Take a holiday in Britain this summer, says Boris Johnson

Hugh Morris
·22-min read
The Cornish coast
The Cornish coast

Boris Johnson has revealed that he will take a holiday in the UK this year and has encouraged others to do the same.

This weekend saw thousands of Britons depart for the Continent as the Foreign Office eased travel and quarantine restrictions, but many thousands more are due to take trips at home this summer. 

On a visit to the London Ambulance Service, the Prime Minister told reporters: "I think this is a great, great year for people to have a staycation.

"This country is uniquely blessed with fantastic places to holiday, whether coastal or otherwise. And I am certainly going to be doing that, but I won't necessarily tell you where at this stage.

"Obviously if people feel the need for a foreign holiday then that's completely a matter for them, I totally understand it, but there are fantastic, fantastic places, peerless, wonderful, superlative places in the UK to go on holiday and that's certainly what I will be doing."

Many accommodation companies and campsites have reported surges in interest since domestic travel restrictions were first lifted.

Follow the latest news. 

04:25 PM

All eyes on Greece ahead of restart

Read about all the key developments today below, including:

  • Greece flights still due to restart this week despite coronavirus concerns

  • Centre Parcs reopens without pools

  • Hong Kong and Morocco tighten restrictions amid cases surge

  • Call to confirm your trip or have it cancelled, Butlins warns

  • Russians hit Med using Belarus loophole

Join us tomorrow for more of the latest travel news. 

04:19 PM

Tour operator goes under cancelling 6,500 bookings

Fleetway Travel has become the latest victim of the coronavirus, leaving the holiday plans of 6,500 customers in tatters.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed that the tour operator has ceased trading on Monday. Fleetway sold a variety of packages to destinations across the world, under various guises. No customers are currently abroad due to the coronavirus. 

The CAA said any customers due to travel should confirm airline tickets with the carrier; they may have to pay for replacement services, such as accommodation, but can submit a claim for a full refund

Andy Cohen, head of ATOL, run by the CAA, said: “We understand this will be concerning news for anyone who has booked to travel with the company or has had their booking cancelled. It is a sad day for the industry when a long-established business like Fleetway ceases trading.

“However, the ATOL scheme exists for exactly this kind of situation and we are making arrangements so all ATOL protected customers may make a claim.”

04:12 PM

Collapse of Baltic line caps off a torrid week for the cruise industry

One of Europe's smaller cruise lines has announced that it will cease operations, citing “the financial impact of Covid-19” along with uncertainty facing the industry.

Birka Cruises is a single-ship line that runs between Stockholm and the Åland Islands, off the coast of Finland, but the toll of the coronavirus pandemic has left it unable to continue after almost half a century's sailing.

In a statement on its website, the cruise line said: “All of us who have worked at Birka Cruises want to take the opportunity to thank you for all the happy laughs and encouraging comments over the years.

“It is said that the guest does the party and you, as our guest, really did. Big thanks for everything.”

Kaye Holland has the full report.

03:49 PM

Call and confirm holidays or have them cancelled, Butlins customers told

Butlins has sparked a desperate scramble among its customers after it asked them to call and secure their holidays, or else risk losing them.

The company, which plans to reopen its parks on July 23, sent an email on Friday to those who have booked for the summer, informing them that it would be "reducing the number of guests by up to 50 per cent of our normal capacity on each break which means fewer people on resort, so you'll get to enjoy lots more space with your family!"

Would-be guests, some of whom have already paid in advance, were told to ring and confirm their bookings from today in order to avoid having their stays cancelled, resulting in thousands of callers jamming the phone lines in the rush to save their summer plans.

A Butlins spokesperson said: "Keeping our guests and team safe is our number one priority and to ensure we are able to implement social distancing measures we are limiting the capacity on our resorts at 50 per cent. We are asking guests to confirm their bookings with us so that our team can explain how the Butlin’s experience will differ with the new social distancing measures in place.

"We are very sorry for any inconvenience and upset this is causing and would like to thank them for their patience during this time."

03:27 PM

Protestors fight for 'last unspoilt corner of Corfu' as construction of holiday village begins

Locals in Corfu have gathered to protest the construction of a holiday village on a pristine plot of 500 acres of forested land to the north of the island.

