Can I Travel within The UK during COVID-19?

As tourism is reopened again in the UK, people can travel within the UK and the Common Travel Area, however, there are separate restrictions depending on where you travel from and to. Here are some guidelines for travelling within the area during COVID-19.

Travelling within the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands 

Although many COVID-19 restrictions have eased in the UK, there are several remaining rules and restrictions to help prevent the spread of the virus across the region. As tourism is reopened again in the UK, people can travel freely in the UK and the Common Travel Area, however, there are separate restrictions depending on where you travel from and to, and whether you need a rapid lateral flow COVID test before entering the area. As the Delta variation is spreading rapidly in England, it is advisable to stay updated on guidance and restrictions in places before you make any travel arrangements. These guidelines and restrictions for travel within the UK or within the CTA are updated regularly on the government websites, and we at CabinZero have gathered the information from the government websites here for a quick summary. 

Travelling within the UK During COVID-19: Travelling to or from England

Across the different parts of the Common Travel Area (the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), there might be different rules on travelling to and from England, you should check the restrictions before you travel to make any arrangements accordingly. You might not have to quarantine yourself when you arrive, however, you must follow what you can and cannot do on the government website or a summary below.

Travelling within UK

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash 

What Are the Current COVID-19 Restrictions in England?

Currently, England is at a 4-week pause at Step 3 as the Delta variation of the virus is spreading rapidly, and will expect to be lifted to Step 4 on 19 July. Here is what you need to know about what sort of service is allowed to open under the Step 3 restrictions (Source: AgeUK):

  • All indoor hospitality, including restaurants and pubs
  • All remaining outdoor entertainment 
  • Museums and cinemas 
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs 
  • All indoor group sports and exercises classes 
  • Some theatre and concert performances, sporting events and conferences will be allowed. Indoor events allow 50% of capacity, or lower. Outdoor events allow 50% of capacity, or lower. 
  • Weddings, receptions and commemorative events allow up to 30 attendees.

Travelling in England: Accommodation & Social Gatherings

For indoors gathering, you can meet people from different households in groups of 6 or, in groups bigger than 6 if they're made up of no more than 2 households. For outdoors activities, you can meet in groups of no more than 30 people.

Travelling within the UK During COVID-19: Travelling to or from Scotland

If you’re travelling from within the UK or the Common Travel Area, you can stay overnight in Scotland. If you are travelling from Scotland to other parts of the UK or the CTA, you should also check the COVID-19 restrictions in those areas before you plan your trip.

For more information and updates on COVID protection levels by area, and what you are allowed to do, please visit the Scottish Government website.

What Are the Current COVID-19 Restrictions in Scotland?

The mainland Scotland is now either under COVID protection level one or two, which means people from the rest of the UK and the CTA are allowed to visit Scotland. However, please note that there are temporary restrictions if you are going from Bedford, Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen (according to a new rule applied from Sunday 23 May 2021), as well as from Manchester and Salford (a new travel ban from Monday 21 June 2021).

Photo by Sinitta Leunen from Pexels

Travelling in Scotland: Accommodation & Social Gatherings

Hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering, camping and caravan are allowed to open in the areas under COVID protection level one and two. Currently, most islands in Scotland are at level zero, which means you can share accommodation with eight people from four households. Here is a summary of accommodation when you travel to Scotland:

  • Overnight stay: 1 bedroom/household
  • For self-Catering/Unstaffed accommodation: you can share between 6 people from 3 households
  • For outdoors activities: it is limited to 8 people from 8 households (level 2), 12 people from 12 households (level 1), or 15 people from 15 households (level 0).
  • For indoors activities: it is limited to 6 people from  3 households (level 2), 8 people from 3 households (level 1), or 8 people from 4 households (level 0).

>> Read more information about travelling to Scotland from England here: Can I Travel to Scotland from England during COVID-19?

Travelling within the UK During COVID-19: Travelling to or from Nothern Ireland

According to guidance from the Northern Ireland’s government, if you’re travelling to Northern Ireland from within the Common Travel Area (CTA) and staying overnight, you should take a rapid lateral flow device (LFD) test before you go, and only travel if the test is negative. You should also take it again on day two and day eight of your stay.

If you are travelling from Northern Ireland to other parts of the CTA, make sure you check and follow the restrictions in the place and plan your travel accordingly. You should also take the LFD test and receive negative results before your arrival back home in Northern Ireland.

