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New UK National Lockdown – Everything Travelers Need To Know

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a national lockdown for the UK that prevents all citizens from leaving the country unless they have a legal reason to do so. Recreational travel or tourism is not permitted. 

“It is clear that we need to do more to bring this new variant under control,” Johnson stated in an address to the country. “That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”

Here is everything British nationals and foreign travelers need to know about the UK lockdown. 

The lockdown went into effect as of midnight on January 5th, 2021 and is expected to last until the middle of February. 

Picailly cicus empty covid lockdown

What This Means For UK Citizens Wanting To Travel Internationally

Travelers who are British nationals will not be permitted to leave the country unless they have a legal reason to do so. All UK citizens must follow stay at home orders. 

emptry streets during UK lockdown

What The Lockdown Means For Foreign Travelers Currently Visiting The UK

All foreign travelers that are currently visiting the UK are allowed to return home. Travelers should check the latest Covid-19 entry requirements for their home country before returning. 

UK Traveler in Mask

Are UK Travelers Required To Return Home For The Lockdown?

UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, travelers are encouraged to check with their airline or travel operator for arrangements to return home.

Are People In The UK Allowed To Travel Domestically?

The stay at home orders apply to all residents and foreign nationals staying in the UK. Traveling within the UK for tourism, recreation or vacation is not permitted. 

Those who are on vacation in the UK must return home immediately. 

Hotels and other accommodation providers including campgrounds will not be open for tourism or recreation purposes.  

uk england face mask

Restaurants, Bars and Cafes 

All non-essential businesses must be closed. Restaurants and cafes may provide take out and delivery of food and non-alcoholic beverages. No dining in is allowed. 

All restaurant take out and deliver food providers must close by 11:00 pm. 

uk england underground tube mask

What is Open For Travelers Who Remain In The UK During Lockdown?

Only essential businesses will remain open including the following:

  • Grocery Stores, supermarkets and food shops
  • Pharmacies
  • Gas Stations
  • Banks
  • Medical Services
  • Dental Services
  • Other essential businesses
uk officer in mask

Can You Travel To The UK During Lockdown?

UK citizens may return home at anytime. Travelers should not visit the UK during lockdown. Those who must travel to Britain should check the latest UK Covid-19 entry requirements. 

uk travelers with luggage wearing masks

Sources: UK Government

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

Billy Bob

Saturday 30th of January 2021

When does it end? How can it end?

Miriam Haller

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

So the new rules are starting tomorrow? Please could you let me know, if you have some new information? My son stock since one year in kuba, and i want to bring him out. Now we booked a flight with air Canada...but nobody can give me an answer, if he need a test or not...

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Yes the new rules for Canada start tomorrow, but like I said, I am not sure if it is for transits or not. You will have to contact border police in Canada, or talk to your airline

Miriam Haller

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

My i need a covid test if i use Canada for transit? I need to travel from kuba to mexico, over Kanada....thank you for a short answer.

Miriam Haller

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Hello Kashlee, please could you answer me, if i need canada for Transit, do i need a negative Test. I want to fly from kuba, to canada and than to mexico... thank you for reply...

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Sorry, I don't know if the new 72-hour PCR test rule that is coming into effect on Jan 7 includes transits or not.


Tuesday 5th of January 2021

What is considered to be a legal reason to leave the UK during lockdown?

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

They have not been very clear on this, but they cite 'work' as a legal reason