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Travel

Don’t start booking any summer holidays yet, government warns

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Dan Gold / Unsplash

Transport Secretary warns the public that it is ‘too soon’ to start booking holidays ‘domestically or internationally’.

Grant Shapps told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme that it’s ‘too soon’ to book holidays, reminding people that it is currently illegal.

He said: “First of all, I should say, people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally. 

“The Prime Minister will say more about the route to unlocking this country, starting when he speaks about it on February 22nd.

“But we don’t know yet whether that will include information on things like holidays, simply because we don’t know where we’ll be up to in terms of the decline in cases, deaths, the vaccination.

Will Langenberg/Unsplash

“And not just the vaccination programme here, but the vaccination programme internationally, because people will be going outside of our borders. So it’s too soon.”

On the ‘chance’ someone listening was considering booking a holiday, he said ‘bearing in mind you cannot legally do that at the moment’, before adding: “Please do not go ahead and book holidays for something that at this stage is illegal at home or abroad.”

He went onto explain that the ‘best advice is do nothing at this stage’ as it is too early to give information about summer. 

It comes after Matt Hancock unveiled tough new rules for travel including the possibility of 10-year jail time.

The health secretary said:  “Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arrival here will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.”

He made ‘no apologies’ for the strict new rules which include two tests for travellers quarantining, one on day two and day eight of their 10-day isolation period.

There are growing concerns regarding the coronavirus strains here in the UK, with mass testing rolled out in South Manchester to help contain a particular variant. 

Travel

You can now stay in the original Spice Girls ‘SpiceBus’ on Airbnb

This bus will truly spice up your life…

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@spicegirls / Instagram & Airbnb

Calling all Spice Girls fans: You can now spend a night (or two) in the actual bus from the 1997 Spice World film.

The SpiceBus, which one graced Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), is now listed on Airbnb for Spice Girls fans far and wide to hire. 

The bus has since had an incredible makeover since its glory days in the ‘90s and now resides in the Isle of White, right on the doorstep of a stunning marina.

Airbnb

Though the owner of the bus did stress that, as a Spice Girls fan herself, she has kept it as authentic to the original design as possible. On the bus’ listing, she wrote: “The outside of the bus looks exactly as it did in the Spice World movie, with its iconic Union Jack-painted exterior. 

“I’m a huge fan of the band and have tried to include as many little touches as possible inspired by the girls and their music, to make the inside just as iconic as the outside!”

Guests will have full run of the double-decker bus, which can sleep up to three guests across two bedrooms and one living room. For those wanting to snack and keep their tipples cold, a mini fridge is included.

Airbnb

Towards the back of the bus, visitors will also find a spacious seating area with a table and three Union Jack cinema-style chairs for relaxing in front of the TV or listening to music (Spice Girls preferred) on the old school CD player.

Shops, restaurants and bars are within walking distance, and there are bathroom and kitchen facilities on site.

The bus has proven to be a huge hit with guests so far, with one happy Airbnb user writing: “The best Airbnb i have ever stayed in. The attention to detail, the facilities, the location and easy check in was all amazing. If you are a spice girls fan PLEASE book this!”

Airbnb

Another wrote: “This is the perfect place to stay with your bestie if you are spice or 90s obsessed. So many lovely little nostalgic touches. Was such a joy, would absolutely recommend.”

This will definitely be a trip to remember – for more details and to make your own reservation, visit the Airbnb listing here.

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Travel

You can now hire a massive luxury 6 berth canal boat in the middle of Manchester

Who’d have thought a barge could get so fancy?

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Prestige Worldwide

There’s a luxury canal boat smack in the middle of Manchester, and it’s available right now for you to hire. 

You’ll all know that Manchester is famed for its winding canals and abundance of barges – but have you ever envisioned treating yourself, your friends, or your better half to a night or two of luxury in one of them?

No, you probably haven’t – but, low and behold, a ‘luxury barge’ now exists.

Prestige Worldwide

Courtesy of Prestige Worldwide, founded and run by friends and business partners Erin and Harry with the aim to create something a little different, we have perhaps the boujiest barge to ever grace Manchester’s waters.

Prestige Worldwide aim to eventually have a ‘fleet of floating luxury’, but for now, they’re just getting started with their debut canal boat, the Vätten Hüs. This barge, located in the heart of Castlefield locks, accommodates up to six guests in two plush king-sized bedrooms, with additional sleeping space in the main collective area.

It features a large, open-plan kitchen-dining and living-room – intended for sharing and celebrating, of course –  with rich furnishings and an exclusive outdoor seating on the deck, perfect for those warm summer nights.

Harry and Erin also partnered up with local florists Frog Manchester for the most exquisite floral displays that are found suspended over the lavish kitchen island and adorn both bedrooms.

Prestige Worldwide

The interior designer, Claudia Chez, said of the boat: “The Vätten Hüs interior design is modern style with clean, crisp lines strategically softened by French Art Deco hints.

“Art Deco represented luxury, glamour and exuberance back at the 1920’s, and this is subtlety expressed throughout the boat with gentle undulating curves, scalloped furniture and bronze details all on top of a light oak herringbone floor.”

Now fully complete and on the water, the Vätten Hüs’ diary is open and ready for visitors – though for insurance purposes, the boat cannot be moved.

Check out its Airbnb listing here, and stay up to date on their official Instagram page.

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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.”

angela pham/Unsplash

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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