22 May

Specialist Leisure Group which includes leading coach companies Shearings and National Holidays goes into administration with thousands of job losses and cancelled bookings

Travel company Specialist Leisure Group Ltd, which includes two of the country’s best loved coach companies, Shearings and National Holidays, has today gone into administration leading to tens of thousands of customers’ holidays being cancelled and more than 2,500 job losses.*

Two of the Group companies, Shearings and Wallace Arnold, were members of ABTA while National Holidays and UK Breakaways were members of the Confederation of Passenger Transport. 

The Group had over 64,000 bookings, the vast majority of which were coach package holidays. All package holiday bookings are financially protected so customers with these bookings will receive a full refund, with coach packages protected by the Confederation of Passenger Transport. Shearings also offered a small number of flight package holidays which are ATOL protected and will be processed by the CAA.  

The collapse of such well-established and well-loved travel brands will come as a shock to many.  Shearings had been providing holidays to the UK public for over 100 years with its roots traced back to 1903. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to be the main reason behind the collapse of the Group, as it struggled to provide thousands of refunds for cancelled holidays while new bookings ground to a halt.

The Group contained five companies in total that sold holidays and other travel arrangements:

  • Shearings Holidays Limited
  • Wallace Arnold Travel Limited
  • National Holidays Ltd trading as Caledonian Travel and Travel Style
  • UK Breakaways Limited
  • Shearings Hotels Ltd trading as Bay Hotels and Coast and Country Hotels.

Wallace Arnold Travel Ltd acted as an agent for other suppliers, these bookings will go ahead as normal except where the bookings have been made with other companies within the Specialist Leisure Group. The group also owned two hotels brands within Shearings Hotels Limited trading as Bay Hotels and Coast and Country Hotels.

Customers with forward bookings for Shearings Holidays, National Holidays trading as Caledonian and Travel Style, UK Breakaways and Shearings Hotels trading as Bay Hotels and Coach and Country Hotels should go to www.specialistleisuregroup.com and follow the instructions on how to progress a claim.

For customers with an ATOL certificate, customers should go to https://www.caa.co.uk/ATOL-protection/Make-an-ATOL-claim/Latest-ATOL-holder-failures to start the refund process.

John de Vial ABTA Director of Membership and Financial Services said: “The Specialist Leisure Group included two of the UK’s best known coach holiday brands, Shearings and National Holidays, two much loved holiday companies who for many years have provided holidays both at home and overseas to a very loyal group of customers.

“Today is a very sad day for these customers and the thousands of staff who will have lost their jobs.

“The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. ABTA has repeatedly highlighted to the Government the urgency of the situation and the need to set out a coordinated strategy with clearer communication if it wants to help avoid significant job losses and support companies to weather the storm.”


Notes to editors

The Confederation for Passenger Transport is a trade association whose members specialise in coach trips. It is an Approved Body under the Package Travel Regulations, approved by BEIS to provide financial protection for package holidays. The CPT is responsible for the provision and processing of refunds, following the failure of any of its Members under the Bonded Coach Holidays scheme.

*The SLG employed 2,600 staff across the group. ABTA Members Shearings and Wallace Arnold Ltd employed staff at offices in Wigan, Leeds, Chesterfield and a number at other retail locations predominantly in Yorkshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire.

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.