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Category: Holiday News

The best wild swimming spots near London – and there's no need to book

There's nothing quite like taking a refreshing dip in cool, calm waters on a hot sunny day.

But coronavirus restrictions mean swimming pool spots now have to be pre-booked, with many selling out days in advance.

Luckily, there are plenty of wild swimming spots near London that don't need to be booked. Even better, they're completely free.

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Here are a few cool options.

River Wey, Surrey

Take a dip just outside of town in Guildford (istock)

The slow-moving waters and shallow, sandy banks of the Wey make this pretty river ideal for families keen to escape the heat with a day of paddling. From London, an hour’s train ride to Chilworth, or 40 minutes to Guildford, carries you out into proper countryside – from either station you can follow the river’s footpath to find shady spots and tiny beaches.

Getting there: Take the train to Chilworth Station and follow ..

8 unmissable things to do in sunkissed Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a picture-perfect coastal city within easy reach of Los Angeles.

Temperatures here rarely dip below the mythical Southern Californian “70 degrees” (21 Celsius). The downtown area is small, and easily walkable – which is rare in these parts – and there’s a host of enviable attractions, including surfing, kayaking, wine tasting and whale-watching.

It's no wonder the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have recently made Santa Barbara their permanent home.

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But there's plenty to do for visitors too, ranging from historic hotels, excellent farm-to-table cuisine and dramatic colonial architecture.

Here are eight to get you started.

Get salty

Santa Barbara's Pacific Ocean coast is a good place to spot dolphins and whales (iStock)

Don’t leave Santa Barbara without experiencing its main draw: the Pacific Ocean.

Spot greys, blues and humpback whales (as..

10 things to do in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a picture-perfect coastal city within easy reach of Los Angeles.

Temperatures here rarely dip below the mythical Southern Californian “70 degrees” (21 Celsius). The downtown area is small, and easily walkable – which is rare in these parts – and there’s a host of enviable attractions, including surfing, kayaking, wine tasting and whale-watching.

It's no wonder the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have recently made Santa Barbara their permanent home.

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Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

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But there's plenty to do for visitors too, ranging from historic hotels, excellent farm-to-table cuisine and dramatic colonial architecture.

Here are eight to get you started.

Get salty

Santa Barbara's Pacific Ocean coast is a good place to spot dolphins and whales (iStock)

Don’t leave Santa Barbara without experiencing its main draw: the Pacific Ocean.

Spot greys, blues and humpback whales (as..

Why you should visit Tinos this summer

I seem to have bypassed the “Greek island” phase of my life. Most people I know went after finishing their A-levels to go and get absolutely bent on Kos or Crete. (Me and four friends were the only students to go to Sousse, Tunisia, for our post-school holiday.) At the age of 32, the nearest I’d got to Greece was Albania in the east and Bulgaria in the west.

Turns out, Tinos is a good island to visit as a thirty-something first-timer: mercifully, the adjectives most often attached to it are “laidback”, “foodie” and “arty”. And after a couple of days bouncing around zippy capital Athens, eating crispy souvlaki and downing freddo cappuccinos in party district Monasteraki before half-heartedly clambering up to the Acropolis in the still-hot September sun, an island on rewind was the pace I needed.

Plus, even The Independent’s excessively well-travelled Simon Calder hadn’t heard of it, so I figured it must be suitably under the radar.

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Sharin..

Coronavirus: Majority of readers say they will push back holidays to 2021

A large majority of Independent readers sampled in a travel poll say they do not plan to go abroad this summer – but will return in equal or greater numbers in 2021.

At an online event called the Future of Travel, hosted by The Independent, participants were asked: “Will you feel confident about travelling abroad this summer?”

Of more than 150 subscribers, only 28 per cent said they would be confident about making an overseas trip once lockdown and international restrictions are lifted.

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They expressed reservations about the uncertainty created by the government’s controversial quarantine plan – which will take effect on 8 June – and health concerns about coronavirus.

During the event, The Independent’s deputy travel editor, Helen Coffey, said: “I’m finding it hard to look ahead to the future for anything, not just travel, and I expect that a lot of people are in that situat..

How to visit Rome without leaving home

While lockdown restrictions may be easing across the world, travel to our favourite city break destinations remains far out of reach. The Foreign Office is still issuing a blanket ban on all overseas travel that isn’t deemed “essential”; those up for ignoring the advice are likely to face a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their return.

