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Life in lockdown: our wedding anniversary staycation

Two years since we said ‘I do’ and the world seems like a completely different place! The hottest August days for decades and we finally braved the pandemic and left the house to visit tourist attractions and stay overnight in a hotel.

Our first stop was Audley End House and Gardens. We have been English Heritage members for a few years and had just renewed our membership.
Audley End House has a long history but sadly the virus has closed the house to visitors to fulfil government guidelines. Timed entry slots need to be booked in advance and then scanned in from your phone so it is all contactless.
The gardens are open so we followed in the footsteps of great historical figures by admiring the building from the outside and exploring the magnificent gardens.

There were hand sanitiser stations and masks need to be worn in any of the shops or cafes. The toilets were very clean.

Next stop was Bury St Edmunds. We checked into Premier Inn and were impressed by the hand sanitiser stations and the requirement to wear masks in communal areas (although many guests walked the corridors without a mask which was disappointing. Our room was huge, possibly twice the size of the usual Premier Inn rooms that we have stayed in previously!

After dropping off our things and having a quick cuppa, we went exploring. We admired the outside of the cathedral but sadly arrived too late to gain entry. Next we visited the abbey gardens, enjoying the history, the aviary and the playground!

Dinner was our first meal out in 5 months and we chose Pizza Express. We had booked online and you need to download a menu or access the online one as paper versions were only available to those without a phone. Hand sanitiser was by the entrance/exit. The table at the end of ours was used as a drop off zone for the food and drink, and payment was contactless.
Plus we saved over £30 through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and my vegan gluten free mezze pizza was AMAZING!

A gentle meander through the abbey gardens again to reach our hotel and then we enjoyed an evening of air conditioning!
The morning of our anniversary dawned and the kids were super excited about their breakfast which is their favourite part about a hotel stay. There were clear perspex barriers between the tables and arrows on the floor for social distancing. The buffet style breakfast has been removed and food needed to be ordered via the server. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme meant we got a superb deal on our breakfast.
How should a couple of dinosaurs like us spend our special day? At Roarr Dinosaur Park obviously! A very hot day out but thankfully many of the walks are sheltered by trees so we really appreciated the shade. Take a look at our trip to Roarr here.
Our final stop on the way home was a McDonalds. Another thing that we haven’t had in about 6 months and it tasted soooo good, plus it was something to cross off our bucket list for the summer.
2020 has not been the year that any of us expected. but our wedding anniversary was extra special for being our first trip out for 5 months with food, fun and family. Could have done without the 30+ degree heat though!


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