When will I be able to visit my second home? 

Is visiting your Cotswolds cottage or chateau in Provence this summer still on the table?

When can I travel to my second home?
Villa Spinaltermine on the Umbrian estate of Reschio  

一本道理不卡一二三区It seems we're still none the wiser as to whether we'll be able to go on holiday this summer, or visit, say, our beach house in Ibiza, although there is now a slight indication that visiting our glorious chateau in Provence could be back on the cards. 

一本道理不卡一二三区So while you’ll be hard pushed to get away to your second home for the May half term holiday, you could be in luck for your summer holiday, depending on where it is and whether the UK has shifted its soon-to-be introduced 14-day quarantine policy for anyone returning from anywhere other than Ireland, Guernsey or Jersey. 

And should you have a yacht or a private jet handy, then when lockdown has been lifted both here and in your chosen destination, you'll be able to leapfrog the inevitable wait for train timetables and airline routes to right themselves - and be there in a flash. But you also need to look out for their quarantine policy.

一本道理不卡一二三区Each country has its own, often complicated, set of rules and time frame for implementing them. So who is doing what?

A villa at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia Credit: Allessan


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

The UK is still in lockdown, with a slight lifting of restrictions, including those who can't work from home returning to work from Wednesday (but avoiding public transport if at all possible) and people being able to spend more leisure time outside, while remaining in their household group. You are also permitted to meet up with one other person who isn't from your household while outside, as long as you maintain social distancing.

一本道理不卡一二三区The government says there will be a phased re-opening of non-essential shops from 1 June and potentially the same for some restaurants, cafes and bars by July at the earliest. 

一本道理不卡一二三区According to luxury villa rental companies like and , there has been a surge in demand for stays in fabulous homes in secluded spots both at home and abroad this summer.

一本道理不卡一二三区With an entirely UK-based portfolio, Unique Homestays is taking provisional bookings but will not fully confirm any stays before 3 July. Oliver’s Travels, which has houses at home and abroad, has launched a ‘Book with confidence’ pledge, meaning you can postpone your stay up to 14 days before departure without a problem. You can now, in theory, book UK holiday homes for May half term, although it is unlikely measures will have been lifted enough by then to go.

The reason all this is relevant is because the reawakening of the rental market signals the beginning of a much bigger movement to kick-start tourism again. In many parts of the UK this will involve re-selling to locals the idea that outsiders coming in will benefit them and their economy. So it should help those with second homes feel welcomed back by the communities into which they have bought.

一本道理不卡一二三区For those chomping at the bit to re-book their regular seat aboard the down to second homes in Devon and Cornwall, the service is currently running at 50% and even when the ‘non-essential’ travel ban is lifted, it will take weeks for the timetable to get back to normal. 

A hot tub at Dry Creek, a holiday house in Cornwall available through Latitude50


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

一本道理不卡一二三区Meanwhile in Scotland and on the boarders, where the 'stay at home' message remains in place,  is accepting provisional bookings for stays in its homes from 20 June but won’t be processing any payments in advance until 4 July. However, it says September and October are already looking busy.

一本道理不卡一二三区According to Visit Scotland’s chief executive Malcolm Roughend: "We hope to have a domestic tourism market re-emerging in the autumn" - an encouraging sign for those with estates north of the border.


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

There’s a huge sense of not wanting to rush things in Wales. An open letter from a group of senior Welsh leaders headed up by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, specifically reiterates that travelling to a second home in Wales does not constitute ‘essential travel,’ and that people must avoid doing it until further notice. 


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: High

Ireland started its lockdown before the UK and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has outlined a five-stage lockdown departure, beginning on 18 May, where citizens will still be expected to stay at home and work remotely as much as possible but up to four people will be able to meet outdoors, while still social distancing. Beaches and mountain walking areas will be re-opened.

一本道理不卡一二三区All being well, the next phases will take place on 8 and 29 June, then 20 July, when residents can travel outside their regions for the first time and finally 10 August, when non-resident tourist travel (including for those with second homes) can resume. 


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

France is second-home heaven for Brits at the top end of the market. Given its accessibility from the UK by train and car, there is a strong sense that second homeowners will be able to get over there before the end of the summer. Whether that means by August is hard to tell at this point.

The government is now saying that the soon-to-be-announced 14-day quarantine law, which it was briefly thought would exclude those coming from France, will now apply to all arrivals from all countries apart from passengers from the common travel area, which includes Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey. 

Meanwhile across the channel, the French government says there will be a phased re-opening of beaches from 1 June. They have just brought forward the re-opening of bars and restaurants to this week. Paris parks, however, will remain shut for the time being after many flout social distancing laws.

一本道理不卡一二三区The country has also extended its emergency measures until 24 July, continuing the ban on all non-essential visits and requiring all non-European (or UK) overseas visitors to self-isolate for 14 days, so it is unlikely to open up to tourism from abroad before that. 

Villa Rose Pierre, a private home in the grounds of Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in the South of France

一本道理不卡一二三区From now until at least the end of August, anyone using any kind of public transport in France will be required to wear a face mask. The Tour de France has been rescheduled for August so let’s hope that’s a sign that restrictions will be lifted by then.  

My hot tip for getting there when it’s all over is the , a speedy and, more importantly, entirely contact-free way of crossing the Channel (you never have to leave your car). If you’re willing to take the risk, you can in theory book a crossing right now for any time in the future, but if lockdown hasn’t been lifted in either country, it's a no-go. The same applies with.


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

Currently, travel to Italy by non-Italians is permitted for emergency purposes only so initially the focus will be on domestic travellers. However. the government has just announced that it will allow both travel between the regions and international travel to and from Italy to resume from 3 June. 

