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Booking for Museums, Galleries, Recycling Centres etc

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Cymroglan

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2 Jul 2011
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77
As we emerge from lockdown, I wonder whether all the insistence on “pre-booking“ will be retained by organisations because it makes their lives easier? The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!
This got me on to thinking about art galleries, historic sites and museums which I loved visiting up to March 2020! I understand why they are insisting on everyone (including members of their Friends groups) booking in advance of a visit. I assume they must have a legal duty to ensure visits are socially distant etc.
However, I’m wondering whether many attractions will find this an easier way to operate and decide to continue with it post June 21st or whenever these restrictions are eased. I for one really miss the spontaneity of the olden days. Maybe I’m alone in this! Any views?
 
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Bantamzen

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As we emerge from lockdown, I wonder whether all the insistence on “pre-booking“ will be retained by organisations because it makes their lives easier? The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!
This got me on to thinking about art galleries, historic sites and museums which I loved visiting up to March 2020! I understand why they are insisting on everyone (including members of their Friends groups) booking in advance of a visit. I assume they must have a legal duty to ensure visits are socially distant etc.
However, I’m wondering whether many attractions will find this an easier way to operate and decide to continue with it post June 21st or whenever these restrictions are eased. I for one really miss the spontaneity of the olden days. Maybe I’m alone in this! Any views?
Well if one of my local pubs was anything to go by, they started out with a strict reservations only policy. This soon changed to "reservations advised but if we can we slot you in on spec" when a significant proportion of pre-bookings blobbed and the pub was half empty a lot of the time.
 

NorthOxonian

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As we emerge from lockdown, I wonder whether all the insistence on “pre-booking“ will be retained by organisations because it makes their lives easier? The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!
This got me on to thinking about art galleries, historic sites and museums which I loved visiting up to March 2020! I understand why they are insisting on everyone (including members of their Friends groups) booking in advance of a visit. I assume they must have a legal duty to ensure visits are socially distant etc.
However, I’m wondering whether many attractions will find this an easier way to operate and decide to continue with it post June 21st or whenever these restrictions are eased. I for one really miss the spontaneity of the olden days. Maybe I’m alone in this! Any views?
I suppose it'll be down to individual businesses. I expect it will remain as an option, to avoid disappointment, but most places won't make it mandatory long term (and those that do will find it dissuades spontaneous visitors).
 

Cymroglan

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Well if one of my local pubs was anything to go by, they started out with a strict reservations only policy. This soon changed to "reservations advised but if we can we slot you in on spec" when a significant proportion of pre-bookings blobbed and the pub was half empty a lot of the time.
That’s so true, happened a lot at my local Italian come to think of it.
I suppose it'll be down to individual businesses. I expect it will remain as an option, to avoid disappointment, but most places won't make it mandatory long term (and those that do will find it dissuades spontaneous visitors).
Maybe I’m not alone in my love of the spontaneous!
 

duncanp

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Well if one of my local pubs was anything to go by, they started out with a strict reservations only policy. This soon changed to "reservations advised but if we can we slot you in on spec" when a significant proportion of pre-bookings blobbed and the pub was half empty a lot of the time.

This is a problem with pre-booking.

How do you ensure that people with reservations turn up when they are supposed to?

At my local swimming pool, if you cancel a session with less than two hours to go before the start time, you have to pay a penalty charge of £2 before you can make another booking.
 

NorthOxonian

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Maybe I’m not alone in my love of the spontaneous!
Definitely not. One of life's greatest pleasures is going for a long walk, seeing something interesting (or a nice pub), and just going in. There are some people who like having a regimented, scheduled life, and want to know what they're doing way in advance; but I think there are just as many who resent those sorts of schedules and would rather just be spontaneous. I think we'll see a system emerge that suits both.
 

