A return to the valleys and beaches of Wales is on the cards once more.
The Welsh borders may have been closed for the past couple of months, but as case numbers in the nation fall and the lockdown begins to ease, residents from the rest of the UK are now allowed back for a visit. In mid-June, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford revealed that the country would lift their “stay local” restrictions on July 6 – and with no further rise in cases (in fact, Wales registered no coronavirus deaths today, for the first time since March), you’re now officially permitted to head off to Wales for a well-earned break.
As the four devolved nations of the UK have had different regulations throughout the lockdown, travelling to Wales and Scotland has been forbidden for the past few months (the same goes for Northern Ireland, but obviously English residents weren’t in any danger of accidentally driving over that border). Both nations have plotted a more cautious route out of lockdown than England did; Welsh residents had been advised to travel only five miles from home, as opposed to English residents being able to travel as far as they liked within the borders of the country.
Today, that cautious approach appears to have been vindicated, as Wales took a significant step out of lockdown. Welsh residents are now allowed to travel more than five miles from home, two households can meet indoors and stay overnight, and – most importantly for nature-starved Londoners – people from outside the country can now go and visit. Visits will initially be constrained to “self-contained” accommodation, which can be booked from July 11: this means the likes of cottages and static caravans, and some hotels,B&Bs, and hostels that can provide en-suite rooms and room service. In short, places where there’s little chance of multiple groups mingling.
There are a few things to note before you go ahead and book, however. For example, whilst England headed back to the pubs this Saturday, Welsh pubs won’t open until July 13, and only then in a phased return. Tourist attractions like zoos and theme parks can reopen from today, but the social distancing rule in Wales is still set at two metres. Still, that’s more than enough to get started with, so feel free to eye up charming cottages in the Brecon Beacons or gorgeous windswept cabins on the Pembrokeshire coast for a much-deserved break!
Happily, Wales is home to three of the UK’s gorgeous National Parks, so an escape to nature is definitely on the cards!
Also published on Medium.