Anastasia Miari reports:

Met with heavy resistance from the residents of the island, including Lee Durrell, the wife of the late naturalist Gerald Durrell, it is feared the plans will precede the destruction of the last untouched spot on the already heavily developed island. 

It is home to a great variety of wildlife, including the rare Eurasian otter and migrating seals and dolphins. Many hike the trails or visit by boat to enjoy the paradisiacal beaches that are lined with dense vegetation.

New York-based investors NCH Capital held an opening party on the site on July 12, hailing the beginning of construction work on 42 villas, a 90-room hotel complex featuring restaurants and a bar, and a 60-berth marina. 

Read the full story.

03:12 PM

'If you cancel your trip, you risk losing your refund'

Do not cancel your holiday this summer or you risk your right to a refund, Which?, the consumer group, has warned.

Speaking about concerns that Greece might go back into lockdown, Which? travel editor Rory Boland, said:

"The threat of restrictions being reintroduced in Greece will be bad news for holidaymakers who have trips booked to the country. But it's crucial customers don't cancel any holiday they have booked themselves, even if it looks like the holiday won't take place, as they may lose their right to a refund. 

"Some package holiday providers have flexible booking terms that may allow you to move the holiday to a later date fee-free, or wait for the provider to cancel and you'll be due a refund within 14 days

"Holidays are likely to face further disruption this summer as some countries are forced to introduce regional lockdowns. If you are booking a holiday, it's essential to read the terms and conditions of the tour operator or airline, because there is a great deal of difference in the flexibility offered by different providers in the event of a disruption." 

02:53 PM

Hong Kong and Morocco tighten lockdowns after new cases

Hong Kong has banned public gatherings of more than four and required face coverings on public transport as the city battles an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Restaurants will  not be allowed to offer dine-in services from 6 pm to 5 am, while fitness centers and beauty salons will be closed for 7 days. The measures take effect July 15, the Associated Press reported. The city will also increase testing to identify asymptomatic patients who are infected.

The sun sets in Hong Kong on Monday - AP
The sun sets in Hong Kong on Monday - AP

Meanwhile, Morocco has put its port city, Tangiers, back into lockdown after a spike in cases. 

The city of about a million inhabitants, in view of Spain on a clear day, was locked down from Monday at noon local time, with public transport suspended, cafes and public spaces closed and movement restricted.

Residents are only allowed to leave their homes "in cases of extreme necessity", the Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that "exceptional authorisation from local authorities" would be required for movement within or beyond the city.

02:44 PM

Ireland to strengthen quarantine plans

Ireland will consider strengthening measures at airports to implement 14-day quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad, its tourism minister said on Monday, following criticism by opposition politicians and tourism operators that visitors are not complying.

Ireland introduced the voluntary rule in April, and from late May required incoming travellers to provide the address where they will self-isolate. It plans to move to an electronic system capturing data from airlines and ferry operators shortly.

Restaurant, hotel and pub owners took to Twitter over the weekend to say they turned away customers from the United States after learning they had not self-isolated for 14 days. A tweet from a tour guide saying she cancelled a booking for the same reason went viral on Sunday.

Dingle in southern Ireland - Istock
Dingle in southern Ireland - Istock

"The cabinet will be discussing measures this week that may be needed, such as strengthening measures at airports, ahead of issuing a possible green list of countries," Tourism Minister Catherine Martin told the Newstalk radio station. I think there's work to be done."

Ireland plans to publish on July 20 a "green list" of countries whose residents will be exempt from the quarantine rule but has said it will be limited to a small number and based on the amount of new COVID-19 cases, the trend, and quality of testing and tracing in qualifying countries.

02:35 PM

Has the ferry to France lost its romantic appeal?

With passenger services across the Channel now permitted again, Telegraph Travel's Adrian Bridge took the boat to Calais to see if the voyage is still as magical as it always was.

What resonance that routing has; what tingling excitement it conjures. For generations of Britons, this simple journey across the Channel has been the gateway to Europe; the starting point of countless voyages of discovery and boundless adventure.

For me personally, it has marked several key rites of passage: a schoolboy trip to the Continent, teenage jaunts to Paris, the start of a gap year voyage to India, first holidays with the girlfriend who was to become my wife.