WelshBluebird

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Well if one of my local pubs was anything to go by, they started out with a strict reservations only policy. This soon changed to "reservations advised but if we can we slot you in on spec" when a significant proportion of pre-bookings blobbed and the pub was half empty a lot of the time.
For the other side of the story, when pubs were open last year, at least when me and my friends wanted to have a pint in Bath (I live in Bristol, they mostly live in Bath), it was very much a coin toss about if you could get into the pub you wanted to or not if that pub didn't allow booking beforehand. Most pubs that didn't do bookings, at least on a Friday and Saturday, were full with queues waiting for free tables. On one occasion we had to try 5 different pubs before we found one that had a free table. So there was no chance for this spontaneity that people in this thread like anyway.

Personally I think whilst rules regarding needing a seat etc are in force, I think the best option is the middle ground of allowing booking ahead but only allowing a certain percentage of seats to be booked, and leaving the rest for walk ins. That way people who really want to go to a particular pub can book and make sure they don't have to chance it, whilst still allowing room for those who may not want to have plans so firmed up in advance.
 

Bantamzen

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For the other side of the story, when pubs were open last year, at least when me and my friends wanted to have a pint in Bath (I live in Bristol, they mostly live in Bath), it was very much a coin toss about if you could get into the pub you wanted to or not if that pub didn't allow booking beforehand. Most pubs that didn't do bookings, at least on a Friday and Saturday, were full with queues waiting for free tables. On one occasion we had to try 5 different pubs before we found one that had a free table. So there was no chance for this spontaneity that people in this thread like anyway.
To be fair though, depending on where you went our drinking, that could well have been true of many places pre-covid. I found it a particular problem in some towns and cities where me and my mates were going to see my team play away (Southend, I'm looking at you especially the year we took several hundred down, pretending all the pubs near the ground were closed but were all full).

Personally I think whilst rules regarding needing a seat etc are in force, I think the best option is the middle ground of allowing booking ahead but only allowing a certain percentage of seats to be booked, and leaving the rest for walk ins. That way people who really want to go to a particular pub can book and make sure they don't have to chance it, whilst still allowing room for those who may not want to have plans so firmed up in advance.
If such requirements were mandated when the pubs reopen this might not be a terrible idea, its kind of what the pub I mentioned above did unofficially. However given the success of our nation's vaccination program I honestly don't see the need for passports / social distancing / masks for any length of time after May, if at all.
 

DelayRepay

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As we emerge from lockdown, I wonder whether all the insistence on “pre-booking“ will be retained by organisations because it makes their lives easier? The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!

My local council are keeping the pre-booking rule at the tip. They say it's effective in preventing businesses and people from other council areas using the tip.

I agree with you about garden waste though - it depends on the weather. Over the last few weeks, the council has struggled to empty all the garden waste bins, with collections regularly running a day behind and then the crew having to come out on Saturday to catch up. They say there is a lot more garden waste than usual - I am not sure if they've realised that this is because they've made it so difficult to go to the tip. People are using neighbours bins and disposing of waste over several weeks, rather than going to the tip...

I haven't done any gardening this week but my green bin is full of next door's hedge cuttings - they asked if they could use mine as they'd filled theirs already!

I've also started breaking items up and putting them in the rubbish. Normally I'd leave them in the garage until I had a car full then go to the tip, but it's too much hassle at the moment.

Well if one of my local pubs was anything to go by, they started out with a strict reservations only policy. This soon changed to "reservations advised but if we can we slot you in on spec" when a significant proportion of pre-bookings blobbed and the pub was half empty a lot of the time.
My local pub started off with 'you must book', then changed to 'we advise you to book', then to 'we advise you to book on Friday evenings and at the weekend'.

The one time I phoned to book, the person who answered seemed a bit surprised. When I got there, they didn't check my name against a list and I was told to sit where ever I wanted. I didn't bother booking again and never had a problem.
 

WelshBluebird

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To be fair though, depending on where you went our drinking, that could well have been true of many places pre-covid. I found it a particular problem in some towns and cities where me and my mates were going to see my team play away (Southend, I'm looking at you especially the year we took several hundred down, pretending all the pubs near the ground were closed but were all full).
I mean yeah, it could happen pre-COVID too - but not on a normal regular Friday / Saturday night in Bath. Things like that were the exception when there was an event - Rugby and the like basically - and even with those things (watching Cardiff football home and away over 20 or so years, watching Wales Rugby in Cardiff and Twickenham, watching Bath rugby in town) I've never had to go around 5 pubs before finding one with space before!

