Shropshire hotel installs beach huts as pubs revamped for reopening week

People are getting a taste of normality back today with shops, pubs, hotels, campsites and more reopening at long last.

Kristian Evans with his father Sean Evans and the huts at The Sweeney Hall Hotel
Kristian Evans with his father Sean Evans and the huts at The Sweeney Hall Hotel

The clinking of glasses could be heard as friends got to gather in beer gardens for the first time in months.

And the shutters went up at non-essential businesses bringing the High Street to life once more with staff returning to man the tills.

With pubs only allowed to open to guests outdoors many have been creative with their open-air spaces.

Beach huts have been set up outside the Sweeney Hall Hotel near Oswestry allowing diners to enjoy a meal under outdoor Covid restrictions but still undercover.

The huts welcomed their first diners today grateful for the protection against the great British weather.

The new beach huts at Sweeney Hall near Oswestry
Inside one of the beach huts at Sweeney Hall

Hotel owners, Sean Evans and Kara Kynaston-Evans, dreamt up the beach huts idea as people were hankering for holidays by the sea.

Sean said: “They have been well received and we have a lot of bookings already. We have decorated them all differently.

"There is the super funky Retro hut, the traditional Blue and White stripe or the “Ode to Cath Kidston” hut.

“I am sure people will have their favourite but actually think we love them all.”

The huts seat six people and they are open to the air in line with outdoor dining rules.

The hotel also has its popular outdoor dining pods that will be open again for diners.

The Boathouse in Shrewsbury is ready for business

Other pubs and restaurants are also making the most of their outdoor space.

The Townhouse in the middle of Oswestry has both its garden and its covered decking area and says it is already fully booked for next Saturday night.

A special marquee has been put up in the grounds of the Albright Hussey Manor Hotel on the edge of Shrewsbury for meals including Sunday lunches.

The hotel has also launched its new concept, Fire Kitchen, cooking and serving its food outdoors in new, copper fires.

Table service

The Armoury in Victoria Quay, Shrewsbury, has also been preparing for a busy April.

Amelia Lear, who helps runs the pub, said: “We’re looking quite busy already. People are just waiting for everything to reopen so they can go out and see each other again.

“All the new flowers have been put in. There are window boxes and hanging baskets.

"We’re not having so many tables outside this time because the road is staying open during the week. The space between the tables and the road has to be a certain distance so we can’t have as many.

Staff at The Armoury can get back to work. Pictured: Nicola Gow, Tom Skone, Amelia Lear and Tom Hollins

“We’ll have six tables on reserve and four that people can just walk up and be seated. At the weekend from 12pm the road will be closed.

"We’ll be open from 9am to 8pm from Sunday to Thursday, and 9pm until 9pm Friday and Saturday. So if people want they can come for breakfast and stay all day and have dinner.”

Over the border in Mid Wales, caravan parks are pulling out all the stops to welcome back England-based customers safely.

The Welsh Government took the first step to easing restrictions on March 27 when caravan parks and other self-contained accommodation were able to open to people living within Wales.

Now people across the Welsh border in Shropshire will be able to return to caravan holiday home parks and drive to touring caravan and motorhome parks across Wales.

The reopening of the parks coincides with the second week of the Easter half-term school holiday in England.

“The caravan parks in Mid Wales have never looked better as they prepare to welcome back customers from England,” said Dylan Roberts, managing director of Shrewsbury-based Salop Leisure, which also has sales centres in Machynlleth and Stourport on Severn.

“After a very quiet Easter Bank Holiday weekend in Mid Wales, park managers are really looking forward to welcoming back caravan owners and visitors from England for what promises to be a bumper holiday season.”

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