It has been a hectic day as the lifting of lockdown restrictions has allowed pubs, hotels and hair salons to reopen.

But as night has set in, Basingstoke has become more subdued. 

While there were pictures of busy scenes outside barbershops and hair salons this morning, the crowds have thinned out this evening. 

This afternoon saw punters in high spirits across the town's pubs. 

And punters in their dozens queued for The King of Wessex, The Duck and Tipple, The Angel and The Maidenhead Inn today as pubs were allowed to reopen after four months. 

Cllr Ken Rhatigan, leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, welcomed the move and said he was delighted to see people out enjoying the town.

He told The Gazette: “It's great to be back in Basingstoke with the place open and people thriving.

"It is great we are getting out of this lockdown and we are open for business in Basingstoke."

Some pubs in Basingstoke have decided not to open at all today. Laarsens on Wote Street is set to open Monday while The Wheatsheaf, on Winchester Road, will reopen Thursday.

Its manager Geoff Harman, 41, told The Gazette that he has been using the past four months as an opportunity to refurbish the pub. 

He said he wanted to avoid reopening today to get things in place ahead of their reopening on Thursday. 

That didn't stop regulars ringing the Winchester Road pub and texting him to find out whether or not they were opening, though.

"The phone hasn't stopped," he said. 

The landlord has been doing 12 hour days to give the pub a make-over, including re-fitting the toilets and repainting inside.

Of course, there are additional changes too with fewer tables to allow for drinkers to adhere to social distancing measures. 

He said his message to the public is to "be safe" and "support local businesses if you can".