From Friday, Greater Manchester will move into Tier 3 of the Government’s new lockdown system, meaning the region will have to endure tough Covid-19 restrictions over the school half-term holidays. Merseyside and Lancashire already occupy this category, designated ‘very high risk’, and South Yorkshire is set to follow suit on Saturday.
Why pick half-term – our only light in this gloomy tunnel – to fix a mess that has been made by others? We are coming to the end of the first term for schools and, by all accounts, it has been a challenging time. While it has been great to have children back learning and playing with friends, parts of daily school life have yet to return. Teachers have worked hard and done incredibly well to minimise the spread of Covid. Children file around school grounds in class-size “bubbles”, unable to talk to friends in other years. There is no assembly, no older buddy system and no clubs or trips. Parents cannot set foot in classrooms and some schools don’t even allow children their own pencil case. Introducing a two-week lockdown at half-term – a “circuit-breaker” – might slow down national infection rates but the timing of it would be greatly unfair to families who are already trying to keep children positive in this strange, new world. With half-term for most due to start next week, working parents will, not for the first time, be forced to scrabble around for last-minute childcare thanks to a Government whim. And then there are the half-term holidays that would have to be cancelled. England’s travel industry, as well as its hospitality industry, desperately needs us to not lock ourselves away this autumn. Yes, yes, a holiday isn’t everything. But then those without school-age offspring can say that, having popped off to Italy a month ago or Devon last week. Why pick half-term – the one chance families have of some relaxation before Christmas – to fix a mess that has most likely been made by others? Would a circuit-breaker at half-term put a stop to the illegal gatherings of those who have been flouting the rules behind closed doors? Probably not. Why should families be made to suffer for the sins of those who found the rules too tricky to adhere to? If you think about it, the Rule of Six is harder for families to comply with than it is for others – a family of five, for example, can only meet up with one other. Despite this, I am confident that families have been doing a grand job of sticking to the rules. I know this because, as a mother of young children – and I say this with a twinge of regret – I rarely get the chance to party until I become oblivious to my responsibilities. For many families, this restricted way of living is very much our ‘new normal’, and standards have not slipped since the academic year began. You will not find us among the lairy crowds that gather on the high street at closing time – be that at 10pm or 11pm. You will also not find us obsessing over air corridors, because we have been chained to the school gates since September. For many parents, booking a holiday this summer was unfeasible. Trips that had been planned in advance were cancelled, perhaps a second attempt at a break went the same way. Some families managed to slip in a few days of a staycation before September but this was only the more persistent of us. Children are anxious after seeing their daily lives disrupted by an unknown force and need something to look forward to – some fresh air, a new space to explore, a pool to splash about in. We parents, nerves still jangling from the homeschooling we juggled earlier in the year, need a break too. My family’s plans for next week are modest and involve a short stay at a hotel that is an hour’s drive from our house. I don’t like having to admit to my daughter, who is excited about a change of scene, that I have no control over whether we go or not. A two-week lockdown would also result in events that are much-loved by children being cancelled. We could just about cope with October’s Harvest Festival being reduced to a video-link of the vicar joyfully waving some carrots, but no halloween? No bonfire night? Schools – including ours – are more strapped for cash than ever before and many are facing a year of unforeseen hardship as they would normally rely on organised events to drum up money. At the moment, plans include pumpkin trails and firework displays that can be viewed within family bubbles – but a lockdown would mean that these fundraisers would be cancelled in their entirety. Children who have been living in fear of the virus since March would also, once again, be separated from the love and reassurance of grandparents they were quite possibly due to visit. It is true that implementing a lockdown at half-term would save a week of lessons from disruption but where will it end? With the effects of locking down not becoming apparent until weeks down the line, who can really be confident that a fortnight will be deemed long enough? Singapore’s lockdown was supposed to last a month but ended up being three. If we are given an order to lock down over half-term I hope it would at least come with an assurance that, in doing so, we are saving Christmas.
