TOURISTS are being advised to avoid the Lake District and other UK parks and gardens to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The warning comes after Cumbria Police said on Saturday that the Lakes and other attractions close-by were experiencing an 'influx' of visitors.

The force has now urged people from outside Cumbria to keep away, saying the Lake District is 'no longer conducting business as usual', with pubs, restaurants and attractions advised to close.

Cumbria Police's assistant chief constable Andrew Slattery said in a statement: "Whilst we are looking at all measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, I must urge people living outside the county not to visit.

"A national emergency shut-down of businesses and schools is not an excuse for a holiday."

As of midnight on Saturday, the National Trust closed its parks and gardens in fear of crowds attending them on Sunday for Mother's Day.

The decision came after the shutting of houses, cafes and shops belonging to the charity earlier last week.

But following Boris Johnson's announcement on Friday that all pubs, clubs and restaurants would be closed, the Trust ramped up precautions.

Director general Hilary McGrady said: "Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority.

"Having observed the numbers visiting our properties today I am no longer convinced we can maintain social distancing over Mother's Day when numbers are likely to grow, and beyond."

Ms McGrady added the Trust would be taking measures to ensure that people did not lose their connection with nature, and that sites of natural beauty remained open 'virtually', via podcasts and websites.

She said: "We will be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them."