Britain’s busiest landmarks and beauty spots lie deserted under coronavirus lockdown 

Britain has turned into a ghost country, where the streets of London are now shadows of their former selves and popular destinations around the country are deserted since Boris Johnson imposed a coronavirus lockdown.

The change feels most drastic in London, one of the world’s biggest capital cities. Its nine-million population are nowhere to be seen, while tourists have been discouraged from visiting its famous sites.

Jam-packed streets that Londoners moan about have gone the way of the dinosaurs and the dodo, almost totally cleared as residents adjust to life under new draconian rules ordered by the PM on Monday. 

From the pavements outside Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus; to the West End and its bars, restaurants, and theatres; footpaths, bridges, Tube stations, and shopping malls – all are devoid of life. 

The Changing of the Guard has been suspended, while the Millennium Bridge over the Thames was deserted as galleries, pubs, and cafes were told to shut up shop under the virus had subsided.  

Places of worships have been told to shut their doors, leading to the remarkable scenes out from St Paul’s over the south bank of the river – now completely clear of people. 

Tower Bridge was also free of its usual queues of traffic, while air quality is understood to have risen sharply since the lockdown came into force as drivers and taxis stick to the rules and stay home.

Canary Wharf station, at the heart of London’s financial district, did not have a single banker or broker on its escalators on Tuesday, after only a handful of roles in the industry were granted key worker status. 

People walking across the Millennium Bridge with St Paul’s in the background (left, March 13; right, March 26)

London’s National Gallery in Trafalgar Square before and after the lockdown (left, January 2014; right, March 2020)

Buckingham Palace, usually packed with bustling crowds, has since emptied (left, March 13; right; March 24)

Locals and tourists visiting London’s Leicester Square before and during the lockdown (left, March 13; right, March 25)

Commuters pictured crossing London Bridge before and during the lockdown (left, March 13; right; March 25)

London’s Criterion Theatre, where The  Comedy About A Bank Robbery shows (left, March 12; right, March 24)

Commuters pictured at Waterloo Station in London before and during the lockdown (left; March 12; right, March 25)

The Palace Theatre, where the Harry Potter play is showing before and during the lockdown (left, March 12; right, March 24)

Shots of London’s Tower Bridge before and during the coronavirus lockdown (left, March 16; right, March 24)

The emptiness has spread beyond London – widely regarded the engine of the UK’s viral outbreak – and infected Bath, now deserted as locals stay indoors and travellers from Bristol stay away. 

The UK’s wide beaches, enjoyed by local communities for decades, are now public mausoleums to their former playground status. Just a handful of strollers and joggers visit Bournemouth bay.  

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, normally one of the most popular areas of the Old Town, was also eerily quiet. 

Organisers of one of the most popular events in the city’s calendar, the Edinburgh Fringe festival, say they are still planning for the Fringe’s programme of comedy and drama to go ahead as planned in August.

Even Barry Island, made famous by the TV series Gavin and Stacey, looks similarly abandoned by residents and tourists from around the country hoping to pose for photos at sites used in the programme. 

These scenes come as:

  • The Prince of Wales tested positive for coronavirus but is only displaying mild symptoms;
  • The Foreign Office announced that Steven Dick, 37, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Budapest, had died after contracting coronavirus;
  • NHS England said hundreds of thousands of tests for Covid-19 per day could become a reality within weeks;
  • Boris Johnson urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to ‘get more Tubes on the line’ but resisted calls to ban non-essential construction workers from heading to building sites;
  • Parliament is set to adjourn for an early Easter break after emergency legislation is approved;
  • The PM said ministers are considering asking black taxi drivers to act as a transport service for NHS workers.

Bath city centre before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, March 11; right, March 24)

Bath city centre before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, March 11; right, March 24)

Bath city centre before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, March 11; right, March 24)

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, March 14; right, March 21)

Barry Island in south Wales before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, September 2019; right, March 2020)

Bournemouth beach before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, June 2019; right, March 2020)

Bournemouth beach before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, September 2019; right, March 2020)

Barry Island in south Wales before and during the PM’s coronavirus lockdown (left, June 2017; right, March 2020)

Forty-three coronavirus deaths were recorded yesterday, compared to 87 on Tuesday – but new infections rose by 1,452 to 9,529 as Britons flouted the Government-imposed lockdown. 

Twenty-eight more patients died overnight in England. Six more patients died in Scotland, five in Wales and four in Northern Ireland – bringing the total death toll to 465 in Britain.

They included a 47-year-old who did not have an underlying health condition. The others who died, including one person aged 93, did have underlying health conditions. In contrast, 87 infected Brits died the day before. 

Despite the death rate falling by half, the country saw a record spike in cases on Wednesday, with 1,452 more patients known to have caught the deadly virus, bringing the total number of cases to 9,529.

The Department of Health and Social Care late yesterday confirmed a total of 97,019 people have been tested with found 87,490 negative. The update said that 463 people had been killed by the virus.

The update for the death toll on Tuesday was at 1pm, so the data only covers from then until 9am Wednesday, which would explain the slight difference in the death rate.

Scotland only announced two deaths yesterday, while Wales confirmed just one. Both countries have now had 22 coronavirus victims. Northern Ireland this afternoon announced two more fatalities as well as two last night. 

The true size of the outbreak is being hidden because of the Government’s controversial decision to only test patients in hospital. The true size of the outbreak is likely to be closer to the 400,000 mark.

Despite clear Government guidance members of the public are continuing to the rules by heading out to sunbathe on the second day of the coronavirus lockdown.

Footage has emerged showing police dispersing Britons gathering in parks and other public places, with people gathering despite strict advice to stay at home yo avoid the outbreak overwhelming the NHS.

In Shepherd’s Bush in West London, people soaked up the sun, seemingly oblivious to the tight restrictions imposed by the government on Monday. Police were seen telling the sun worshipers to leave and go home.

Others were seen enjoying the weather at Battersea Park in South West London, on the beach in Portsmouth and in the sea off Eastbourne today despite the Prime Minister urging people to stay at home.

Meanwhile in Manchester, officers today dispersed groups, some of which greeted each other with a hug, along with sunbathers in Piccadilly Gardens. Police also used megaphones to tell people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, saying ‘this is serious, we need to beat corona.’