Wales travel: Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place?

Helen Coffey
·5-min read
<p> Pembrokeshire </p> (Visit  Pembrokeshire)


(Visit Pembrokeshire)

Unreliable weather aside, Wales makes for a near-perfect staycation destination as far as Britons are concerned.

In 2019 alone, the nation welcomed 87 million day trippers from the rest of the UK, generating almost £3.5m.

The tourism industry in Wales accounts for almost 10 per cent of its workforce and has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. But, as restrictions return in England and Wales emerges from its “firebreak” lockdown, what are the rules around travelling there?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Wales from England?

In nearly all cases, no. England is currently under national lockdown until 2 December, during which time all non-essential travel, whether it be international or domestic, is banned, as are non-essential overnight stays. “Essential” travel is only permissible for a small number of reasons, such as work or education.

People caught flouting the ban and travelling for holiday purposes can be fined from £200-£6,400.

Simultaneously, although Wales has just finished its own two-week lockdown, which ended on 9 November, travel between England and Wales is currently banned unless you have a “reasonable excuse”.

“Where necessary travelling to a workplace in Wales is a reasonable excuse to enter Wales under the rules. Similarly, the rules allow people living in Wales to travel to England for work purposes where this is necessary and they cannot work from home,” says the Welsh government.

People in Wales have also been told they can go into an “extended household” - whereby two households are able to join together and spend time in each other’s homes and gardens, and even stay overnight - with people in England, provided it doesn’t contravene local rules.

In England, two households with multiple members cannot form an “extended household”; however, single adult households (or households of a single adult with children under 18) can join together with another household of any size to form a “support bubble”.

Visitors from the rest of the UK are also permitted into Wales to secure their caravan for the winter.

Can I travel within Wales if I live there?

There are no travel restrictions in place within Wales as of 9 November. However, the government is asking everyone to think carefully about the journeys they take and the people they meet.

“We should all think carefully about where we go and who we meet because the more places we go and the more people we meet, the greater the chances there are of catching coronavirus,” reads the guidance. “In particular it is also sensible to avoid travelling to and from areas with a higher incidence rate if you can.”

Despite this, the guidance confirms that Welsh residents are allowed to take a holiday within Wales.

Can I travel to the rest of the UK or internationally from Wales?

Not without a good excuse. Travel out of Wales is only allowed “under limited circumstances”, such as for work or education.

“We know this will be disappointing but travelling out of Wales for a holiday is not one of the permitted reasons under the Regulations,” says the Welsh government. “The Regulations are in place to protect you and your loved ones from coronavirus and to prevent the onward spread of the virus to other areas of Wales, the UK and other countries.”

The guidance recommends contacting your tour operator or travel provider if you are booked to go abroad, as well as your travel insurance provider.

Can I travel through Wales to reach another destination?

Yes, provided you have a “reasonable excuse”. This might include travelling along a road that passes through Wales (eg to travel from England to Ireland) where there is no other reasonable option to travel to their destination.

Are hotels and campsites open in Wales?

Yes. Following the firebreak lockdown, all accommodation types are permitted to open, including caravan parks’ facilities such as toilet, shower, pot wash and laundry areas (which previously had to close), provided Covid-19 safety measures are put in place.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

All visitor attractions are now able to open. Measures to protect visitors, including social distancing, will be in place.

Cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars are permitted to open with certain measures in place: most premises, including all premises selling alcohol, will be providing table service only; all food and drink should be consumed at tables; you will be required to wear a face covering other than when seated to eat or drink; physical distancing measures will be applied, such as tables being spaced out; you will be asked to give contact details for the purposes of track and trace; and there will be no live music , plus TV broadcasts will be kept at low volume.

In most places you will probably be required to pre-book with details of all members of the group, and group sizes should be limited to four people (unless all guests are from the same household).

Alcohol cannot be served or sold after 10pm.

What rules are in place?

Despite lockdown lifting, the Welsh authorities are advising citizens to follow the rules below:

  • Work from home if you can

  • Stay out of each other’s homes, except in very limited circumstances

  • Limit the times you leave your home, and the distance you travel

  • When you do leave home, please try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally

  • Maintain social distancing, including outdoors

  • Meet people outdoors rather than indoors where possible, even in circumstances where the law allows you to meet indoors

  • Wash your hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene

  • Self-isolate if you show symptoms of coronavirus

Face coverings should also be work in all indoor public places, including on public transport.

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