But even from afar, the Eternal City shines bright. June is the perfect time to visit, whether in person or from the comfort of your living room. Rome’s abundantly plentiful cache of history, architectural delights and art can still be plundered via the wonder of the internet, while the currently spectacular British weather means you can almost make-believe you’re there if you whack on the Dean Martin and mix yourself an Aperol spritz.

Here’s the ultimate armchair travellers’ guide to Rome.

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What to do

Sistine Chapel

The great thing about ..

In the air tonight: Air Canada offers rock-star comfort – and social distancing – with 'Covid class'

The Rolling Stones got satisfaction from Air Canada’s special Airbus A319. Like them and Phil Collins, you can try the plane in the air tonight.

With passengers nervous about commercial aviation in the age of coronavirus, the Canadian airline is deploying special A319 aircraft fitted with only 58 seats on commuter air routes

The “Jetz” fleet carriers barely one-third of the maximum 156 capacity, and less than half the typical Air Canada configuration.

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The Canadian airline has a fleet of three bespoke jets that normally charters out to sports teams, touring rock artistes and industry. Besides ageing British rockers, the planes have be used by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Spice Girls.

They also fly the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team to away fixtures, as well as the Alberta rivals of the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames.

But starting on Monday 1 June, the A319s ..

British holidaymakers want to visit Spain, Greece and Italy – but most will wait until next summer

Spain, Greece and Italy top the holiday wish-list for British travellers – but most will wait until next summer for a foreign getaway.

As battles rage within government over the UK’s quarantine plans, Britain’s biggest travel firm says demand is strong for Mediterranean destinations.

Tui says the holidaymakers it polled revealed Spain, Greece and Italy are the top three locations “people intend to visit when they can”.

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Among long-haul destinations, the most popular locations are Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico.

The top 10 also includes the Mediterranean nations of Croatia and Turkey, and the long-haul targets of Dubai and Thailand.

But fewer than half the holidaymakers surveyed plan to travel this year. The company said: “Forty-five per cent of us are hoping to take a holiday before summer 2021.”

In a more recent but smaller survey of subscribers to The Independent, ..

Tales of the river bed: A strange Saturday night on the banks of the Thames

You, I imagine, have had some weird Saturday nights recently. But last weekend was off the surreality scale for me.

Over these 10 strange weeks, as our horizons have reduced, we have taken to looking at the world in close-up. For decades I have been a stranger to the side streets of SE1. Yet after the past couple of months of daily exercise, I reckon I could plausibly handle a short-notice paper round or Deliveroo shift in the immediate vicinity of my corner of south London.

Last Saturday evening, I walked past the sprawling emptiness of Waterloo station, previously the busiest transport terminal in Europe, to the banks of the Thames, devoid of visitors.

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At sunset, Ray Davies’s “Dirty old river” was almost devoid of water. It was as if someone downriver in Sheppey or Southend had mischievously pulled out the plug, and most of the contents of the Thames had disappeared down th..

Emirates to make some staff redundant after coronavirus sparked 'difficult times' for airline

Emirates airline has said it will have to make staff redundant due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson confirmed it would have “to say goodbye” to some of its staff, following the economic strain placed on the state-owned business caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

The spokesperson said: “The current pandemic has impacted many industries around the world and although we have endeavoured to sustain the current family as is, we reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.

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The statement stressed that Emirates was “doing everything possible to protect jobs” where possible, adding that it would treat those who it let go with “fairness and respect”.

The airline industry has been badly affected by Covid-19, with travel..

Quarantine will 'kill travel industry', government warned amid Tory backlash

The government is facing a backlash from a group of Tory MPs over its quarantine plans as trade leaders warned it would “kill” the travel industry.

Several former ministers including Chris Grayling are backing calls for a rethink of the 14-day isolation period for people entering the UK, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Home secretary, Priti Patel, announced the quarantine scheme last month and it is due to come into force on 8 June.

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However, travel and aviation leaders have criticised the plans and demanded that they should be scrapped.

“All the evidence we have is that this will just kill travel,” Simon Mcnamara, of the International Air Transport Association, told The Times.

“Governments seem to me to have a stark choice. They cannot pretend that quarantine enables their international travel markets to open up.

“If they persist with quarantine it is effectively the ..

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