Fancy a holiday in Toronto or New York? You can book it right on your doorstep

Those who are missing their holidays abroad can at least indulge in a staycation that resembles their longed-for destination – in name anyway. A travel company is launching holidays to British locations with foreign names which means that grounded tourists can at least brag, quite truthfully, that they are off to the likes of Egypt or Melbourne while never actually leaving good old Blighty. Destinations drawn up by Love Home Swap also include Toronto – the one in County Durham that is – although the joys of New York in North Tyneside seem to have passed it by.

It opts instead for a New York in Lincolnshire which it describes as a “sleepy hamlet” and is just short drive from a town called Boston. The home-swapping company has come up with a whole host of UK towns and villages that share their names with international places and it has produced a free guide book – Around The World In Britain – to help families plan their trip. It includes suggested itineraries and fun things to see and do as well as recommended holiday house-swap options to stay in.

And the novel idea means that holidaymakers who follow the guide could well be in for an eye-opener regarding their home country’s charms. Fingers crossed.

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It is also giving away some free holidays – in the form of complimentary memberships – to people who are stuck at home having had trips cancelled to overseas destinations that share their names with British places. So, for instance, someone whose holiday to Toronto in Canada might have fallen through during the pandemic could be in with a chance to enjoy a free stay in County Durham’s Toronto which gives the guide a chance to reference the scene of Dominic Cummings’ infamous drive to a nearby beauty spot.

It says: “Bishop Auckland’s Toronto might not have Lake Ontario or the Niagara Falls nearby, but it does have a splendid Victorian viaduct and it’s just a short drive from the now world-famous Barnard Castle.”

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What’s more, the company points out the potential saving to be made, pricing a seven day holiday to the capital of Ontario’s province at GBP2,227 compared with a week-long swap to our local Toronto costing GBP269.25. The same like-for-like holiday giveaway applies to the likes of Melbourne, which has a namesake in Derbyshire, and Egypt which shares its name with a small hamlet in Buckinghamshire. There’s also a California in Great Yarmouth – which also has a beach – and Moscow in rural Ayrshire where potential holidaymakers can apparently “swap Red Square for red tractors”.

The lighthearted guide, designed in the style of vintage travel postcards, suggests 10 holiday destinations in total with others including Florence in Staffordshire; Holland (Surrey); Hollywood (Worcestershire) and Bermuda in Warwickshire which was “once visited by TV’s Andi Peters”. Love Home Swap launched the holidays after its research revealed that 64% of British people are too nervous to travel abroad this year because of the coronavirus outbreak despite the lifting of quarantine rules in many places. But with the threat of quarantine looming as guidelines continue to change, it seems that many have already made up their minds not to leave the UK.

A spokesman said: “Holidays to British places with foreign names will give nervous Britons the chance to go on holiday while also being able to say they’re visiting somewhere exotic – but without ever actually leaving home soil.” For the free guide see here. Those interested in booking a home-swapping holiday can sign up to Love Home Swap, pick a property from those listed under each of the 10 destinations and then contact the owner.

For a chance to enjoy a free three-month holiday-swap membership those who have had a trip cancelled can apply by entering details online here and supplying proof of their original booking.

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