Travel Advice United Kingdom 2020: the latest update

4 min read

United Kingdom Travel Advice

Travel Advice United Kingdom 2020 – as at 13th August 2020


On 12th March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. This led to travel restrictions and border closures around the world and now, in June, we are starting to see these restrictions easing and people looking again to book holidays. Travel restrictions in each country vary and here, at, we want to ensure that you, our customers, are provided with the latest travel advice for the key destinations favoured by you.


The first cases of Coronavirus19 (COVID-19) were confirmed in the city of Wuhan, China on 31st December 2019 and since then, it has proceeded to spread to 215 countries and territories with over 20,162,474 people so far testing positive for the virus. (Source: WHO)

The United Kingdom confirmed its first internally transmitted case of COVID-19 on 28th February 2020 and by 13th August 313,798 cases and 41,329 deaths had been confirmed. (Source: WHO)


What is COVID-19?


COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, a large family of viruses which can cause illness in humans. Coronavirus infections in humans can result in coryzal symptoms as seen in a common cold and more severe respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia. In recent years, we have seen outbreaks of  Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).


COVID-19 is the most recently discovered coronavirus and it is spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth. The method of transmission is often via cough, sneeze or exhalation. People breathing in these droplets or touching the surfaces these droplets land on and who touch their eyes, nose or mouth are at risk of developing COVID-19.


The World Health Organisation continues to assess ongoing research on the means of transmission of COVID-19 but general advice is to maintain distance from others, regularly wash hands and avoid touching your face.


Many countries have implemented temporary travel restrictions and COVID-19 has impacted on events and activities. In the travel advice newsletter, we will endeavour to provide you with the latest travel advice on key destinations.


Current Travel Advice for the United Kingdom, as at 13th August 2020


Is it safe to travel to the United Kingdom in 2020?


On 4 July 2020 (updated 6 August), the UK government announced changes to travel advice, with exemptions for travelling to certain countries and territories that no longer pose a high risk for British travellers which can be viewed here. The UK government continues to advise against cruise ship travel and non-essential travel to countries that have not been exempted.


On 17 March 2020, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Agency advised against all unnecessary travel and advised all UK citizens abroad to return to the UK. 


From 8th June, new rules for entering or returning to the UK will commence. Visitors will need to provide journey and contact details before travelling to the UK and will need to self-isolate in one place for the first 14 days when they arrive in the UK.


All direct flights to the UK from the USA have been stopped but flights stopping in Canada are possible in addition to direct return flights from the UK.


Although air travel restrictions to European Union countries have been recommended by the European Union, the UK is exempt. Should you intend on travelling to the UK, please consider the restrictions placed by your home country for returning travellers and that in the UK, most airports are operating scaled down services.


Recent figures show that London Heathrow is currently operating at 25 percent of its normal capacity with a focus on repatriating British nationals and the transportation of air cargo. 


This page will be updated for the latest travel advice for The United Kingdom.


Flight changes to and from the United Kingdom


Many British airlines have drastically cut or stopped internal and international flights.

  • Easyjet has grounded all 498 airplanes and is furloughing their staff for a 2 month period beginning on 1 April 2020.
  • British Airways has furloughed 30,000 staff with its parent company, IAG, grounding 90% of airplanes.
  • Virgin Atlantic has reduced flights by 80% and instructed staff to take eight week of unpaid leave.
  • Ryanair has also grounded most of its UK flights.


Cancelled events in the United Kingdom


The impact of COVID-19 on British culture and sport has been huge with all professional football matches currently suspended. Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World World Two while the London Marathon has been postponed until 4 October 2020.


From the 1st June 2020 the UK Government has signalled for live competitive sport to return behind closed doors “in safe and carefully controlled environments”.


Heavyweight boxer and World Champion Anthony Joshua has postponed his scheduled world title defence against Kubrat Pulev.


All theatres are closed and the iconic music festival at Glastonbury has been cancelled. The uncertainty around COVID-19 has also resulted in the Edinburgh Festival being cancelled for the first time in its 70 year history.


Coronavirus19 (COVID-19) FAQ – Travel


Question: Should I cancel my vacation to the United Kingdom?

Answer: In many countries, non-essential travel is being discouraged with the pandemic being a constantly evolving and changing situation.  You should check for latest updates on travel advice for both your country of departure and your destination via respected Government websites and the travel advice newsletter. With refundable bookings on you can be assured that if you do need to cancel your vacation that you will be refunded.


Question: If I decide to travel to the UK, are there any precautions that can be taken to minimise the risk of infection?


  • Avoid contact with people displaying symptoms.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with hands, especially if unwashed.
  • Make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • While the focus is on COVID-19 please ensure that you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.


Question: Is there an increased risk of infection whilst travelling by air?

Answer: Due to how air is filtered and circulated on airplanes, many viruses and germs do not spread easily. Many countries now also operate immigration medical checks to identify any passengers who may pose a risk.


Question: Should travellers wear masks in the United Kingdom?

Answer: Anyone who displays symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to wear a mask as it restricts the spread of the virus. For the uninfected, the wearing of masks is not deemed to significantly reduce the risk of infection, but you may wish to consider the customs of your destination. For instance, all passengers travelling on trains in the United Kingdom must wear a face mask while they are encouraged on all other modes of transport.


Question: What can I expect on arriving and departing at airports?

In some countries screening for all passengers entering and leaving their country is being conducted. Before being allowed to board a flight, you may be questioned about your health and your travel history and have your temperature taken.


Travel advice pages

Travala Links