HOTELIERS are ready to welcome visitors back to Bicester as lockdown restrictions ease further next week.

From Monday, up to six people or two households can not only meet indoors but stay overnight, and hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen.

The restrictions lifting unlock tourism across the country and people are expected to start visiting Bicester again.

Bicester hotels are excited to host guests after being closed for months.

General manager of Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Paul Morgan, said:: “The last 14 months have certainly been challenging, with multiple closures across our entire resort it has been extremely difficult to ensure we have our own roadmap once we do come out of the pandemic.

"It’s certainly been a rollercoaster with a few bumps along the way but we are extremely determined to get back to where we were before the pandemic and offer guests a truly memorable experience.”

Mr Morgan said there were times when the hotel in Chesterton could have reopened last year, but it remained closed because it did not consider visits as essential.

One of the most popular tourism attractions in Bicester is Bicester Village and the designer outlet works in partnership with hotel and visitor attractions across Oxfordshire, including Blenheim Palace and the Ashmolean Museum.

With the return of overnight stay, people can spend more time exploring the local area.

A Bicester Village spokesperson said: "The wide selection of accommodation in Bicester means that visitors will be able to extend their stay and explore the rich heritage and culture on offer, as well as the warm local hospitality of the local region."

Kerrie Ponting, who runs Lionsgate Guest House on Kings End, is hoping people will stay at her B&B which she opened in December - just before the third lockdown was announced.

She said: "After only one set of guests, I had to close and cancel the other reservations I had booked. It was a huge blow after spending a lot of time trying to promote my new business.

"I am staying positive and I hope that with the further easing of lockdown more people will want to book breaks away and I hope they will support small businesses like mine.

"Bicester and its surrounding areas has lots to offer - a perfect base to stay and explore."

Bicester Chamber of Commerce Chairman Graham Perryman said: "Tourism is a very important part of our local economy, whether it is domestic or overseas it will be a key part of the recovery process.

"We see tourism as a key benefit as millions visit each year from outside the town and by offering high quality places to visit and enjoy for everyone, we see a bright future."

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