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Kirker bookings and coronavirus

12 October 2020

As winter approaches, a number of our customers are very keen to travel as soon as possible whilst there is still the prospect of warm sunshine in many of our favourite destinations, especially on the Mediterranean and in southern Europe.  Over the last two months a number of members of the Kirker team have been away travelling in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany amongst other places – and the feedback from both clients and colleagues has been very positive, confirming that airlines and airports are well-organised and operating with a disciplined approach to boarding and security which is both reassuring and helps to make the journey a more civilised experience than it was before. Italy remains a firm favourite and is well-suited to last minute bookings – please call us to speak to one of the team, quotes are quick and you can call one day, and depart the following day – with full documentation confirming all details of transportation, accommodation, transfers and any elements that the Kirker Concierge has woven into your tailor made package – just call 020 7593 2288 to speak to an expert.

Whilst a careful read through the hotel and destination descriptions on our website is a very good starting point, most clients prefer to speak directly to an expert human being for advice; it is certainly the quickest and most effective way to work out the plan that best suits your personal needs. In terms of what is possible, many Kirker destinations have now reopened and we can particularly recommend the great classical cities of Italy – Venice, Florence and Rome.  These great cities have slipped off the discerning traveller’s radar in recent years for fear of having to compete with the madding crowd of day-trippers and cruise ship passengers.  Fortunately, the crowds have disappeared for the time being – and the locals have reclaimed their precious cities – it really is the perfect time to travel and enjoy a warm welcome at the best restaurants for a life-affirming dinner, not to mention a timed entrance ticket to a great museum where you can enjoy peace and tranquillity at a very safe distance from your fellow travellers.  Please speak to a Kirker expert for the very latest advice on entry requirements or restrictions which might apply to any particular country – including the welcome introduction of Covid19 PCR testing in Italy and Madeira amongst other places – N.B. our recommendation is that you organise your test in advance of departure so that you simply show your valid negative test certificate on arrival, and can start your much-needed holiday immediately.

Naturally, we continue to be vigilant to make certain that recommended hotels and local suppliers adhere to the appropriate protocols and etiquette that will shortly become second nature to us all as we adapt to the brave new world.  In terms of practical advice, you should plan to travel with a mask or two (in some cases the mask needs to be the blue ‘surgical style’, so take one of these too), and hand sanitiser – and we shall be taking care to ensure our drivers allow extra time between transfers so that the right cleaning precautions can be taken.  Restaurants have adapted to ensure that they are operating exactly as they should – with waiter service only – which is certainly more civilised than the buffet option.  

Most major museums and galleries are now open once again, with some new precautions in place - click here for more information about visiting museums and galleries at the moment.

In terms of those clients with existing bookings, we are very sorry for any frustration that may have been caused by disruption caused to your holiday – and can reassure you that we are working as quickly as possible to amend times and dates if an adjustment is required.  Although most holidays for the autumn and winter are going ahead as booked, we are keeping a close eye on airline schedules and government policy updates and will be making contact with you if there is an aspect that needs to be discussed.  As you would expect, the majority of the Kirker team is currently working at home, and we apologise if we are not able to respond as quickly as usual, but don’t hesitate to get in touch by telephone or email (or via your travel agent). Normal office hours Monday to Friday still apply (0900 – 1800hrs), and you can reach us on the normal telephone numbers, or email directly to the individual who is looking after your booking 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.

We shall continue to take as flexible an approach as we can towards any requests for amendment or postponement, and whilst we will always find a way to make an adjustment to your holiday in line with the latest FCDO advice, we will consult with each individual customer to make sure that you are happy.  There will no doubt be some occasions when there may be unavoidable charges imposed by the airlines or hotels, but the Kirker team will always do our utmost to mitigate additional costs.  If you decide to cancel you may need to claim for lost costs from your insurer, but we will keep any cancellation charges to an absolute minimum.  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 who have just launched their new policy to give you absolute reassurance to book with confidence: click here for details.

Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us – we can assure you that we shall continue to do our utmost to look after every client according to each individual’s needs. If you would like further guidance, Kirker is a member of ABTAAITO and we also have an ATOL licence – please do look at their websites for supplementary information.  If you have a query about an airline refund, as you may well already be aware, some airlines are being very slow to refund which could result in a knock-on delay in our own cancellation and refund process – but please be patient, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have a particular concern.

Finally, if your call 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, including Christmas 2020 and spring/summer 2021 departures are being added all the time, so please click here for details.

If you don’t have the relevant email address, please telephone one of the numbers below (office hours Mon-Fri 0900-1800):

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

We very much look forward to hearing from you.

Ted Wake & Andrew Layard
Joint Managing Directors

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.