Is a cautious cuddle top of your list?

Liverpool made headlines around the world again in May, as clubbers and music fans took part in a series of scientific event trials that saw thousands letting loose to the sounds of Fatboy Slim, Yousef and Blossoms. Jealous? Us? Noooooo. Well, maybe just a little bit. 

The Prime Minister has confirmed that England will move to Step Three of the road map on 17 May, meaning that we can all start to get excited about some of the things that we've missed. 

It might not be the third summer of love, but we’re looking forward to switching cyber-hugs and elbow bumps for a cautious cuddle

From Monday, six people or two households can meet indoors, with overnight stays allowed. People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors, including for weddings, receptions and other life events. And although there’s still one more fork to navigate before further restrictions are removed for Step Four on 21 June, it looks as if the road ahead is clear.

In the meantime, here are just a few of the things we can’t wait to do from 17 May…

Eat and drink indoors

No surprises that these two make the top of our list. We've bloody loved being back at our fave places, but British weather sucks and it's really hard to eat tapas wearing mittens. From 17 May, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers indoors; groups of up to six will be allowed inside (the rule of six), or two households of any size. Venues will still need to adhere to COVID safety guidelines, including social distancing, masks and table service.

So, let’s give a big cheer for all those places that can finally reopen and pledge to play our part in the second annual “Don’t Be A Dick” day on 17 May. What are the rules? Simple, just don’t be a dick!

2020 03 12 Liverpool Duke Street Market
Duke Street Food & Drink Market reopens for socially distanced dining

Connect with culture

We’ve been pining for a wander round one of Liverpool's galleries or museums followed by coffee and cake, because life without art is just...well, coffee and cake. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we are starting to get a bit chubby around the chops without the walking part. 

The good news is it’s time to turn your Fitbit back on as National Museums Liverpool reopen from Tuesday 18 May. There’s loads to catch up on, including the John Moores Painting Prize at The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid at The Museum of Liverpool and AI: More Than Human at World Museum.

But that's not all - our beloved FACT has also announced that they're back open from Wednesday 19 May with three new free exhibitions, a series of immersive events, a LightNight celebration, the launch of a new film programme in hidden locations across Liverpool and the return of Picturehouse at FACT. Culture vultures, now is your time to shine.

Ai More Than Human World Museum Poem Portraits By Es Devlin  Photo Tristan Fewings Getty Images
PoemPortraits by Es Devlin, part of AI: More Than Human at World Museum Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

Catch a film at The Everyman Cinema 

Movie night at home just isn’t the same as a trip to the flicks and we can’t wait to watch some of this year’s Oscar and BAFTA award-winners on a proper big screen with ball-busting sound, a hot dog, popcorn and a bottle of wine. And that’s just our snack pack during the trailers. Top of our list to see at Everyman Cinema are Judas and the Black Messiah, Nomadland and Minari. Just don’t ever, ever make us watch Tenet again. 

Curtain call

Music, dance, drama and comedy are all part of the line-up at Storyhouse as the Chester arts centre welcomes audiences back to Hunter Street for the first time since December. Indoor performances will resume with social distancing measures in place from 17 May and Storyhouse is ready with a box of entertaining and thought-provoking delights. 

Theatre includes Madame Ovary from 21 - 23 May, and Julie Hesmondhalgh’s acclaimed one-woman show, The Greatest Play in the History of the World, will run from 26 – 30 May. Bookings are coming in thick and fast already - visit The Storyhouse website to reserve your tickets for these shows and lots more throughout the summer.

Storyhouse Chester Arts Centre Culture Art Deco Building C Beccy Lane2

Strike it lucky at PINS

Amusement arcades, bingo halls and bowling alleys can reopen from Monday 17 May, and once we've dropped our Nan off at the Mecca in Knotty Ash, we'll be whizzing down to PINS Social Club on Duke Street

With twelve bowling lanes plus ping pong, beer pong, shuffleboard, pool, karaoke, live music and boss drinks, PINS really is life in the fast lane. It also boasts one of the coolest rooftop bars in the city, serving killer cocktails and mighty fine pizzas. Even if it does start to piss it down, guess what? You can now bring your drinks indoors! The Dude abides. 

2020 02 06 Pins Social Club Liverpool
Love at first strike? PINS is back for grown-up gaming fun

Pack your bags

Foreign travel has been given the go ahead from May 17, when the "Stay in the UK" restriction will lift and people will be able to travel to green list countries. But why bother deciphering the government’s bonkers traffic light system when you could bag a bargain break right here? Titanic Hotel at Liverpool’s Stanley Dock is just one of the city hotels offering great getaway deals, including an overnight stay in a superior room with a three course meal plus breakfast, priced from £149. Guaranteed to bring some bounce back into lockdown life, or at the very least, a break from the washing up.

So near, so spa

Saunas and steam rooms can reopen from 17 May for the full spa experience so if you’re in need of a proper pamper then Thornton Hall in Wirral has got you covered. Grab your gang (rule of six applies) and book a day pass or weekend package to relax, unwind and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Slap some sliced cucumber on your eyelids and you're halfway to the South Sandwich Islands anyway.

Thornton Hall Hotel Outdoor Pool Fb 1200X600
Ditch social media and find your zen at Thorton Hall Hotel & Spa

Get down to a gig

Ok, so we’re not quite ready to “see you down the front”, get drenched in a mosh pit or do any windmilling on the dancefloor, but venues can now bring music indoors, albeit fully seated and socially distanced. The Angus Tap & Grind on Dale Street has already mastered the art of COVID-friendly live music and will be reopening from 17 May with an impressive line-up of acoustic gigs in the calendar, including Ian Prowse, John Power, The Tea Street Band, Edgar Jones, The Real People and The Shipbuilders. Tickets are available from Skiddle but you'll need to move quickly as many shows are already sold out. Their sister venue, The Coach House on Maryland Street, remains open for all of your outside drinking needs. Where did we put those mittens again?

Cautious cuddles

The Prime Minister has also announced that physical contact such as hugging can resume between different household groups. Say what? Yep, hug life is back. Government guidance says if you are meeting friends and family, you can make a personal choice on whether to keep your distance from them, but you should still be cautious and take action to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Measures include making sure that inside spaces are well ventilated, minimising close contact with others, washing hands regularly, getting tested twice a week and taking the vaccine when you are offered it. 

It might not be the third summer of love, but we’re looking forward to switching cyber-hugs and elbow bumps for a cautious cuddle every now and then. 

For full guidance on what’s changing from 17 May, visit the UK Government website.

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