Ted Lasso’s Haunt Near London Sees U.S. Fans Ease Tourism Pain
(Bloomberg) -- Dan Creek keeps hearing the same question from the first-time patrons with odd accents who drop by The Prince’s Head in southwest London: Is this the Ted Lasso pub?
Yes, it is the place where Jason Sudeikis’ character drowns his football and family sorrows, and Creek welcomes the curiosity. He’s the general manager of the real-life watering hole, in the leafy and well-heeled borough of Richmond, that appears in the Apple TV show under the fictional name The Crown & Anchor.
As British pubs crawl back to normal, The Prince’s Head is getting an unexpected lift while tough U.K. travel restrictions remain in place. Some Americans are stopping in the idyllic English backdrop for the TV series to have the same pint that Ted drinks and commune with the locals.
“It kind of felt like a flick of a switch,” Creek said of the patronage from U.S. visitors in recent weeks. After months of Covid-19 restrictions on the hospitality industry, “there’s been quite an uplifting change with the American tourism that’s out and about,” he said.
The number of flights in U.K., including domestic and international arrivals and departures, reached a pandemic high of 3,589 as of Sept. 5, according to the seven-day average from data released Thursday by the Office for National Statistics. But that’s still only 53% of the volume in September 2019.
Pubs, theaters and hotels are hoping that the number of high-spending U.S. tourists choosing to vacation in Britain will rise after the European Union removed the country from its safe list of countries. That would reverse an earlier trend where daily U.S. flights to several European destinations suggest the U.K. lost summertime tourism business to other countries in the region.
Still, there’s a way to go before wealthy U.S. tourists return to the U.K. in numbers because the country remains on Britain’s amber list for travel -- the mid-point on its risk scale.
So while fully vaccinated arrivals don’t face a mandatory quarantine, they need to produce a negative Covid-19 test before traveling and take another two days after landing. U.S. rules require another test before flying home -- capping a series of appointments that can add hundreds of dollars in costs.
Only on Aug. 2 did the U.K. begin allowing vaccinated Americans to skip quarantine if they test Covid-free.
At The Prince’s Head, Creek said regular customers are mingling with Ted Lasso fans who “want to sit and have their pictures taken and all this sort of stuff, which is really, really nice to see.” It’s owned by Fuller Smith & Turner Plc and operates in a building that dates to 1705, according to its website.
The management pays homage to the cast and crew with autographed photos hanging discreetly in the back of the pub. The shrine is intentionally low-key so as not to overtake its reputation as a neighborhood fixture.
“We’re a pub in our own right -- we’ve been here for hundreds of years,” Creek said. “As much as it’s great to be a part of the show, we need to make sure that we maintain our own traditions.”
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