How to have a safe and happy holiday in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic

Back to Travel tips
Have a safe and happy holiday family beach huts

We give you all the information you need to ensure that your summer break is worth the wait

In all four of the home nations, governments have given the go-ahead to enjoy a summer holiday, with travel restrictions being lifted and holiday accommodation reopening across the UK.

The experience may not be quite what we're used to, with various safety measures in place, and some businesses and services yet to reopen. But with the help of our handy guide, we're sure you'll still have a holiday to remember... 

What's the latest government advice on UK holidays?

Have a safe and happy holiday couple sitting by motorhome

There are no longer any restrictions on travelling distance within the UK, meaning you're free to venture wherever you like. 

As we outline in our coronavirus advice page, all holiday accommodation is also now allowed to open, with the exception of campsites in Wales that offer shared facilities. It is hoped that these will be able to reopen from Saturday 25 July.

We are pleased to say that the holiday venues owned by Boundless are among those that have reopened. They include:

• Whitemead Forest Park – our woodland idyll in the magical Forest of Dean offers a range of accommodation for couples and families, including log cabins, glamping pods and camping/caravanning pitches. 

• Our cottages, including Parkergate in the awe-inspiring Lake District, Cotswold Cottages and Treworgie Barton, nestled in the rolling hills of North Cornwall.

• Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel – located a short walk from the south coast resort's glorious sandy beaches, the West Cliff provides a touch of luxury to make your break extra-special. 

And remember, as a Boundless member you can get 20% off the price of your holiday, plus a Book with Confidence Guarantee that'll cover you in case the pandemic disrupts your plans. Find out more at our Boundless Breaks page

Are we allowed to go on holiday with members of another household?

Have a safe and happy holiday family walking in forest

This depends on where you're from in the UK, as each of the home nations' governments has introduced its own separate guidelines:

• If you're from England, you can stay in holiday accommodation with members of one other household (if you're in a support bubble, you and the other people in that bubble count as one household).

• If you're from Scotland, a maximum of eight people from three separate households can stay in holiday accommodation together (if you're in a support bubble, you and the other people in that bubble count as one household). Additionally, a couple from separate households may stay overnight together without physical distancing.

• If you're from Wales, you and your household can form an extended household with people from one other household. This enables you to spend as much time as you want with them, indoors and outdoors, at home or at holiday accommodation. You can even have physical contact with them. Note, however, that once you have established your extended household, you may not meet with members of another household indoors.

• If you're from Northern Ireland, you are currently not allowed to stay overnight with people from another household unless you are in a support bubble with them.

Unless otherwise stated, you should take extra care when holidaying with members of another household. For example, you should aim to keep two metres apart at all times, travelling in the same car is not recommended, separate bathrooms should be used where possible, and dining utensils should not be shared. 

Will we be able to eat out while we're on holiday?

Have a safe and happy holiday fish and chips

Pubs and restaurants in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are now allowed to open both indoors and outdoors. In Wales, they are only able to open their outdoor areas, but it is hoped that indoor eating and drinking will be allowed from Monday 3 August. 

Many businesses will also be offering takeaway meals and deliveries, as well as ice creams and other snacks, although be aware that some are not accepting cash payments.

Another fun way to enjoy a meal out is to prepare a picnic. Read our pick of the best picnic recipes, accessories and wines.

Are beaches open – and if so, are they safe?

Have a safe and happy holiday kids running on beach

Beaches across the UK are now open again, with the caveat that visitors should abide by social distancing guidelines. If you arrive at a beach to find that it is already well populated, you are advised to find a different one where keeping a safe distance from other people is easier.

Time Out's guide to the UK's best secluded beaches may help you to avoid the crowds. 

Are we allowed to swim in the sea?

Have a safe and happy holiday woman on body board

Yes – however, usual social distancing guidelines apply. As for whether COVID-19 can be transmitted in the water, Karen B. Michels, chair of UCLA's Department of Epidemiology, told Cosmopolitan: "There is no data that somebody got infected this way. I’m not concerned about the ocean and large lakes. The dilution effect is so humongous that I don’t think there is a risk.”

If you want to go swimming in a pool, note that guidelines differ depending on where you are: 

• In England, outdoor pools are allowed to reopen, with indoor pools and spa facilities set to follow on Saturday 25 July. 

• In Scotland, outdoor pools can reopen. However, indoor pools will not open until Friday 31 July at the earliest, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stating that “we are not yet able to attach a firm and specific date”. 

