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UK’s oldest coach tour company collapses – what to do if you’re a Shearings’ customer

Touring holiday specialists Shearings, National Holidays and UK Breakaways have ceased trading after their parent company, Specialist Leisure Group, collapsed.

Together they had more than 64,000 bookings, most of which were coach touring holidays.

The group was also behind Shearings Hotels trading as Bay Hotels and Coach and Country Hotels. These will not reopen.

What to do if you’re a customer

All of the group’s coach holidays should be protected by the Confederation of Passenger Transport, so you should receive a refund.

Customers with bookings for Shearings Holidays, National Holidays trading as Caledonian and Travel Style, UK Breakaways and Shearings should go to and follow the instructions on how to claim a refund.

If you booked a package that included flights, this should be protected by the ATOL scheme, so the Civil Aviation Authority will refund you. The CAA said it will contact customers directly or via their travel agents. Alternatively, go to to start the refund process.

If you have a voucher or refund credit note for a previously cancelled holiday you should try to claim a refund from the Confederation of Passenger Transport if it was by coach or from the CAA if it included flights.


What if your holiday isn’t covered by either scheme?

SLG said some holidays might not be financially protected. These are:

  • Self-drive holidays;
  • Hotel reservations with Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels (click here for a full list of these hotels);
  • Activity only bookings, without organised coach travel; and
  • Some Holiday Credit Notes, eg those issued for self-drive holidays and hotel breaks cancelled since March 2020.

If you paid with a credit or debit card you might be able to claim a refund from your card issuer (probably your bank). Alternatively, you might be able to claim on your travel insurance if you had ‘supplier failure cover’.

Wallace Arnold Travel, also part of SLG, acted as an agent for other suppliers and ABTA said these bookings will go ahead as normal, except where the bookings have been made with other companies within the Specialist Leisure Group. Wallace Arnold Travel shops won’t reopen.

A statement posted on the company’s website this evening said: “The Specialist Leisure Group entered administration on May 22, 2020.

“All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.”




Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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  1. Elizabeth Sinden says:

    I have a Shearings Credit Note for a holiday including a flight which should have taken place in April. Shearings said at the time that ABTA had advised them not to give refunds. I have received a form from the CAA but see that the last part requires a solicitor or equivalent to complete a section confirming your right to claim. My claim is for £500 so a solicitor’s fee would wipe out a large part of what I am claiming – I may now try my credit card issuer.

  2. Dennis Wilson says:

    What can we do ? We were bought vouchers for shearings for £350″00 pounds by my son and a friend bought us £150″00 pound voucher from uk breakaways for our 50 th wedding anniversary what can we do ?

    1. Linsey says:

      Hi Dennis, if they paid by card they might be able to claim the money back from their card issuers. It’s worth a try.

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