Tourism sector concerned at impact on holidaymakers as rise of cases in Europe puts more countries on list
The travel industry has urged the government to rethink its 14-day quarantine policy for holidaymakers as rising coronavirus cases on the continent – including France and Greece – put more countries within the scope of the blunt approach.
Testing at airports and regional quarantine requirements are among alternatives put forward by tourism figures concerned by the impact the policy could have on an already battered sector.
From otters near Chepstow and myriad butterfly species in Croydon to ospreys in the Highlands, our readers celebrate nature nationwide
Occupying the last remaining piece of fenland on the Gwent Levels is Magor Marsh nature reserve. This is low-lying land, bordering the urban spread of Chepstow and Newport, and is a special place for wildlife, with big skies overhead and miles of waterways that are not only a soup of biodiversity but protect the area from Severn estuary floods. At Magor Marsh you can walk along boardwalks near where monks once worked to reclaim the land from the sea, through reed beds with Cetti’s warblers singing wildly, water voles dashing off, the sound of distant cuckoos floating on the air and plenty of waterfowl. If you are really lucky you may catch the splash of an otter or, by peering into the ancient reeds, spot a magnificent diving beetle glistening in the water.
• Free to enter, no dogs permitted, gwentwildlife.org
The beach isn’t only for sunbathing. If you’d rather give coasteering, surfing, climbing or even foraging a go, here’s how and where
The Jurassic Coast looks thrillingly different when viewed from a rock face on the Isle of Portland. Connected to the mainland via Chesil Beach, this limestone peninsula is laced with climbing routes, from beginner-friendly to challenging. The old railway cuttings on the east coast feature climbs for all levels, while Blacknor cliff on the west has easier routes for those new to the activity. Participants learn key skills, including how to belay safely, from Rob Kennard, who has decades of teaching experience and good knowledge of the local geology.
• Half-day taster session from £22pp (for a group of seven or eight; £27pp for four; £75 for one), portland-climbing.co.uk
A guide to countries that UK tourists can now visit, in light of the government’s updated travel corridor list
Travel restrictions are changing rapidly around the world as Covid rates creep up. On 10 July, the UK government announced a list of “travel corridors” with countries and territories where UK residents can take holidays without having to quarantine on their return. However, new rules are being introduced on a case by case basis, and only 24 of the 78 countries on the government’s list are allowing Britons in without restrictions on arrival – and the number continues to change.
Many of the destinations on the list still have their own restrictions in place, including testing, quarantine procedures and outright bans on tourists. Australia and New Zealand’s borders remain closed to international tourists; and Austria, Cyprus and Japan have restrictions on countries that have seen high levels of coronavirus, including the UK. Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg are currently omitted from the UK government’s list, and arrivals from these countries must self-isolate for 14 days. And, as of Saturday 8 August, the same applies to arrivals from Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas.
Enjoy ocean views from rooftop bars or just step out and get the sand between your toes. From Mazatlán to Pochutla, here are 10 charming beachside escapes
Mexico’s Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles of it, is renowned for its beaches, as well as the resorts which have attracted Hollywood royalty. However, it’s also an area that can experience tropical storms, usually between June and December. The most recent was Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, which swept across the region at the end of October, but caused less damage than anticipated. Hotels are now operating as normal.
Well-known and deservedly popular for its jungle, coast and ancient ruins, the Yucatán peninsula can be a pricey place to stay – unless you pick one of these brilliant budget hotels and hostels
On the surface, this mid-size hotel in Cancún’s hotel zone is pretty unremarkable. The tile-floored rooms are big and clean, with terraces or balconies – though they’re not notably stylish. The restaurant is good, not gourmet. The pool is a sensible size. But set this against its glitzy, high-rise neighbours and check the rates, which are often lower than similarly appointed hotels on the mainland, 30 minutes from the water – and Beachscape starts looking pretty good. Then walk out on to the palm-shaded beach, one of the prettiest stretches in the hotel zone, and the place becomes a minor miracle.
