NORTHUMBERLAND welcomed back tourists for the first time in months this weekend as B&Bs and caravan sites reopened alongside pubs and restaurants.

Businesses were able to welcome their first guests since March as lockdown restrictions were eased.

Verona Woodhouse, who runs Allendale Caravan Site, was happy to welcome people back.

She said: “We’re absolutely delighted to open again, and people are so happy to be here.

“Some people turned up on Saturday - our first guest arrived at seven in the morning, and she had a long drive.

“It’s been gorgeous sunshine in the Allen Valleys, and I think people have been really looking forward to coming to their place.”

The site has had to put precautions in place - but with no shared facilities and guests who have a long-time interest in the area, it’s as close to normal as it’s possible to be right now.

Verona continued: “We’re a very small park and we don’t have common facilities, so the only thing we had to do was put a one way system on a narrow walkway.

“We believe we can keep to a two metre distance on the park. We’re just being careful.”

Elsewhere, Geoff James, the owner of Ashcroft Guest House, in Haltwhistle, has found reopening to be something of an adjustment.

He said: “This is our 25th summer at Ashcroft, and we’re having to unlearn things that have become normal, like being friendly and approachable.

“It’s early days, but we are open. Guests are pleased to be here. We’ve done all the risk assessments and we’re complying with all the legislation.

“It’s very up and down at the moment, things are changing by the minute.

“We’ve had several bookings on Monday, but a few more cancelled. I think people are a little nervous about going away.”

However, Geoff is also concerned about the loss of summer business.

He continued: “It’s a case of suck it and see - hopefully by September it will look really busy.

“My biggest fear is that we rely on the busy summer months to carry us through winter. We were just coming to that busy period when everything was shut down in March.

“We’ve already lost April, May and June and some of July. I don’t think we’re out of the woods just yet.”