pitch up in the grounds and screen four blockbuster films, with the 19th-century chateau serving as a picturesque backdrop. After arriving via a path lit with festoon lighting, visitors can enjoy the full service of the on-site Luna bar for refreshments and food.
Champagne may be the apt choice on the first night with Baz Luhrman’s spectacular take on The Great Gatsby (Wed 13 Sept) starring Leonardo Di Caprio. While the director’s latest, the Oscar-nominated biopic Elvis (Thurs 14 Sept), follows on the following day to fill the garden setting with Presley’s signature rock and roll. Then a modern classic, as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Fri 15 Sept), the film that kicked off one of the biggest film series of all time, will make Friday evening a nostalgic start to the weekend. The final screening will be the smash-hit of last year Top Gun: Maverick (Sat 16 Sept), starring Tom Cruise and widely cited as a saviour of big-screen cinema.
At the end of August, visitors will be transported back to Elizabethan times with the open-air production of Romeo and Juliet (Thurs 24 Aug) by the internationally-acclaimed The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all-male company. It will be a unique opportunity to watch the traditional performance in the atmospheric grounds of one the UK’s most beautiful settings. Alongside Elizabethan dress, music and dances, and with the all-male cast, guests can watch the tragedy in a similar manner to how Shakespeare’s original tale would’ve been viewed by the public, except with the extra comfort of enjoying your own picnic in the garden.
If you cannot wait for the second half of summer to see some Shakespeare, then the Unbound Theatre company will have you covered with their free picnic performance of the comedy Much Ado About Nothing (Sun 23 July)at 2pm. They will also return for another free performance of their original play Gertrude & Dorothy (Sun 20 Aug), a crime caper throwing together the noted horticulturalist and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, and Britain’s first racing driver Dorothy Levitt, for three separate showings throughout the day.
Adding to the summer heat will be Chilli Fest (Fri 1 – Sun 3 Sept) a weekend festival featuring handpicked exhibitors, all passionate about chilli, bringing the best of local artisan condiments, sauces, and chutneys to the Manor grounds. Around 70 stalls will offer up the taste of some of the most delicious chilli-food from the UK, so you can pitch up with a picnic in the sunny grounds to enjoy for the day, and then choose your favourite condiments to take home. There will also be a range of bars and distilleries, offering everything from local vineyards to flavoursome cocktails, making the perfect refreshments after a walk in the gardens. Along with live music and activities for young ones, and with a special late-night opening on Saturday, Chilli Fest is the perfect way to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine.
Of course, if you want to escape the sun for a while, Waddesdon Manor’s impressive permanent collection will be available inside. For first-time visitors or regular guests, there’s plenty to see and enjoy, including the newly restored Musical elephant automaton, the rare Sèvres pot-pourri vase, and works by Guardi, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Watteau.
Alongside the entire summer programme, which includes more theatre shows suitable for the whole family, Waddesdon Manor is set to be the perfect late summer outing for friend meetups, evening drinks, and relaxed afternoon picnics, enjoying the most exciting culture of cinema, theatre and food in a glorious summer setting.
There are limited places available for the events mentioned above, please visit the Waddesdon Manor summer holidays webpage to book and not miss out.
Wicksteed Park’s Garden Wheel Shortlisted for Best new Ride Award
Wicksteed Park’s Garden Wheel has been shortlisted for the Best New Ride at the UK Theme Park Awards.
The Northamptonshire attraction’s historic Water Chute was also nominated for the Best Water Ride and the Park received a third nomination as the Best Theme Park with Animals.
Now in its fourth year, the awards give the British public the chance to vote for their favourite theme parks in national awards recognising the best new rides and attractions, shows and events. Voting will open on 22nd July at ukthemeparkawards.com.
“We’re delighted to have been nominated in three different categories and it’s obviously particularly exciting to be shortlisted with the Garden Wheel for the best new ride,” said Wicksteed Park’s Carly Redington.
