Dear Fellow Motorhomer,
April and this month sees the return of UK campsites being open. The general unlocking of travel restrictions for UK citizens progresses in the right direction and it is good to once again see motorhomes moving around the country. For those who wish to travel, doing so in one’s own motorhome with self-contained facilities, offers just about the safest way to be away from home whilst remaining socially distanced and enjoying a holiday.
For UK travel, by the end of April it should be possible to freely move between all of the UK nations and stay away from home at campsites. Our 3 UK and Ireland tours arranged for this spring/summer should now proceed as planned. Whilst the tour of the Scotland Highlands and NC500 is fully booked there remains a couple of available places on the two other tours.
On this tour before you’ve travelled far you’ll be enchanted and captivated by a land that is simply Ireland. Its people and laid-back atmosphere are just wonderful for relaxed travel. Enjoy late Spring/early Summer as we tour around almost the entire coastline of both the North and the Republic over 26 nights. There will be an opportunity for visits into Belfast and Dublin, however this tour really focuses on the much more rural areas of the south and west coasts. It is here that Blarney, Bantry, The Ring of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsular, The Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Ballina are all found, as we travel leisurely along the Wild Atlantic Way of the Republic. It’s then time to be in the North for some touring, firstly inland at Lough Macnean, where the water creates the border between the North and the Republic, and then to Bushmills on the North Coast. Here is home to the famous Bushmills Distillery and the natural phenomenon of the Giants Causeway.
The meeting point for this tour is a well-appointed campsite near Taunton with easy connections from the M5. This sets everyone up well for a leisurely drive the following morning across north Devon and the Exmoor National Park, to arrive at Combe Martin on the North Devon coast. Our campsite is very well appointed and is within a few minutes walk of both the local beach and village. The campsite is also on the local bus route giving easy access to Ilfracombe in one direction and Lynton & Lynmouth in the other. From Combe Martin we travel along the coast to Porlock on the North Somerset coast, where you should take time during your stay to visit Porlock Weir and its boat shed museum. We then move to Slimbridge on the banks of the Gloucester-Sharpness canal close to the River Severn. From our campsite the wonderful Slimbridge Wetlands Centre is just 800m walk away. Also from here take the opportunity to visit the fascinating Purton Ships’ graveyard. At the end of the tour it is just a short journey from Slimbridge back to the M5 motorway.
All the UK and Ireland tours provide the same GB Motorhome Tours experience of travelling with like minded people whilst having everything arranged for you, along with the support of our great Tour Directors throughout the time away. Bookings for all tours can be made on the GB Motorhome Tours website.
In addition to UK touring many people are wanting to again venture further afield and resume foreign travel. Indications are that from 17 May onwards the UK Government will take away the legal restriction currently placed on UK citizens which forbids foreign leisure travel. Whilst foreign travel may not be for everyone at this stage, for those who do wish to travel be assured GB Motorhome Tours will offer opportunities to tour abroad. Providing all regulations can be met, a meaningful tour experience can be expected and the tour is both safe & sensible to proceed, then foreign tours will run. Over the previous 12 months GB Motorhome Tours has built up a wide range of experience and expertise in touring within the limitations of travel regulations, including ensuring tours are meaningful whilst remaining socially distanced. This experience includes complying with UK and EU regulations, completing of paperwork for transiting and travelling in European countries and meeting entry requirements for EU countries and returning to the UK. This expertise enables GB Motorhome Tours to offer travel options for those who wish to travel going forward during a period where travel is likely to be permitted but will also require certain regulations to be followed. What has consistently been seen over the 4 tours GB Motorhome Tours have completed since September last year, is that with very well-planned and organised tour arrangements travel continues to offer a rewarding experience to tour participants.
Our next scheduled foreign tour is to the Baltic States in July.
