Can I still holiday in England?

Guidance correct as of 16 October 2020.

Two women and a man walking on a country lane in autumn on the Monsal trail, Peak District, Derbyshire, England.

Wanting to escape the everyday with a short break in England but not sure where you can go? We’ve got you covered. Whether it’s questions about the tier system or what you can or can’t do whilst you’re away, we have the answers to help ease your mind about planning a holiday in England this autumn.

What is England’s new three-tiered system of local COVID alert levels?

To standardise and simplify local lockdown measures, the UK Government has introduced a three-tiered system. Each tier has different restrictions to help manage the COVID-19 outbreak in their area.

Local COVID Alert Level – Medium (Tier 1)

This is the lower tier and applies to areas and regions with the lowest rates of infection, and where national restrictions are in place. This means:

  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed by law
  • Certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must be closed between 10pm and 5am
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through a delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors. This limit of six includes children of any age

Local COVID Alert Level – High (Tier 2)

This tier applies to places with a higher level of infection and, therefore, additional restrictions are in place. This means:

  • People from different households aren’t allowed to mix (other than with their support bubble) in any indoor space
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six in outdoor settings, including private gardens or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply)
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make, where possible
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed by law

Local COVID alert level – Very high (Tier 3)

This is the highest tier and is only for areas that are a very high level of concern. Local authorities may determine additional measure but, at a minimum, this means:

  • You must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden. This includes most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than six in an outdoor public place such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or sports venue
  • Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • You should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very high’ alert level area you are in, or entering a ‘Very high’ alert level area other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey 
  • You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are a resident in a ‘Very high’ alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very high’ alert level area if you are a resident elsewhere

For more information on each tier and what restrictions are in place, visit the GOV.UK website.

Which areas are in which tier?

Different locations across England currently sit under different tiers. You can find out which areas are under each tier on the GOV.UK website or by searching for an area on the new Government postcode checker

Can I still go on holiday if I live in a Very High (Tier 3) area?

Other than for work, education and other essential services, people living in ‘Very high’ destinations should avoid travelling outside of their area, and should not stay overnight in another part of the country. You can, however, still go on holiday with your ‘Very High’ area but must only do this with people you live with or have formed a support bubble with.

Which locations in England can I still visit?

  • Medium Alert areas (Tier 1): You are currently able to travel between ‘Medium’ risk areas and stay overnight in accommodation including hotels and self-catering lodgings. The rule of six must be complied with. See further Medium alert level guidance before you travel
  • High Alert areas (Tier 2): You can still travel within ‘High’ alert areas to hotels and other guest accommodation – or travel to other ‘High’ and ‘Medium’ tier areas to go on holiday – but should only do so with people from your household or support bubble

If you are visiting a ‘High’ alert area, you should follow the local guidelines for that area. Check out further guidance for the ‘High’ tier on the GOV.UK website.

You should always check the GOV.UK website, Government postcode checker and local authority websites to read the relevant local restrictions, as some areas with very a high number of COVID-19 cases may, in future, have stricter measures in place that may affect leisure travel into that area.

What happens if advice changes whilst I’m on holiday?

If you’re already on holiday when new restrictions are announced – and you’re with friends or family that don’t live in your household – you can still finish your trip as planned. Until the end of this holiday, you should make every effort to reduce socialising indoors with those outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance.

Are tourist attractions still open in England?

Lots of attractions around the country – from theme parks to museums, historic houses to safari parks – are open for business. Even in ‘High and ‘Very high’ areas, most of these will remain open, but you’ll probably need to book a ticket in advance so make sure you check the attraction’s website before visiting.

For information on how to find out which attractions are open around the country, visit our Know Before You Go page.

What can I do to stay safe?

While on holiday in England, make sure you:

  • Socially distance from anyone outside your household or support bubble, especially when visiting indoor spaces
  • Wash your hands regularly and for longer than 20 seconds. If you’re out and about, it’s also worth carrying a bottle of hand sanitiser too
  • Wear a face covering (unless you’re exempt) at all times on public transport, in shops, at indoor visitor attractions and entertainment venues, as well as when walking around in restaurants and bars
  • Download the NHS Test and Trace app and check in to the places you visit using the app’s QR code scanner.

What should I do if I start to experience some of the symptoms of COVID-19 while I’m away?

If you develop symptoms while on holiday, self-isolate at your accommodation if you can and order a test from the NHS website or call 119. You must inform your host or accommodation provider of your illness immediately. If you feel well enough to travel, you should return home as quickly and as directly as you can, using private transport. If you can’t return home, or if it isn’t possible to self-isolate at your accommodation, call 119 to discuss your circumstances with an appropriate healthcare professional.

For more information, read through our guide to planning a holiday in England

VisitEngland would like to invite you to take part in a short survey about our website, it should take no more than a couple of minutes.

Go to the survey

To add items to favourites …

… you need to be logged in.

If you already have an account, log in.

Or register a

Access your account

Enter your e-mail address or username.
Enter the password that accompanies your e-mail.
Forgot your password? Recover your account
Don't have an account? Register an account