If such requirements were mandated when the pubs reopen this might not be a terrible idea, its kind of what the pub I mentioned above did unofficially. However given the success of our nation's vaccination program I honestly don't see the need for passports / social distancing / masks for any length of time after May, if at all.
I really hope you are right! I have about 30 gigs either booked or that I want to get tickets for that are supposed to happen between the end of June and December, plus I really want my season ticket for the football to actually be worth getting for next season (we gambled on still getting one for this season and it wasn't worth it in the end).

I think this is one of the big misunderstandings on this forum. I've been pretty accepting of the restrictions, even if I've not been happy about it. Some on here have taken that to mean I want restrictions to stay, but you couldn't be further from the truth. Before COVID there was rarely a week where I wasn't doing something for more than half the days in it (be that something be a pint with friends, or a gig, or going to a football / rugby match). I bloody can't wait until we are able to get on with our lives again. And most people who have been accepting of restrictions are in the same boat. The "locktavist" boogyman that many threads here have been complaining about barely exists.
 

bramling

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5 Mar 2012
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Hertfordshire / Teesdale
As we emerge from lockdown, I wonder whether all the insistence on “pre-booking“ will be retained by organisations because it makes their lives easier? The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!
This got me on to thinking about art galleries, historic sites and museums which I loved visiting up to March 2020! I understand why they are insisting on everyone (including members of their Friends groups) booking in advance of a visit. I assume they must have a legal duty to ensure visits are socially distant etc.
However, I’m wondering whether many attractions will find this an easier way to operate and decide to continue with it post June 21st or whenever these restrictions are eased. I for one really miss the spontaneity of the olden days. Maybe I’m alone in this! Any views?

All I can say is I hope not. We managed two weeks in west Wales last October, and the need to book was a total nuisance.

You’re tied to being somewhere at a particular time, which means essentially having to allocate the whole day to it. Likewise it makes is hard to work around the weather. Then we had another place where we turned up and needed to book, but had some technical issues with the iPhone which made it a total pain.

In the medium term booking really isn’t the way to go. I think it will fall out of favour, as once people return to their normal ways, they won’t want to be tied down in this way. Having said that, a lot of people seem to like the regimented lifestyle Covid has ushered in, so who knows!
 

joncombe

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6 Nov 2016
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I can't see tourist attractions for instance going down this route. I know last year for instance in Scotland I got frustrated when on a walk past I went past a castle I wanted to visit but found it was pre-booked tickets only, which didn't used to be the case. Most places won't want to turn away custom like this given the choice. Similarly with pubs, if you are on a walk it used to be nice to pop into a pub you passed for lunch. If you are expected to book you then need to know what time you are going to get there, which isn't always easy to predict. Probably fine if there is, say, an hour time slot you can book and have flexibility but otherwise you probably going to end up booking a later time than expected and then having to wait around because you got their earlier. Then you might run the risk if you are getting there by train and get delayed on the way you're going to miss your booked time-slot for lunch and have to find something else.

I know I got very frustrated last year on a trip to Scotland where I was walking. It was when Nicola Sturgeon closed all restaurant's and only those associated with hotels could still open, but only for residents of the hotel. If I didn't book a time slot at the hotel I was staying at in time I found there were none available, which happened on several days. As a result, there was no possibility to get a hot meal at all in the town (every resturants and pub closed), unless I can find a takeway and eat it in my room (which the hotel probably also won't like and likely wouldn't provide cutlery to let you eat it either) but even then takeaways where requiring you to wait outside - not great if it's pouring with rain.

That's why this year I've given up on hotel and booked self-catering this year. At least then I know I'll be able to get a hot meal and not have to plan every aspect of my day to booked time slots for breakfast and dinner (and sometimes lunch) or be told I'm not allowed to have a beer unless I have it outside (which also happened at the same hotel last year).

So the restrictions last year in hotels caused me to book self catering this year. I doubt I'm the only one. Will Hotels want to be doing this if it loses them business? I can't see that they would.

