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New coronavirus lockdown restrictions and England, Scotland and Wales travel rules: what it means for holidays in the UK

What the national lockdown restrictions mean for travel and whether you can get a refund

New coronavirus lockdown restrictions and England, Scotland and Wales travel rules: what it means for holidays in the UK

England and Scotland are now under strict national lockdown restrictions preventing people from leaving their homes unless it is essential.

Wales was already subject to the toughest level 4 lockdown restrictions and although it is set to be reviewed this week, it is unlikely restrictions will be loosened.

Northern Ireland’s national lockdown also came into effect on Boxing Day and on 8 January the stay at home order will be in law.

The restrictions across the UK mean holidays, even domestic ones are not permitted. 

Use our holidays abroad Q&A if you need help with an international flight or holiday. And find out if you are entitled to a refund on a flight in our airline Q&A.


Find more unbiased advice on travel and coronavirus, award-winning investigations and legal advice on holiday refunds and cancelled flights with Which? Travel


Can I still take a UK holiday?

No. Nobody in the UK is currently permitted to take a holiday. 

Current England travel restrictions

You must not leave your home except where necessary for shopping, daily exercise, for work you cannot do from home, or medical appointments.

This means travelling to go on holiday or staying overnight elsewhere in the UK (or abroad) is not permitted. This also means you cannot stay at your second home or caravan if it isn’t your primary residence. 

If you have hotel or holiday bookings you should be offered a refund (see below).

Can I take a holiday or travel from or in Wales?

No. People must not travel into or out of Wales or outside of their local area except for essential reasons. This non-essential travel ban includes crossing the border with England. 

If you have hotel, flight or holiday bookings you should be offered a refund (see below), although some airlines are only offering rebooking or vouchers. Train companies will refund most tickets. Advanced ticket holders may only be able to get a voucher.

All accommodation in Wales will be closed except those that may be open to key workers, so you should be entitled to a refund.

Can I take a holiday or travel from or in Scotland?

No. Currently, you are forbidden from leaving your home in mainland Scotland except for permitted reasons such as caring for others, outdoor exercise and to go to work if it cannot be done from home.

Travel inside and outside of mainland Scotland is banned, except for limited essential reasons. 

All holiday accommodation within mainland Scotland is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only. 

If you have hotel, flight or holiday bookings you should be offered a refund (see below), although some airlines are only offering rebooking or vouchers. Train companies will refund most tickets. Advanced ticket holders may only be able to get a voucher.

However, Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles), Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, Ulva and all Highland islands, except Skye, will remain under level 3 restrictions. This means hotels and holiday accommodation can remain open and residents can use them in their area, but only if they holiday with their own household. You cannot travel to a different tier 3 region to use holiday accommodation.

Can I get a refund for my UK holiday when lockdown prevents travel?

If you have booked accommodation and you’re unable to travel due to government restrictions, you should be entitled to your money back.

Holiday accommodation will be forced to close, so you will be entitled to a refund. You can choose to accept rebooking or a voucher, but you have the right to ask for a full refund.

If your provider claims the terms and conditions of your contract exclude refunds in this scenario, they could be challenged on the basis that they are potentially unfair. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has previously stated that refunds should be paid to customers who can’t take up a service because of government regulations.

Will my travel insurance cover cancellation costs?

Most comprehensive annual travel insurance policies, especially those provided through bank accounts, will cover UK holidays and should include cancellation cover for trips booked before mid-March when coronavirus was declared a pandemic, so it’s worth checking the wording of your policy. Standard annual policies are unlikely to cover UK travel and some insurers introduced COVID-19-exclusion clauses for trips booked after mid-March.

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