Get us in your inbox

Claridges hotel
Photograph: Alex Segre /

Can you stay in a hotel during lockdown?

Here are the rules when it comes to hotel and Airbnb stays during England’s third national lockdown

Ellie Walker-Arnott

ICYMI, England has now entered its third national lockdown. From today (January 5), the country is under new, tougher restrictions that won’t be reviewed until February 15.

The restrictions prohibit people from doing, well, most things (find out more about how it’ll affect life in the city here) and bans any non-essential travel.

So what does that mean for any upcoming travel or holidays you have booked? 

Unfortunately, the new government rules state that you shouldn’t be leaving your home, let alone travelling in or out of your local area during lockdown. ‘You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed,’ reads the new guidance. 

‘This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.’

However there are some exceptions.

You are still allowed to stay overnight with your support bubble, and people are also allowed to travel and stay away from their homes for essential work, if you are seeking refuge or escaping harm, if you are moving house or if you need accommodation to attend a funeral. 

Does that mean all hotels will be closed during lockdown?

Hotels and other kinds of accommodation can remain open but only for these legally permitted reasons (so that means you can’t book yourself into a local hotel for a sneaky break from your household.)

‘Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing,’ reads the new rules. 

‘Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with local authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups, including the homeless,’ add the government. During the first UK lockdown in early 2020, that meant, for example, that NHS staff could stay in hotels to distance from their families, while some hotels acted as temporary accommodation for homeless people

What about Airbnb bookings? 

Airbnb are yet to release a statement about how Lockdown 3 affects bookings, but during the second lockdown the accommodation booking site prevented new bookings throughout the lockdown period. Calendars were automatically blocked out for those dates, though Airbnb bookings of 28 days or longer were exempt from the ban. We’ll update you as we find out more, but, if bookings are allowed, they would only be for the legally permitted reasons listed above. 

For now, all travel for fun is paused for people in England. 

Determined to make up for it in summer 2021? Here’s our pick of the best Airbnbs in the UK, the dreamiest Airbnbs near London and the best UK places to visit this year


    Popular on Time Out

      Latest news

        Read next