Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go: Guidance for travel in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Updated on: 17/02/2021

Restrictions and lockdowns are in operation across Great Britain and Northern Ireland and quarantine is required for international visitors and those returning from abroad. Please keep in mind that EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland may have different guidelines and advice in place at different times. For more information on specific areas, please check the relevant government pages.

All travel corridors with the UK are suspended. Strict testing and quarantining rules are currently in place for international arrivals into the UK because of COVID-19. The specific regulations in place may vary in different parts of the UK. Please ensure you check the links below for the latest guidance for each nation:

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

 

The border measures have been introduced to prevent the spread of new variants of Coronavirus into the UK.

If you are visiting Great Britain and Northern Ireland from any country, you must complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form that collects the following information:

  • Contact details
  • Travel details (dates etc.)
  • Passport details

 

The form must be completed online and submitted no earlier than 48 hours before your arrival.

 

After you complete the form

After you complete and submit the form you’ll receive a confirmation email with a document attached. Before you arrive at the border, you must either:

  • print a copy of the document
  • download the document on your phone

 

You’ll need to show this document when you arrive in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Border Force officers will scan the QR code at the top of this document to check you have completed the form successfully. For further information, including what to do if you develop coronavirus symptoms while travelling, and how to complete the form if you are travelling with someone under 18, please visit the official government information page.

To help you plan your travels in the future, we’ve worked together with VisitEngland and the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to launch a Great Britain and Northern Ireland-wide industry standard and ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark. The scheme means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place for when you’re able to visit them.

To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform, including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the 'We’re Good To Go' mark for display in their premises and online. For added reassurance, an ‘alert’ system will ensure that businesses signed up to the standard are notified of any changes to the official guidance – so you can visit them with confidence.

Find out more at visitbritain.com and remember to look for the mark on individual business websites when you’re thinking about planning your future trip online. Our interactive map showcases all tourism and hospitality businesses that have the mark, allowing you to find where it is good to go.

To make your days out as enjoyable as possible in the future, we encourage you to plan your trip in advance and to check all of the important facilities and attractions, while looking after our great outdoors. To ensure we’re all doing our bit to travel responsibly, here are a few general steps to help make planning easy, when we're all able to travel again:

  • Please keep in mind that local lockdowns could be implemented in different areas at different times, so make sure to check the interactive map of lockdown restrictions before you travel.
  • When planning your trip, check that important facilities – like toilets and car parks – are open before you travel so you’re not caught short. You can find information on public toilets open across Great Britain and Northern Ireland at Lockdown Loo.
  • If you have an attraction in mind, please check online to see if you need to pre-book a time slot.
  • Across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it is the law that you must wear a face mask at all times when using public transport like buses, trains, taxis and minicabs, unless you are exempt from doing so.
  • Locations where face coverings are mandatory differ by nation, and you should follow the specific guidance for face coverings for EnglandScotlandWales or Northern Ireland, depending on the country you are visiting.
  • If you are travelling by air, at arrival you may be requested to wear a face mask inside the airport terminal, to use online check in where possible, and minimise hand luggage. Social distancing restrictions will also be in place, in line with the specific rules for each nation.
  • Keep two metres apart from anyone outside your household – this not only applies to walking, but running, cycling, and sitting. Please note: Social distancing is two metres apart in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England, you should stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors). Please see the relevant websites for each nation for further information.
  • Some places may be extremely popular, so instead why not plan to get off the beaten track and discover a hidden gem.
  • Make sure you have a bank card; many outlets are currently only accepting cashless payments.
  • Wash your hands regularly and take hand sanitiser with you for use when public hand-washing facilities are not available.

Government information and advice

For the latest government information and specific advice on travel in each of the four nations, please visit:

 

Local lockdown restrictions

For information on current lockdown restrictions across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, please visit the relevant government websites.

If you think you have coronavirus symptoms, you should dial 111 to access the NHS helpline for advice. The free-to-call non-emergency number is available 24 hours a day. You can find the latest health guidance for each individual nation on dedicated pages for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments in Britain provide treatment for genuine life-threatening emergencies. Should you require medical help or advice in a non-life-threatening situation, you should call 111 to access the NHS 111 service.

Overseas visitors may need to pay for hospital care they receive, and all visitors are strongly advised to ensure they have adequate insurance cover before travelling. Any coronavirus testing and treatment will not incur any charges.

You should dial 999 in an emergency to reach police, fire and ambulance services, as well as the coastguard. You will need to indicate which service you need. Further services such as mountain rescue and Britain’s voluntary coastguard service, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, can also be accessed via this number.

Calls are free from any phone, but should only be made in genuine emergencies.

If you are lost, ask a policeman or woman for assistance – they are courteous, approachable and helpful. Traffic wardens may also be able to help you with directions. If you have been the victim of a crime, contact the police by dialling 999 or 101 for non-emergencies.

Police community support officers also work alongside the police, and can also provide advice and guidance, alongside directions and other key information.

Travel by public transport - facemasks

Remember, across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it is the law that you must wear a face mask at all times when using public transport like buses, trains, taxis and minicabs, unless you are exempt from doing so.

The rules regarding the wearing of facemasks in other locations, including airports and public transport hubs, differ by nation. For further information, please visit the dedicated websites for EnglandScotlandWales or Northern Ireland.

Great Britain and Northern Ireland have left the EU, and the transition period ended on 31 December 2020. We’re looking forward to welcoming you back and want to keep you updated that from 1 January 2021, there are new rules if you wish to visit us from abroad. For further details please check the official government website or see our visiting the UK after 1 January 2021 page. There will also be new rules if you wish to work and study in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as part of a new points-based immigration system for EU citizens.  If you would like further information, please visit gov.uk to find out more.