Brits down airport pints before first sunny Portugal holiday as lockdown eases

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Holidaymakers downed pints in airport bars before jumping on planes to sunny Europe as lockdown was finally eased.

Brits were pictured enjoying a tipple ahead of their flights, after international travel resumed on Monday.

The bars at London's Stansted Airport were full of excited revellers heading to Portugal sipping on beers inside for the first time in months.

Pubs and restaurants can serve punters indoors as the latest stage of the roadmap out of lockdown came into effect from Monday.

Families and friends in different households also enjoyed their first hugs in months after advice restricting them from hugging was lifted.

Grandparents reunited with their grandchildren after months spent keeping their distance, while care home residents hugged their relatives.

Only 12 countries are on England’s ‘green list’ for travel, meaning holidaymakers do not have to quarantine upon their return.

This includes Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.

But Spain, France, Italy and Greece are on the ‘amber list’, which means people have to self-isolate for 10 days after returning.

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Travel firms have reported a surge in demand for trips to Portugal, with EasyJet adding 105,000 extra seats to its flights serving green-tier destinations this summer.

Thousands of holidaymakers headed to airports early on Monday morning to board their flights.

Newlyweds Camilla and Calum McNally, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, headed to Faro, Portugal from Manchester Airport for their honeymoon on Monday.

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The couple wed on Saturday and booked their flights as soon as the Government gave the go-ahead.

Civil servant Calum, 23, told the Mirror: "We were desperate to have a honeymoon.

"We are pretty excited. We want to relax and have some good food by the pool. I feel a lot of people are wanting to do that and we feel very lucky to be able to do that today."

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More than 2.8million Brits visited Portugal in the year before the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin and Pauline Nash, from Essex, were among the first to fly to Portugal from Gatwick.

Company chairman Mr Nash, 66, said: "We're very excited to go on holiday, we haven't been since last September.

"This is the first time we've booked and it's the first flight out, so we're delighted – and it's been a long, cold winter at home so we're looking forward to it."

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Ms Nash, 54, said they planned to get a cocktail as soon as they arrived.

She went on: "It's just the freedom again to be able to do this – and it feels safe."

Keith and Janice Tomsett, aged 72 and 71, from West Chiltington in West Sussex, said they were "looking forward to” visiting the Portugese island of Madeira.

Mr Tomsett said: “It was even worth getting up at 3 o'clock this morning.”

London Gatwick Airport boss Stewart Wingate said that welcoming passengers for the first time in months is a "big relief”.

He expects numbers to increase tenfold by the end of May and is confident more European countries will be added to the travel green list by the beginning of June.

Manchester Airports Group boss Charlie Cornish said: "Welcoming passengers back to our airports today is a symbolic moment after the most difficult year in our history.”

The Government has pledged to update its lists on June 7, and will review its overall policy in relation to arriving travellers on June 28.

  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus
  • Pubs

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