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Coronavirus UK: Beauty spots swamped as lockdown eased

Car parks have overflowed as thousands of nature lovers flocked to England’s beauty spots for the first time since the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

Tourists were seen weathering the overcast conditions at popular destinations including Durdle Door in Dorset, Ilkley Moor near Bradford and in the Lake District as they seized the chance to get out the house.

But chaos ensued on the south coast and in North Tyneside as rows of cars were pictured overflowing from car parks as a swarm of people desperately tried to reach the beaches.

In Dorset, before the lockdown was lifted, 150 fines were issued to motorists who travelled to Durdle Door in Lulworth, Dorset. But under the government lockdown easing rules Britons are allowed to make day trips for leisure.

Updated Government rules on the coronavirus pandemic have relaxed the ‘stay local’ message so people can drive to outdoor open spaces ‘irrespective of distance’.

Amid the changes – which only apply to England – national parks warned people to respect local communities, keep their distance from others and avoid hotspots and busy areas.

Some places have even begged tourists to steer clear, with Blackpool tourism office’s Twitter page re-branding to ‘Do Not Visit Blackpool’ and a Scotland tourism chief saying the country will be closed to visitors this summer. 

Pictured: People take to the beach as the lockdown rules ease while the UK continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic and the Government loosens restrictions on outdoor activity 

Thousands of nature lovers have flocked to England's beauty spots (pictured at West Bexington in Dorset) for the first time since the easing of the coronavirus lockdown

Thousands of nature lovers have flocked to England’s beauty spots (pictured at West Bexington in Dorset) for the first time since the easing of the coronavirus lockdown

Rebecca Dent and Tom Harrison pause during a walk on the Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor above Ilkley, West Yorkshire, as lockdown rules in England relax

Rebecca Dent and Tom Harrison pause during a walk on the Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor above Ilkley, West Yorkshire, as lockdown rules in England relax 

Kyakers wear wetsuits as they make their way towards the beach in Woolacombe, Devon, today after the announcement of plans to bring the country out of lockdown

Kyakers wear wetsuits as they make their way towards the beach in Woolacombe, Devon, today after the announcement of plans to bring the country out of lockdown

Walkers take a stroll at the Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall on 13th May 2020 as the government has started to ease some lockdown restrictions including outdoor sport and travelling to beauty spots for your daily exercise

Walkers take a stroll at the Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall on 13th May 2020 as the government has started to ease some lockdown restrictions including outdoor sport and travelling to beauty spots for your daily exercise

Walkers take a stroll at Rannerdale Knotts in the Lake District, Cumbria, on the first day of lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions on leisure activities and outdoor exercise

Walkers take a stroll at Rannerdale Knotts in the Lake District, Cumbria, on the first day of lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions on leisure activities and outdoor exercise

The full West Stoke car park at Kingley Vale, in the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West Sussex, is pictured today

The full West Stoke car park at Kingley Vale, in the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West Sussex, is pictured today

Cars line the country lane leading to Kingley Vale, in the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West Sussex, on Wednesday

Cars line the country lane leading to Kingley Vale, in the South Downs National Park near Chichester, West Sussex, on Wednesday

Tourists were seen weathering the overcast conditions at popular destinations such as in Dorset (pictured, Lulworth), Ilkley Moor near Bradford and in the Lake District as they seized the chance to get out the house

Tourists were seen weathering the overcast conditions at popular destinations such as in Dorset (pictured, Lulworth), Ilkley Moor near Bradford and in the Lake District as they seized the chance to get out the house

The car park at Durdle Door reopened at Lulworth in Dorset after coronavirus travel and exercise restrictions were loosened

The car park at Durdle Door reopened at Lulworth in Dorset after coronavirus travel and exercise restrictions were loosened

Vehicles were strewn across entrances to the beach at West Bexington, Dorset, where car parks there remained closed. But down the road in Luxworth the council reopened sites, warning charges were being reintroduced.

Meanwhile car parks were open along the historic coast at North Tyneside so people could trudge over the sand dunes to the rolling beaches.

Eight car parks along the scenic seafront were shut on March 27 after many ignored strict orders from Boris Johnson to stay indoors and instead flocked to the coast.

