There were miles of smiles today (Mon 17 May) as leading West-based coach company Bakers Dolphin took the road for its first five-day holidays since lockdown began.
The sun was shining as passengers boarded to coaches, one bound for St Mawes in Cornwall and the other, one of the company’s luxurious Gold Service coaches, headed north to the Lake District. Continuing Covid-19 restrictions mean the coaches are not able to fill every seat yet, but those who had been able to book a place were delighted, as were the two drivers.
Simon Honey, who was taking 26 passengers to Cornwall, said: “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time and I’m over the moon to be going back out there.”
Fellow driver Paul Mansfield, who was taking 24 passengers north, said: “It’s great to be back doing what we know.”
Among the passengers on his Gold coach were John and Katie Trowbridge, from Ashton in Bristol, who have travelled with Bakers Dolphin many times before. Mr Trowbridge said: “We could not wait to go back on holiday again. We’ve been in lockdown the whole time.”
He said he had no concerns about getting on board a coach with lots of other people. “Bakers Dolphin has been excellent and have taken all necessary precautions to make sure we’re safe. We couldn’t wait to get out of our house.”
Fellow travellers Anne and Maurice Brain, from Pill, are also no strangers to Bakers Dolphin. Anne said: “I am looking forward to doing something normal, and I expect Maurice is looking forward to having a break from doing all the cooking.”
Maurice added: “We know the hotel we are going to, which is lovely. There are lots of red squirrels there which come right up to you.”
Lynne Brown, from Sea Mills, is a first-time traveller with Bakers Dolphin and had originally booked to go to Cornwall at Christmas with friends, but this was cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.
She said: “I’m just looking forward to going away, enjoying the Cornish sea air, and just being away from work.”
Patrician Davies, who is travelling to St Mawes, lives on her own and has been living in lockdown conditions for a year. She said: “It’s just lovely being with people again and going to a part of the world that I know well, as I used to live in Falmouth. I’m looking forward to this holiday tremendously.”
Bakers Dolphin are running 17 holidays between now and the end of the month. Sales and Marketing Director Amanda Harrington said: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this day to come, and it was fitting that the sun as shining as our first two coaches set off for their holidays.
“I’m not sure who is happier to be back on the road, our passengers or our drivers! “It’s been a very challenging time for everyone, and we do, of course, still need to take sensible precautions and ensure we adhere to all the proper health and safety procedures.
“But we are delighted to be able to do what we’ve been doing for well over a century, and that’s helping people to have make some memories and have happy holidays.”
For more information about forthcoming Bakers Dolphin holidays and tours, visit www.bakersdolphin.com or call 01934 415 000