It’s hard to keep positive, yet as the Covid vaccination programme rolls out, we can start dreaming about Spring and Summer holidays, sun, sea, sand, fresh air and rolling countryside. Is it time to pencil in that UK break? Current government guidance for holiday accommodation means that:
- In England and Wales, all holiday accommodation is closed until 21 February 2021
- In Northern Ireland, all holiday is closed until 6 February 2021 inclusive.
- All holiday accommodation in mainland Scotland is closed until at least the end of January 2021.
You can book for holidays after these dates, and as travel abroad seems less likely this year and demand for UK cottage holidays high, we advise early booking to avoid disappointment.
Here’s a roundup of Cottage Agents offer pages…
The new lockdown for England announced by the Prime Minister on 31st October comes into effect on 00.01 Thursday 5th November and is currently planned to last for 4 weeks until 2 December 2020. Although traditionally a quiet time for taking a break in the UK, the restrictions earlier in the year on travel had meant that bookings were being made for November and December.
Can I go on holiday during a lockdown?
The guidance given by Visit Britain/Visit England states that
- There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday. This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work.
- So, if you have a cottage holiday booked for next week unfortunately you won’t be able to go. And an escape to sunnier shores is also of the cards as you also won’t be able to travel overseas unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.
Can I go to Scotland on holiday then?
Unfortunately holidaying elsewhere in the UK won’t be allowed. Whilst Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have different restrictions, the rules operating in England mean that you won’t be able to travel to these locations for a holiday during the lockdown period.
Can I book a cottage holiday for 2021?
It is good to have something to look forward to and bookings for 2021 self-catering accommodation in the UK can still be made, always with the knowledge that Covid-19 could change things.
As the situation is changing rapidly it’s a good idea to check UK Gov website for the most up to date information.
If I book will I get my money back if I can’t go due to Covid-19
After the last lockdown, many travel companies were criticised for failing to refund holiday bookings. This time they need to better, and it’s good to see that many booking agents and cottage holiday companies are offering to refund if Covid-19 restrictions prevent travel. It’s important to check the booking terms and conditions.
This summer saw high demand for holiday accommodation in the UK and 2021 could be the same, especially in the popular coastal regions such as Devon and Cornwall. So it might be wise to book early – as they say – to avoid disappointment!
Good news… Holidays in England now permitted! Many holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants can now open providing they follow Covid-19 Secure guidelines.
Can I book a cottage in Wales?
In Wales self-catering accommodation can accept bookings from 11th July and holidays can start from this date. Self-catering accommodation in Scotland is now open and further restrictions should be lifted if conditions allow. You can now travel from Great Britain to Northern Ireland for a holiday, however, a 14-day quarantine is in place for those visiting Ireland from GB. Phew – it’s pretty confusing!
With holidaying abroad looking complicated demand for cottage holidays is high. Savvy individuals are making bookings now in the hope that they will get away at some stage. Admin fees may be applied to discourage lots of speculative bookings.
Worth noting is that organisations are insisting that employees take their annual leave allowance – even if for those who are furloughed. As the long as the “R rate” stays below 1, holiday accommodation will be at a premium. Come rain or shine a change of scenery might be just what you need.
Currently (May 2020) all holiday accommodation from cottages to campsites and even hotels are closed to paying guests except for the odd exceptions that are allowed to sleep people travelling for funerals or those identified by the government as “critical workers”. Every day there seems to be a story in the press of a hopeful couple turning up somewhere like the Cotswolds or the Peak District for an Airbnb booking! Yet the rules are pretty clear.
Travelling for day trips to the coast or countryside is now allowed in England (different rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) – staying overnight is still a no-no!
To the frustration of many in the hospitality industry, the government has not yet given any commitment to when restrictions will be lifted. “Baby steps” is what Boris said. Hospitality businesses were included in the “step three” of the government’s recovery strategy. No earlier than the 4th of July! Itching to get going many holiday accommodation providers have started taking bookings for dates after July 4. Many are offering the ability to change dates or give refunds should there be an extension or return of the lockdown.
With holidaying abroad looking complicated demand for cottage holidays is likely to be high. Savvy individuals are making bookings now in the hope that they will get away at some stage. Admin fees may be applied to discourage lots of speculative bookings.
Worth noting is that organisations are insisting that employees take their annual leave allowance – even if holiday plans have been cancelled. So, if the “R rate” stays below 1 and tourism is open up holiday accommodation will be at a premium.
Tempting as it may be to ‘tough-out’ these extraordinary days in a rural idyll or by the bracing seaside really you shouldn’t! The chances are, if you are arriving from a larger town or city — especially London, what you’ll be bringing is germs. While some cottage owners were actively marketing their holiday accommodation as the perfect spot to avoid Covid-19, the local populations of areas such as Cornwall, North Wales and the Highlands are not happy. The pressure is being put on local services, and if people become ill, the NHS health care facilities will not be able to cope. And now we have been told to avoid all unnecessary travel!
Yet It will be tough financially for many holiday cottage owners. Easter usually is the start of the season with many places booked months in advance. Now it looks likely that many aren’t taking bookings until after 4th June 2020.
So booking a holiday cottage in the UK will be an excellent option for the future. Just not now. Please don’t travel unnecessarily — losing out on a holiday is better than risking lives!
Photo Nickolay Romensky from London, UK