But this morning council workers were seen kicking bollards aside and dismantling ‘stay at home’ signs as the country gets back to business.

In the Lake District ramblers could be seen marching past sheep and bluebells as they enjoyed the stunning views in the North West beauty spot.

A couple strolls past Durdle Door at Lulworth in Dorset as people flocked to tourist hotspots across England on Wednesday

A couple strolls past Durdle Door at Lulworth in Dorset as people flocked to tourist hotspots across England on Wednesday

In the Lake District ramblers could be seen marching past sheep and bluebells as they enjoyed the stunning views in the North West beauty spot

In the Lake District ramblers could be seen marching past sheep and bluebells as they enjoyed the stunning views in the North West beauty spot

Durdle Door car park reopens at Lulworth in Dorset with a sign on the A352 informing drivers that it has spaces while Lulworth car park remains closed

Durdle Door car park reopens at Lulworth in Dorset with a sign on the A352 informing drivers that it has spaces while Lulworth car park remains closed

Rebecca Dent and Tom Harrison pause during a walk on the Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor above Ilkley, near Bradford, West Yorkshire

Rebecca Dent and Tom Harrison pause during a walk on the Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor above Ilkley, near Bradford, West Yorkshire

There has been a hike in Google searches for the area following the partial lifting of the lockdown by the PM this week.

It comes after national parks urged caution for visitors planning to return to beauty spots from today – with some still telling people to stay away.

Visitors are also being warned some facilities such as car parks, visitor centres and public toilets, as well as cafes and pubs, are not yet open.

But thousands of Britons sucked in the fresh air of freedom today at garden centres, golf courses and tennis courts which have reopened for the first time since lockdown. 

Green-fingered shoppers poured into garden centres for the first time in seven weeks and some places saw queues of up to 100 people, many in masks, lining up outside well ahead of opening times.

And sports enthusiasts weathered breezy and cloudy conditions to head to recreation clubs for the first time in seven weeks.

People are seen playing cricket in nets at Clapham Common, south London, today as lockdown begins to ease across England

People are seen playing cricket in nets at Clapham Common, south London, today as lockdown begins to ease across England 

Golfers in Hertfordshire today as golf clubs, nurseries and garden centres are allowed to open for the first time since lockdown

Golfers in Hertfordshire today as golf clubs, nurseries and garden centres are allowed to open for the first time since lockdown

Kacper Laskowski and his brother Oskar warm up at Northampton County Lawn Tennis Club on May 13, 2020 in Northampton as lockdown rules begin to ease

Kacper Laskowski and his brother Oskar warm up at Northampton County Lawn Tennis Club on May 13, 2020 in Northampton as lockdown rules begin to ease 

Garden centres which had been shuttered by coronavirus tentatively welcomed back green-fingered shoppers to their stores (Longacre Garden Centre pictured)

Garden centres which had been shuttered by coronavirus tentatively welcomed back green-fingered shoppers to their stores (Longacre Garden Centre pictured)

A shopper is given hand sanitiser by an employee wearing a protective visor upon his arrival at Whitley's Garden Centre in West Yorkshire

A shopper is given hand sanitiser by an employee wearing a protective visor upon his arrival at Whitley’s Garden Centre in West Yorkshire

And crowds flocked to garden centres across the country as they were also allowed to reopen today (pictured at Old Barn Garden Centre in Horsham, West Sussex)

And crowds flocked to garden centres across the country as they were also allowed to reopen today (pictured at Old Barn Garden Centre in Horsham, West Sussex)

Since garden centres were given the green light to reopen during the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday night, many have been working to enforce social distancing at their sites

Walton Heath Golf Club members Callum Malcolm and Dominic Griffiths who teed off at 7.40am walk off the first tee in Tadworth

Walton Heath Golf Club members Callum Malcolm and Dominic Griffiths who teed off at 7.40am walk off the first tee in Tadworth

Golfers at Llanymynech Golf Club, Oswestry, where the course crosses the border of England and Wales, still took to the pitch today

Golfers at Llanymynech Golf Club, Oswestry, where the course crosses the border of England and Wales, still took to the pitch today

Christina San and Joshua Park are pictured playing tennis for the first time since the lockdown rules were loosened at Westside tennis centre, Wimbledon

Christina San and Joshua Park are pictured playing tennis for the first time since the lockdown rules were loosened at Westside tennis centre, Wimbledon

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s chief executive David Butterworth said the Government’s approach to reopening the countryside was not one it had advocated.

