Thousands of tourists from other countries are reportedly being allowed into the UK every day, at a time when British people are banned from going on holiday abroad.
According to Border Force estimates which have been shared with The Times, around 40% of the 20,000 people arriving at British borders daily are holidaymakers, which equates to about 8,000 tourists per day.
Hundreds of these visitors are granted holiday visas from the Home Office, with one traveller from Peru getting a visa after saying the reason for their UK trip was to ‘visit Big Ben’.
A Border Force source revealed to the Times that hundreds of people coming to the UK each day are ‘basically coming here on a two-week holiday’, adding that the agency has ‘no grounds to refuse them’.
They said: “As long as they’ve got an address where they say they’ll quarantine, and they’ve completed their pre-departure tests, they’ve got their certificates and everything else, they’ve got means and a return ticket, we’ve got no grounds to refuse them.”
On average nearly half the people arriving here are tourists, but at Gatwick and the Eurostar Terminals that number jumps to 80 or 90%, according to the data from whistleblowers.
However, the Home Office has responded by saying it ‘does not recognise these figures’, insisting that ‘tough health measures’ are being enforced at airports, train stations and ports.
Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said: “We do not recognise these figures. We are enforcing tough health measures at the border for the small minority of people coming to the UK, including those entering on a visitor visa for legitimate reasons.
“Since January 2021, we have paused all decisions on visitor visas to applicants applying from a ‘red list’ country or where it is apparent an applicant has visited one of those countries in the last ten days.
“Border Force officers also have the right to refuse entry to any visitor who they believe has travelled to the UK to carry out activities not permitted under current local health restrictions, such as holidays or tourism, or who will not comply with self-isolation and testing requirements.”
You can stay in a tropical boutique narrowboat with its own pink gin bar in Manchester
A Manc staycation never looked so good
Last month, we thought we’d seen it all with the arrival of Manchester’s first ever luxury barge – but had we ever envisioned a green oasis narrowboat with its own gin bar?
The short answer is no, no we did not.
But low and behold, the tropical and gin-fuelled narrowboat none of us knew we needed exists, and it’s ready for you and your mates to hire here in Manchester’s city centre.
Parked up in the picturesque waterways of Castlefield and just a stone’s throw away from Deansgate, the ‘Boutique Narrowboat’ is described on its Airbnb listing as an ‘adorable pet-friendly floating hideaway.’
The boat features quirky interior – we’re talking animal print walls, unique artwork and an abundance of greenery, kind of quirky – and a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for enjoying the city while remaining sequestered from the outside world.
But the best part of the boat is located inside – there, guests can find a pink honesty bar complete with a vast selection of gin, wines, beers and soft drinks. There’s even games and fancy dress to make for the most fun staycation of your lives.
As well as a fully functional bar and outdoor patio area, there is one bedroom with a small double bed, one bathroom with a fully functioning toilet and shower, a fireplace and a kitchen with amenities like a fridge. Breakfast items, wifi and parking also come included.
The boat’s Airbnb page is inundated with glowing reviews, with one happy guest writing: “It’s the best place I have stayed in a long time. All the little touches make the place feel really cosy and special. The honesty bar is the best addition – sitting there with the back open was perfect!”
Another former boat dweller commented: “Absolutely gorgeous boat in a perfect location in the heart of the city. The boat was beyond our expectations and Sara the host was on hand with any queries we had throughout our stay. The outdoor section and bar area were really such lovely additions to the stay. Couldn’t rate or recommend it higher!”
The boat is priced at £91 per night (excluding cleaning and service fees), and sleeps strictly two guests.
As you’d expect, demand is incredibly high for a stay in Manchester’s coolest boat, so the next available dates are at the end of August and the end of the September.
To book your own staycation and for more information, visit the Airbnb listing here.
You can now stay in the original Spice Girls ‘SpiceBus’ on Airbnb
This bus will truly spice up your life…
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.