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Skip the services: 20 stopovers off British motorways and A roads

Long, hot journeys are more bearable if broken at a pleasant pitstop. Refuel at these farm shops and cafes with great food, and gardens for the kids

All places listed have Covid-safe regulations in place – but check individual opening hours in advance

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What should I do if I have a holiday booked to France? Q&A

As France is taken off the government’s travel corridor list and new quarantine rules come into play, should UK holidaymakers cancel trips?

The UK government has removed France from its list of travel corridors, and advised against all but essential travel to France, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Malta. The move leaves thousands of holidaymakers scrambling to rearrange their travel plans. A 14-day quarantine on return to the UK from France, and the other affected countries will come into effect from 4am on Saturday (15 August).

The UK criteria for removing a country from the list is based on per capita case numbers. If these go above 20 per 100,000, the UK government categorises that country as high-risk. This Wednesday, France reached 30.4, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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Q&A: all you need to know about UK's quarantine rules for France

Travellers across the Channel face growing uncertainty due to rise in Covid cases in the country

France has recorded post-lockdown record highs of daily cases in successive days with 2,669 new Covid-19 infections reported on Thursday, up from 2,524 the day before. Both figures topped the 2,288 cases on Friday, another record since the country began to ease out of lockdown in May, followed by 2,184 infections on Saturday, 1,885 on Sunday and 785 on Monday.

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Out to play: the best things to do around the UK this week

From indoor skiing to uproarious bingo nights, here’s our weekly pick of attractions and events

Last week’s selection – all still going on

One thing many of us discovered during lockdown was an enhanced appreciation of nature. Among the Trees is a multimedia show encompassing 50 years of artists responding to trees and forests and the human failure to protect them. The show’s highlights include Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s horizontal audiovisual portrait of a spruce tree swaying in the wind; Eva Jospin’s vast Forêt Palatine, carved from corrugated cardboard; Giuseppe Penone’s inside-out sculptural trunks, and Kazuo Kadonaga’s 800 reassembled cedar slices, plus casts of trees, underground trees, trees in resin, and even one with “chameleon disorder” covered in feathers. The show had only opened when the gallery had to shut because of Covid-19 earlier this year, but it is now running until 31 October (book ahead, from £12).
southbankcentre.co.uk

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Take frozen curry, buy a blackout tent: 16 expert tips for the perfect camping trip

Holidays under canvas have never been more popular. But what should you take, and where should you pitch your tent?

‘In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man,” said the philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. And who doesn’t want wild delight? So, with the pandemic making international travel, and even hotel stays, less appealing, many holidaymakers are turning to camping – some for the first time. Sales of gas stoves at Halfords are up by 300%, while camping chairs are flying off Tesco’s shelves.

To beginners, camping may seem daunting, or even unappealing. But camping’s reputation for noisy neighbours, dodgy loos and bad food is undeserved. Here is how to do it right, according to the experts.

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UK passengers barred from flights to Greece over confusing Covid forms

Holidaymakers hit by problems with contact-tracing rules and varying airline interpretations

Dozens of holidaymakers have been barred from boarding flights from the UK to Greece because of confusing red tape caused by the coronavirus.

In July the Greek government announced that all passengers must submit a personal locator form including their travel and contact details 48 hours before departure. They are then emailed a QR code, which must be downloaded and presented at check-in.

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The Pig at Harlyn Bay: good food in a gorgeous setting in Cornwall – review

Near Padstow, the latest addition to The Pig’s pen of hotels dates from the 1600s and is a glorious retreat for cliff walks and beach strolls

The web of lanes just west of Padstow are home to any number of holiday parks whose static caravans, chalets, motorhomes and pod-like accommodations are a reminder that the British have always liked to socially distance while on their seaside holidays.

The new Pig at Harlyn Bay – the group’s seventh hotel – adds four smart shepherd’s huts to this offering, all set back from the coast in almost five hectares (12 acres) of lawns, organic gardens and wheatfields. I visit with my partner, Kathryn, a couple of days before the public opening, and we check into number four, a beautiful and spacious hut – they’re called “garden wagons” here – built by Dorchester company Plankbridge.

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Idyllic English pastoral: an off-grid cottage holiday in East Sussex

Swallowtail Hill farm is a conservation project with self-catering cabins and cottages, plus ancient woodland and a nearby vineyard

On a hill, next to a meadow, is a crooked cottage with gingham curtains. There, adventurers weary from hiking through the apple orchard and the bracken and hay can rest in the glow of the woodburner, drifting off to sleep to the hoot of a neighbouring owl. Such a picturesque scene might sound like it is has been lifted from the pages of an Enid Blyton book, but it is a description of a stay at Swallowtail Hill, a sustainability minded camping site in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty in East Sussex – an area so idyllic it could be rebranded “English Pastoral: the theme park”.

For the past 25 years, owners Sarah and Christopher Broadbent have been running the 16-hectare (40 acre) site as a conservation project to protect its wildflower meadow and ancient woodland, adding the element of six self-catering units – from cottages to huts and cabins – 10 years ago. I am staying in Meadow Keeper’s Cottage, a cabin on wheels in between two of their meadows, which comes with private access to a small pond (boat supplied), and a decking area for dining.

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10 of the UK's best seaside cafes and beach shacks

Food writers and chefs pick their favourite chippies, pop-ups and cafes, all chosen for their creative use ofseafood

Port Isaac has a medieval harbour, which once handled coal and pottery. Now, tourists come to walk the coastal path and visit the neighbouring harbour of Port Gaverne and its rock pools. Fisherman Calum Greenhalgh can often be seen hauling his catch up the hill in Port Isaac, and it is his fish shop and cafe, run with his wife Tracey, that Cornish chef Nathan Outlaw recommends: “He catches the crabs and lobsters in the bay and she cooks and serves them. They do the best crab sandwich (£9.75) in the world!”
freshfromthesea.co.uk

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Greetings! walkers, cyclists and dogs are all welcome at this Scarborough hotel

A hotel with a hostel vibe, Bike & Boot is geared up for those who love the great outdoors, though actually there’s little lycra on show

Checking in at a hotel while on a cycling and walking tour, I invariably feel the need to apologise. “Sorry about the muddy boots,” or “Sorry about my dripping bike – is there anywhere I can put it?” It’s one of the reasons I prefer to camp or use a hostel. No matter how “walker/cyclist-friendly” a hotel might purport to be, I almost always feel a bit out of place. So, I was intrigued by the possibilities of Bike & Boot, a new hotel that opened this month in the traditional North Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough.

The former Mount Hotel was boarded up when Simon Kershaw and Simon Rhatigan bought it last year. One of those large, gracious, sea-view establishments that forms an entire terrace, it had once been a hotel of some prestige, but its glory had faded. Having enjoyed careers in the hotel and leisure industries, the two Simons decided it would make the ideal venue for a joint venture. The renovation took 18 months and “roughly £2m” and has resulted in a hotel/hostel specifically for cyclists, walkers and dog-owners.

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10 of Britain’s best wild beach walks

Magnificent sands that, even in summer, are wide enough to swerve the crowds and enjoy lungfuls of salty air


We are blessed with vast open beaches all around our mainland that are perfect for wild walks in salty air – and many are linked to wildlife reserves and wildflower havens (look out for campion, which is at its best at the height of summer). With sea temperatures at a peak in August, pack a towel too. This is a personal list, check out the UK Beach Guide and the exceptional Wild Guides for many other possibilities. For tides and surf forecasts use Magic Seaweed.

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