Tiers and Bubbles – what are the rules for holiday bookings?


The most common question that people ask me at the moment what are the rules about the Tiers and Bubbles this Christmas.

So from 23rd December until 27th December 3 Households from any tier can form a Christmas Bubble. Here is the information from the government website:

“You can stay in private rented accommodation such as short-term holiday lets with members of your household, or your Christmas bubble”.

From 23 December to 27 December, you may choose to form a Christmas bubble. Christmas bubbles can gather in private homes – including second homes and caravans – and in private rented accommodation such as short-term holiday lets.

To enable Christmas bubbles to meet between 23 and 27 December, hotels, hostels, B&Bs and boarding houses are permitted to take bookings for leisure travel in all tiers from 22 December to 28 December. Guests must check out on or before 28 December.

You can see more information on the government website.

Tiers and Bubbles Travel within the UK

From 2 December to 27 December the advice on travelling outside of your tier, including for overnight stays, will depend on your tier. Check the rules for your tier.

Between 23 and 27 December, you may travel between tiers and other nations of the UK if necessary to meet with other households in your Christmas bubble or return home. Once at your destination, you should follow the rules in that tier.

You should not travel to see your bubble before 23 December, or travel back after the 27 December except in exceptional circumstances (for example, if a member of your Christmas bubble develops symptoms of COVID-19 and you are required to self-isolate). Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

Transport routes may be busier than normal. You should:

  • plan ahead, check for disruption before you leave, and avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times
  • avoid making unnecessary stops during your journey
  • avoid sharing a car with people not in your household or Christmas bubble
  • keep your distance from other people when you travel, where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • wear a face covering on public transport in England unless you’re exempt

If you plan to travel to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should read guidance from WalesScotland, or Northern Ireland before you travel.

You can stay in a hotel, hostel or B&B, in line with the rules in your tier. In tier 3, in order to be located near your Christmas bubble, you can stay in a hotel between 22 and 28 December, as long as you’re staying by yourself or with other members of your household, or support bubble. You should not gather as a Christmas bubble in a hotel, hostel or B&B unless a member of your bubble lives there permanently.

You can stay in private rented accommodation such as short term holiday lets with members of your household, or your Christmas bubble.

If you need to travel with your Christmas bubble, wherever you are, you should follow Safer Travel guidance.