What is open now?

What is open now? Looking at the timeline of COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus, from when it was first reported on the 31st of December 2019 to where we are now, it is clear that these are unprecedented and trying times for everyone especially those in the hospitality and travel industry as well as individuals who love to travel. The hope is, these exceptional circumstances pass away quickly and we can regain normality.

I know that many of you, like me, had travel plans for the school holidays. From the Easter break to the May Half-term break to the 6 weeks Summer holidays, October Half-term break and Christmas Holidays. It is such an anxious time and the question now is, what is open now?

What is open now?

This is such an interesting question given that most borders are closed and will remain closed in this period given the current climate and rapid changes happening daily in most countries. It is best to assume that the very vast majority of borders are closed or closing. Airlines, almost universally, are grounded or cancelling vast swathes of their schedules while tour operators are suspending the running of holidays. As more non-European countries lock their borders, at increasingly short notice, the list of places unable to be reached will continue to grow. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth advice concerning specific destinations that you hope to still travel to.

I was due to go to Prague for the Easter Holidays, the airline kindly informed me that they had cancelled the flights and paid a full refund. I contacted the hotel who again asked me to rebook my accommodation with them at any time until October 2021.

What happens when my trip is cancelled?

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If you have booked a package holiday, you will be offered the option of a full refund, a deferred departure or a trip to an alternative destination. In light of the current situation, only the first two options are likely to be viable. If you have arranged your own trip and your flight is cancelled, you will be offered a refund or the chance to rebook for a later departure date. For so-called consequential losses — such as hotels and car hire — you should contact the provider in the first instance but may need to use your travel insurance to recoup losses. My May half-term holiday was a package holiday and as a result, I was covered by the protection and hence, received my full refund.

What if I don’t wish to travel anymore?

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You have made a wise choice by choosing not to travel at this time. Airlines and tour operators are being flexible in allowing people to amend and delay their bookings. However, unless your holiday is due to depart imminently and is to a country where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office had advised against all but essential travel, you will not be able to claim on your insurance if you do not wish to travel. However, the list of countries the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to is growing almost by the hour.

I have a trip booked but it was a non-refundable booking. 


I am guilty of this as well. I booked a ladies weekend away in London and didn’t predict that the country will be in a lock-down barely a month after I had booked it. As the name suggests, it is a non-refundable booking and that means you will not be refunded. However, given the circumstances around the situation for your trip not to go ahead, some suppliers are kindly re-scheduling other dates for their clients while others are taking the hard-line and saying non-refundable means you are not getting refunded.

Is there a way out?

Yes, if you booked your trip with a credit card, you might be eligible for a chargeback or Section 75.

A chargeback is a scheme which gives you a chance of getting your money back from the bank if your service wasn’t delivered. Chargebacks works in a similar way to Section 75, which is a legal protection when you use your credit card to make purchases that goes wrong and you need a refund. You have 120 days from the date you booked your trip to claim back your money. You can only claim the amount you have paid for on that specific credit card.

Please note that Section 75, applies to purchases over £100 ( I guess your trip will be more than that).

I have a trip booked with no insurance. Can I buy it now?
It is proving increasingly difficult to get new travel insurance policies — especially one that covers for coronavirus-related cancellations. Many mainstream travel insurers, including Direct Line, Admiral, Churchill have suspended selling new policies. Read my post on travel insurance reviews here.

I have a UK reservation booked.

It is most certainly clear with the imminent lock down coming to the capital city of London and other cities around the UK, it is better to re-schedule or rebook all reservations.

What is open now in the UK?

It is safe to say stay at home and continue your urge for wanderlust by reading travel blogs, discovering new destinations and calculating a budget for when travel is possible again. It is also great to exercise, engage in some mindfulness and take walks. The National Trust announced that its gardens and parks will remain open to the public during this crisis.

Here is a list of some gardens and parks due to be opened in East of England

List of 7 places for Long Walks in the East of England.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

The Cambridge Botanic Garden is located in Brookside, Cambridge. The garden covers an area of 40 acres, it holds huge plant collection and you will find plants from different parts of the world here. It has announced that it will be open free of charge from 11 am to 3 pm.

