We've spent a few months only dreaming of exploring Scotland, but it's now time to turn these dreams into plans, and book your break to Scotland. With more information now available on what will open and at what stage, it should now be easier to plan your trip to Scotland for this year or next.
We've got all the information you need on what you need to know - physical distancing guidelines and face coverings, what's open, and other questions you might have on safety measures to keep you safe from Covid-19 on your Scottish trip.
Last updated: 14 August 2020
What everyone needs to know
Due to a current outbreak within the city of Aberdeen:
- No-one within the area should travel more than 5 miles for leisure purposes. Travel should be for work or education only.
- No-one should travel to Aberdeen.
- All indoor and outdoor hospitality - pubs and cafes - are closed.
- These restrictions will be in place until 19 August, when they will be reviewed.
- Anyone on holiday in Aberdeen should follow local guidance and take extra care when returning home.
Check before you go
- Always check directly with a business before visiting - most businesses are now able to open, but some businesses may need a little longer to prepare.
- They will also be able to tell you if you need to book in advance, and what safety measures they have will be operating when you visit.
- Look out for the Good to Go scheme logo, which shows which businesses have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment.
You can search our website for businesses that are open now, and for those who are part of the Good to Go scheme.
- Accommodation - hotels, self-catering, camping and more/
- Outdoor Activities - watersports, cycling, walking, fishing, golf.
- Attractions - castles, museums, galleries, parks, gardens, monuments.
- Food & Drink - pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars.
- Keep a distance of 2 metres from anyone outside of your household (or your travel group) at all times.
- The only exception is where a business has been allowed to reopen with a 1 metre distance between groups of people, but there should be additional safety measures in place.
- If you go somewhere outdoors and it is too crowded to remain at a distance of 2 metres, please consider leaving and finding somewhere else to go.
- Children aged 11 and younger do not need to physically distance indoors and outdoors.
Face coverings are mandatory in the following places:
- on public transport
- in retail shops
- aquariums and indoor zoos
- any indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site
It's also recommended you wear your face covering anywhere indoors that is difficult to maintain the recommended physical distance.
There are exceptions for some health conditions and for children under 5.
Exploring the outdoors
- The Scottish Outdoor Access Code applies all year-round and offers some great tips and advice so that you can enjoy these spaces safely, and give staff the time and space they need to look after them properly.
- Find out more advice on exploring the countryside of Scotland just now.
Plan a holiday with all the information
- We've got a handy download to guide you on how to enjoy Scotland responsibly over the new few months - check out our helpful reminders to protect yourself and others, and plan ahead.
- As we start to venture out again, here are five easy ways you can support Scotland's fantastic tourism industry with our take five for tourism PDF.
Meeting up with others
- You can meet up with four other households outdoors, with a maximum of 15 people.
- You can meet up with two other households indoors, with a maximum of 8 people. This can include overnight stays.
- You can meet up to four households per day, though this does not apply to anyone under 18.
- If you develop Covid-19 symptoms while on holiday in Scotland, please self-isolate in your accommodation and follow the advice from the Scottish Government.
What businesses are open now?
Remember to check with individual businesses before visiting, as some may need longer than the dates below to reopen safely.
- Attractions - museums, galleries, visitor centres, etc - now open
- Campsites with no access to shared facilities - open
- Campsites (all) - now open
- Contact sports - closed
- Events - closed, but many running virtual events
- Gardens - open
- Gyms - closed
- Hotels - now open
- Motorhome access - open
- Outdoor activities - open
- Outdoor eating & drinking spaces - open
- Outdoor sports courts - open
- Outdoor markets - open
- Public toilets - open
- Public transport - open but limited capacity
- Pubs & bars (indoors) - now open
- Restaurants & cafés (indoors) - now open
- Retail in shopping centres - open
- Retail shops (accessible from streets) - open
- Self-catering without shared facilities - open
- Self-catering - now open
- Weddings (outdoors) - open to a limited number of attendees
- Wild camping - now open
- Zoos - open
Other questions you might have
Visiting Scotland from the UK
Now the travel restriction has been lifted and accommodation is reopening, you can visit from the UK.
For those living in areas of England currently under tighter restrictions we would ask people to only travel to Scotland for essential trips to help keep the virus under control. Please stay up to date with the latest advice from the UK and Scottish Governments.
Visiting Scotland from overseas
- There are a number of countries now who do not need to quarantine on arrival into Scotland. You can check the full list of countries who can travel to Scotland without quarantine.
- There are still countries including France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US and Canada where if you travel to Scotland, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days when you arrive.
- Everyone needs to provide their journey and contact details when you travel to Scotland.
This applies even if you land at an English airport - if your final stop is Scotland, then you need to follow the above rules.
Find out more on health checks when entering Scotland.
Yes, however many businesses such as shops and restaurants currently prefer you to use contact free payments for hygiene reasons and some may be following a "contactless payment only" policy. Please check that your debit/credit card is accepted in the UK before your trip begins.
Travelling from the airport
Our airports have car rental facilities close to their arrival halls. Make sure to check before you travel if car rentals are open and book your car in advance.
Public transport capacity will be constrained due to physical distancing requirements. The use of taxis or private pick-ups are recommended.
Renting a car
Car rental companies are following government advice and have increased their health and safety measures. Check before you travel with individual companies for information on any additional measures they are taking.