On the other hand I can quite see Council tips going this way. Councils seems to relish in making things difficult in order to discourage them (especially things that cost them money), such as disposing of waste. I know my local one has a problem in that they have reduced capacity and there is more demand. This was regularly causing the traffic queue for the tip to build up to the point it would back up onto a roundabout (on a clearway) so they've now got marshals at busy times to send people away if the queue is going to end up back on the roundabout.
 

WelshBluebird

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You’re tied to being somewhere at a particular time, which means essentially having to allocate the whole day to it.

As opposed to travelling to go somewhere but getting there and finding out it's too full and you can't go anyway?

I'm not sure there's a single right answer to be honest and so a mix of the two, at least initially is welcome. And tbh for some places keeping that option longer term for will be a good idea too (as an option - not enforced).
 

bramling

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As opposed to travelling to go somewhere but getting there and finding out it's too full and you can't go anyway?

I'm not sure there's a single right answer to be honest and so a mix of the two, at least initially is welcome. And tbh for some places keeping that option longer term for will be a good idea too (as an option - not enforced).

This is very rare for your average visitor attraction, especially if you choose a sensible time.
 

Ianno87

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Why would you have "to allocate the whole day" to something just because of pre-booking? Surely just book an early or late slot then you've got the other half of the day to do something else?
 

Non Multi

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I visit a lot of art galleries, I'll be going to see sculpture trails and other outdoor exhibits this summer. There's no mandatory masks and no booking...

The smaller private galleries in Central London don't generally bother with pre-booking. At the larger and popular venues where there is booking, I've found the time slots of 2 hours or less somewhat stingy, as I prefer to take my time going round, making the most of my visits.
 

bramling

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Why would you have "to allocate the whole day" to something just because of pre-booking? Surely just book an early or late slot then you've got the other half of the day to do something else?

Because if it’s something like a castle, we tend to spend a fair bit of time, perhaps half a day or even a bit longer. Were I to book 1200 or something we are then tied to being there, and it’s a problem should something unforeseen happen.

I remember when we had planned to walk the disused Princetown branch in Devon, and had planned things so we worked around the sole bus per day that allowed us to do the walk one-way. We got caught up in a massive traffic jam as a result of a cycle tour which was passing through the area, and despite having planned plenty of time to get to the place where we were catching the bus, we only caught it because the bus itself was delayed.

We had the opposite at Blenheim Palace last year. From here to there is a highly unpredictable journey, so left plenty of time, and as it happened arrived well early. Guess what, were turned away from the car park, and had an hour and a half to kill. Not the end of the world, but irritating nonetheless.

I really dislike being tied down - there’s plenty of reasons why plans might need or want to change.
 

johnnychips

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There is a ‘click and collect’ vape and mask kiosk in Sheffield, where the owner opens the door if you pretend to ring him when you are stood outside (I have no idea why he just doesn’t have a box of mints to sell and then become essential, but that is OT). I wonder if attractions could have ‘standby tickets’ if the original person who books doesn’t arrive, and you can ring/go on website and book in. I know this wouldn’t suit everyone, but I have passed a few ‘bookings only’ private gardens on my walks where I might have dropped in if there were a space.
 

david1212

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If this continues far less likely I will visit anywhere as a day trip plus a major factor in considering if to look into booking a UK holiday.

That's why this year I've given up on hotel and booked self-catering this year. At least then I know I'll be able to get a hot meal and not have to plan every aspect of my day to booked time slots for breakfast and dinner (and sometimes lunch) or be told I'm not allowed to have a beer unless I have it outside (which also happened at the same hotel last year).

So the restrictions last year in hotels caused me to book self catering this year. I doubt I'm the only one. Will Hotels want to be doing this if it loses them business? I can't see that they would.

I normally book self-catering anyway for flexibility but buy my main meals out. I don't want to spend holiday time food shopping, cooking, clearing up etc or preparing food to take out with me. A further factor is the time taken returning to base of having to eat late evening.

Equally I do not want to have to plan and book ahead.

As stated a loss of trade to the local businesses too.
 
