Most people scrap Easter getaway plans but some still head to tourist resorts
Millions of people are following orders not to embark on an Easter getaway, although some have been caught breaking lockdown rules and travelling to tourist hotspots.
Road traffic levels on Thursday morning were similar to those seen in the past week, indicating that most people are staying at home on what is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for leisure travel.
Analysis by the PA news agency of data published by satellite navigation company Tom Tom showed there was no spike in congestion levels in cities such as Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.
An AA survey carried out shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic began suggested that around 26 million leisure journeys by road had been planned for the Easter weekend.
Although the vast majority of these trips are no longer taking place, some people have been caught not adhering to the lockdown guidance to avoid non-essential travel.
Cumbria Constabulary caught several people travelling to the Lake District from outside the area.
These include a group travelling in two cars, one of which was a Lamborghini luxury sports car, who “decided it was too nice to stay in Bolton”.
Another incident involved a family of six from Leigh, Lancashire who were stopped in Windermere, advised to return home and escorted by officers back to the motorway.
Annie Willey, brand manager of the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation, which represents local tourism companies, said residents have seen an “awful lot” of second home owners coming to the area recently, particularly in Aldeburgh and Southwold.
This is something the tourism industry is “desperate to clamp down on”, she told PA.
Ms Willey said anyone visiting over Easter was giving a “slap in the face” to businesses which had battled “stress and pressure” to close their doors because of the virus.
Cornwall Council said it had received around 200 reports from residents that holiday lets are defying the Government order to close.
Airbnb blocked UK properties from accepting new bookings from Thursday up to at least April 18 unless they are for key workers.
David Butterworth, chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “Don’t be the person that thinks ‘I’ll pop to the Dales because it’ll be quiet’. Don’t be the person that thinks, ‘it’s Easter, we can stay at the holiday house’.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council leader David Monk said: “Unfortunately a large number of day-trippers from outside the county visited our beauty spots last weekend. Everybody should be following Government guidance and staying at home except for the reasons set out.”
Rail companies Northern and TransPennine Express have joined forces with the British Transport Police to launch a campaign reminding people it is “not acceptable” to use services for leisure activities this weekend.
There will be an increased presence of police officers at popular stations over the weekend.
Many of the UK’s most popular visitor attractions are offering a variety of virtual Easter activities to keep people busy while staying at home.
These include experiments by the Science Museum, services at Durham Cathedral, cookery suggestions from Waddesdon Manor and a scavenger hunt from the National Trust.
Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall, said that the Easter weekend would get off to a warm start before gradually becoming cooler.
Temperatures could reach 24 or 25C in southern areas on Good Friday, with the risk of some showers in parts of Scotland, the North East and the Midlands by the afternoon.