What are the rules on going to beauty spots?

People can drive to parks or beaches within England but only with members of their own household.

People are not allowed to cross the border to Wales or Scotland for leisure activities if different restrictions are in force.

They are also allowed to sit in the sun in their local parks.

Mr Johnson’s speech on Sunday indicated this could only be done with members of their own household, but it is understood people will be allowed to sunbathe or chat in a park with one other person. 

‘We, along with many organisations with countryside facilities, have advocated a staged approach with an initial ‘stay local’ message to avoid unnecessary travel and minimise any tension between visitors and local communities.’

But in light of the new rules, authority-run car parks would now be opened and it was working to open toilets as soon as possible, he said, as he asked visitors to respect local communities, nature and other people.

The Lake District National Park is urging people not to return yet, in order to help communities in Cumbria, which officials said has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the UK.

National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe said: ‘For now, we’re asking people not to rush back to the Lake District – help protect our communities, the fells will still be here when this passes.

‘When the time is right, we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Lake District and have been working with partners to put measures in place that will help keep people safe, such as new car park information and availability to help plan ahead.’

The Lake District National Park is urging people not to return yet, in order to help communities in Cumbria (pictured), which officials said has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the UK

The Lake District National Park is urging people not to return yet, in order to help communities in Cumbria (pictured), which officials said has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the UK

National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe said: 'For now, we're asking people not to rush back to the Lake District - help protect our communities, the fells will still be here when this passes'

National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe said: ‘For now, we’re asking people not to rush back to the Lake District – help protect our communities, the fells will still be here when this passes’

A busy car park is pictured at Stoughton Down in the South Downs National Park, West Sussex, following the relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown rules

A busy car park is pictured at Stoughton Down in the South Downs National Park, West Sussex, following the relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown rules

Dartmoor National Park said it was reviewing how to reopen car parks and toilets and was awaiting further guidance on how to so while safely supporting social distancing.

‘Until then please stay at home, avoid unnecessary journeys, exercise locally and follow social distancing and hygiene rules,’ a statement from the National Park Authority said.

Sarah Fowler, chief executive of Peak District National Park Authority, also issued a personal appeal for anyone planning to travel to the area, saying: ‘Before your journey, carefully consider your own wellbeing and that of the Peak District’s many small communities.’

Continuing to use local parks and outdoor areas close to home could help the park ensure it can welcome visitors in the coming weeks and not put ‘undue pressure’ on public highways, emergency access or key workers, she said.

Other national parks also urged would-be visitors to respect people and business in the parks, as well as the nature that has been thriving, ensure they practise social distancing, plan ahead and avoid busy areas.

The Broads Authority in Norfolk also said it was seeking clarification on whether private boaters are able to use the waterways from Wednesday, and what the guidance entails for paddle and water sports.

Two people walk away from Durdle Door car park after it reopened at Lulworth in Dorset on Wednesday, seeing a huge influx of tourists

Two people walk away from Durdle Door car park after it reopened at Lulworth in Dorset on Wednesday, seeing a huge influx of tourists

Police officers on bicycles patrol Bournemouth beach in Dorset on the first day of easing for some coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England

Police officers on bicycles patrol Bournemouth beach in Dorset on the first day of easing for some coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England

People sit around a wind breaker on Bournemouth beach in Dorset on the first day of easing for some coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England

People sit around a wind breaker on Bournemouth beach in Dorset on the first day of easing for some coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England

Blackpool’s tourism office has rebranded itself on Twitter ‘Do Not Visit Blackpool’ – just as the lockdown eased.

‘Visit Blackpool’ has temporarily been rebranded on social media just after Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined new guidance last Sunday.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said Boris Johnson’s message meant there was ‘nothing we can do’ to stop visitors – but he urged people to stay away.

New rules coming into effect today allow people in England to spend more time outdoors ‘for leisure purposes’ – including sunbathing.

Under the relaxed guidelines, people can drive in household groups to destinations of their choosing, including parks and beaches.

