Countries within the UK have commenced their roadmaps out of the COVID-19 lockdown, and domestic tourism has opened up. Rules vary between the four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—and here's what we know so far.

Travel for non-essential purposes within the UK is now permitted, including journeys between England, Wales and Scotland, and those from Northern Ireland will be able to travel within the Common Travel Area—the borders area comprising the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands—from April 30. Travelers should check the restrictions in the places they intend traveling to or from, as different rules may apply under certain circumstances.


Travel for non-essential purposes within the UK and the wider Common Travel Area is now permitted, and travelers are permitted to stay in self-contained accommodation with members of their household or support bubble. Camping and caravan sites are open but communal areas are closed. Hotels, B&Bs and hostels that have en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals also come into this category.

A British pub with tables outdoors in the evening light.
Outdoor pints have resumed in Wales © Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet

Outdoor hospitality in cafés, pubs and restaurants has resumed, and up to six people from no more than six households can visit. Outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks have reopened as well as outdoor areas of zoos, museums, heritage sites and heritage areas. Indoor hospitality and the wider tourism sector will open on May 17. All tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions will also reopen on that date, and alcohol can be served indoors.

Travel guidelines for Wales can be found here.


Domestic tourism is now permitted in Scotland, and hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camping sites have reopened but must only be attended with household or extended household members. The country has moved to Level 3 of its restrictions, and cafés, restaurants and beer gardens are open again. Indoor hospitality is required to finish at 8pm daily and up to six people from two households can socialise indoors in cafés and restaurants. Alcohol can't be served indoors but is permitted outside until 10pm, although pubs will be allowed to open indoors until 10.30pm on May 17.

The famed Jacobite steam train featured in Harry Potter is resuming trips © Nick Fox / Shutterstock

Swimming pools, galleries and museums are also now open, as are all visitor attractions, including the famed Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig, which was featured in the Harry Potter films. Travel to and from the Scottish islands is permitted, but those hoping to travel abroad will need to wait a little longer as a decision on when international travel can resume has not been made. Travelers to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area are required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine for at least ten days. Restrictions remain in place on travel to and from Ireland from Scotland.

Travel guidelines for Scotland can be found here.


Travel for non-essential purposes within the UK and the wider Common Travel Area is permitted. Overnight stays are permitted in self-contained accommodation, including campsites, caravans and boats, but should only be shared with household or support bubble members.

Lake with a reflection of the surrounding mountains during the early morning.
Domestic tourism is returning in England ©Undivided/Shutterstock

Outdoor drinking and dining is permitted in a group of up to six from any number of households or support bubbles, or in a group of any size from up to two households or bubbles. Outdoor attractions have reopened and indoor attractions, such as cinemas and museums, are expected to reopen on May 17. This is the date that travelers may be permitted to stay in hotels, hostels and B&Bs.

Travel guidelines for England can be found here.

Northern Ireland

Travelers in Northern Ireland will be permitted to stay in self-contained accommodation from April 30 with members of the traveler's household or bubble. Other holiday accommodation, including most hotels, are not expected to open until at least May 24, and the same goes for indoor hospitality venues. The guidelines state that travel in or out of Northern Ireland from the Common Travel Area should not take place except where it is essential to do so.

Winding road through the lush green Irish landscape.
Travel can resume within Northern Ireland © Peter Zelei Images / Getty Images

Outdoor areas at hospitality venues are permitted to reopen from April 30 with a maximum of six people from two households seated together. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household.

Travel guidelines for Northern Ireland can be found here.

This article was first published on February 23, 2021 and updated on April 28, 2021.

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This article was first published February 2021 and updated April 2021

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