What is Open Now?
A tree at Cambridge Botanic Garden @ 13 Weeks Travel

Cambridge Botanic Garden @ 13 Weeks TravelCambridge Botanic Garden @ 13 Weeks Travel

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust Garden located in Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge. It has about 98 acres of gardens and landscaped grounds. Anglesey Abbey is open from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm every day.

Anglesey Abbey Cambridge @13 Weeks Travel
Anglesey Abbey Forest Walk

Wimpole Estate

Wimpole Estate is a National Trust Garden and the farm is located in Royston, just about 20 minutes from Cambridge. It has some of the rarest farm animal breeds. The parkland and garden are open from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm.

Wimpole Estate National Trust @13 Weeks TravelWimpole Estate Cambridge @13 Weeks Travel

Blicking Estate

Blicking Estate is a National Trust Garden located in Blicking, Norfolk. The garden covers an area of 55 acres, with stunning Victorian garden ornaments, a lake and a beautifully landscaped garden. The garden is closed but the parkland is open from dawn to dusk.

Blicking Gardens @13 Weeks Travel

Blicking Garden @ 13 Weeks Travel

Felbrigg Hall

Felbrigg Hall is a National Trust Garden located in Felbrigg, Norwich, Norfolk. The ground here is particularly interesting with a vast walled garden housing a variety of unusual plants. The parkland is home to a number of large sheep grazing, a lake and different varieties of birds. The Parkland is open from dawn to dusk.

Felbrigg Hall by 13WeeksTravel

 

Felbrigg Garden Norfolk by 13 Weeks Travel

 

Sheringham Park

Sheringham Park is a National Trust Park located in Upper Sheringham, Sheringham. It is a Norfolk coastal town. The Parkland is set on 1000 acres area with outstanding and varied landscapes, woodland and clifftop. The Park is open from dawn to dusk.

Sheringham Park @13 Weeks Travel

Sheringham Park, Sheringham by 13 Weeks Travel

Ickworth

Ickworth House, Park and Garden is a National Trust park located in Bury Saint Edmunds (about 25 minutes drive from Cambridge). This is a place well worth to visit in Suffolk. The garden and parkland amplify the beauty of Suffolk in a unique way, it has an Italianate garden with a lake, a circular trail of about 3.5 miles, an ancient deer park, formal gardens and inviting woodlands perfect for long strolls, bike rides and picnics. The garden is open from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm while the Parkland is open from 9.00 am to Dusk.

Ickworth garden @13 Weeks Travel

Norfolk Beaches

If you prefer to go to the beach for extended walking, the Norfolk beaches are the best.

Summary

In summary, this post explains what you can do if you had a trip booked and which National Trust Park are open around the East of England.

Some words have been culled from Ben Clatworthy and I will be adding to the list of the National Trust Parklands and gardens that are open around the country.

Remember to stay safe. Let me know in the comments which National Trust Parklands and Gardens are close to you and what else you are doing during this period.

All the best.

What is Open now?
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Editor

Editor

I'm Bolupe, a luxury family travel expert, a mum of 3, an independent travel agent and a travelpreneur. I travel for 13 Weeks a year and work full-time as an educator.
I help families thrive and lead a purposeful, luxurious life.
Fun fact: When I was 16 years old, I wanted to be a top model and the next face of Africa but I'm 5ft 7 and I was required to be 5ft 10.

29 thoughts on “What is open now?”

  1. In times like this it is great that someone like you focus on where we actually can go instead of what where we can not go. Often we overlook all the possibilities that exist in our own local neighbourhoods. It is great that you have gathered information about open places. Big thumb up to you for giving people a practical solution and advice on what to do when their travels are cancelled. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. It is truly devastating that a lot of plans we made prior to the ongoing pandemic had to be put on hold. A lot of folks actually have flights booked that are non refundable. I’m the midst of all these though, I’m surprised to find that some places you listed are even open. I guess we have to be optimistic that a vaccine is found so we can go back to normal. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thank you Rhain, If your friends booked their flight tickets with a credit card, they might be able to get their money back. They will need to check with their credit card provider.

