Our reporters are sending updates from tourist attractions around England
Travel expert Nick Trend is answering your questions (post them in the comments section)
Where are you going this summer? Join the conversation on Twitter using #GreatEscape
Find the best UK deals and discounts below
To mark this grand relaunch of tourism, we’ve posted reporters in all four corners of the country, from Cornwall to the Lake District, Alton Towers to the Isles of Scilly, Stonehenge to Brighton.
Furthermore, one of our writers is jumping on a plane to Mallorca for some much-needed Spanish sunshine. They will all be sharing videos, photos and insights as we try to find some semblance of travel and hospitality normality (just in time for summer).
We will also be flagging up some of the best last-minute holiday deals for anyone still waiting to book, while Nick Trend, our consumer correspondent, is on hand to answer your burning travel questions (post them in the comment box at the bottom of the article).
We also want to hear from you. How are you celebrating Super Saturday, and what are your holiday plans? Again, please leave your comments below or join the conversation on Twitter using #GreatEscape.
See below for the latest updates.
The caravans are rolling in
As reader Peter Miles mentions in the comments section at the bottom, caravans are back on the road in places like Devon and, according to our reporter Natalie Paris, the Dorset coast…
There’s a fair few caravans about and some traffic buildup at small roundabouts on the A303 – my favourite road – but otherwise it’s been a straightforward drive so far #GreatEscape pic.twitter.com/FN1CnybSB7
— Natalie Paris (@laParis) July 4, 2020
Time for temperature checks
Lizzie Frainier has arrived at Chewton Glen and happily her temperature was under 38C. Entry granted.
Deals: the Cotswolds
It would be remiss to not mention the Cotswolds, ever the popular location for holidaymakers. Cotswolds Hideaways have good availability, with this Grade II cottage available from July 21. It sleeps four and prices start from £780 for 3 nights. Or else for couples, there’s this cosy spot in picturesque Naunton. Prices start from £565 for 3 nights, with availability beginning July 18.. For those seeking a luxury stay in a manor house, have a look at Ellenborough Park which reopens July 16.. An overnight stay costs from £164 per room (two sharing), including full English breakfast. For something even more budget-friendly, try De Vere Tortworth Court, which is offering an overnight stay from £49.50 per person (two sharing) including breakfast. When you book with the hotel directly, ten per cent of the cost will go to NHS Charities Together. The manor house reopens July 10 and is just within an hour’s drive of the south Cotswolds. Contact: 01451 888 139; cotswoldshideaways.co.uk. 0800 089 3929 prideofbritainhotels.com. 01454 263000; devere.co.uk.
Watch England’s pubs and hairdressers get back to business
Hotels vs. holiday rentals – which should I book?
Good question. In our new guide, Jade Conroy explores the pros and cons of two key accommodation options in the new world order
More upsides to the pandemic
This is becoming something of a theme. I have long said that for all it has cost us, coronavirus will make travel better not worse. And as the day progresses, our reporters are finding plenty of advantages in the new normal…
Our travel experts reveal their top UK staycation picks for the summer
After months of lockdown, Telegraph Travel’s editors are eager to get back to the places they love the most. Starting with, Nick Trend:
Norfolk, where I live, has its big skies and sweeping beaches, but after three months in lock-down the lure of the mountains is becoming stronger by the day. The Lake District has long been my summer holiday retreat and I can’t wait to get back there. Come rain or shine, picnic on my back, I will plan a different walk each day – picking off each of the surrounding peaks one by one. There is something about the transition from the lower meadows and woods to the rock-strewn uplands that stirs the soul. And the rewards for the hard, slow slog are simply the best views in England.
Cracking views from a wobbly walk across Tower Bridge
Oliver Smith‘s London escapades continue…
Deal: a foodie holiday in the West Midlands
This one is for the gourmands among us. With restaurants reopening, why not upgrade your first dining experience with a foodie staycation? Hampton Manor in Solihull combines a trip away with Michelin-starred food in Peel’s Restaurant, and there will be a maximum of 38 overnight residents on the 45 acre estate at any one time. 2-night/3-day break includes daily dinner, bed and breakfast and a wine tasting on one day. Costs from £730 for two nights on a DBB basis, based on two guests. Contact: 01675 446 080; prideofbritainhotels.com
This pandemic has actually improved the rollercoaster experience
… or so says Hazel Plush, who is very much enjoying her crowd-free day at Thorpe Park. Usually it hosts more than 10,000 visitors at a time. Today, only 2,000.
