Alnwick gets its buzz back with the reopening of shops and outdoor hospitality
Alnwick’s buzz is back with the reopening of cafes and pubs, outdoors at least, along with shops, beauty salons and gyms.
The past three months of lockdown has been a tough time for businesses and residents but they both now share a positive outlook for the future.
"We’re ecstatic to be back, absolutely thrilled,” said Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade.
"Obviously we’re hoping for third time lucky and it feels a bit different this time, a lot more positive.
"All we need now is the nation to shop, spent, eat and drink - we need you!”
Julie Robinson, who owns the Robinson’s department store, added: “It’s been a long, long wait so it feels amazing to be back. They’ve been truly trying times but I am really positive for the future of the town.
"I think Alnwick is really on the up. We have lots of lovely local customers and the tourists will now be coming back with holiday lets reopening. I’m sure a lot of people will be desperate to come out to the shops.”
Paul Scrimshaw of Marilyn & Melrose said: “It’s really nice to see people out and about again, as long as everyone remembers to be careful.”
There were lengthy queues outside barber shops, while it’s been a hectic time for hair and beauty salons organising appointments.
Lauren Shields of House of Elite said: “It’s been a ghost town for the past three months but there are some really positive vibes now. It’s mint to see everyone out and about. Everyone seems to be in such a good mood."
Customer Sandie Saunders, from Warkworth, was getting her hair done by Andrea Purvis.
"I texted Andrea as soon as I had had my vaccine,” said Sandie. “I had tried to cut my own fringe with some nail scissors so Andrea is going to put that right and take away the greys!”
No Limits Health Club on Fenkle Street was among the gyms welcoming customers back.
Owner Ian Simpson said: “We’ve had a really good response to our reopening.”
Louise Boyd, a gym regular, added: “I don’t like working out at home so it’s fantastic to be back here. I love the high you get after a workout.”
And while it was decidedly chilly, that didn’t deter many people from sitting outside cafes and pubs.
Sheila Young, who was with her family at The Rolling Pin on Narrowgate, said: “It feels wonderful and I’m so pleased for our local businesses.”
Owner Pam Robinson said: “We’re over the moon to be open again. Last summer was really good and we’re hoping for the same again.”
Jayne and Anthony Wellford, from Eglingham, were among the early customers at the Olive Branch Cafe.
"It’s lovely to be able to sit outside at a cafe again,” they said.
David Hogg, who runs the cafe with his wife, Tina, said: “It’s great to be open again and have the sun shining.”
Dean Jones of Melvyns Cafe added: “I’m very excited at the prospect of reopening to the public. It’s been far too long, I think everyone is just desperate to get out."
Friends Ben Jones, Josh Breeze and Andy Dodd were among the first customers to enjoy a drink at the Pig in Muck.
Andy said: “It tastes unbelievable!”