So when at last we were given the green light to travel abroad again from the end of last week, it was clear which way to go. We wanted to make it a driving holiday – amid continuing Covid concerns you can’t beat the bubble of your own car – and we wanted to start in France. We considered going through the Eurotunnel – an almost perfectly socially distanced form of travel, but one utterly lacking in romance. No, we wanted something with a bit of flair and fun; a bit of charm and character; a bit of symbolism and style. Dover to Calais by ferry it had to be. 

Read the full story.

02:12 PM

Overseas territories added to 'travel corridor' list

The Government has detailed the British Overseas Territories English residents are able to visit without the need to quarantine for 14 days on their return.

Of particular note to British holidaymakers will be the addition of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which officially reopens its borders to tourism on July 22, with visitors required to bring proof of a recent negative coronavirus test. Other tropical islands added to the list include the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Montserrat. 

More remote territories on the updated list include:

  • The Falkland Islands 

  • British Antarctic Territory

  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 

  • Pitcairn

While inclusion on the list means there is no need for quarantine, not all “travel corridor” destinations have had their Foreign Office warning lifting, meaning the majority of travel insurance policies remain invalid. This includes Anguilla.

The Government says: "We will keep the conditions in these countries and territories under review. If they worsen we will reintroduce self-isolation requirements."

01:53 PM

Dungeons attractions to reopen

The Dungeons attraction in Edinburgh and York will reopen this Saturday (July 18), while London Dungeons will remain closed. 

Capacity at the attractions in the Scottish capital and northern city will be reduced while guests will be required to wear face masks. All visitors and team members will also have their temperatures checked on entry

Staff will wear PPE, while some areas or experiences may be closed.

Craig Dunkerley, spokesperson for The Dungeons, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming guests and delivering thrills at Edinburgh and York Dungeons once more.

“Both sites are utilising an extensive range of safety measures, designed to ensure a happy, safe and healthy experience for all. After the extended lockdown, many of us are ready for some excitement and our sites provide memorable experiences and much-needed thrills following months of home entertainment."

There is not yet a date for the reopening of the London Dungeons. 

01:28 PM

In pictures: Beaches fill up during Californian heatwave

Californians flocked to West Coast beaches this weekend during a heatwave across the south of the US and despite a rise in coronavirus cases in the state. 

California registered record new infections last week, with 11,694 recorded on July 7. 

Sunbathers seemed to keep their distance on Hermosa Beach - AFP
Sunbathers seemed to keep their distance on Hermosa Beach - AFP
Temperatures hit 100F in California - Shutterstock
Temperatures hit 100F in California - Shutterstock
Surfers and paddleboarders enjoy the Pacific coast - AFP
Surfers and paddleboarders enjoy the Pacific coast - AFP

01:06 PM

Lockdowned Russians hit the Med via Belarus loophole

Thousands of Russian holidaymakers keen to hit the beach but hamstrung by the national lockdown have travelled to the Mediterranean via a Belurusian loophole. 

Tom Mulvihill reports:

Travel to and from Russia is almost entirely halted, with all commercial flights grounded while the country grapples with the fourth highest coronavirus infection rate on the planet.

But a soft border with Belarus has opened up a route to the rest of the world for those desperate to holiday abroad, and many are now driving hundreds of miles in order to exploit it, with some from as far away as Moscow making the 14-hour trip to the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

Belarus has a far lower infection rate than its neighbour to the east, and flights from its Minsk National Airport to holiday hotspots in southern Europe and North Africa have largely resumed after several months of lockdown.

Yury Surkov, commercial director at Travel House, has welcomed the surge in business, much needed after months of hardship, and estimates that Russians will soon account for 40 per cent of flight sales made by Belarusian travel agents.

Read the full story

12:41 PM

PM says enjoy 'peerless' UK destinations this summer

 Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to stay at home this summer for a staycation in the "superlative" United Kingdom rather than travelling abroad to foreign shores.

"I think this is a great great year for people to have a staycation - this country is uniquely blessed with fantastic places for holidays," Johnson told reporters. "I am certainly going to be doing that."

"Obviously if people feel the need for a foreign holiday then that is completely a matter for them and I totally understand it, but there are fantastic, fantastic places - peerless, wonderful, superlative places in the UK to go on holiday. That is certainly what I will be doing."

