The village pub near Corby where diners eat in their own igloo

The geodomes have proved so popular that the pub has already taken bookings for Christmas
The four geodomes will be in the pub courtyardThe four geodomes will be in the pub courtyard
The four geodomes will be in the pub courtyard

A village pub is offering a new concept in social distancing after deciding to install geodesic domes for its diners.

The Sondes Arms, once frequented by Charles Dickens, has taken an innovative approach to catering for pubgoers in a post-pandemic world by investing in the four plastic bubble domes that it is installing in its courtyard.

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Since bosses announced their imminent arrival, the phone has been ringing off the hook with people trying to book them.

Sondes Arms, Rockingham.Sondes Arms, Rockingham.
Sondes Arms, Rockingham.

And the pub's post on social media to let customers know about the new feature has already been viewed nearly 100,000 times.

Using part of the £25,000 grant that the Government gave to leisure businesses to help them come up with innovative ways to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, the four-to-six seater domes bought by the Sondes will allow customers to eat outside whatever the weather.

Sam Haynes, who has overseen the project for the family-run Sondes, said: "We've just had an absolutely incredible response.

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"It's gone a bit crazy. As soon as we started to take bookings the phone just didn't stop ringing.

"We haven't even got a firm launch date yet but what we do have is a long waiting list!

"People have been very flexible and some have asked for specific dates for birthdays or special occasions. We've even had people asking for Christmas bookings!"

The pub, which sits in the shadow of Rockingham Castle, decided to order the geodesic domes after having to reduce the number of tables inside their restaurant to account for social distancing. Sam had seen the domes at other venues elsewhere and decided to take the plunge.

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Sam added: "We don't get a reduction in rent so we still have to make ends meet.

"We just didn't really know what to expect from reopening so it's nice to know that people trust us to do everything we can to keep them safe.

"Boris wanted to businesses to think outside the box when using their grant and that's exactly what we've done."

As well as using the money to help pay bills during the enforced lockdown, the Sondes has also refurbished its toilets and bought hand sanitisers to place around the 16th century coaching inn.

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Sam said: "We just wanted to do something a little bit different and we're glad people have shown us such amazing support even though the domes haven't been built yet!"

It is hoped the domes will arrive in the next week and they'll be installed as quickly as possible so people can start enjoying them.