“We are up against some stiff competition with the likes of Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park but it’s great to get recognition for our ongoing investment programme in the park alongside one of our heritage rides,” she added.
Opened in May, the 25-metre-tall Garden Wheel features 18 gondolas and provides stunning views out across the Kettering attraction and the surrounding countryside. The Ferris wheel, which can accommodate up to 72 passengers, is situated at the top end of the park and is included in the price of a wristband.
Alongside Wicksteed Park other major contenders for the awards include Alton Towers and Drayton Manor in Staffordshire, Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, LEGOLAND Windsor in Berkshire and Paultons Park in Hampshire.
There are 22 categories this year, including Theme Park of the Year, Best New Attraction, Best Customer Service and Best Value. New categories include Best Reimagined Attraction, Best Theme Park with Animals and Best Themed Coaster.
In advance of the public vote, a shortlist has been compiled using public nominations and with the help of a panel of expert judges including Paul Kelly (Chief Executive of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions) and Andy Hine MBE (Chairman – Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain).
More than 25,000 nominations were received, with a total of 35 theme parks nominated for awards in 2023.
The Garden Wheel is part of an ongoing programme of investment in the Park which has included the launch of the new Galaxy Invaders ride, Meerkat Manor, Wicky Bear’s Theatre and Wicky’s Farmyard over the past two years.
Wicksteed Park provides a great value day out for all the family. Entry to the park is free. Ride and attraction tickets can either be purchased individually at £3 per person or alternatively day wristbands are available at £22 for unlimited access to all rides and attractions (with the exception of Wicky’s Play Factory).
Milton Keynes welcomes first al fresco rooftop venue Unity Sky Lounge
September 2023 will see the eagerly awaited opening of Unity Place – a multi-purpose destination in Milton Keynes bringing together community, business and leisure, championing social connectedness and environmental consciousness.
The new vibrant visitor attraction will be home to Unity Sky Lounge, an expansive rooftop bar and restaurant. Boasting an al fresco terrace nestled amongst the greenery and beautiful views of the city, the menu will feature the finest dishes and a selection of signature drinks, including seasonal cocktails and English wine.
Unity Sky Lounge is a sophisticated evening venue with a menu of small plates designed for sharing, allowing diners to enjoy the fun yet relaxed ambience, making it the perfect place to catch up and unwind with friends, or celebrate late into the night for a special occasion.
Drawing inspiration from British flavours, the menu showcases expertly crafted plates using only the finest ingredients, providing a dining experience that is in equal parts adventurous and comforting. With an array of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes, highlights from the menu include Devon hand-picked crab salad with apple and cucumber; Isle of Wight tomatoes with olive oil, sourdough and salt; Braised Berkshire pork with tomatoes, red wine and honey and Cured duck ham with asparagus and rapeseed emulsion.
For those with a sweet tooth, Unity Sky Lounge will offer a selection of mouth-watering desserts including Lemon posset with vanilla shortbread; Torched peach with mango and tarragon and Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, roasted white chocolate and honeycomb.
Turning to the cocktails, guests can indulge in the classics, all reimagined with a modern twist, or, try something new with signature creations unique to Unity Sky Lounge. From ‘Sky High,‘ made with Pinkster gin, Cointreau grenadine, egg white waste from kitchen and lime juice to ‘Thyme For Gin,‘ with local gin, lemon and thyme syrup from the kitchen waste, lemon juice and soda – the whole menu prides itself on lowering waste without compromising on flavour.
The non-alcoholic cocktails are not to be missed with a host of options from zesty citrus blends to botanical infusions such as ‘Cloudy Sky’ with Seedlip Grove 42, orange juice, grenadine, egg white waste from kitchen and lime juice, and ‘Country Garden Spritz’ with Seedlip Garden, pea syrup made from kitchen waste and Mediterranean tonic.
The addition of Unity Sky Lounge to Milton Keynes’ upcoming vibrant social scene promises to be the city’s most sought-after destination for discerning locals and visitors alike.