Turns out, social distancing actually makes rollercoasters BETTER?!? No queues, lots of room, and everything super clean 👏 On a regular Saturday, @THORPEPARK would have over 10,000 guests – today it’s just 2,000. Feels like having a queue-jump ticket and we’re loving it pic.twitter.com/kPY06HVZbE
— Hazel Plush (@hazelplush) July 4, 2020
We’re looking shy about leaving our homes
All sorts of polls in recent days have shown a general reluctance from many Britons to leave the embrace of lockdown. Its only a few hours in to our own Twitter poll, but nearly 60 per cent of you so far say you would rather stay home than visit Cornwall, Devon or the Lake District on your first English holiday.
So if push came to shove, where would you venture? Let us know in the comments box at the bottom.
Welcome to the strange world of post-Covid flying
Lottie Gross isn’t having much luck finding open shops at Stansted airport this morning. Meanwhile, Chris Leadbeater laments the weird new flying experience post-Covid.
UK hit by backlash from ‘excluded’ Portugal as it unveils quarantine-free countries
Britain faced a backlash last night from Portugal, one of our most popular tourist destinations, after ditching it from a list of 74 countries and territories that English holidaymakers can visit without quarantine.
Canada, the USA, China and Thailand were also excluded from the “amber” and “green” lists of countries to which English holidaymakers can fly and avoid quarantine on their return to the UK from Friday July 10.
Among those included on the lists were short-haul destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Croatia and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.
However, Portugal, where the Algarve is rated the third most popular European holiday spot for Britons, was left off because of a recent spike in Coronavirus cases in and around Lisbon.
Portugal’s foreign ministry said in a tweet it was “absurd” that Britain imposed quarantine on travellers coming from Portugal despite having 28 times more deaths from the coronavirus.
Charles Hymas, Dominic Penna and Jorge Branco have more here.
Deal: stay in a converted barn in Yorkshire
North Yorkshire has become all the more appealing to visitors with it’s new rail service between Grade-II listed stations of Skipton, North Yorkshire and Appleby in Cumbria. To make the most of this corner of the UK, National Trust are offering a converted barn with various dates available in July from the 6th as well as August and September. Seven nights cost £1099 and sleeps five. Sykes also have a cottage with similar availability, with 8 nights left in July beginning July 4. A week starts from £1,119 for seven people. Contact: 0344 249 1895; Nationaltrust.org.uk. 01244356666; sykescottages.co.uk
Cliveden House is back
There are country house hotels – and then there’s Cliveden. This National Trust property, dating back to the late 17th century and set among 376 verdant acres on the banks of the Thames in Berkshire, is truly something special.
Meghan Markle stayed the night before her wedding . I took my ailing dog there for her last hurrah. And today, Rosie Green is there to report on its grand reopening.
It’s getting busy at London Stansted
Our roving reporter Lottie Gross is off to Mallorca today with Ryanair.
Check out the scenes in her video below, and read our latest interview with Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary here, in which he tells us that passengers are simply ignoring quarantine rules.
Arrived at the airport. Plenty of people milling about and queueing for bag drops where they’re open. Certainly nothing like a usual July Saturday at Stansted Airport though… ✈️ #GreatEscape pic.twitter.com/I2SSgBuYRl
— Lottie Gross (@lottiecgross) July 4, 2020
Demand for canal boats has soared
Canal holiday bookings have gone up by 150 per cent recently, according to one operator. Here’s our pick of the prettiest routes in the UK.
And here’s the view this morning at the Kennet & Avon canal in Wiltshire….
