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Updated: 2 Aug 2021

Can I get a refund for my UK holiday cottage or accommodation if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

holiday cottage

With the traffic light system leading to uncertainty over travel plans, many people are choosing to spend this year's summer holidays in the UK. But you might be wondering what your refund and rebooking rights are if NHS test and trace tells you to isolate, leading to disruption of your cottage holiday.

Self isolation 'pings' in the UK reached a record high of 689,313 last week according to NHS test and trace data, and millions more could be told to self-isolate in the coming months. However, that doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to a refund from your accommodation company if your holiday plans are disrupted as a consequence.

We asked eight holiday cottage providers about their refund policies when it comes to self-isolation, including big names Hoseasons and Sykes, plus several companies rated highly by Which? Readers in a recent survey. Six companies we asked will grant a full refund every time, and the remaining two either had less flexible or unclear policies.

You'll spot three Which? Recommended Providers below (Rural Retreats, National Trust and Classic Cottages), all of whom have a good track-record with refund policies, and who'll offer either refunds and/or zero-admin cost date changes in the event of being pinged.

For more unbiased news and advice, sign up to Which? Travel

Can I get a refund from Hoseasons if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

Yes. Hoseasons' Book with Confidence policy says that if a party-member is told to self-isolate, customers can choose a refund or change dates without an additional admin fee. There's a caveat - if you change to a more expensive property while rebooking, you'll need to pay the difference. But the good news is that if your rescheduled trip ends up cheaper due to picking a less expensive cottage or dates, you'll be credited with the difference in price.

See Hoseasons' booking policies and FAQs.

Can I get a refund from Sykes if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

NHS app contract tracing on a phone screen

Sykes' most recently policy on refunds is divided into geographical areas. Its website indicates that for stays in Wales until 6 August, Scotland until 8 August and Northern Ireland until 13 August, those unable to travel may either request to change the dates of the holiday without amendment fees or opt for a full cash refund. For the Republic of Ireland, where Sykes also operates, that date is the 3rd August.

However, it is unclear if this policy applies if NHS test and trace asks a holidaymaker to self-isolate. Which? asked Sykes to clarify, but it didn't respond. There is currently no up-to-date information for refunds within England. Sykes say their FAQs are continuously updated as they review their date bands in line with government guidance.

Can I get a refund from Rural Retreats if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

Yes. If any member of the group is contacted by the NHS app before you're due to head on your UK break, Rural Retreats will ask for proof in the form of a screenshot of your NHS notification. Once this has been provided, you will be offered a choice of either a full refund, a date change, or a voucher, all with no admin fee charges.

If your group still wishes to travel, minus the person being asked to isolate, Rural Retreats can request a discount on a customer's behalf from the accommodation owner - but this won't necessarily be granted. See more on Rural Retreats' book with confidence policy.

Can I get a refund from Landmark Trust if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

No. However, Landmark Trust customers can defer breaks for any reason whatsoever, including test and trace up to and including 30 November 2021. The admin fee for rebooking is waived, although new dates may be more expensive. The website also states that you'll need to give 14 days' notice.

Once deferred, you will be given a credit voucher (to the full value of the original booking) which can be used towards any new booking until the end of 2022. You can find more information on Landmark Trust's cancellation policy.

Off to visit a UK attraction this summer? Refund rights to isolating families explained.

Can I get a refund from the National Trust if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?
cottage with flowers and thatched roof

Yes. National Trust will offer a full refund if you or a member of your party is told to isolate by the NHS test and trace app. You will not be charged for this. Alternatively you can postpone your holiday for up to 24 months, If the price is cheaper than the original holiday you'll be refunded the difference. If it's more expensive, National Trust will put up to 10% of the original booking cost towards the new holiday. Head to the National Trust FAQ page for more information.

Can I get a refund from Classic Cottages if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

Yes. If a party member is told to isolate by NHS test and trace, Classic Cottages will offer a refund or date change in with no admin charge. This policy will be reviewed again on 19 August, in line with the next government announcement regarding restrictions.

If the majority of the party still wishes to travel to the cottage, the owner may be able to offer a reduction in cost, but this will be decided on a case-by-case basis. See more on Classic Cottages' FAQ page.

Classic Cottages was rated highly by Which? members - see the full results of our recent holiday cottage company survey

Can I get a refund from English Country Cottages if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

Yes. If a member of the party due to stay in the cottage is told to self isolate around the departure date, the customer(s) who made the booking will be offered a full refund. English Country Cottages may ask to see evidence. The company also gives customers the option to transfer their dates with no admin charge. You will need to pay extra if the date or property you want to move to is more expensive. If it is cheaper, you will be refunded the difference. See more on English Country Cottages' policies (it is part of the Cottages.com group, so it links you to this page).

Can I get a refund from Holidaycottages.co.uk if NHS test and trace tells me to self-isolate?

Yes. If you are asked to self-isolate by NHS test and trace, Holidaycottages.co.uk will refund you in full, offer a voucher or a date change and no admin charges will be applied. The company requests that you tell them immediately, to give them the best chance to re-let the cottage and provide proof that you or a party member has been asked to isolate.

If you choose to move the booking to a later date, you will be refunded the difference, provided the dates are cheaper. If the price of your new dates are more expensive, you will be charged extra. See more detail on holidaycottages.co.uk's FAQS and Covid policies.

Find out how well Holidaycottages.co.uk scored in our recent holiday cottage provider survey