Watching the state funeral on Monday is not mandatory, although some public figures have argued it should be. But anyone looking to avoid it has other options.
The public holiday closure extends from supermarkets and large retailers to leisure centers and tourist attractions. No English heritage sites will open, not even its historic churches, it confirmed last week, or any National Trust gardens or stately homes.
People with a car and a full tank – many petrol stations will be closed – can escape to the countryside. National Trust car parks will be open, as will national parks and trails and local trails. Hikers can take a break from most pubs with channels such as Greene King and Whitbread, although those with TV screens are likely to show the funeral.
Tourist sites are closed, but many historic and scenic churches across the UK are not, and while some are showing funeral broadcasts on the big screen, many will simply be open to visitors. St Cwyfan’s-in-the-sea Church in Anglesey, Church of the Good Shepherd in Lullington, East Sussex, and Kilpeck Church in Herefordshire are all worth visiting, along with others Across the country.
If you don’t have a car, trains and buses will operate, strike-free, and there will even be additional services to cope with passenger demand to London and Windsor.
Staying local with a walk in the park or a trip to the playground can be easier. And it’s not all closed: Independent shops and restaurants are more likely to be open, unable to waste a day’s business while dealing with runaway inflation and the specter of winter fuel bills.
While most leisure centers will be closed all day, some will open for swimmers and exercise classes, such as the Putney Leisure Center in London, and others will open in the afternoon, including the leisure center Stechford in Birmingham. Searching for a pool hall, soft play center, bowling alley, or rock climbing wall will also return results in some locations.
And anyone interested in open justice can appear in magistrates’ court – although most hearings have been cancelled, some courts will open early on Monday, if they have to deal with defendants in custody overnight .
There are even a few live sports broadcasts on TV. Premier League matches and County Championship matches have been postponed, but the World Road Cycling Championships are live from Australia on Eurosport and cricket fans can watch five consecutive matches at the European Cricket Championships on FreeSports. And with race meetings at Fairyhouse in Meath and Listowel in Kerry, there are always the horses.
Royalists may have little sympathy for Republicans who choose not to mourn the Queen’s death, but families with young children may not have the stamina to watch the BBC’s nine-hour uninterrupted broadcast, or the slightly shorter coverage on every ITV and Sky channel.
And those grieving a loved one, or caring for someone with a serious illness, may find themselves unable to cope with the public spectacle.
Stephen Buckley, chief information officer at Mind, the mental health charity, said many people reacted differently to the Queen’s death:
“No matter how you feel about the news and broadcast of the funeral, there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. It’s perfectly okay to take whatever steps you find to help you feel safe and well, whether that means choosing only specific times to watch the news or not watching media coverage. The most important thing is that you do what contributes to your well-being.