Buckinghamshire’s tourist industry rises to the challenge of lockdown

Photo shows: Bletchley Park
Bucks Tourism

What do you do when your pub or restaurant is not allowed any customers? What do you do when your visitor attraction is not allowed any visitors?

Adaptability is the name of the game and Visit Buckinghamshire & The Chilterns has been inspired by stories of how people are learning new ways to run their businesses in Buckinghamshire.

Lucy Dowson, of Visit Buckinghamshire & The Chilterns, said: “Our tourism and hospitality businesses have felt the full force of Covid-19, with their cash flow turned off overnight and just before the start of the Easter holidays. It will take many months, perhaps years for the industry to recover. However, this has not deterred some of our businesses, who have changed their business model as a result of Covid-19 and in many cases have become the lifeline of the local community.

Lucy added: “Of course, for some it is not possible or practical and our heart goes out to them but for those who have been able to adapt, we salute you and support you.”

In Buckinghamshire, many local producers and shops are getting renewed recognition and custom during this challenging time. The Chiltern Brewery, near Wendover, is the oldest independent brewery in the Chilterns and they now offer a click and collect service, as well as deliveries so you can enjoy their excellent ales and beers, brewed with 40 years of experience, at home.

Another brewery that is taking its ‘essential service’ status seriously is Malt the Brewery, in Prestwood, delivering their craft ales and beers, wine, artisan spirits and snacks within a few miles of their premises.

Orchard View Farm, near Princes Risborough, are offering a click and collect service on local essentials such as bread, fruit and veg, as well as produce packs, meat from the butchery and freshly prepared meals.  Later this week they will be firing up the pizza oven for takeaways from 5-8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Many pubs are now doing takeaways, such as The Full Moon Pub, Hawridge, with Fish and Chips Thursdays and their own mini bakery. The Kings Head, Aylesbury has created its own food hall in the courtyard (and online) of this historic pub in the town centre.  If you’re after more than just essentials, Daws Hill Vineyard in Radnage and the Deli at No.5 in Thame have joined forces to offer wine and cheese pairings, delivered to your door.

The area is blessed with historic places to visit in Buckinghamshire, but with the lockdown firmly in place, these resourceful businesses have thought of ways to enjoy them from the comfort of our sofas.

Waddesdon Manor and Estate, the jewel in the crown of the National Trust is offering virtual tours of the house, exhibitions and gardens in all their Spring splendour. Stowe House is being gradually renovated and you can watch videos of the amazing work by the Stowe Preservation Trust on their social media and on the Visit Bucks channels.

Beckonscot in Beaconsfield, the world’s first model village, has created a virtual tour round its enchanting miniature world. Enjoy a trip via video on The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, whose steam and diesel train usually does a 7 mile round trip from Princes Risborough to Chinnor. Spring is of course the time for new arrivals and you can watch the newborns at Odds Farm Park and Green Dragon Eco Farm on their social channels.

The Chiltern Open Air Museum and The National Paralympic Heritage Centre are sharing educational free downloadable resources to help parents home-school. Bletchley Park, famous for the Enigma Codebreakers, is preparing to celebrate the 75th VE Day on May 8th with their home celebration packs. These include instructions on how you can make bunting to festoon your house and street on the day and revel in some of that uplifting wartime spirit that some have compared to the community spirit we are seeing across the UK today.

Finally, Visit Buckinghamshire & The Chilterns is working with Buckinghamshire Business First and other local and national partners to put measures in place to help the visitor economy survive and bounce back when the time comes. We will be feeding back into a national consultation on the impact of Covid-19 on Tourism and Hospitality, to this end it is asking local businesses to fill in a short survey (at https://bit.ly/2VEgAcN) so that we can include these responses in our submission to government.