Can I Travel within The UK during COVID-19?

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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 been eased in the UK - with July 19 being the ‘Freedom Day’ in England when all social restrictions were removed, 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?

England has moved to Step 4 on July 19th meaning English residents are free to travel within the country with as many people as they wish. Large events, live performances and nightclubs are allowed to reopen. All social contact restrictions have been lifted, which means people do not have to wear a mask or stay at least 2 metres away from a person from a different household.

Travelling in England: Accommodation & Social Gatherings

As the social distancing restrictions have been lifted, there is now no legal limits on the number of people gathering inside or outside a premise. This means staycations are allowed for groups of more than 6 people or more than 2 households.

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?

All of Scotland islands and the mainland are now under COVID protection of level 0, which means the restrictions have been eased with a number of remaining social distancing measures.

What you need to know about the remaining restrictions when you travel in Scotland:

  • You don’t need to keep the distance between family members and friends in an indoor setting. However, for outdoor activities, a 1m distance from one another is required. 
  • You need to maintain a 1m distance from other households in an indoor setting.
  • You can travel anywhere within Scotland, and other parts of the CTA following the restrictions in those places.
  • Up to 200 people can take part in weddings and funerals.
  • Places that are allowed to open include: cafes, pubs and restaurants; all shops and stores; all close contact services; all sport and exercise revenues; tourist attractions and accommodation; all public buildings; stadiums and events. 
  • Nightclubs and other adult entertainment remain closed.

Photo by Sinitta Leunen from Pexels

Travelling in Scotland: Accommodation & Social Gatherings

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 8 people from 4 households
  • For outdoors activities: it is limited to 15 people from 15 households (level 0).
  • For indoors activities: it is limited to 10 people from 4 households (level 0) and hospitality premises are required to close at midnight.

>> 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 6 people from any number of households (children aged 12 and under are not counted) can be seated together outdoors in a public setting (e.g. hospitality venues). More than 6 people will be permitted if they all belong to the same household or support bubble. 

Up to 10 people (children aged under 12 are not counted) from no more than 3 households are allowed to meet in a private home and stay overnight.

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

Since July 26th, up to 15 people from any number of households (not including children under 12) can meet up outdoors in a private garden.

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 number of 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 ten 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 of July 17th, Wales has moved to full alert level 1, which means restrictions have been lifted and more outdoor activities are allowed to reopen.

What’s allowed to 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

Gathering indoors:

  • Members of an extended family, or a maximum of 6 people from 6 households (not including children aged 11 or under) or 2 households can meet indoors and stay overnight in private homes and holiday accommodations. 
  • You can visit cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars with the people you live with or in a group of 6 people from 6 households. You should practice physical social distancing with other people who are not in your group.

Gathering outdoors:

Since July 17th, all restrictions for outdoor gatherings have been removed for private gardens, public parks, beaches, outdoors of regulated premises and events.


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 

One last note, although restrictions have been lifted or removed in parts of the UK, and more people are getting fully vaccinated, it is still possible to catch the virus and spread it to others. Therefore, if you are travelling within the UK, it is advisable to continue following public health measurements such as wash your hands regularly and wear a face mask to keep yourself and others safe. 

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