Can I Travel to Scotland from England during COVID-19?

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she stays confident there will be "much greater normality" over the summer as the number of people vaccinated has increased in the UK. While it seems that people can travel freely within the UK and the Common Travel Area (CTA), travelling between England and Scotland is not completely free of restrictions at the moment. If you’re planning to travel to Scotland from England for a day, a weekend getaway trip, a special occasion, or a vacation this summer, here is some information that CABINZERO has been updated on.

can i go on holiday to scotland from england

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Before You Go: What to Note about Travelling to Scotland?

Travelling to Scotland - What Are the Current Restrictions?

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

What 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 but you need to maintain a 1m distance from other households. However, for outdoor activities, a 1m distance from one another is required. 
  • 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.

can i travel to scotland from england now

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Find out more about the updated COVID protection levels by area and what you are allowed to do on the Scottish Government’s website.

Travelling to Scotland from England - Accommodation & Social Catering

You can travel to Scotland and stay overnight from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Here is a summary of accommodation and social catering 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. 
can i travel to scotland from england covid

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Children under 12-year-old do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but count towards the household numbers indoors.

When you meet people from another household indoors, there are a few basic things to bear in mind:

  • You don’t need to physically distance yourself from family and friends in a private dwelling.
  • You should think beforehand about the number of meetings you have with people from different households depending on the protection level of the area you’re in.
  • You should avoid touching surfaces with your hands, maintain good hygiene and wash your hands regularly.
  • You should not share food or utensils with other people.
  • You should keep rooms well ventilated - opening all windows and doors if possible.

Things to Do Before You Travel to Scotland from England

Only those travelling to Scotland from outside of the UK (or Common Travel Area) are expected to need to quarantine. And while there are no restrictions on quarantine when you travel to Scotland from England, there are a few things to do before you take off:

  • You are encouraged to take two lateral flow tests before travelling: the first test should be three days before you travel - the second test should be on the day of travel.
  • If you test positive, you would be able to take a more-sensitive PCR test to confirm the result before cancelling your visit.
  • You can order the lateral flow kit directly from the UK Government.

What services are allowed to open (the limited number of attendees are subject to local protection level restrictions)?

  • Tourist accommodation with sector guidance for tourism and hospitality
  • All retail premises
  • Libraries, museums and galleries, community centres
  • Cafés, pubs and restaurants 
  • Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, amusement arcades, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, funfairs and snooker/pool halls
  • Visitor attractions
  • Small scale outdoor and indoor events
  • Weddings and funerals
  • Stadiums and events – with maximum numbers and evens sector guidance
  • Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools
  • Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons

travelling to scotland from england covid

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Nightclubs and adult entertainment will remain closed, except for use in "limited circumstances".

When You Arrive in Scotland - Things and Tips to Know

  • Download the Protect Scotland app and Check In Scotland app from the Apple and Google stores. These apps will alert you if you have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus. They help in contact tracing and work through Bluetooth anonymously, protecting your privacy, as well as advise what you should do next. If you travel in a group or a household, everyone in your group will be asked to give their contact details for contact tracing. This information is retained for 21 days with a view to sharing with the Test and Protect Teams if required.
  • Maintain a 2-metre distance with someone outside your household and wear a face covering on public transport, in shops, tourist attractions, cinemas and pubs, bars, restaurants, etc. when you are not at your table.
  • Pay by card - as most businesses prefer not to take cash.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, please self-isolate and follow the advice from the Scottish Government.
  • Take advantage of food and drink businesses offering delivery, especially in the cities. Check out places you can buy quality local food and drink here.
can i visit scotland from england

Photo by Emran Yousof on Unsplash 

  • Be mindful to book everything in advance to make sure that businesses can meet the restrictions on the number of people, and remember to cancel if you can’t make it to save the spot for other people who want to enjoy the fun. 
  • Generally, Food and Beverages premises can open outdoors subject to local restrictions. They can open indoors and serve alcoholic beverages, with separate rules depending on different areas of protection levels. You can refer to this guide for more information on the regulations of the areas you are visiting.
  • Group and activity tours can still operate. However, it is advised to stay within your own household group within the activity, stay physically distanced from others, and wear your face covering as required.
  • While you are in Scotland, please refer to this guide on how to travel safely within the country. You can find all the important information on walking, wheeling, cycling, bus, rail, Glasgow subway, Edinburgh tram, ferry, taxis and private hire vehicles, private vehicles and car-sharing.


Read more: 

Travelling Within the UK During COVID-19

Is It possible to travel to Ireland from the UK at the moment?

Travel to Switzerland: Overview Of Travelling In Switzerland and the Switzerland Travel Restrictions


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