Despite 2021 starting in a lockdown with worries over the new Delta variant, it was the year everyone had big hopes for.
But the dark cloud of coronavirus hung over Britain throughout the year, and many areas ended with yet more restrictions in place as the new, more infectious Omicron variant threatened the festive season.
The start of the new year was muted, with people told to stay at home once again and schools, shops and restaurants closed.
It was a long, dark winter for most, with long periods of freezing conditions in many parts of the country adding to the gloom.
But unlike the previous lockdowns, there was hope that the creation of a new vaccine and the rollout of the vaccine would provide a solution to the pandemic.
The rollout expanded at pace, with tens of thousands of people jabbed each day as vaccinators worked their way down the list of the most at-risk groups first.
At the end of February, with millions having now received their first dose, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the leaders of the devolved nations set out plans and a rough timeline for restrictions to be eased.
On March 8, all pupils returned to schools in England.
On April 12, restaurants and pubs were allowed to operate outdoors. People could finally get a haircut, meet friends in a beer garden or go shopping.
From May 17, people were finally able to hug one another again and meet inside homes as indoor socialising and physical contact was allowed.
On the same day, cinemas, theatres and museums reopened, pubs and restaurants could operate indoors and the ban on holidays abroad ended as the traffic light system of travel restrictions was introduced.
At the same time, the Delta variant of Covid-19 was spreading across the UK and quickly became the dominant strain.
On June 14, Boris Johnson was forced to delay the June 21 'Freedom Day' - when all restrictions would be eased - to July 19 to allow for yet more young people to be vaccinated.
On July 19, social distancing rules which had been in place for more than a year were finally lifted.
Face masks were no longer mandatory in England – though that remained the case in other parts of the UK – limits on gatherings were gone and the work from home guidance ended.
By late summer and into the autumn, case numbers across the UK soared due to the Delta variant, though hospital admissions and deaths were a fraction of what they were prior to the vaccination rollout.
At the end of September, the UK began providing third booster jabs amid fears the vaccine protection was waning for those who were jabbed earlier in the year.
By mid-November, boosters were being offered to more and more people as health officials warned of “bumpy” months ahead during winter.
Leaders appeared confident people could fully enjoy the run-up to Christmas and all the festive season entails, with pantos, parties, large family gatherings and all the things people missed in the last Christmas.
But before November was out, the more transmissible Omicron variant emerged in South Africa. It quickly spread across the globe and the UK government was forced to implement its Plan B for tackling coronavirus.
People began cancelling get-togethers in the run-up to Christmas, over concerns about bringing the virus home to family on the festive day.
Nonetheless, they were still were allowed to spend Christmas Day with friends and family as they had planned.
But as the year drew to a close, many nightclubs had to close once again in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Leaders in all four nations of the UK suggested 2022 may start with further restrictions to deal with the feared “tidal wave” of Omicron.