Stay away from Lake District and other beauty spots this weekend, Britons warned

At the start of the first weekend in which day trips by car are permitted in England, visitors are being warned to stay away from “honeypot” tourist locations.

The government says: “Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted.

“You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.”

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But tourism officials in popular beauty spots fear crowds of visitors could increase the spread of coronavirus.

Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park, told the BBC Today programme: “Please don’t travel for the moment to the Lake District because of the impact that you will have on the local communities here.

“Cumbria already has a fairly high incidence of Covid, so there is real concern on the ground about large amounts of people coming back.”

He also warned against hiking and climbing in the fells. “The further you go away from the road, the more likely you are to need to be rescued if you are unlucky enough to have an accident.

“That involves bringing out our volunteer mountain-rescue teams and putting those people at risk themselves – many of whom work for medical services in the NHS.

“So I’d really encourage people to exercise locally if they can. The National Park will be here, and we will invite people back as soon as it safe to do so.”

On the same programme, the director-general of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, said: “People are desperate for access to nature. There are many, many other beautiful places around the country other than the Lake District.

“Spread the load a bit – that will give you a better experience. Find somewhere local that allows you still that beauty.”

At the other end of England, Visit Cornwall is telling prospective visitors to stay away if they are a long way from the county: “Unless you can visit a location and return within 90 minutes or so, you should visit a location nearer your home for exercise or to spend time outdoors.”

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are not relaxing their rules. Day trips remain banned.

The Welsh economy minister, Ken Skates, warned English travellers that the country remains closed to visitors. He said:“If you travel a significant distance for leisure purposes into Wales or within Wales you risk being stopped by the police and fined under Welsh law.

“Don’t put yourself and others at risk, and for now please don’t visit.”

English travellers are not allowed to stray across the border to Scotland.

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