• Doubles from $109, +52 998 891 5427, beachscape.com.mx
The Seychelles islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue may be known for their luxury resorts but there is also a great selection of family-run, more affordable guesthouses just as close to the archipelago’s famous, world-class beaches
For a room with a five-star view, Colibri is hard to beat. Nine rustic rooms – all wood and stone – ensconced amid tropical foliage that tumbles down a hillside to the turquoise waters of Baie Sainte Anne. There’s no beach but you can use the small infinity pool overlooking the bay at neighbouring B&B Chalets Cote Mer, also owned by Sylvie and Stephan, and costing about €10 more a night. You also share the waterfront creole restaurant. The owners can help with car hire but it’s a five-minute walk to a bus stop – which will take you to Praslin’s most famous beach Anse Lazio and the Unesco-protected Vallée de Mai nature reserve – and the jetty for ferries to Mahé and La Digue.
• Doubles from £112 B&B, +248 429 4200, colibrisweethome.com
From Cape Town and its peninsula to the Garden Route and the West Coast, the Western Cape is a dazzling part of South Africa, and its beachside accommodation doesn’t have to break the bank
Properties with a holiday feel, from a mini estate in Cornwall to a flat on Brighton seafront
When Uncle Ted has a few drinks and starts screaming that the world is flat, have a few tactics ready to counter his bizarre rants
It’s the holidays: time for eggnog, ironic Christmas sweaters, and interactions with relatives you’d avoid like the plague if you didn’t share DNA.
Perhaps in past years, you’ve argued politics over the dinner table. But thanks to our internet echo chambers, things may now get even weirder. You could find yourself not just arguing over Donald Trump’s impeachment, but also over whether the president and Robert Mueller were secretly teaming up to expose Tom Hanks as a cannibal; or whether the Federal Reserve exists because JP Morgan sank the Titanic; or whether Meghan Markle is a robot.
Four days spent alone in Florida pushed me to the limits of boredom. But it was just what I needed
I was in a chain hotel 20 miles north of Orlando for meetings that would last, on and off, for four days. This was not a holiday resort. Outside, the rain was bathwater warm, the pool windswept and empty. Inside, guests wandered the conference facilities, lanyards swinging. The breakfast buffet was like the idea I’d had as a child of how millionaires live: all the pineapple you could eat. It is a truism of escape plans that the problem with going anywhere is that you take yourself with you. But there is an exception to this, and I have found it. Burnt out? Always yelling? So tired you would gladly hand over your humanity to Elon Musk for a chance to become fully digitised? There’s another way. Open Google Maps, find a place that is not a place but, rather, on the way to other places, and select the blandest hotel you can find. Then go and sit in it for four days. I swear to God, it’s better than six months in Bali.
I thought about sending an email and didn’t. I took a three-hour nap, went downstairs and ordered more wings.
The Alhambra marks the start of a drive taking in historic cities, a river valley and mountains – and ends in Almería’s spaghetti western desert
Granada is dominated by its mighty Moorish fortress, the Alhambra. Book ahead and visit early, at its least-crowded, and then spend the afternoon meandering the narrow streets and plazas of the old town – the Albaicín. Stay in this area at the 16th-century Santa Isabel La Real, with its Alhambra views, (doubles from €95 B&B, parking available).
With the annual summer dash under starter’s orders, we suggest how to turn a schlep into a road trip, staying in treehouses, chateaux and cool hotels en route
From the north-west ferry ports (St Malo, Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre) down the west of France, via Nantes and Bordeaux, to the south-west
Get beach ready with our week-long planners to 10 glorious seaside spots, covering everything from secluded coves to surf lessons, boat rides and places to stay
Electro music fans are heading to Turin for this weekend’s Kappa Futurfestival, but this also one of the best cities in Italy for culture and affordable restaurants
Without Turin, Italy would be a totally different country. It was pivotal to the unification in 1861 and served as the first capital, until 1865. Its royal palaces were home to the ruling House of Savoy until the second world war and then its factories – and the influx of migrant workers they attracted – were integral to the economic miracle that rebuilt and transformed the country after it.
Curious, then, that it is so often ignored when people talk about the best places to visit in the bel paese. Italy’s fourth largest city nestles in the foothills of the Alps and snowy peaks are never far from view. There are echoes of Paris along Turin’s central boulevards, and though it’s been more than 200 years since Napoleon’s rule was replaced by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, there are still tangible French influences to be found in the city’s rich cultural and culinary traditions.