Have you traveled to Britain recently? Please comment on this thread!

Have you traveled to Britain in recent weeks or have travel planned for the latter part of this year?

Please tell us about it in this thread. We're researching an article on current travel procedures and while we can't go ourselves, we know many Anglotopia readers have gone or are planning to go.

How were the testing requirements? Did you run into any issues? Did you have trouble returning to the USA? How were your experiences there? We're tourist attractions open? Crowded?

Thank you!


  • New rules just out! UK travel update: Amber list scrapped in overhaul of travel rules in England https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58602481

  • Yes, looks like Americans will no longer have to test before they depart from the USA, but will after arrival and the USA will still require a test before returning.

  • I was just there mid-August. Had a pre-flight test and timed out my Day 2 test so I didn't have to be tested again before coming home. Just beware American Airlines uses Verifly and you have to load all your data/documents into the app and be verified before American will release your boarding pass. Had no issues during actual travel.

    Most places were not at all crowded, in fact one cab driver told me it was still fairly quiet and lots of Londoners were still working at home. Regent Street and Carnaby were really the only places that were busy, and that seemed to be mostly locals. Most indoor attractions required masks and many of the palaces were limited entry (had to pre-book tickets and were assigned time slots for entrance) - Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and the Tower operated this way. Had a few tours booked via travelocity and expedia, smaller groups than usual and required to wear masks on transit.

  • Just returned 9/25; visited Bath, Devon, Cardiff, Conwy, Cotswolds, Oxford. A friend said to use Verifly for our BA flight, which went ok.

    Locator Form asked for our UK address; we realized too late that they wanted ALL of them, not just the first. Trying to fix that error was stressful and time consuming with web site issues.

    Our day 2 and Fit to Fly tests:(both purchased by me from Boots): I had these sent to the first B&B we stayed at. Staff were helpful and held packages until we arrived.

    Day 2: Once we mailed completed tests and signed on for results, there was confusion at Boots between my purchasing email and the email addresses we each had to set up during the actual testing registration on day of. Thus the bar codes were not recorded properly at the lab. We spent several calls 30+ minutes on hold but eventually got through to ask our questions. Boots emailed new "delivery dates" for a week later, but we were never able to access our results for the day 2 tests.

    Fit to Fly tests: Mailed Wednesday for a Saturday flight. Mine went through mail and lab fine. Husband's not so much. The Royal Mail misplaced it; lab apologized for the Royal Mail error, but said we were on our own. By that time it was late Thursday. Husband found a lab near our town location and registered for test at 9 a.m., for an expected 3 a.m. Saturday result report. Then he was advised to change register to an "emergency" level test, with expected 1 a.m. result. Lab test went fine. One a.m. came and went; he phoned and was told, no, the results would all be released before 3 a.m. His showed up at 2:45 a.m. Back to bed.

    Airport movement at Dulles and Heathrow was smooth both days. Fewer people at the gate lounges. Short lines at bag check and security. In business class, about 2/3 seats occupied.

    Once in country, we were advised at every lodging that we would need to make reservations for our dinners. Restaurants are all short of staff, and thus only taking limited numbers. For lunches we stopped in to places until we found one that served gluten free menu and had room. This was generally not a problem. We saw some businesses closed over the course of our travels, and of those who were open, many had "hiring/help wanted" signs posted. That just meant we enjoyed leisurely meals, but overwhelmingly, the wait staff was SO cheerful, despite being rushed, and we enjoyed EVERY meal we had!

    We prebooked online tickets once we got near locations; some had computer issues so we bought tickets at the door - didn't get turned away from anywhere. Had a great time, beautiful weather entire visit, miss it already!

  • edited September 2021

    Thanks for the responses everyone - this is very informative.

    One of Anglotopia's columnists - David Johnson - recently traveled to the USA then back to the UK - and wrote in detail about the experience. It's very informative.


  • Here's a message from Angela on our Facebook page:

    I can commiserate with this, deeply! My first flight was cancelled, then I had to spend 8 hours, total, trying to get a new flight. I feel if I didn’t stay on top of it, I wouldn’t have had a new flight. I didn’t have to quarantine, but I did have to do a day 2 Covid test, which was expensive. It took longer than a week for me to get it. I arrived on the 17 of Sept, and I didn’t get it until the 24 Sept, which I just mailed off today. It’s been pretty lax in SE London, but there are some places that require masks, mostly the tube or other public transportation. I’m fully vaccinated, and before I left the US, I tested negative for Covid. I didn’t have problems at the airports. I was sure to have important papers and Covid info on me.

  • I was in England last week, traveling from San Diego to Southampton for a conference. No pre departure test required. Two day arrival test, booked and paid for prior to travel, as well as a passenger locator form is required. A departure test - PCR - is also required three days before travel home to the US. Not 72 hrs exactly, just three days. It is a lot cheaper to find a clinic near you to perform the arrival test, as the tests delivered to your hotel are £189 vs the £99 I paid. People who did that found it difficult to find a drop box, as it was nowhere near the hotel. You will also need an 8 day test if you are staying. I didn’t need that. I used The Regenerative Clinic which has several locations through the UK. Results were swift. While masks were required at the arrivals terminal, hardly anyone had one on so, if that bothers you, keep a distance. Masks were required in taxis but nowhere else. COVID shot cards were required to enter the conference. I’ll be back early March and then in May, so it will be interesting to see how things progress.

  • Hi All,

    I made it home after a few years away. So far, I'm happy to report the trip was straightforward and surprisingly easy. I had to give an EU vaccine certificate and passport, along with a passenger locator form which wanted all addresses I'd be staying at in the UK. I had to book ONLY a Day 2 Test (the foreign office website is really helpful in not only telling you what tests (for COVID) you need but also provides a list of medical companies and their costs based on whether or not you want to be tested in a lab or at home. There is a sliding scale of how much this costs, so it's best to shop for the option that suits you, and then pay online. I took the 'test at home and then send off the test' option a couple of weeks before I flew, meaning it was there waiting for me when I arrived, and next day, I did the swab, posted it, and then got the negative results back a few days later.

    The return journey is based on where you're heading back to, but different places have different requirements. For me, it was enough to have a second locator form and my vaccine information, and it was a doddle coming back. I flew there and back with Ryanair, and I have to say I was impressed with the information they provided - not sure about other airlines, but I frequently received emails about requirements which I was able to access quite easily. I did get told to be at the airport a minimum of 2 1/2 hours before my flight for checks, although the whole check and paperwork element lasted less than ten minutes.

    The actual journey was a pleasure, and the most stressful part was making sure I had all the right information (printed out in triplicate just to be on the safe side). So, with proof of vaccine from an approved provider, the vaccine passport (if you have one), locator forms and a day two (or day eight) test, plus lots of time, patience, and a good look at the foreign office website, you should be ok.

    But make sure you keep an eye on restrictions because things can change very quickly.

    Hope that helps! Happy travels!

  • CNN has a great rundown of what you need to do (as of today) to travel to the United Kingdom.


    I'll be traveling to Ireland in a couple of weeks for work (for my day job) - has anyone traveled there recently? From what I've read, you don't even have to test, just provide proof of vaccination.

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