      True, we have to be optimistic and hopeful.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for your kind words. It is important to highlight the great outdoor spaces we have and that are open during this period.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for taking out time to research, write and have this article published. Several people have all these questions in their mind. Some are already confused coupled with the anxiety created by COVID-19. I am particularly impressed to discovered that I am eligible for the Chargeback scheme which means I am getting my money back, thanks. What is not good with the places that are still opened is that, it might be very boring. Goodluck

    Reply
    • I’m glad that you found the post – What is still open useful. If you think you are eligible for the Chargeback scheme, check with your credit card provided, then start chasing them, you have 120 days to claim.

       All the best.

      Reply
  5. Nice job, it is great knowing what we can do. I didn’t think we could really go anywhere currently. It is good to know we are not totally stuck in one place. Keep up the good work, we need as much information as we can get. Or should I say GOOD information, lol

    Reply
    • Thank you. It is advisable to stay indoors however, you can maintain social distancing in an open space like a park or a garden with over 55 acres of ground.
      All the best.

      Reply
  6. Hi,

    Thank you for all this detailed advice. I am supposed to be going home to surprise my Mum for her 70th birthday at the end of May (shhh) I may end up doing this a different year instead. The airline that I’m booked with has currently not cancelled my flight from London, and as a Canadian citizen I will be allowed in, but subject (currently) to a 14 day quarantine period.

    As the trip is only 10 days long I won’t get to see my Mum so there is no point in going, but I will look into recovering the money through the airline, my credit card and my travel insurance and see what is the best option for recoverying my funds and rebooking my trip.

    In the meantime, thank you for the list of properties open in Cambridge and Norfolk – I shall look for gardens and open spaces open in Hampshire that I can explore in this complex time! I am always looking for inspirational places to visit and its a perfect opportunity to maximise outdoor opportunities!

    Thank you again!

    Reply
    • Oh what a shame, you might not be able to go home for your mum’s birthday. I hope you get it sorted soon. I’ll update this post once I get more information about which places are open in Hampshire. In the meantime, stay safe.

      Reply
  7. I found this information so useful, and I know a lot of people that I can point in this direction! Especially with all this extra free time I have, it is reassuring to know that I can still find things to do while being safe. This article has helped me stay happier during this strange time. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thank you. It is a strange time and I think the fear of the unknown makes it a big worry for us all. I’m pleased that this article has helped you feel happier.

      Reply
  8. We in the US are experiencing similar problems with travel. I think it is great that you spent the time to research places folks could still go to beat cabin fever.

    This virus has upended a lot of plans for people this spring. I work in a hotel in a common tourist town and we are dealing with high unemployment issues due to the craziness, and the businesses are going to struggle because our tourists are staying home.

    Reply
    • It’s not a great time for folks in the travel and tourism sector. It’s so sad that people are losing their jobs. Praying that things get back to normality. I’m hopeful we will bounce back.

      Reply
  9. Great insightful post and much needed in current environment. So many travel plans cancelled and quite a lot of money that everyone would lose on travel bookings. But safety and health over everything else..
    🙂

    Reply
  10. I’ve definitely had to deal with multiple cancellations on non-refundable bookings lately, ugh! Luckily most hotels/airlines have been willing to work with me on it. Such a stressful time for travelers! I’ve been spending a lot of my time hiking since that’s still allowed at the moment. Better than staying in the house! 🤷🏼‍♀️

    Reply
  11. That is wonderful to have some options still! We don’t have much to see/do here in Pennsylvania and it is cold now. I was planning a trip to Greece this summer as a graduation gift for my daughter. I didn’t purchase the tickets yet, and we still want to go but I’m scared to buy anything until after they tell us that we will be allowed to travel again. Thank you for your encouraging post!

    Reply
    • Yes, Greece is a lovely place to visit and I’m sure your daughter will be pleased with the holiday. However, We’re all waiting to see what happens and how long it will take before we all can resume travelling again. I’ll encourage you to wait until we’re allowed to travel again. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

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