With all the uncertainty around travelling abroad as we come out of lockdown, many of us will choose to holiday at home in 2021. Having just completed our first road trip around East Anglia, I can offer some words of advice.
It seems obvious, but take plenty of facemasks and hand sanitizer. With all the packing and unpacking that road trips entail, it is easy to leave your mask in the wrong pocket or bag.
Be super organized and pre-book restaurants well in advance. We found this challenging as who knows what you will fancy to eat each evening, suppose you have succumbed to a cream tea and not so hungry? You will find the demand in tourist hotspots is unprecedented and if you are staying in B&B’s you will need to find an evening meal. Just as importantly, if you change your mind – let the restaurant know! So many eateries are having to cope with a percentage of ‘no shows’ that affect their income considerably.
While on the subject of eating, buffet breakfasts in hotels have largely disappeared to be replaced by pre-ordering. Once we got into the swing of this, we found it perfectly acceptable and as a B&B owner explained, it results in much less waste.
The same pre-booking advice for visiting stately homes, especially National Trust. It is easy to do this online and avoids disappointment on arrival.
Be prepared for many tourist attractions to have restricted opening. At National Trust properties, you may find cafes and restaurants are only operating a take-out menu with reduced choices. NT shops are not always open, and many of the historic properties have artefacts removed to avoid being touched and handled, with limited viewing available.
Our travels included a ride on a Heritage Railway and booking is even more important as the individual carriage compartments are restricted to just one group, no mixing. This impacts quite considerably on space available.
The quaint towns and villages that you come across in the UK have often fared better than larger destinations. Small independent shops that tend to make up the local shopping experience have survived the lockdowns more so than towns that have lost the big names in retail. Many UK villages historically have narrow pavements making social distancing tricky, and the smaller shops must restrict numbers, so allow longer to browse.
Having said all this, if you are able to get away for a change of scenery, then the UK has so much to offer, even in these trying times, so stick on a mask, pack an umbrella, and enjoy!