You can find more information on travelling from and to Northern Ireland within the CTA on the Northern Ireland’s government website.

What Are the Current COVID-19 Restrictions in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, up to 10 people from a maximum of two households (including children of all ages) can meet outdoors in a public setting.

Social distancing should be carried out as well as good hygiene practices.

Up to six people from no more than two households  (including children) can meet up outdoors in a private garden but this increase to up to ten people from two households.

What is allowed to open? 

  • Supermarkets, pharmacies and post offices
  • Cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs and social clubs
  • Outdoor and indoor visitor attractions (except theatres and concert halls) and are subject to the requirements on gatherings to determine the maximum numbers permitted access.
  • Community halls and libraries that provide 'call and collect' services
  • Marriages and civil partnerships ceremonies with the permitted number of attendees to be informed by a risk assessment from the venue - the same restrictions applied for funerals (with no pre and post-funeral gatherings allowed)
  • Indoor sport and leisure venues - subject to risk assessment conditions and follow hygiene measures, social distancing and other mitigating measures. 

travel restrictions within uk

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash: Customers practice social distancing outside of a grocery store following a one-in-one-out policy when they reach a certain capacity - photo was taken at Connswater Shopping Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Travelling in Northern Ireland: Accommodation & Social Gatherings

All types of tourism accommodation (including shared facilities on caravan sites and in hostels) can open.

Up to six people (excluding children aged 12 and under) from no more than two households can meet in a private home and stay overnight. 

A household can visit another household as long as there are no more than 10 people indoors.

For safety measurements, you should keep rooms well ventilated, maintain social distancing as much as possible and wash your hands regularly.

Accommodation providers, hospitality and entertainment venues are required to collect customer information to help with the COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing programme.

Travelling within the UK During COVID-19: Travelling to or from Wales

There are no restrictions in place for travelling into or out of Wales as long as you are travelling to or from a country within the UK or the Common Travel Area. However, there might be different restrictions in other countries within the area, so make sure you check and follow them carefully before you plan your trip as it might prevent you from travelling.

You can follow the guidance on travelling to and from Wales on the government website here

uk travel advice

Photo by Lisa from Pexels

What Are the Current COVID-19 Restrictions in Wales?

As the restrictions have been eased in Wales, let’s have a look at what is allowed to stay open:

  • Licensed premises
  • Non-essential retail and close contact services
  • Hospitality and holiday accommodation
  • Entertainment venues, indoor visitor attractions and outdoor visitor attractions
  • Leisure and fitness facilities
  • Venues for events and conferences
  • Theatres and concert halls
  • Places of worship
  • Community centres, libraries and archive services
  • Sports courts, golf courses, playgrounds and public parks
  • Indoor gatherings - up to 30 people
  • Outdoor gatherings and larger events
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals - permitted number of attendees are to be informed by the venues.

Travelling in Wales: Accommodation & Social Gatherings

Indoors:

  • You can meet with your household or extended household in private homes and holiday accommodation without any restrictions.
  • A maximum of 30 people (excluding children aged 11 and under) can participate in gatherings indoors.

Outdoors:

  • A maximum of 30 people (not including children under 11) can meet outdoors, including in private gardens or spaces, public outdoor spaces such, parks, beaches or woodlands.
  • A maximum of 30 people (not including children under 11 or carers of these households) can meet outdoors in ‘regulated premises’ like cafes, restaurants, bars and visitor attractions.
  • You can meet with others for a outdoors gathering, the number of people will be determined by the organiser following a risk assessment and taking all reasonable measures to ensure social distancing is maintained.

Travel within the UK during COVID-19: Government Websites and Contact Tracing Apps

Find out and get updated on what you can and cannot do on the government websites as follows:

If you’re travelling around the UK, it is advised to have the contact tracing apps downloaded on your phone. Each country has different apps for contact tracing during COVID-19 and can be installed from Apple or Google stores. These apps will keep you informed if you have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus. They help in contact tracing and work anonymously, protecting your privacy, and give you advice on what you should do next. 

Travel within the UK during COVID-19

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash 

 Also, upon arrival, don’t forget to follow public health advice: wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering, keep yourself distanced from others, avoid large crowds and busy places to keep yourself and others safe.

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