People return to UK cities for leisure, not work

Study says metropolises back to pre-pandemic levels at the weekend but not during the week

The number of people in UK city centres at weekends is back at pre-pandemic levels but weekday footfall is yet to recover fully, according to a study released on Friday.

Centre for Cities said footfall in the centre of cities it studied reached three quarters of pre-pandemic levels at the start of the month and weekend footfall has returned to normal.

"The stark gap between weekday and evening and weekend footfall suggests that most people are now willing to return to city centres for leisure purposes, such as shopping or nightlife, but not for work," it said.

Overall footfall was highest in Blackpool, Southend, Barnsley and Burnley, according to the study of 63 cities.

The think tank said footfall in 11 of the cities has now returned to normal, mostly in the North and Midlands, with London and other big cities continuing to lag behind.

In central London, footfall is just half of pre-pandemic levels while in Glasgow city centre it was 64 per cent and in Manchester city centre it was 73 per cent, the report said.

Updated: November 19th 2021, 12:01 AM