Galleries, museums and cafes are shifting their focus to offer visitors Covid-safe experiences outside, even through winter
In a remote corner of the Yorkshire Dales, there’s an unusual sight among the farm animals this winter. On the terrace of the Courtyard Dairy cheese shop, next to a colourful cow sculpture, sit a pair of Alpine intruders. The interlopers are not of the four-legged variety; they are ski gondolas, once used to whisk holidaymakers up the pistes of Courchevel in the French Alps. Now, these snug pods offer visitors the chance to feast on Alpine specialities such as raclette and fondue.
For owner Andy Swinscoe, bringing his cafe outside has been a lifeline in a bleak period. Around 75% of his business was lost during lockdown. Since then, the cafe and museum that had made the dairy a Dales’ destination for tourists have had to remain closed. Over summer, he introduced a cheese vending machine and started selling takeaway coffee and ice-cream, but says: “We felt like without the cafe, even though it was not the biggest part of our business, we had lost our appeal. Because we are in the middle of nowhere, we needed that draw to get people to us.” Andy invested in the gondolas in July and because they are socially distanced and protected from the elements, they’ve been a hit.