A message of re-assurance:
Foxhangers Canal Holidays as a long-established, independent, family run holiday company. We own all of the hire boat fleet and property at Lower Foxhangers. We are extremely determined and focussed on weathering the Coronavirus storm.
We have been working hard to establish even more stringent housekeeping procedures, as well as procedures to ensure that we comply with the Government advice in providing a safe environment for both our employees and guests. We are confident this will enable us to get back to boating in the very short term so that our guests can enjoy a holiday at their own pace in a safe and relaxing environment.
We have a positive plan to operate from July, as this date is consistent with the approach already implemented by the Canal & River Trust – which has announced that, from 1st June, its navigations are to re-open in full, meaning that boaters will be able to undertake longer journeys. Nonetheless, we will offer a re-booking option if, for some reason, your planned holiday cannot go ahead again as a result of Foxhangers being unable to operate due to COVID-19.
In line with the recent UK Government’s “direction of travel” relating to UK holidays from July, we are delighted to announce that our provisional plan is to reopen our bookings office in a few weeks’ time and boating operations will commence shortly afterwards.
Guidance and decisions made by the Canal and River Trust following the Government’s direction in terms of being able to open inland waterways mean that we have been able to make these tentative plans and to offer alternative bookings to our customers who were unable to come on their holiday as originally planned.
Holidays due from July 3rd, 2020
If you are due to make a final balance payment on your upcoming holiday, please continue to do so. Non-payment of the balance could result in the booking being cancelled and previous payments forfeited. Pay online at www.foxhangers.co.uk/holiday-balance-payment
Please be advised that if your planned holiday cannot go ahead as a result of Foxhangers being unable to operate due to COVID-19 we will offer a re-booking option.
We leave it to your judgement and discretion in terms of your choice of holiday companions, given that Government direction may become less restrictive as we come out of lockdown.
Finally, we maintain our polite request that you continue to be generous with your patience and tolerance wherever possible. We recognise some things may not run as smoothly as we would like whilst we adapt to the “the new normal”.
In the light of this, we ask for your understanding where we have to be a touch more prescriptive with our requirements during the boat handover process and on other occasions during the holiday.
Whilst the current UK Government lockdown remains in force resulting in all boating activities being suspended, we wish to update and reassure you that a lot of work is going on nationally behind the scenes to prepare the inland waterways to be ready for use as quickly and safely as possible once the restrictions are lifted.
We all share similar frustrations right now given the current uncertainty. However, we are hopeful that the UK Government will offer us solutions very soon. Until that point, we ask for your continued patience taking into account that we are unable to open our offices and work at this time.
When we are able to return, we will prioritise contacting our customers who were unable to take their holidays due to the “lockdown” with a view to us providing rebooking credits for their postponed holiday.
With Government today extending the Coronavirus lockdown period to 8 May 2020, Canal & River Trust have accordingly extended the suspension of normal boating on all their waterways.
Foxhangers will be maintaining the approach as we have outlined below.
Coronavirus has to be everybody’s priority right now, but it will pass. When it does, we will still be here offering you the best way to escape on the water.
As per the previous update, our boating operations are currently suspended until further notice. We do not currently know when we will be allowed to re-open.
We will be reviewing our position periodically dependant on Government guidance and will be emailing any customers affected if and when we are able to lift or extend the suspension of our boating operations.
These are worrying times for everyone, we would like to thank our customers who have been so patient and understanding of the situation that is outside of anyone’s control. We are all in this together and look forward to being able to deliver more positive news about “getting back to boating”.
Please note that our bookings office is currently closed and our staff will not be at work for the time being. We will be unable to respond to any further emails during this period but will update you once we have returned and, in any event, we will contact you at least three weeks prior to your booking date. Please ensure you are vigilant in checking junk / spam folders
In the meantime, we hope you and your loved ones are keeping well.
We are sorry to announce that, in light of social distancing, the UK Government’s advice to undertake essential travel only and the most recent advice to remain in your primary residence, we will not be able provide some holiday breaks as previously planned.
The latest government advice is as follows:
“This guidance is for people planning to visit second homes or holiday premises during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.”
Taking into consideration the UK Government’s latest advice regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we have taken the decision to not to allow Foxhangers canal boat holidays to be taken, effective immediately until 30th April 2020. As always, the safety and health of our team and guests is our top priority and we have taken this difficult decision in support of the UK Government recommendations. We know this will be very disappointing for lots of our guests, and we assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly. Please accept our sincerest apologies.
If you are due to visit us between now and the above date, unfortunately this means we will not be able to provide your holiday as previously planned. We are in the process of contacting all guests directly – please do not contact us and wait for our call. This will allow us to operate our communication process as smoothly as possible.
We will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible. We will be prioritising guests in the order they were due to take their break. It may take us a little bit longer than normal to get in touch with you and we do thank you for your patience during this time.
We will attempt to telephone you in the first instance – if we cannot reach you, we will leave a voicemail and send you an e-mail. Please ensure you check your Junk / Spam folders.
We will be continually monitoring the situation as it evolves so please keep checking our website for further updates.
Again, we offer our deepest apologies for having to take drastic action as a result of extreme and unprecedented events.
We would like to reassure all customers that have already booked a holiday or are thinking of booking a holiday with us that we are taking this very seriously, albeit we are very much open for business as usual.
It is worth considering that although safety is our first concern, boating holidays are a crowd free, secluded vacation and time is usually spent just with immediate family or close friends. As such, every boat is cleaned and prepared carefully prior to handover and all staff are instructed on minimising risk.
Guidance from The Canal and River Trust advises that “In these uncertain times, as people seek respite from the current crisis, our canals are great places to get away from it all.” They are somewhere to look after your mental health, wellbeing and fitness.” We are also monitoring guidance from the Government, the NHS and The British Marine Federation to ensure we are doing all we can to protect customers, staff and visitors alike.
At the time of writing, there are only four cases in the whole of Wiltshire and none at all in Devizes (where we are based) or in the surrounding villages. Of course, once you are aboard your boat you can have as little or as much contact with others as you choose.
Those of you that have holidayed with us before will know that our boats are always cleaned to the highest standards and we have put in place additional checks to make sure nothing is missed. All our bedding and towels continue to be washed at a high temperature.
We are asking all customers to contact us immediately if, in the weeks leading up to their holiday
- They or any member of the party they are travelling with display any symptoms
- They are in area that is in lockdown
- There are travel restrictions preventing them from getting here.