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Kirker bookings and coronavirus

11 May 2021

For those of us who are keen travellers, it has been very heartening to observe the UK’s scientific community masterminding a successful programme of vaccine development, and even better to witness the smooth-running of the vaccination roll-out.  Of course, we have come to expect the odd glitch along the way, but the Government’s ‘Roadmap’ to the Brave New World is proceeding as planned so far, and provides a clear pathway that will enable us to embark on the first step of the return to international travel from 17 May to Portugal (including Madeira), Iceland, Gibraltar and Israel (please note that the Israeli authorities will welcome visitors from 01 July), with more extensive travel permitted from 21 June when restrictions within the UK will also be further lifted.  Furthermore, there will be an interim update on 28 May when additional destinations will be included in the list of permitted countries where we can travel to without quarantine.

The 'traffic light' system specifies key criteria which destinations need to meet, and, for all destinations categorised as ‘Green’, on your return back to the UK you will need to take a test (any of PCR, LAMP or Lateral Flow) within 3 days of your flight back to the UK (eg if your flight is on a Friday, you need to take a test on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday).  Once you have returned to the UK you will need to take a PCR test within 2 days.  Kirker has negotiated a special price for PCR tests – click here for details - and enter the discount code KIRKER60 or KIRKER55 for the two test package.  Click here for the link to the Government website for the latest updates.

For the time being, destinations listed as ‘Amber’ are not suitable for leisure travel, but may be ‘upgraded’ to ‘Green’ as early as 28 May when the Government’s interim update will be announced. We continue to keep a close eye on the rules regarding testing and quarantine requirements, and if you have any queries about a particular destination you are booked to travel to – or would like to consider visiting, please never hesitate to speak to a member of the Kirker team on 020 7593 2288 for the latest information. 

Of course, each individual’s personal travel ambitions are dependent on their own circumstances, but we are already hearing from clients who are proud to confirm that they have already had both of their jabs and are now looking forward to booking their next holiday with confidence.  Naturally, the Kirker Team is adapting to the new protocols as the situation evolves each week, and we follow each destination country’s rules for UK travellers closely – but, rest assured, it is Kirker’s responsibility to ensure we keep you up-to-date and informed of all relevant aspects of travel procedures – including testing and quarantine – for any holiday that you have already booked, or are planning to book in the near future.

We are delighted to reassure you that, in the event you are unable to travel due to a Coronavirus related challenge, you will be able to amend to a later date, or we can provide you with a Kirker voucher for future travel or a full refund if you prefer.  (There are some very rare occasions where we have been obliged to make a financial commitment on your behalf which is non-refundable, but even in these circumstances, Kirker agrees to subsidise the loss to ensure that any costs are reduced by mutual agreement.)

This year Kirker celebrates 35 years in business, and although the last 12 months have been tricky to manage, we are a mature and very well-funded business that will bounce back strongly in the coming months ahead – we are in it for the long-term, and look forward to providing clients with the sort of personal service that discerning travellers expect.  We are very grateful to all our loyal customers and travel agents for their support over many years, and we very much look forward to helping with your next holiday arrangements as soon as you are ready to discuss your plans.

Now is the perfect time to start planning a summer or autumn holiday for this year, whilst we are still able to secure good availability for a limited number of flight seats and hotel rooms, often still at 2020 prices.  We are also taking a number of bookings for 2022, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your requirements whenever you are ready.  Whenever you decide to venture forth once more, there is a very real risk that hotels and airlines will be obliged to increase prices later in the year when the bounce-back comes, and a number of our favourite properties are already suggesting that they expect to be fully booked by the time the peak autumn short break season comes.

Please do remember that there is only one thing worse that being prevented from travelling due to an unexpected pandemic… and that is not being able to travel because your favourite hotel is already full.  Many hotels, restaurants and other venues such as museums, theatres and opera houses will cut capacity to fulfil social distancing requirements – so pre-booking all these elements with the Kirker Concierge will be essential.

As ever, speaking to an expert human being is the best way to ensure you get the latest advice – and the reassurance that Kirker will be here to liaise with you at every step of the way – before, during and after your holiday.  In many ways, the introduction of more disciplined aircraft boarding, and increased testing processes will enhance the travel experience for us all – and we sense that clients are already more inclined to take things at a slightly slower pace and add a night or two to extend their stay.  

Whilst the Coronavirus crisis may have left a terrible, indelible mark on many of us, we are all now increasingly aware what an extraordinary privilege it is to be able to travel – and you can rest assured that Kirker will be doing its utmost to help you savour every moment of your holiday, and nurture the wonderful network of friends and associates who are responsible for making sure that you are properly looked after on every step of the journey.

We shall be doing our best to exceed your expectations, every time you travel on a Kirker holiday – and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Ted Wake & Andrew Layard
Joint Managing Directors


N.B. Some useful tips:

The majority of the Kirker team continues to work from home on normal office hours Monday to Friday (0900 – 1800hrs), so please don’t hesitate to get in touch by telephone 020 7593 2288 (or via your travel agent), or email directly to the individual who is looking after your enquiry This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – please provide us with your preferred telephone contact number and someone will call you back as soon as they can.

Please remember that you must always make certain that you have adequate travel insurance. We can recommend a new Coronavirus insurance policy provided by Campbell Irvine who are a recommended, independent insurance provider with a new policy to give you reassurance to book with confidence: click here for details.

If you would like further guidance on travel, Kirker is a member of ABTAAITO and we also have an ATOL licence – please do look at their websites for supplementary information.

If your query is about a Cultural Tour or Music Holiday please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 020 7593 2284. New tours for dates throughout 2021 and 2022 are being added all the time, so please click here for details.

General Enquiries: 020 7593 2288
Cultural Tours: 020 7593 2284
Operations: 020 7593 2280
Finance: 020 7593 2285

To make an enquiry please speak to one of our experts on 020 7593 1899, or enquire online

Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.

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