Positioned in the north east corner of Europe the Baltic States provide one destination with 3 countries, each having a unique culture and varied cuisine. The Baltic States remain very rural with little traffic making for a relaxed driving experience. Crossing each country, you will see evidence of the Soviet occupation that lasted until 1991 when the States took their independence through the ‘Singing Revolution’. During the tour we travel along the Baltics Amber Coast, including a stay on the sea’s second largest island of Saaremaa, famed for its locally produced food and beers. Try not to leave the Baltic States without taking home at least one small piece of Amber. There remains a couple of places available on this tour and bookings can be made on the GB Motorhome Tours website.
For September this year there are two recently re-arranged foreign tours with some availability, both offer foreign travel in ‘closer to home’ destinations. The Grand Duchy to Cote d’Azur tour offers 28 nights of travel from Luxemburg, through Switzerland to the south coast of France. Whilst Gentle Germany offers 11 nights of relaxed travel along the Rhine River. Both tours can be booked on the GB Motorhome Tours website.
GB Motorhome Tours aims for all planned tours to take place. However, in these times where travel is not as predictable as pre-Covid times, GB Motorhome Tours also understands foreign travel may not be for everyone at the time of their booked tour. In this context our flexible booking policy will continue to be offered to anyone who prefers to delay foreign travel until a later time. Anyone with a foreign tour booking for this year, who prefers not to travel at the time of their tour may move their booking to a later date, with all money having been paid transferred in full to another tour.
Getting ready for foreign travel, over the last three months newsletters (previous newsletters are available to view at Newsletter – GB Motorhome Tours) we have been looking at various items in relation to post Brexit foreign travel. So far these have covered the newly UK introduced Global Health Insurance Card, a look at personal and vehicle travel documents required for continental motorhome travel and the 90 days out of 180 days rule for UK citizens staying in the EU. This month we complete the series with a look at 4 additional miscellaneous items.
It is recommended that you display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, irrespective of whether you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier. GB Motorhome Tours have had these made up and one will be included in your tour pack for you.
Surcharge-free roaming for mobile phones and other devices is no longer guaranteed when travelling in the EU, although the big UK network providers have all said that they have no plans to change their charging structure at the moment. Our Tour Directors who have travelled abroad since the start of this year have also confirmed they have not been charged for using their UK phones whilst in Europe post Brexit.
Tax Paid/Duty Free allowance
Free movement of goods between the UK/EU has now ceased. Tax Paid/ Duty Free sales of alcohol and tobacco beyond UK security controls will now apply on the same basis as for non-EU destinations. When returning to the UK you will no longer be allowed to bring unlimited amounts of alcohol, tobacco or other goods for personal use. Instead the following are the new limits and includes goods that are bought tax free (i.e. on a ferry in International waters) or tax paid (i.e. in supermarkets in EU countries).
42 litres of beer
18 litres of still wine
4 litres of spirits OR 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22% ABV
200 cigarettes OR
100 cigarillos OR
50 cigars OR
250g tobacco OR
200 sticks of tobacco for heating
or any proportional combination of the above
Any other goods
Up to the value of £390
Automated penalties for driving offences in EU countries
Like in the UK many EU countries have road-side cameras located for detecting motoring offences; predominantly travelling above the local speed limit, for passing through a red traffic light or driving in a restricted bus/taxi lane. In 2019 France alone issued 450,000 automated driving penalties to UK drivers. These fines were issued under an EU agreement obliging all EU members to share vehicle owner information with other member states. For the time being EU countries no longer have access to the UK vehicle owners database for the serving of penalty notices, so further automated fines will not be issued. In person penalties (for instance speeding detected by police) will still result in the driver being fined, however, for automated penalty notices to restart this will require the UK Government entering into a new co-operation agreement with the EU as a whole or with individual countries.
With the sun shining this week across the UK and campsites back open in England and Wales, we hope you are able to be away in your motorhome. All of us at GB Motorhome Tours look forward to travelling with you again soon and to be escorting you to many more great places.
Tel. 0044 7481 479 057