• In Wales, indoor and outdoor pools currently remain closed. The next formal review on lockdown restrictions is expected to take place on Thursday 30 July. 

• In Northern Ireland, indoor and outdoor pools remain closed. It is hoped that both will be open to the public by Friday 7 August, though this has not been confirmed.

Where pools are open, it is likely that they will have additional safety measures in place. These may include:

Have a safe and happy holiday man swimming

• a reduced capacity (pre-booking may be required)

• single-direction swimming

• the introduction of wider lanes

• swimmers being asked to shower and get changed at home

• no provision of swimming aids (visitors will be asked to bring their own)

Note that just because pools are allowed to reopen, that doesn't necessarily mean they will. Before making a booking, you are advised to check what facilities will be open at your chosen resort.

If your holiday destination doesn't have access to the sea or a pool, check out GoodtoKnow's handy guide to cooling yourself down in hot weather.

What precautions are being taken by holiday resorts?

Have a safe and happy holiday kitchen worktop

Each destination will have put its own measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and ensure the safety of its guests. These are likely to include more intensive cleaning of accommodation and shared facilities, social distancing where possible, and the suspension of some services. In some cases, you may be asked to bring your own bedding and towels. 

If you're planning to book a holiday at a Boundless-owned destination, or through one of our partners, please note that the following measures have been introduced (these were correct at the time of writing but may change – check with your chosen destination for the very latest information). 

Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel 

• Updated health and hygiene training has taken place for all teams

• Guests must call reception an hour before arrival to reduce queuing 

• Breakfast will be 'grab-and-go'; the bar and lounge are table service only

• Pools, gym and treatment rooms to remain closed

• Only contactless/card payments will be accepted

For information on booking a holiday at West Cliff during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Cotswold Cottages

UK holiday advice Cotswold Cottages

• Check-in is now available between 3pm and 6pm, with check-out being 10am on day of departure

• Upon arrival, guests should park in museum car park and wait for a member of staff to welcome you 

For information on booking a holiday with Cotswold Cottages during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Forest Holidays

• Introduction of new CleanAssure+ seal to guarantee exceptional standards of cleanliness

• New check-in time of 5pm

• New floor markings have been added to help with social distancing

• No cash payments are currently being accepted

• Cabins will be stocked with sanitiser spray, cleaning cloths and enough toilet roll and towels to last the duration of your stay

For information on booking a holiday with Forest Holidays during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Haven

• All new bookings for 2020 are for Haven Hideaway. This is where prices have been reduced to reflect the fact that some services may be unavailable. As services are reintroduced, you will receive an email to explain your options 

• Introduction of new Clean and Safe Charter to give guests added peace of mind

• Quicker and faster check-in process, to avoid queues

• Online ordering process for takeaway food and drink outlets

• Contactless payments where possible

For information on booking a holiday with Haven during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Hoseasons

• Non-essential items have been removed from accommodation to make it easier to clean

• Where restaurants have been closed, takeaways have been introduced as a replacement

• Government guidelines are followed to manage potential COVID-19 cases

• Safer check-in and check-out measures have been introduced

For information on booking a holiday with Hoseasons during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Parkergate and Treworgie Barton

Have a safe and happy holiday Parkergate cottages

• Arrival and departure times have been changed to 4.30pm and 9.30am respectively, to allow for deeper cleaning

• Keys will be thoroughly disinfected between one stay and the next

• Items such as DVDs, books, maps and hairdryers have been removed 

• Communal laundry, drying room and freezer will not be available 

• Only disposable barbecue stands will be available

For information on booking a holiday at Parkergate or Treworgie Barton during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Swift Go

• The interior of your motorhome will be fully sanitised

• Kitchen items are removed and cleaned between hires

• The provision of bedding and towels has temporarily been suspended

For information on booking a motorhome with Swift Go during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Travelsphere

• All holidays on or before 31 August have been suspended – if you are affected by this decision, you will receive an email detailing your options. It is hoped that all holidays from September onwards will go ahead

For information on booking a holiday with Travelsphere during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Whitemead Forest Park

UK holiday advice Whitemead Forest Park

• All areas of the park have received a thorough deep clean

• Shop opening times have been extended, and there is now a much wider range of products

• Takeaway food will be available from breakfast through to dinner time

• Afternoon tea is now available to take away 

• Indoor restaurant, bar, swimming pool and leisure facilities will remain closed

For information on booking a holiday with Whitemead during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Tell us about your holiday

Have you been away since lockdown restrictions were lifted? We'd love to hear how you got on. Leave us a message on Twitter or Facebook.

You might also like