On the 22nd February 2021, the government announced a roadmap out of lockdown which included four key steps. The steps and their start dates are dependent on the continued rollout of the vaccine, reduced hospitalisations and pressure on the NHS, and assessment of risks of new variants.
The government will examine data to check the impact of the previous steps before proceeding to the next one.
The proposed steps, specifically in relation to travel and tourism, are as follows:
From 8th March 2021, the official guidance was still to stay at home, though some rules changed. For example:
You were allowed to leave home for outdoor recreation (like a picnic), as well as exercise, with your household or support bubble. If you were by yourself, you could meet outside with one person from another household.
From 29th March, restrictions eased further.
Outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either six people or two households are now allowed. Social distancing rules still apply.
Outdoor sports facilities like tennis courts and swimming pools are now open.
The ‘Stay at home’ rule ended. However, travel should be kept to a minimum and you should continue to stay local where possible.
From 12th April, more restrictions are being lifted. You are now able to:
Access indoor leisure facilities (like gyms and indoor pools) by yourself or with your household.
Visit outdoor attractions like zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.
Go to the shops (e.g. clothes, books, homeware and department stores).
Eat and drink at hospitality venues with outdoor-only table service.
Take domestic holidays and trips if staying in self-contained, self-catered accommodation (like holiday cottages, glamping sites and lodges) – with members of your household only.
Five weeks later, and no earlier than 17th May, further restrictions will be lifted. This means that:
Indoor entertainment and attractions, such as cinemas, museums and galleries, will be allowed to open.
Indoor hospitality, like restaurants, pubs and bars will be able to reopen, operating with table service only.
30 people from multiple households will be able to meet outdoors, while six people (or two households) will be able to meet indoors, including in private homes. Gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
All other accommodations, like hotels, hostels, B&Bs and campsites with shared facilities can reopen for domestic trips and holidays.
Large performances (such as theatre shows and concerts) and sporting events can begin to take place indoors, with a capacity of up to 1,000 people (or half-full, whichever is lower), and at outdoor venues with a capacity of up to 4,000 (or half-full, whichever is lower). In the largest outdoor venues, up to 10,000 people (or a quarter of the venue’s capacity, whichever is lower) can attend, if crowds can be spread out.
Finally, no earlier than 21st June, the government will move into its last phase. This final step will mean that:
There will be no legal limits on social contact – outdoors, in private homes and in public indoor settings, such as restaurants.
Remaining venues and businesses, such as nightclubs, can reopen and restrictions on large events and performances such as theatre shows can be lifted.
With restrictions easing, many of us are raring to get out and socialise and explore once more. So to make sure our newfound freedom is as beneficial to everyone and everything as can be, we’ve put together some tips on how to look after people, businesses, animals and the environment and take responsibility for ourselves and our surroundings when on our travels.
When out and about in England, follow the countryside code – respect everyone around you, protect the environment and enjoy the great outdoors.
Avoid tourist hotspots where you can and check out England’s hidden gems instead.
Be kind to staff and locals, and support local independent businesses where you can.
To make sure we're keeping ourselves and others safe, continue to follow social distancing rules, wash your hands regularly and wear face coverings where necessary.
Look out for the We’re Good to Go mark – it shows businesses that are operating in line with government and public health COVID guidance.
Plan and book ahead, and pre-book tickets where needed. Check individual websites to see which locations are ready to welcome you before starting your journey. You can also find out what’s happening in cities, towns, counties and regions across England using the links in our map below.