Cheddar Gorge, anyone? - istock
Cheddar Gorge, anyone? - istock

12:07 PM

Tui to restart Greek holidays on July 15

Tui has said it plans to restart its summer programme in Greece on Wednesday.

There have been concerns that the country could introduce new lockdown measures after a rise in infections at the end of last week, linked to the arrival of tourists. 

But a spokesperson for Tui said: "We’re really pleased the Greek Government has confirmed British travellers will be able to holiday there this summer without the need to quarantine on arrival or on their return to the UK. In line with the latest advice we plan on adding Greece to our summer holiday programme from 15 July.

"Our latest booking data shows that Greece is one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers this summer and we can’t wait to take people back there.”

No worries there, then. 

11:54 AM

UK leads way in returning aircraft to the skies, figures show

Passenger aircraft are returning to the skies in droves, with weekly seat capacity hitting 50 million for the first time since March. Capacity bottomed out in early May as countries went into lockdown and airlines grounded their fleets. 

Figures from aviation analysts OAG show Europe, and the UK specifically, is one of the fastest-growing sectors, but global capacity remains less than half of what it was this time last year. 

John Grant from OAG said: 

With apologies to the rest of the world, the United Kingdom is back! In tenth place with a staggering 47% increase in capacity week on week. The opportunity for escaping to the beaches and sunspots of Europe just as the summer holiday season commences proving irresistible, apparently. Spain also continues its rise through the top ten now having reached seventh position having seen capacity increase four-fold in the last month with over one million scheduled seats restored to operation.

Italy, France and Germany are all hovering within a few extra flights from the top ten and a sneak preview forward to next week’s data suggest that France sneaks into the top ten with Turkey dropping out; that does of course assume no changes in the next seven days.

Flights are resuming around the world - Getty
Flights are resuming around the world - Getty

11:30 AM

A postcard from Ibiza, where dancing is banned and masks are mandatory

Sarah Marshall was one of the first Britons to visit Ibiza after travel restrictions eased last week. 

She reports on an island unrecognisable fron its peak season last year.

At night, the package holiday property is quiet. There are only 90 guests. “We know this is not a summer to make money,” concedes Ricardo. 

Opulent light shows and Vegas-style fountains struggle to fill the empty space, and projected scenes of folkloric dancers are a far cry from the glowstick wavers and girls in hotpants who typically fill dancefloors.

But history and culture could be themes that shape a summer holiday in Ibiza this year. With a spotlight shifted from the club scene, local tour guide Pepe Costa sees this as an opportunity for tourists to focus on the island’s colourful past. 

Read her full report here

11:10 AM

How will Brexit affect travel next year?

Away from news on coronavirus, the Government has published guidance on how leaving the EU will affect travel to Europe next year. 

Nick Trend has all the answers on the following:

  • Passport expiration

  • Travel insurance

  • Trips with pets

  • Mobile roaming

Read his Q&A here.

10:51 AM

Boy, 11, becomes youngest to climb Matterhorn

An 11-year-old boy from Perthshire in Scotland has become the youngest person to climb Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn mountain.

Jules Molyneaux from Crieff, who trained during lockdown, reached the 4,478m summit last Wednesday alongside his father Chris, after four hours of climbing. 

"I feel tired and happy and relieved. It was an experience, definitely tiring and my legs felt like jelly after the climb,” the schoolboy told the BBC.

"The sunrise is worth it when you go up. Halfway up the mountain you can see all the orange behind the Alps, it's amazing."

The Matterhorn towers above its neighbours in the Swiss Alps - Getty
The Matterhorn towers above its neighbours in the Swiss Alps - Getty

10:45 AM

Doubts rise over Greek restart after uptick in cases

Holidaymakers due to travel to Greece this week are growing concerned that the country will go back into lockdown as it experiences a surge in coronavirus cases.

Direct flights from the UK to the popular holiday destination are due to resume on Wednesday but authorities are now considering the reintroduction of stricter lockdown measures. UK travellers have taken to social media to ask their airlines and tour operators whether their trips will be affected. 

