Dudley’s outside tourist attractions are set to throw open their doors to visitors on 12 April, as they follow the government’s roadmap for the reopening of the country.
Covid has hit the tourism industry hard as attractions have been closed, but now they are re-opening, making the most of the better weather and longer days. Ideal for staycations, Dudley borough has world class attractions in close proximity, and social distancing measures are being put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
The Discover Dudley website is the one stop shop for all things tourism across the borough and provides quick and easy links to each of the attractions. Dudley Borough also has many of the magnificent geosites which form part of the UNESCO Black Country Geopark, including the ripple beds at Wrens Nest nature reserve.
Dudley Zoo and Castle is opening up its external facilities, including walks, enclosures, funfair and courtyard, and is advising visitors that they must book tickets online at dudleyzoo.org.uk. They are operating at set maximum capacities to ensure social distancing and tickets are available on a first come first serve basis. Indoor animal exhibits, such as the primate house will be closed until May.
The Dudley Canal Tunnel Trust is offering Explorer Boat Trips on an hourly basis during Thursdays to Sundays, from 9.30am to 3.30pm, and will be running on the canal system as the caverns will not open until May. These trips are also available as part of a £15 boat trip and meal offer at the Gongoozler restaurant which are bookable online at dudleycanaltrust.org.uk. This popular eatery will be offering outdoor balcony table service food, daily 9.15am to 3.30pm, from 15 April.
Himley Park has extended its opening hours from 7am to 7pm daily and is inviting visitors to explore the famous Capability Brown landscaped gardens. The hall remains closed, but the South Terrace Hatch takeaway enables visitors to purchase refreshments including hot and cold drinks and tempting treats. The takeaway is open 9.30am until 3pm, Monday to Friday and 9.30am until 4pm on weekends.
The Red House Glass Cone in Stourbridge is reopening its artist studios where artisans continue to handcraft unique items for purchase. The cone’s popular retail shop will also open, providing the opportunity to purchase unusual pieces, ideal as gifts. The cone and exhibitions remain closed at the moment.
The Black Country Living Museum, which is currently hosting a vaccine unit, will be reopening on Monday 17 May, in time for the summer season. Stuart Connelly, Head of Culture, Leisure & Bereavement Services, said:
"We’re really pleased that we can welcome people back to our great local tourism attractions and hope that people take the opportunity to enjoy them safely.
"People are reminded that Castle Hill is currently one-way in the direction of Castlegate island to allow construction to commence for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension.
"Traffic will be maintained one-way in the direction of Castlegate island with clearly marked diversion routes in place to assist road users."