Flight routes re-opening – for example, into Naples, for the Amalfi Coast – will be crucial for Brits returning to Italy and these are yet to be announced.

一本道理不卡一二三区While the country’s tourism secretary Lorenza Bonaccorsi had said 2020 might as well be written off, some of its top hotels are hoping to at least partially salvage the summer.  on the Amalfi Coast, for example, has announced it will re-open on 25 June. 


Villa Spinaltermine on the Reschio estate in Umbria Credit: Philip Vile

Italy has now entered phase two of its lockdown easing. Italians can visit family members and people with whom they have ‘an established emotional bond’ within the same region.

Factories and building sites are re-opening, as are parks for walking and running. Providing social distancing is maintained, shops and restaurants will now open on Monday. 

With the threat that as little as a 20% increase in mobility could lead to a new coronavirus spike, Italy will take its time. Social gatherings are still banned and masks must be worn on all public transport and in enclosed public spaces.


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Low

一本道理不卡一二三区A four-phase easing of restrictions has begun, with book shops and hardware stores open by appointment. Phase two, to start next Monday, will allow up to 10 people to gather with social distancing. People can meet on cafes and restaurant terraces, as long as they're only half full and the tables are far enough apart.

All being well, in the next phase, people can be served inside. Beaches are still closed although there is talk of letting parents and children use them soon. 

Three of the Canaries (La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and also Formentera, have not registered any new cases of infection for 28 days so they have gone straight to phase two. They are, however, concentrating on wooing back their own domestic market this summer.

Currently, only Spanish citizens or residents are allowed to enter the country. A tourism minister for the Balearic Islands has suggested that since the UK is behind Spain in terms of containment, we may not be welcomed back until September. 

Head Gardener's House within the grounds of Floors Castle on the Scottish Borders, offered by Crabtree & Crabtree Credit: Tracey Bloxham


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

From this week, there will be a staggered re-opening of the economy in Greece. Hair salons, flower shops and bookstores have just re-opened but with stringent social distancing laws and there is mandatory use of masks in all public places. Schools, restaurants and bars are expected to reopen this month.

一本道理不卡一二三区Greeks with second homes on mainland Greece will be allowed to return to them from 18 May. Those with homes on islands are still waiting for news on when they may return to them. On 1 June, hotels will begin to open and villa services will be up and running with the hope of welcoming back foreign visitors, including Brits, from July.

Technically, you can actually visit Greece now, but you’d have to go into 14 days of self-isolation on arrival. Earlier this week,  announced it would be restarting flights from Luton to Greece in July, in the hope that travel restrictions will be lifted by then. 


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

The first Balkan country to ease restrictions, the process began in Croatia on 27 April, with the opening of most retail outlets, libraries, galleries, museums and bookshops and public transport, including fast-speed lines to islands but excluding ferry lines.

From this week, barbers and hairdressers and other such businesses have re-opened. From next Monday, national parks will re-open, gatherings of up to ten with social distancing will be allowed, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people on outdoor terraces, and inter-city public transport and domestic air traffic will re-launch. 

Istria, the Northern Croatian peninsula nearest Italy, Slovenia and Austria, says it will be ready to receive foreign guests again from mid-May should the restrictions be lifted to allow it. 

A private villa at Amanzoe in Greece


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

Currently, only Turkish nationals or residents are permitted to enter Turkey.

一本道理不卡一二三区If all goes well, domestic flights within Turkey should resume mid-May, in time for the Ramadan Feast at the end of the month. The hope is that some international flight routes will begin again by the end of June, although not necessarily from the UK.

A handful of high-end hotels on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast – like  in Marmaris - have announced opening dates in June. None will be allowed to exceed a 60% occupancy.


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: High

A three-stage lock down de-escalation process has started in Portugal this week and will take six weeks, with the opening of local shops, hairdressers, beauty salons and bookshops. It is now compulsory to wear face masks in all public places and gatherings are limited to a maximum of ten people.

Every 15 days, further sectors will be added. If the number of infections continues to drop, cafés and restaurants will open in the second half of May, shopping centres, bars, cinemas and gyms on 1 June.

一本道理不卡一二三区Wizz Air has announced it will resume holiday flights from London Luton to Faro in Portugal from 16 June. Obviously we’ll only be able to get on them if lockdown in the UK has been lifted by then but many hotels on the Algarve are working towards this date for re-opening. 


Likelihood of getting to your second home in August: Medium

一本道理不卡一二三区Currently only Swiss citizens can come and go. A phased easing of restrictions has been taking place in Switzerland since 27 April. From 11 May, restaurants will be allowed to re-open, but with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

一本道理不卡一二三区Recreational sports and training for elite sports can also resume from that date. Within Switzerland, Swiss residents with second homes can now travel to those homes.

一本道理不卡一二三区We have no indication yet when borders will be open to non-Swiss leisure visitors.

On flights to Europe generally

一本道理不卡一二三区Encouragingly, some commercial airlines, such as Hungarian low cost carrier Wizz Air, mentioned above, have begun to announce the re-expansion of services.

Others increasing the number of flights they're running include , which between them fly to multiple European destinations from the UK via Paris and Amsterdam, including Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw and Helsinki. British Airways says it did have plans under way to increase its flight capacity again soon but the announcement of 14-day quarantines may well set that back. 

While Ryanair has confirmed its fleet will remain grounded until July, it does hope to start again at that point with about 50% of its normal services.

Face masks will be compulsory on most flights from next Monday until at least the end of August. 

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