When TV presenter A J Odudu was a child, her annual ‘Blackpool Day’ outing couldn’t come soon enough Ever since I was seven years old, there was one day of the year where we as a family would go to Blackpool. We’d never know when, but every year, one Saturday morning we would wake up to our parents saying “We’re going to Blackpool!” We would be so excited. My parents worked really hard – my mum was a cleaner and my dad a joiner – so holidays were rare for us. One of the best things about the day was being able to set off in my dad’s car. It was a bright orange Toyota, so old it sometimes needed a push to start, but we loved it. We seldom got to go in it unless we were visiting my auntie. But this would be a journey where we knew at the end of the hour-long car ride was just a day of pure fun. Getting ready to leave was absolute chaos. There are eight of us kids – I’m one of the youngest, with four older brothers and an older sister. Mum would be busy making her special popcorn – always salted, never sweet, with peanuts added for extra crunch – while my older sister would be running around grabbing our buckets and spades from last year, as well as loo roll.
Please note our writer visited the following attractions prior to the coronavirus pandemic Manchester will enter Tier 3 from Friday October 23, but despite this being the highest level of the tier system, there are still a number of things to do and places to visit, which are all allowed as long as you only do so on your own or with your own household. Many of the greatest attractions are still open for business (with extra safety guidelines in place), and many of the most popular spots will be much less busy than normal. In parks, the rule of six still applies. In some ways, it’s a good time to explore as a family, and you can still do so while adhering to the new rules (which are outlined in detail here). Northern Quarter Take part in a street art 'anti-tour' Manchester’s Northern Quarter is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the city, with street art, independent businesses and the highest density of listed buildings in Manchester. On a street art tour with Skyliner, you’ll find out how the area became filled with creatives, the stories behind some of the street art, and the knowledgeable guide, Hayley, will discuss social issues. Insider’s tip: Bring your camera as Hayley will take you to see some of the most interesting pieces of street art in the Northern Quarter, including a huge lady in a scarlet dress called Serenity and a mural of Anthony Burgess. Contact: 07542002485; theskyliner.org Nearest Metrolink: Shudehill Price: £
Country folk like to drive their Subaru Foresters very fast. I’m not sure why: the excitement of the open road, the uneventfulness of daily life, the opportunity to paralyse a walker obliged to use the tarmac in order to get to the next stile? My home town, Totnes – which prides itself on (at least the media loves to bestow upon it), a rustic, organic, nature-loving brand-image – is strewn with rat-runs, lanes littered with blind bends and summits, and throbbing bypasses. While I have logged some pleasurable semi-suburban hikes during lockdown, for me to travel on foot to the beach at Paignton – only five miles away – I’d have to brave long stretches of murderous hedgerow-shadowed back roads or else embark on a meandering tramp through clay-clodding fields of sheep, bulls and men in wax jackets aiming things at birds. Or so I’d thought. The real obstacle is a lack of information, according to Dan Raven-Ellison, who is developing a walker-friendly map of the whole of Great Britain – and needs volunteers to help him join the dots. Raven-Ellison, from Hanwell, West London, had the idea while walking across all of Britain’s cities and national parks for an earlier project. “When you’ve walked across as much as the UK as I have, you see all that’s good and all that could be better about our footpaths. “I had a kind of epiphanic moment on a walk from Salisbury to Winchester, on the Pilgrims’ Way, when I realised a lot of people were perfectly happy doing 20- or even 30-kilometre walks for recreational purposes but that we had lost the culture of using footpaths to visit family or friends or to get to work.” Slow Ways, launched earlier this year – and itself slowed by the summer lockdown – wants to reclaim walking as a mode of transport as well as a leisure activity. Focused on Britain for now, Raven-Ellison also has plans for Ireland and international walking maps; later on, routes for cyclists and horseback riders, and even kayakers, can be added.
Please note our writers visited theses destinations prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Check the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office's website for all the latest travel advice before booking.
Minty mojitos, indigo seas, sparkling waterfalls, aromatic cigars, and bubblegum pink classic cars... the Caribbean island of Cuba has opened its beaches, B&Bs;, hotels, nature reserves and city sights to international tourists this week after six months of lockdown.