The roads have thus far been surprisingly quiet
Possibly because the sun does not have his hat on today, or maybe because people are still cautious to emerge from lockdown? Jade Conroy is on her way to Kent and the roads are pretty empty
Brighton is stirring
Ash Bhardwaj is heading there from London to see what’s in store…
The Welsh will have to wait a little longer
People in Wales must continue to follow the five-mile advice and stay local this weekend as pubs open over the border in England, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said that while those living very close to England may be able to visit pubs that are open, it would not be possible for the majority of people in Wales.
Police forces have also urged Welsh residents to heed the “stay local” advice while Transport for Wales said public transport should only be used for “essential travel”.
The “stay local” requirement in Wales will end on Monday when two households will be able to form one extended household – enabling families to be reunited. But pubs in Wales will only be allowed to operate outdoors from July 13.
The countries exempt from England’s quarantine
Yesterday, the Government finally revealed its long-awaited list of countries that English residents can visit this summer, without having to quarantine on return.
The list of 59 destinations – including Greece, Spain and Italy – means travellers will be exempt from quarantine on arrival back to England from July 10. A separate list details the countries that will no longer have a Foreign Office advisory in place, as of today. Devolved nations will announce their own quarantine plans in due course.
You probably have questions. Greg Dickinson has answers.
Devon, Cornwall or the Lakes?
There have been booking surges in all three regions of late. Which gets your vote? Let’s do a poll.
Where will you be headed for your first English holiday?
— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) July 4, 2020
The Lake District is open once more
And Lucy Aspden is one of the very first back.
Speaking of Cornwall…
Another deal for you:
Cornwall is a recurring popular destination for tourists, but Classic says it has some cottages with availability in July and August. Decamp to a 16th-century village, staying in a house with modern-day features for £662 for four people. Available July 4-10 and July 18 – 25. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, be sure to ramble along nearby wooded valleys and coastal paths. Or, Sykes has an apartment available in Porthcurno, July 4 to July 11, with prices from £489, saving £150. This is more suitable for couples. Contact: 01326 555555; classic.co.uk 01244356666; sykescottages.co.uk
What’s the traffic like this morning?
Greg Dickinson is documenting his journey from London to Cornwall on this foggy day…
Hotels are opening their doors after more than three months
Lizzie Frainier is en-route to Chewton Glen in the New Forest for her first post-lockdown stay…
It’s early doors
Pubs are reopening around the country and pints are already being enjoyed.
A touristy day out in London
That’s what Oliver Smith has planned, starting off with an eerily quiet Tube journey and a boat ride on the Thames. Lovely.
Deal: an activity holiday in the New Forest
Since lockdown, cyclist numbers are up 70 per cent in some parts of the UK. Luckily, as a socially distant activity, there are some good cycling breaks. Careys Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst offers a one-or-two night break from £170 per night including breakfast, cycle hire and picnic. Contact: 01590 624467; careysmanor.com
What will our theme parks look like today?
Hazel Plush is off to find out, first to Thorpe Park, and very jolly about the prospect…
Morning all! Heading out on my #GreatEscape today – off to Thorpe Park, Legoland and Windsor, live reporting for @TelegraphTravel 🎉🎺 How do you social distance on a rollercoaster? Will the Queen give us a wave from the Castle? Can’t wait to be out and about 💃 pic.twitter.com/5v2NVlZm7I
— Hazel Plush (@hazelplush) July 4, 2020
Super Saturday rules explained: what you can, cannot and should not do from today
Today is Independence Day, described by the Prime Minister as the end of our “long national hibernation”. But many are still confused about the rules. What’s acceptable to suggest to friends, and what sounds like you’re flaunting your newfound freedom with dangerous abandon?
Here, we lay out the rules and guidelines for Super Saturday in England. (Sorry Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Leicester: you’ve all got your own thing going on.)
And we’re off!
One of our roving reporters, Penny Walker, has already had a change of plan this morning thanks to the less-than stunning weather and is swapping Scilly for Cornwall…
And we’re off! It’s #greatescape day and a slight change of plan for me. The weather has meant that the Skybus to Scilly has been cancelled so we’re off to the south of Cornwall instead. Follow the @TelegraphTravel team out and about today to see what reopening looks like. pic.twitter.com/H7BnrjQ2ns
— Penny Walker (@pennyswalker) July 4, 2020