Parliament is in recess for all of August, so MPs tend to fit in a family holiday as well as much as we can in our constituencies before the House of Commons resumes in September.
For me, this is a wonderful time to take in the beauty of South Shropshire, as I spend much time driving across the constituency, meeting constituents and attending events.
As I predicted, much Parliamentary time in 2018 has been taken up by Brexit. So the summer break also offers the chance to reflect, without the pressure cooker effect of Westminster.
For school pupils and university students, I am sure this month will also provide some welcome respite from studies, particularly so if we have good weather.
I suspect and hope that the unusually warm weather over the past two months will have encouraged many people to consider taking their holiday in the UK, which should stand Shropshire in good stead.
In South Shropshire we welcome over 5 million tourists throughout the year - especially in the summer visiting our popular local festivals and shows. Our food and drink offer is exceptional, with produce on display at agricultural shows at Burwarton and Burford as well as fetes in many villages. Our fantastic farm shops, specialist food shops, pubs and restaurants also attract visitors. Next month’s annual Ludlow Food Festival attracts thousands of visitors from across the country.
The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also a particular draw to South Shropshire, attracting many walkers and cyclists. With Offa’s Dyke running inside the Welsh border to the west, and the Jack Mytton Way, starting in Cleobury Mortimer and stretching over some 100 miles of glorious countryside, South Shropshire has much to offer those who like to walk.
Tourism helps to maintain, both directly and indirectly, over 5,000 full time equivalent jobs in the Ludlow Constituency. So with fine weather providing added incentive, I hope we will see more people coming to our area to enjoy the stunning scenery and local life, and ultimately, growing our local economy and providing employment.
For those wanting inspiration for a holiday in Britain, information and ideas are available on the VisitBritain website, at www.visitbritain.com. I shall be going to Scotland with my family.
If you are venturing overseas this summer, please consider the importance of travel insurance. I was concerned to learn recently that a large number of British travellers are still going abroad without adequate travel insurance, risking thousands of pounds of expenses should they experience any difficulties while overseas. If you are unsure how to choose the right travel insurance, there is help and advice available at www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance.
The Foreign Office also provides advice for travelling to different countries around the world, including best Consulate contacts for emergencies, and advice on how to ensure your trip is safe. This can be accessed via https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Whatever your plans for the summer, I hope you have a chance to take a break and enjoy some time off, whether at home or abroad.