Hikes and kisses: how Britons holiday at home – in pictures

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As quarantine rules and coronavirus fears jeopardised trips abroad, photographer Alex McBride sought out the Britons exploring their own isles

With summer drawing to a close, people across the country are looking back through their holiday photos feeling perhaps a little less rested than they had done in previous years. Mercurial changes in the government’s travel corridor list have caused lots of holidaymakers to repatriate prematurely to UK shores in an effort to avoid quarantine restrictions. Many more chose not to leave the UK at all, and in July there was an 87% slump in demand for European flights compared with the same month last year.

  • Top: weary hikers reach the summit of Snowdon in Wales. Above left: a holidaymaker rises early to hang out his washing after a night spent in his van at Snowdon View Point. Above right: a visitor has her photo taken. Right: a man walks his dog back down from the summit

As a result, many British holidaymakers who were in pursuit of a summer break have looked closer to home for an escape from the strains brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Top: a man makes his way back to the shore after tending to his boat in Brixham, Devon. Above left: a couple steal a kiss as they wait for their pasties at Leigh Delamere services on the M4. Above right: three friends enjoy the weather at Berry Head in Devon. Right: a visitor waves to a passing boat binoculars at Brixham harbour

As a British photojournalist based in east and central Africa, Alex McBride returned for a break in the UK with the eyes and excitement of a tourist, swapping the flat, dusty plains of South Sudan for the lush hills of north Wales.

  • Top: holidaymakers swim on an overcast day at Three Shires Head in the Peak District. Above: people brave the icy waters of Three Shires Head. Right: hikers take a stroll through the hills near Dovestone reservoir in the north Peak District

In shooting this series McBride wanted to see how much those who had never left the UK over the course of the pandemic would appreciate and enjoy the rich offerings of the British Isles.

  • A family pauses for a quick break as they hike through the hills surrounding Dovestone reservoir

These photos show British holidaymakers who have abandoned their usual getaway plans on white-sand beaches and Mediterranean squares, and instead have reacquainted themselves with, or even discovered for the first time, the pastures green often taken for granted on their doorstep.

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