Train travel in Scotland could become a little more dour in the coming weeks. Scotrail, the national rail operator, is considering introducing a ban on alcohol consumption on all its trains. The potential move comes as coronavirus rules in Scotland become increasingly strict, and the First Minister announced that more stringent travel rules “need to be considered.” Licenced premises have recently been forced to reduce their opening hours and are now barred from selling alcohol indoors; stricter rules are in place in different areas. Unfortunately this has given rise to people travelling via train to visit pubs in less tightly regulated areas in Scotland, or even south of the border in England. One train conductor recently told the Edinburgh Evening News that weekend nights “have not calmed down”, despite the new rules, with people from Glasgow and Edinburgh travelling to pubs in Fife. Though the alcohol ban may prove unpopular with fans of a wine or gin and tonic on their train journey, it would be reportedly welcomed by railway staff who, trade union bosses say, often have to deal with anti-social behaviour. “There has always been a concern with anti-social behaviour and assaults on staff, it is an ongoing issue,” said Mick Hogg, regional organiser for the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers. “We certainly encourage our people to use the body cameras available in order to send a signal to people, and to report anti-social behaviour to the British Transport Police if it is serious.” Furthermore, while Covid-19 has acted as a catalyst for the move, an alcohol ban has been “something we’ve [the RMT) been advocating for a number of years” – a potential sign any ban could be permanent. Unruly passengers who’ve imbibed too much are refusing to wear masks or adhere to social distancing guidelines, added Hogg. On the other hand, any alcohol ban would be difficult for Scotrail employees to actually enforce on board – much in the same way that mask wearing has proved difficult for air stewards to enforce. “We can only advise people they should not be drinking and if that fails it is a matter for the BTP,” said Hogg. “We certainly welcome a ban but it really begs the question – who is going to police it?” Scotrail has said that an alcohol ban “is something they are looking into” but no further details have been released.
Ranulph Fiennes attempted the North Pole with frostbite. Bear Grylls battled icebergs and gale-force winds on an expedition across the north Atlantic. Now we are going where no explorer has yet dared to venture: South Kensington with a six-year-old.
Passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong and Italy now have the option of paying for a pre check-in rapid Covid-19 test.
A British couple have spoken about their experience boarding the first international cruise to call at a UK port since lockdown.
"This has been done to us, not with us." Cardiff restaurateur Phill Lewis is talking, as many across Wales’ hospitality industries have been since First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Monday morning that the country would enter a ‘firebreaker’ lockdown from Friday October 23, about what chance affected businesses now have to survive. And the outlook, as Phill sees it, is disastrous.
The quarantine restrictions for Britons returning to the UK could be reduced to one week, as pressure mounts on the Government to unveil a testing regime to unlock international travel.
October in Britain is marked by misty mornings and falling leaves, but here in the Maltese archipelago it still feels very much like summer. The sun’s beating down on a blue-sky day, the temperature is in the mid-twenties and there’s a refreshing breeze blowing in off the sea. But most captivating of all right now is the water: all dazzling cobalt with patches of sapphire that lend this place its name, Blue Lagoon.
On the surface of things, it is business as usual in Hay-on-Wye of literary festival fame. Yet there is undeniably dejection in the air. A weary, worrisome sense of déjà vu.
White-sand beaches and surf breaks, chic eateries and hearty steakhouses, chilled craft beer and smoky tannat wine, ruddy gauchos and tanned beauties... it’s no accident that Uruguay’s Atlantic coast has evolved from Argentine summer bolthole to global glam hotspot in recent years. Martin Amis says the happiest years of his life were spent as an expat in this small, peaceful Latin American buffer state. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Zuckerberg have both taken holidays at luxurious Estancia Vik. From Buenos Aires, soap stars, fashion models, celeb chefs, rock stars and footballers hop over the River Plate every December to see and be seen – but don’t let that put you off.
