Huge queues are forming at London Zoo and Thorpe Park as outdoor attractions across England reopen after months in lockdown.
Despite ominous forecasts throughout the day, people have been taking advantage of the easing of restrictions but many have found themselves contending with “ridiculous” waiting times.
Social distancing rules and other restrictions, as well as the weather, have added to congestion caused by hordes of excited adrenaline junkies at the Chertsey theme park.
Photos show spaced out riders in rain macs on the Tidal Wave log flume.
The popular ride has experienced a refurbishment over lockdown, with a new paint job and the removal of the old gas ball.
The park’s Twitter page gushed at around 11am: “Thrillseekers! We’re super excited to say we’re open.
“We couldn’t be happier to see you back on the Island like no other.”
However, due to the rain some of the rides have still not opened, according to those inside the park.
One person on Twitter said he had been excited to go on Stealth but had been told by staff it wouldn’t be open until at least 2pm.
A Thorpe Park spokesperson said on Twitter: “We have activated our Island Return Guarantee for today as due to the weather we are unfortunately facing delays.”
Meanwhile, queues snaked along Regents Park as families waited to enter the capital’s famous zoo.
London Zoo’s Twitter page said: “We’re delighted to confirm that we’ll be reopening on Monday 12 April, so that you can safely visit for some fresh air, exercise and relaxation in the company of our outdoor animals.”
Much of the exhibits won’t be re-opening fully until May, though visitors were seen enjoying coming up close and personal with animals from around the world.
Ami Spillman and Zack were among those getting excited while visiting the zoo’s penguins.
England’s shops, hairdressers, pub beer gardens and pavement cafes have also all reopened today at long last.
April snow showers are making the prospect of al fresco dining or joining mass retail queues a chilly prospect but the wintry conditions appear to be doing little to dampen enthusiasm.
Despite the relaxation in lockdown rules, social mixing indoors will remain heavily restricted, with around two in five adults yet to receive their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and the vast majority yet to get both.
Boris Johnson urged the nation to “behave responsibly” as life takes another step back towards normality, with indoor gyms, swimming pools and nail salons also welcoming customers.