The Lancashire resort rose to prominence among Victorian holidaymakers after railway connections made it easier to travel to.

Blackpool's tourism office has rebranded itself on Twitter 'Do Not Visit Blackpool' from 'Visit Blackpool'- just as the lockdown eased

Blackpool’s tourism office has rebranded itself on Twitter ‘Do Not Visit Blackpool’ from ‘Visit Blackpool’- just as the lockdown eased

But Mr Blackburn said although they hoped to relaunch as a tourism hotspot in July, for now he would prefer people to ‘stay local’.

He said: ‘There’s nothing we can do, given the prime minister’s advice, to stop people walking on the promenade or the beach. But we urge people to not visit Blackpool at the current time.

‘None of the traditional attractions that you want to see will be open, you won’t be able to get the food you usually get, or do the things you can normally do.’

Some of London’s busiest roads will be CLOSED to cars to make room for bikes and pedestrians 

Cars and taxis are set to be banned from some of the capital’s busiest roads to make way for cyclists and pedestrians despite increasing traffic and social distancing becoming a ‘joke’ on public transport as millions returned to work today.

The City of London Corporation claims closing major routes through the financial district will be ‘pivotal’ to keeping people safe during the pandemic despite the Government’s advice being clear that: ‘You are very unlikely to be infected if you walk past another person in the street’.

Transport chiefs want to impose 12 or 24-hour closures for cars and divert buses off its main routes including Cannon Street, Poultry, Lombard Street, Old Broad Street and Threadneedle Street, home to the Bank of England.

Without the vehicles, pavements will be widened, new cycle lanes created and extra space for queuing outside shops and cafes, with the plan expected to be approved by the Square Mile’s planning committee tomorrow as the City of London’s 550,000 workers start returning to offices as the lockdown eases. 

Scotland has gone a step further as a tourism chief warned the country will be closed to visitors this summer, as island communities fear a spike in coronavirus infections due to outsiders.

Government agency VisitScotland said it was likely daytrippers would be allowed to venture out once the lockdown lifts, and that self-catering businesses had indicated they would be ready to open.

But VisitScotland director Riddell Graham slated ‘confusion’ over different situations in Scotland and down south.

Mr Graham said: ‘Some parts of Scotland have had little or no infections. They want to make sure that that doesn’t change through an influx of visitors from outside.

‘There is a very delicate balance to be struck. A really important thing we have to bear in mind is the concerns of communities, such as island communities.

‘We think some people will be genuinely concerned, particularly about travelling in groups and that the car will be coming forward as a means of getting around the countryside. That in itself causes real challenges in managing the flow of visitors.

‘Speaking to the countryside people, they are concerned about managing the potential impact on some of the hotspots that they manage, within the National Parks for example.

‘There will be some people who will be genuinely concerned about meeting other people and being exposed to visitors in a way they haven’t been up until now.’

He rejected the idea visitors could travel to Scotland this summer but he was optimistic of ‘some kind’ of reopening this year – which could happen at different times across the country.

Scotland has gone a step further as a tourism chief warned the country will be closed to visitors this summer, as island communities fear a spike in coronavirus infections due to outsiders (pictured, a road closed at Cairngorm Ski Centre near Aviemore yesterday)

Scotland has gone a step further as a tourism chief warned the country will be closed to visitors this summer, as island communities fear a spike in coronavirus infections due to outsiders (pictured, a road closed at Cairngorm Ski Centre near Aviemore yesterday)

Government agency VisitScotland said it was likely daytrippers would be allowed to venture out once the lockdown lifts, and that self-catering businesses had indicated they would be ready to open (pictured, Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, yesterday)

Government agency VisitScotland said it was likely daytrippers would be allowed to venture out once the lockdown lifts, and that self-catering businesses had indicated they would be ready to open (pictured, Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, yesterday)

Mr Graham rejected the idea visitors could travel to Scotland (pictured, Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, yesterday) this summer but he was optimistic of 'some kind' of reopening this year - which could happen at different times across the country

Mr Graham rejected the idea visitors could travel to Scotland (pictured, Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, yesterday) this summer but he was optimistic of ‘some kind’ of reopening this year – which could happen at different times across the country

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