The Government’s new local lockdown system in England poses many questions for Britons hoping for a half-term holiday. Those looking for a staycation will not only have to monitor advice that is regularly changing but they will also have to consider that many parts of the UK now have different rules and restrictions, with Wales, for example, under a 'fire break' national lockdown from Friday. Where is it safe to travel to in the UK? How do you claim a refund for your half-term holiday? And are you allowed to spend time in an area that is in a different lockdown tier to your own? The Telegraph’s chief consumer and culture editor, Nick Trend, is on hand to answer all of your questions. Read on to find Nick’s answers to your questions below. How to ask a question Simply leave a question in the comments section at the bottom of this article or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 'Can I leave my Tier 2 area for a holiday?' Q. Joshua Dickson: "I am due to run and facilitate a therapeutic retreat for three days in North Devon 23rd to 26th October. The retreat is for six guests at a retreat venue/hotel and we are two facilitators. "The work involves group therapy, lectures and yoga. North Devon is a tier 1 area. I will be travelling from London, which is a Tier 2 area. Do you know if I can still facilitate the retreat?" A. Nick: No, I’m afraid that if you live in a Tier Two area you can’t meet other people indoors who aren’t part of your household, even if you are in Tier One. 'Can I travel to Britain from abroad?' Q. Frances Solomnovitch: "I have a British Passport and was born in UK. I have lived in Israel for 40 years. I intend to come to UK in November to visit my 91 year old father who lives in Epsom Surrey. "Can I quarantine (if necessary) in Dorset with a close friend for two weeks?" A. Nick: Yes - you can do this, if you register that address on arrival and follow the necessary guidelines for travelling to your friend’s address and isolating for 14 days here. 'Can I still travel to Wales?' Q. Eleanor Scriven: "If I am already on holiday in Wales when the new lockdown comes in, which prevents travel to Wales, and my home area is in Tier 2, do I have to return home, or can I continue? "Similarly, if my area is placed in Tier 2 while I am already in Wales, but it was Tier 1 when I travelled, should I return home?" A. Nick: The new lockdown in Wales begins at 6pm on Friday 23 October and continues until the start of Monday 9 November 2020. You don’t say what sort of holiday accommodation you are in, but hotels will have to close and I assume holiday cottages will too. Travelling into Wales for a holiday or to visit second homes are not permitted reasons under the Regulations. If you are already in a second home when lockdown strikes, I guess it may be permissible to stay (the issue is not specifically addressed), but only if you follow the very strict protocols of the lockdown - which won’t make for much of a holiday. There is not explicit requirement that I know of to returned to your home just because it becomes Tier 2 while you are away.
Ah! Buongiorno! Benvenuti a Roma! Inglese! Che piacere vederti! The warmest of welcomes enveloped us as we arrived in Rome. In the current climate it was the nearest we could get to a hug. Despite the damning effect of the pandemic on Italian tourism, we were greeted wherever we went with complete joy. We felt humbled and extremely privileged to be in Rome at such a time. Few will have enjoyed the Eternal City as it is right now.
Budget-friendly Eastern bolthole Ever heard of Jasná (pronounced Yaznah)? Most people haven’t, but as Slovakia’s biggest ski resort, it’s well worth considering by intermediates – and off-piste aficionados, if snow conditions are good. It’s very convenient for short breaks if Luton airport is an option. Low-cost airline Wizz Air has three flights a week between Luton and Poprad-Tatry airport, just 45 minutes from the resort. Slovakia offers amazing value for money compared with mainstream Alpine resorts. Good rooms in four-star hotels with extensive wellness facilities are available from around €50 B&B; per person for two people sharing. A pint of beer costs €3 or less, many main course meals €8 to €10.
The closure late last month of Sharrow Bay Hotel truly marks, overused cliché though this may be, the end of an era. There are very few hotels like Sharrow Bay left these days and one fears that it won’t be long before they too, like the dear old things that they are, slip quietly from view.
It’s had all the makings of a Greek tragedy, but a happy ending beckons as another island of the Hellenic Republic crept back onto the UK’s travel corridor list.
The dictionary defines pilgrimage as “a journey to a place associated with someone or something well known or respected”. Historically that meant holy sites, with the practice reaching peak popularity in the Middle Ages.
Crowd-pleasing Swiss icon Switzerland's best-known resort brings together every Alpine cliché, from its views of the world's most photogenic mountain, the Matterhorn, to its narrow streets lined with wonky, weathered chalets. Zermatt has 200km of pistes of its own, and is also linked by lift and piste to Cervinia in Italy, providing another 160km of pistes. For families, intermediates, experts and ski tourers, it sits up with the best resorts in the world.