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WelshBluebird

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This is very rare for your average visitor attraction, especially if you choose a sensible time.
I am more talking about pubs and restaurants. Whilst it was a risk you wouldn't be able to get in if you just turned up (though in terms of many restaurants booking ahead was always recommended anyway before COVID), that risk is much higher whilst places are under the rules around spacing, capacity and table service.

If this continues far less likely I will visit anywhere as a day trip plus a major factor in considering if to look into booking a UK holiday.



I normally book self-catering anyway for flexibility but buy my main meals out. I don't want to spend holiday time food shopping, cooking, clearing up etc or preparing food to take out with me. A further factor is the time taken returning to base of having to eat late evening.

Equally I do not want to have to plan and book ahead.

As stated a loss of trade to the local businesses too.
As I said it really depends on the particular restaurant / pub in my experience.
Certainly I would prefer to have to book ahead than risk having to try multiple places before I found somewhere with room.
And as someone who has done UK holidays fairly often before COVID anyway, booking ahead isn't exactly a new thing. Many restaurants already were asking people to book ahead anyway.
 

Ianno87

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I wonder if attractions could have ‘standby tickets’ if the original person who books doesn’t arrive, and you can ring/go on website and book in. I know this wouldn’t suit everyone, but I have passed a few ‘bookings only’ private gardens on my walks where I might have dropped in if there were a space.

I think some do that; keep some 'places' in reserve for people that just turn up.

If something is available, nothing to stop just booking a ticket there and then on your phone.
 

Jamiescott1

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One thing I do not like about booking ahead is that the details are probably used for track and trace.
I do not give real details for t&t
 

Ianno87

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One thing I do not like about booking ahead is that the details are probably used for track and trace.
I do not give real details for t&t

Presumably the booking Ts & Cs would need to mention if this was the case.
 

Wuffle

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1 Oct 2019
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East Anglia
The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!
Is it provided by the local authority or private ?
The reason I ask "our" local authority have suggested that they will continue with it which again suggest the tail wagging the dog
 

Cymroglan

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It’s a local authority tip.
I must confess that the tip is just a minor irritation compared to my major concern about access to museums, galleries and historic sites. I just want to be able to catch the train to, say, London and waltz into galleries etc without having had to book. I have a number of Friends memberships because they bring the significant perk of being allowed to walk into the special exhibitions like the upcoming Hockney at the RA Without booking. Given that most galleries have also curtailed the members room perks, I have decided not be renew these memberships until the situation changes.
 

Red Onion

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4 Apr 2012
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Is it provided by the local authority or private ?
The reason I ask "our" local authority have suggested that they will continue with it which again suggest the tail wagging the dog

I think it’s permanent with my local authority, they’ve announced new rules which suggest the booking system is here to stay. They’ve also spent multiple thousands on ANPR controlled barriers at the entrances and that’ll need justification!
 

Eyersey468

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Joined
14 Sep 2018
Messages
933
As we emerge from lockdown, I wonder whether all the insistence on “pre-booking“ will be retained by organisations because it makes their lives easier? The manager of my local tip told me, during a friendly chat, that she wants to keep the booking arrangements permanently for this very reason even though I can never predict a week in advance when I next need to drop garden waste at the tip!
This got me on to thinking about art galleries, historic sites and museums which I loved visiting up to March 2020! I understand why they are insisting on everyone (including members of their Friends groups) booking in advance of a visit. I assume they must have a legal duty to ensure visits are socially distant etc.
However, I’m wondering whether many attractions will find this an easier way to operate and decide to continue with it post June 21st or whenever these restrictions are eased. I for one really miss the spontaneity of the olden days. Maybe I’m alone in this! Any views?
I'm a member of both English Heritage and National Trust and I get the impression from what they have said if possible they will be stopping the pre booking from June
 

Cymroglan

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2 Jul 2011
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I'm a member of both English Heritage and National Trust and I get the impression from what they have said if possible they will be stopping the pre booking from June
Ah, that’s interesting, thanks!
I’m in EH but to be honest I probably haven’t read the whole of the many emails I have received from them. EH really are very good at updating members, much better than the big galleries (apart from Royal Academy which has also been excellent). It will be great to have access to EH properties without booking!
 
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