But Noel Josephides, from operator Sunvil, said it was "business as usual". "There has been increased testing at land borders and, as a result, more cases have been found and stopped at land borders. Flights are unaffected," he said. 

There are now more active infections in Greece than at any other point during the pandemic – 2,236 people in Greece are known to have the virus right now.

On Friday, 60 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus, the highest daily number since April 21; on Sunday the number had fallen to 31. More than 100 new cases reported in the last fortnight have been among incoming tourists.

Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas told local media: "We knew from the beginning that when we gradually opened the country’s gates to the world, we would have imported incidents."

He added that he is "determined to protect the majority from the frivolous few."

10:03 AM

In pictures: Disney parks reopen in US

Disney reopened some of its parks in Florida this weekend, despite concerns over rising infection rates in the state and across the US.

Here are some images from its first day, but read a full report here

Magic Kingdom reopened to visitors on Saturday - Getty
Magic Kingdom reopened to visitors on Saturday - Getty
Face masks are mandatory for all guests - Getty
Face masks are mandatory for all guests - Getty
Florida recorded more than 15,000 new cases on Sunday - Getty
Florida recorded more than 15,000 new cases on Sunday - Getty

09:50 AM

Heathrow sees passenger numbers fall nearly 100%

Heathrow Airport saw its passenger numbers plummet after the Government imposed a mandatory quarantine on all arrivals. 

The London hub, the UK's busiest airport, said just 350,000 passed through its doors last month, down 95 per cent on June last year.  It said routes to and from North America and Africa saw the biggest declines.

Across all destinations, the number of flights was down 82 per cent as demand for travel remained low due to the coronavirus pandemic, PA reported. Total passenger numbers for the first half of the year were 60 per cent down on the same period in 2019.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "Travel corridors were a great first step and now we need to go further to protect jobs and kick-start the economy, by allowing healthy passengers to travel freely between the UK and the rest of the world.

"We're ready to pilot a testing system on arrival for passengers from 'red' countries as an alternative to quarantine, but even better would be to test passengers before they get on a plane."

Quarantine lifted for scores of countries on Friday, but still remains for others. 

09:23 AM

'Order now for passport renewals'

A delay on the processing times of British passports caused by the coronavirus pandemic looks set to be exacerbated by Brexit. 

Amy Jones reports: 

Millions of Britons whose passports are due to expire in the next year are being urged to apply for a new one now, as part of a stepping up of efforts to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period.

Holidaymakers travelling to popular European destinations from Jan 1 will be required to have six months validity on their travel documents, which is likely to cause a stampede of renewals at UK passport offices.

It’s estimated that some five million UK citizens have passports which are valid for less than a year, meaning they should act now in order to travel in the new year.

Those who do not renew in time will “not be able to travel to most EU countries” as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Read the full story

08:59 AM

How Tui kickstarted flights over the weekend

Tui restarted their operations at the weekend, with flights departing for Ibiza and Palma from London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester.

Sarah Marshall was on one of the first services. She writes:

On board, the experience is very familiar, although inflight magazines and ‘high friction points’ have been removed and loitering for the loos is discouraged. Masks are the main change; they won’t let you on without one. It’s recommended to change face coverings every four hours, so if you plan to arrive at the airport early, you’ll need to pack a few.

Read the full story

Tui says it will only travel to safe resorts and hotels - TUI
Tui says it will only travel to safe resorts and hotels - TUI

08:42 AM

Centre Parcs reopens, but pools kept closed

Centre Parcs has opened its sites to visitors today for the first time since March. 

The group said it "cannot wait to welcome our guests and staff back", with capacity reduced across parks. The pools and spas will be closed for the first four weeks. 

"In line with government guidance, you will see some changes to the way we do things once we reopen," Centre Parcs said. "Our team of experts have reviewed everything we do, right down to the smallest detail, to make sure we’re keeping you and our staff as safe as possible.

"We know many of you are looking forward to some family time away following lockdown and our aim was always to open our forests as soon as we felt prepared to do so. As we’re sure you will expect, when we first open, some facilities won’t be available but as soon as we can, we will. We plan to review government guidelines on a regular basis and open additional facilities as and when we know we are ready."

08:30 AM

News from around the world

Good morning, here are some of the latest headlines as travel resumes around Europe.