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Travel

A new Stockport to Alton Towers bus service is starting this weekend

Travelling to Alton Towers just got a whole lot easier

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Alton Towers

Key services to and from the popular Stoke-on-Trent theme park will be extended this weekend, bus bosses have announced.

Before now, thrill seekers without a car have had to travel to Alton Towers via train to Uttoxeter, the closest train station which sits around ten miles away.

From there, guests can catch a shuttle bus service directly to the park.

Geograph

But now, those living in Stockport can travel directly to Alton Towers on one extended bus service.

High Peak Buses will now run its Sunday and Bank Holiday 199 and 199X service through to Hartington, Peak Wildlife Park and Alton Towers Resort – as well as introducing a new early-evening return journey.

The services will now run from Manchester Airport to the theme park, stopping in Stockport, Disley, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Buxton along the way.

Alton Towers

Nikos Ntalampiras, Operations Manager at Buxton depot, said: “We are very pleased to welcome customers to this brand-new direct bus service between Manchester Airport, Stockport, Buxton, Peak Wildlife Park and Alton Towers Resort which Skyline 199/X99 provides.

“The introduction of the brand new bus service shows we have listened to feedback from our customers and we would encourage as many people as possible to use Skyline 199/X99, to ensure its long-term viability along with helping to free-up the roads through the local countryside to Alton Towers Resort.”

Nature lovers will also benefit from the new route, as those with a valid 199/X99 bus ticket will receive 25% off the cost of an entrance ticket to the Peak Wildlife Park, near Leek.

The new timetable comes into effect from this weekend, Sunday May 30th, and will be in place until August 30th.

Travel

Government asks people to ‘holiday at home’ this summer to avoid foreign travel

‘My advice to people would be holiday at home’

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David Iliff / Flickr & John M Wheatley / Geograph

Holidaymakers should choose to visit the ‘great places’ that exist in the UK rather than head abroad, according to a government minister.

The environment secretary George Eustice dashed any slim hopes for a summer holiday abroad this morning, telling Sky News his advice to the British public ‘would be holiday at home’.

He warned against foreign travel unless absolutely necessary, adding that people need to be aware of the ‘risks’ in travelling outside the UK under the current circumstances.

Alton Towers

He told Sky News: “I will be staying at home. I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.

“Some people may, but they have to understand that there are obviously risks in doing so because it is a dynamic situation.

“But I think most people will probably decide this year to stay at home, holiday at home.”

When asked if he was advising people to stay in the UK, Eustice added: “I think, my advice to people would be holiday at home.

“We’ve got some great places here, there aren’t many places that are on that list.

“But obviously some people will want to travel abroad. There are still a small number of countries on that green list. If they want to do that they can, but obviously they will have to understand there are risks in doing so as well.”

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While official government guidance says ministers ‘continue to advise against all non-essential travel to some countries and territories’, that doesn’t include all countries and there are still some on the ‘green list’.

The government’s website says: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect international travel.

“No travel is risk-free, and many countries have closed their borders or restricted entry to UK travellers.

“Any country may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new Covid-19 variant.”

David Dixon / Geograph

According to reports this morning, the easing of lockdown restrictions on June 21st could be delayed by two weeks following the latest Covid-19 data and news of the Delta variant.

England’s chief medical officer, Chris Witty, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance delivered a ‘downbeat’ briefing expressing concerns about the transmission rate of new strains of Covid-19, as well as vaccination not being able to give 100% protection, the Times reports.

According to a cabinet source that spoke to the Times, the easing of restrictions could be between ‘two weeks and a month’.

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Travel

The best campsites near Manchester for the ultimate staycation this summer

Get back into nature this summer

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With just a couple of hours drive, you could be breathing in some sea air or taking in the stunning views of the Lake District. 

With current restrictions meaning a holiday abroad might be a tricky affair this year, people are opting for a staycation in one of the UK’s many beauty spots – and there’s a lot to chose from.

If you’re not a camper, check out our list of the most unique places you can stay on Airbnb in the UK – which includes a literal jet plane, windmills and even a couple of castles. 

Or if you’re a fan of Disney, how about Snow White’s house

Turner Hall Campsite Ltd/Facebook

Turner Hall Farm in Seathwaite Cumbria 

A no-frills campsite surrounded by the beautiful Cumbria landscape. Perfect spot for tents and camper vans and a big old lung full of fresh air. 

@thehamletsamlesbury

Samlesbury Hall, Blackburn

Bit of Glamping for all you glampers this one. The Shepherd’s Huts have got everything you need for a cosy night under the stars. And if you’re really hard, this is set in the grounds of the Black and White Hall, which is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the UK. 

Waterside House Campsite, Ullswater

I’m putting this one in because I went last July and I can tell you first hand I had a cracking experience. This was actually the view from my tent each morning and you really can’t complain about that, can you?

Headswood On The Wall/Facebook

Headswood On The Wall, Hadrian’s Wall

Another posh one that’s not really camping, because you stay in lodges drinking Prosecco in a hot tub, but you’re outside in the wilderness and that’s near enough to camping for us city folk, init?

coolcamping.com

Aberafon on the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

Over to Wales for this one, right in the heart of the most famous thing to come out of the country (after Gavin & Stacey), Snowdonia National Park. Cracking views and a nice bit of fresh sea air to brush the lockdown cobwebs off! 

National Trust

Low Wray Campsite in Ambleside, Lake District

Another one in the Lakes, this time Windemere. It’s a National Trust campsite so you know you’re in good hands. Plenty of water-related fun to be had including paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, rowing and skimming stones. 

Camping and Caravanning Club

Delamere Forest, Cheshire

More for you caravaners than campers this one, but there is still space for tent pitches. Plenty of fun to be had nearby too including walking trails, cycling, Go Ape and Chester Zoo. OR just head straight to the pubs in Chester – I would.

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Travel

Spain to welcome back British holidaymakers from June

Have you got a foreign holiday planned this summer?

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Spain’s tourism minister has said the country will be welcoming tourists back this summer, including travellers from the UK.

The European Union has plans to use coronavirus vaccine certificates to let holidaymakers back in, with Spain saying it is currently trialling a digital certificate scheme – their plan is to see a wider roll out in June.

Under the EU scheme, Digital Green Certificates will be accepted as ‘proof’ that someone has either had the Covid-19 vaccine, received a negative test result, or recovered from coronavirus.

Mikey / Flickr

Spain’s Tourism minister Fernando Valdes Verelst told a travel and tourism conference in Mexico: “I think the best thing that governments right now can provide to travellers is certainty, give the proper information and the security that they can travel and they can come back to the countries.

“In those terms, in the European Union, we put in place a system … that provides us with a digital certificate.

“Spain is going to be ready in June to use this digital certificate. We are doing a pilot programme in May, in all our 46 airports.

“We are going to give all these travellers that certainty. Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travellers worldwide that you can visit us.”

Drew Graham/Unsplash

In regards to international travel from the UK returning in May, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the data ‘continues to look good’.

He told Sky News: “The earliest possible unlock is May 17th, so stage three of the unlock, we won’t have international travel before that.

“I have to say that so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.

“I will set out towards the beginning of May … which countries fall into the various different categories.”

Julian Dik/Unsplash

However, when it came to travel to Spain specifically Shapps wouldn’t commit to an answer as to whether British tourists will be able to travel there this summer, saying the public will have to ‘wait and see’.

He told Times Radio: “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time.

“So we will need to wait and see.”

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