British summer time ends as clocks go back - for the last time?


British Summer Time 2011 officially ends at 2am tonight, when the clocks go back for what could be the last time.

If a new Daylight Saving Bill that has received ministerial backing goes ahead it could bring the UK into line with Central European Time (CET) for a trial period of three years.

It would see British Summer Time (BST) maintained during the winter months and 'double summertime' applied during summer months, putting the UK one hour ahead of GMT during winter and two hours ahead during summer.

In other words, clocks would move forward by an hour from GMT in the winter and a further hour in the summer, to match Central European Time, meaning lighter nights but darker mornings.

But only if the Scots agree.

Any 'clear opposition' from devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would see the plans dropped.

Moving to CET would mean lighter winter evenings, and an extra 235 hours of daylight a year, which supporters claim would cut road deaths, boost tourism and reduce energy use. But any change is likely to face opposition from many in Scotland who do not relish the prospect of an extra hour of darkness in the morning, where dawn would not break until about 9am.

Supporters suggest the move could see domestic tourism boosted by an extra £2.5 – £5.5 billion annually, creating 60 – 80,000 new jobs in the leisure and tourism sector in the process.

What's more, says the Telegraph, the nation's health and wellbeing will be improved by increased opportunities for outdoor leisure, sport and recreation after school or work.

Increasing energy costs means everyone is concerned about their energy bills ahead of the harsh British winter, and this proposal could reduce them by up to 5% and cut C02 emissions by nearly 450,000 tonnes a year.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'Discussions are under way across Whitehall and with the devolved authorities but that's the key - you can only do this if there is real national consensus and pressure between all the nations of our United Kingdom.'

And, admittedly, the thought of those long winter nights isn't a particularly enticing one. Fancy escaping the dreary, dark evenings? Check out some of these brilliant getaways:

Editor's picks: Romantic winter city breaks
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British summer time ends as clocks go back - for the last time?
Antwerp ticks all the boxes when it comes to romantic picture postcard opportunities - the cobbled streets, the horse drawn carriages, the art nouveau architecture…and the abundance of diamond dealers won't go unnoticed either. The Boulevard Leopold is the perfect place to stay - a converted 19th century townhouse, with just three guestrooms, beautifully decorated with vintage relics.

Stay: Boulevard Leopold
For six months of the year, tourists our number the locals, but after October, Florence becomes a tranquil city when you can explore the historic streets without fear of crossing another soul, let alone tour group. Walk the Ponte Vecchio at dusk, wander tourist-free galleries at the Uffizi, drink local chianti and indulge in the best gelato in Italy. Treat yourself to some scented candles at Santa Maria Novelli - quite possibly the world's most enchanting apothecary.

Stay: Hotel Mona Lisa
For lovers of the night, Edinburgh's winding alleyways and secret passages make for illicit liaisons away from prying eyes… Book a room at The Witchery, in the shadows of the castle, where you can stay in a fabulously opulent suite and make the most of the roll top bath. For push-the-boat-out dining book a table at the beautiful Rhubarb Restaurant at Prestonfield House.

Stay: The Witchery
Wait - don't read on just yet - not your typical romantic getaway, granted, but what says cosy night in more than a log cabin? The Caban Cariad (meaning, literally, The Loveshack) is situated in the woods of Penlan in West Wales, and comes with all the seclusion and privacy your heart could desire. Kitted out in a kitsch retro style, it gives you the perfect excuse to get your roll neck jumper on and drink wine in front of the log fire.

Stay: Caban Cariad
New York in the winter is like every Christmas movie you've ever watched; the hot steam rising from the subway, bitterly cold fingers entwined against the elements, snow-topped yellow cabs….To make it romantic you may want to think less Home Alone and more Breakfast at Tiffany's. Take in the scenery from the High Line , skate in Central Park, then kick off the evening with intent with a shot of aphrodisiac at John Dory's Oyster bar before sundown cocktails at the lounge-like Milk & Honey.

Stay: The Standard
If you're more likely to believe that chocolate be the food of love, then get your lover on the Eurostar to Bruges quick smart. A chocolate lover's haven, but a medieval, fairytale town to boot, Bruges is so tranquil and full of pretty, scenic walks that even the hearts of the most hardened of cynics can't fail to melt. And if that doesn't work, there's always the beer.

Stay: The Pand
Forget all the preconceptions that come with suggestions of enjoying a little romance in Amsterdam; it's not all about the cheap thrills. Cosy cafes, amazing chocolate shops (, cycling along the canal…it doesn't all have to be sedate either - book a room at the elegant Dylan hotel over a Sunday, and receive a discount at the luxe lingerie boutique run by designer Mariles Dekkers.

Stay: The Dylan
Can there be a city as ridiculously seductive as Venice? So picturesque it practically smoulders, Venice is the perfect city to get lost in. Skip the gondola (waste of money, mildly embarrassing) and go the vaporetto route, or simply go on foot – exploring Venice's myriad islands and hidden palazzo. Stop by Peggy Gugenheim's art collection and Francis Pinault's sumptuous Palazzo Grassi for a taste of Venice's decadent side, then wind down with prosecco at a back street Osteria.

Stay: Hotel Ciprani
Fulfil some fairytale fantasies on the shores of Lake Bled; Slovenia's emerging destination for lovers. Bled Castle is picture book romance - couples can even seal the deal by bottling and labelling their own wine - brewed by the castle's resident monks. Hedonism is a long way off though - it's all about the long walks and gazing at the moon. The honeymoon suite in Vila Bled has a lot of seventies kitsch value too, and is all the better for it.

Stay: Vila Bled
More accessible than you might think, Marrakech has a near-perfect, sun-kissed climate during our cold snap, and the heady concoction of the age old Medina, Andulusian architecture and North African culture, make it an intoxicating place to visit. Book a few nights in the AnaYela raid - an homage to star-crossed lovers everywhere. When the 300 year old palace was being renovated by its owners they discovered the old diary of a teenage girl - Yela - who writes about forbidden love with the boy from next door, and stolen kisses in dark alleyways. Her diary is ensconced in the raid walls and her words hammered in silver calligraphy on the door panels. A guesthouse which you can't help but fall in love with - thanks to its petal-strewn plunge pool, the dramatic red 'flying carpet' canopy on the terrace and the bath tubs made for two.

Stay: Riad AnaYela
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