Canary Islands added to UK travel corridor list

Holidays to the Spanish islands will be on sale in time for half-term. The Maldives, Mykonos and Denmark also added to list

Last-minute holidays to the Canaries will be back on sale in time for a half-term getaway after the islands were added to the UK travel corridor list.

Holidaymakers will be able to visit any of the eight main islands in the archipelago without the need to quarantine for 14 days on their return. The move comes into effect from 4am on Sunday (25 October), the transport Grant Shapps confirmed on Twitter on Thursday.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

Best winter adventures in the UK: readers’ travel tips

Swimming and bikepacking, walks and wildlife – and even some witchy social history – make for memorable cold-weather trips

Head to Scotland’s beautiful twin islands of Mull and Iona in winter and you will have beaches and caves to yourselves. Take a warm tent, a decent wetsuit and warm clothes for exploring the cliff paths, pristine white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. Port Ban beach is sheltered and if the sun comes out you are in heaven – you could be in the Caribbean here if the temperature were 20 degrees higher. The surf is good at Ardanalish beach if you are into that – or just walk and enjoy fresh air and open views to the wild Atlantic.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

Top 10 books about the Himalayas | Ed Douglas

Along with spectacular adventures, these books record a richly diverse culture that has often been missed in accounts of derring-do

The Himalayas are the highest mountains on Earth, the stupendously wild boundary between India and Tibet and a magnet for countless adventurers, missionaries and spiritual seekers. Yet the region is no empty wilderness – it is the home of a richly diverse human population with a longstanding literary tradition. Writing my history of the Himalayas required an Everest-sized reading list, but when I’d finished compiling my bibliography I felt I needed to say more. There were lots of weighty histories but I realised the soul of this amazing world lay elsewhere, in fiction, memoir and poetry. Until recently, few writers from the region have cut through to anglophone readers.

That’s beginning to change. Writers such as Manjushree Thapa and Prajwal Parajuly, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas prize for his debut short story collection The Gurkha’s Daughter, have built followings in Europe and North America. Some seminal work from previous decades is getting translated, one shining example being the Darjeeling writer Indra Bahadur Rai. Historians are also starting to break down the exotic myths that coloured our view of this extraordinary but misunderstood part of the world. This then is my selection of books that catch the human texture and shape of the world’s highest mountain range. Some of the writers were born there; some are outsiders with a particular insight. All, I think, are very readable.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

Oxford’s new Story Museum finds fresh ways to tell tales in Covid era

Lockdown halted the opening of the ‘interactive and sensory experience’ but innovation, and determination, have won the day

A wardrobe of fur coats that children could touch and feel before entering “Narnia”; a giant bed big enough for 30 kids to lie on while they listened to a storyteller; a purpose-built studio for live performances. Bringing stories to life through interactive and hands-on experiences was at the core of Oxford’s new Story Museum.

After a two-year, £6m transformation, the new museum was due to be unveiled on 4 April, replacing a series of temporary exhibitions with permanent galleries designed to immerse visitors, especially young people, in a world of stories.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

Send us a tip on your favourite UK tree for a chance to win a £200 holiday prize

Tell us about your favourite, and what it means to you, for the chance to win £200 towards a Sawday’s stay

“Conkers shining on the ground/The air is cooler…” The opening lines of a song by the band Stornaway capture the essence of autumn for children and big kids alike. In 2017, the Royal Society of Biology invited the public to vote for their favourite UK tree species – and the horse chestnut won. Now we learn that England’s tree of the year in 2015 has been felled to make way for the HS2 rail line. Trees matter – to the planet and to us. Many of the contributors to a new book, For the Love of Trees, talk of how trees help calm their minds and keep them grounded. Experiencing this connection with nature has never been more important than in the current crisis.

We’d like to hear about your tree stories – perhaps you’ve loved them since you climbed them as a child, or perhaps you’ve only started to give them any thought during lockdown. Tell us about your favourite tree and its location, why it matters to you, and if at all possible please supply a photo of it, too – though it is your words that will be judged for the competition. Keep your tip to about 100 words.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

A decade in the building, Madrid’s showpiece hotel has everything … except guests

Spain’s tourist sector – including the new Four Seasons hotel – is bearing the brunt of Covid, with the capital’s occupancy rates at 15%

Madrid’s first new grand hotel in almost half a century has more than enough to recommend it to even the most discerning and demanding of visitors.

As well as a presidential suite for VIPs and their bodyguards, there is a spa, a handy branch of Hermès, and a restaurant by the three Michelin-starred chef Dani García, whose rooftop terrace appears to float high above the busy streets of the city centre.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

UK cities plan Covid-safe festivities as Christmas markets are cancelled

Many seasonal events have been axed, but light displays and trails will go ahead illuminating cityscapes, stately homes and gardens

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate Covid-19, now it’s threatening – Grinch-style – to steal Christmas, too. Growing numbers of cities are cancelling their Christmas markets. One of the most recent cities to abandon its plans is Manchester. Its Christmas spokesperson, councillor Pat Karney, told the Manchester Evening News last week that the markets had “not met our commercial and public health tests”.

In December 2019, VisitEngland’s Christmas tourism survey showed more than 14 million Britons planned overnight trips during last year’s festive season and a third of those surveyed said they would be visiting a Christmas market. VisitEngland estimates these trips boosted the economy by nearly £3bn and predicts a 49% decline in domestic tourism spending overall this year. That’s before adding in the revenue loss to restaurants from not hosting larger groups and Christmas parties. A Welcome to Yorkshire poll found that 20% of hospitality businesses are cancelling planned activities and a third are scaling back.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

Rapid one-hour Covid tests begin at Heathrow airport

Coronavirus tests that cost £80 offered to travellers to Italy and Hong Kong

Passengers flying from London Heathrow to Hong Kong and Italy will be able to have a rapid Covid-19 test at the airport before checking in from Tuesday.

The test costs £80 and results will be available within an hour.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

La Rambla: plans to transform Barcelona’s tourist rat run into a cultural hub

An ambitious project is under way to turn one of the world’s most overrun streets into an the ‘immersive art centre of southern Europe’

Once a byword for the worst excesses of overtourism, Barcelona now aspires to be a role model for other cities that once put all their eggs in the tourist basket. It is reinventing itself and reclaiming public space for the city’s residents, starting with its most famous boulevard, La Rambla.

“The crisis has exposed the weakness of a model based on one economic sector, tourism,” said Jordi Rabassa, the councillor for Ciutat Vella, the oldest and most-visited part of the city. “La Rambla is the centre of this economic monoculture, and we’re working towards bringing local people back to the city’s most emblematic street.”

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian

Tourism sector in Wales ‘desperate’ as holidays cancelled ahead of lockdown

The two-week Covid firebreak starting on Friday puts even more tourism jobs at risk
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Tourism businesses in Wales are spending Monday cancelling customers’ holidays after the first minister Mark Drakeford announced a two-week national lockdown designed to be a “short, sharp shock to the virus to slow down its spread”.

Under the new restrictions no one will be allowed to travel into Wales and all hospitality businesses will have to close.

Continue reading… Travel | The Guardian