Tourist sites and supermarkets to close for queen’s funeral

Center Parcs sparks storm of criticism after announcing it will order holidaymakers to leave its five UK sites

Shops in New Bond Street, central London, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
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High street shops and major tourist attractions will close next Monday to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

National Trust sites and English Heritage attractions across the country will be shut as will a number of major museums and galleries.

But holiday company Center Parcs sparked a storm of criticism after announcing it will order holidaymakers to leave its five UK sites on the day of the funeral from 10am.

Guests part of the way through seven-day holidays — which generally cost more than £1,000 ($1,154) for a family-of-four at this time of year — will be forced to spend the night elsewhere or go home early.

Those due to arrive on Monday for shorter stays are being given the opportunity to begin their breaks a day later.

Center Parcs said it made the decision “as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be part of this historic moment”.

Customers expressed their anger on Center Parcs' Facebook page.

“We were five related families getting together for our annual family holiday — with two small children and two dogs, three hours from home!” one wrote. “Sorry, but this is an awful, awful decision that has left us devastated. By all means close the restaurants and activities, but let us stay on the park!!” another wrote.

Tourist sites

“As a mark of respect, English Heritage is closing all sites on Monday, September 19 for Her Majesty the Queen's state funeral,” the organisation said.

National Trust houses, gardens, cafes and shops will also be closed on the day of the funeral.

The trust said coast and countryside car parks and booked holiday cottages and campsites will remain open for visitors.

“National Trust places will remain open during the mourning period to provide a place of reflection for members and visitors,” the charity said.

The National Trust looks after hundreds of stately homes and other historic properties and gardens, as well as more than 242,800 hectares of countryside and more than 1,255 kilometres of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the National Trust for Scotland said buildings and gardens would be closed while countryside sites would remain open on the day of the funeral.

High street closed

Sainsbury’s and Aldi also told shoppers they will keep their stores shut on September 19, when the queen’s state funeral will take place. LIdl, Co-op Morrisons, Marks & Spencer are also closed. Asda said it would be closed until 5pm.

Poundland, with 770 shops, DIY retailers B&Q, Currys and Toolstation and furnishing chain Dreams are all set to be shut for the funeral on Monday — which has been declared a bank holiday — along with John Lewis and Primark stores.

Major cinema chains, including Cineworld, Odeon and Showcase, will shut for the day.

Other cinema chains, including Curzon and Arc, have chosen to screen the funeral for free while cancelling the rest of their programming that day.

Sainsbury’s said it would shut its main supermarkets and Argos shops on the day of the funeral, but it will keep convenience shops and petrol filling stations open during the evening.

Dreams' chief executive Jonathan Hirst said: “Our heartfelt sympathy and thoughts are with the royal family at this sad time. We will be closing all areas of our business, including our stores, and pausing all deliveries on Monday September 19 so that our colleagues can come together with the rest of the country to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen.”

Poundland said: “We know how important it will be that colleagues have the opportunity to pay their respects next Monday, as the country comes together to honour and celebrate the life of the queen.”

Supermarket rival Aldi also confirmed it will close all its stores for the day.

“As a mark of respect, all Aldi stores across the UK will close on Monday, September 19 to allow our store colleagues to pay tribute to Her Majesty the queen,” the company said on Twitter.

Primark confirmed it will shut all its 191 high street stores next Monday. The value fashion chain said its stores will reopen for normal hours the following day.

“Our stores, depots and head office in the UK will be closed on Monday, September 19, to give our colleagues the opportunity to pay their respects and watch the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said a representative for Primark.

John Lewis confirmed that it will also shut all its stores as a mark of respect.

Parent business the John Lewis Partnership said it will shut John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets all day for the funeral.

Retailers are not required to shut their doors on the day of the funeral and others may choose to open for reduced hours, as many regularly do on other bank holidays.

The government guidance is: “Some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the state funeral, however, this is at the discretion of individual businesses.”

Updated: September 13, 2022, 3:17 PM
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