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travel to UK during Brexit

I am interested in visiting London & other parts of the UK in April, which is shortly after Brexit takes place. Do you think this timing is a good idea? And do you think the intercity trains will be running normally after Brexit? The London metro running normally, museums open normally? Thanks, Jackie

Posted by
4364 posts

Jackie, the UK is removing itself from the EU, it is more than capable of operating and existing quite well on its own means. It is in no way equivalent to what happens during a government shutdown in the US (which is completely bizarre from an outsiders view). There will be nothing that will impact your travels throughout the UK bar a potential longer queue at immigration control. I honestly wouldn't pay it a second thought.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you for your thoughts. And to JC, who commented on how bizarre the government shutdown in the US is, I couldn't agree more.

Posted by
680 posts

Hi,

I removed discussion that was steering this thread into politics. Please keep it about the travel question at hand.

Posted by
2143 posts

The short answer is nobody knows.

At the moment, nothing is agreed between the UK and the EU. There is a proposed withdrawal agreement that the commons will vote on later this month. If they approve it everything will be fine and you can book your holiday without worrying about anything else than the weather. However, it seems to be far from impossible that parliament will vote no to the WA. And your guess is as good as mine about what will happen then. The most likely options are probably a no deal brexit or no brexit at all. The ECJ has ruled that the UK can change its mind and withdraw the notice of intention to leave, so that is a possibility and then everything will be as it is. A no deal brexit means that Britain leaves the EU without a WA and it's hard to say what that would mean. The EU has started to prepare for a no deal and the preparedness notices can be found online. But a seperation without a deal will have consequenses. E.g. flights between the UK and US are operated under the EU-US Open Skies Treaty. Will there be a new treaty in place soon enough? There are many things to sort out.

This is probably not an answer to your question. I'm not keen on guessing what will happen, but this is not anything like a government shutdown in the US when the country's institutions shut down. Museums should be open, trains and the tube should run. But in case of a no deal there will be obstacles.

Posted by
25727 posts

and to reassure travellers coming here

we are reassured by the government that there will be no hoarding and no shortages of anything - they have just spent millions of Pounds on extra truck ferries to be sure that essentials will be able to get around any backups. Unfortunately one of the three companies has never operated a ship of any sort and has no ships (and the company was just created) but we are assured that everything will be just fine - and that we should remain calm and carry on.

And as previously announced, they have just called up 3800 troops just in case.

Posted by
31289 posts

Jackie,

Brexit is an essentially a change in the relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. and this shouldn't affect essential services in the U.K. People living in the U.K. will still need to get around by train, bus and the Tube, visit Museums and go about their everyday lives.

However, this is "uncharted territory" and there a lot of different aspects to this event, so the exact ramifications are still a bit unclear. I expect the picture will clarify somewhat in the coming months but some details may not be known until the change actually occurs. I suspect that Brexit will have less impact on travellers than on residents of the U.K.

Posted by
25727 posts

I just saw that... propriety dictates I not say how I feel

Posted by
3173 posts

Jackie, I don't see how you would be affected except maybe the passport control lines might be longer upon arrival as EU travelers will be with you on your line. I think you'll have a wonderful time!!

Posted by
23 posts

I think it is the perfect time because not only will it be very interesting to be there and see things on the ground as they happen, but my guess is their currency will tank!

Posted by
8293 posts

“.... my guess is their currency will tank.”

There is a German word which I can’t spell .... shadenfreude?.... which means taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. Let’s try not to.

Posted by
31289 posts

Norma,

Schadenfreude..... that's a word I haven't heard for awhile. Good point though.

As far as the economy "tanking", there are still too many things that haven't been settled, and I don't think anyone knows what the final outcome will look like.

Posted by
2143 posts

@Continental: There are plenty of possible consequenses of a No Deal that will affect tourists as well.

Posted by
3173 posts

@Continental: There are plenty of possible consequenses of a No Deal
that will affect tourists as well.

Like what for an American visitor?

Posted by
571 posts

I would suggesr that the most likely impact will be a shortage of imported perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat and, especially, medicines. There may also be a shortage of staff in hotels and restaurants, if there is a crack-down on immigration from Europe, or if potential immigrants decide not to come. This may also affect healthcare and the availability of locally-grown produce, which is often picked and processed by immigrant labour.

It may not be life-threatening, but could well be inconvenient.

Posted by
2143 posts

@Continental Like Bob said, shortage of food comes to mind. And shortage of staff in the hospitality industry seems possible as 25% of employees in british hospitality industry are EU27-nationals, 75% of wait staff. And if the four freedoms seizes to apply to the UK, many will probably choose to move elsewhere.

Posted by
4364 posts

I would suggesr that the most likely impact will be a shortage of imported perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat and, especially, medicines

Fruit and vegetables, yes, particularly salad vegetables. The vast majority of meat and cheese consumed in the UK is British.

Posted by
12320 posts

Consequences or not, this makes no difference on my projected summer plans which definitely include going back to England if not in June, then in July.

There is this saying on Schadenfreude...Schadenfreude ist die reinste Freude.

Posted by
3173 posts

@Continental Like Bob said, shortage of food comes to mind. And
shortage of staff in the hospitality industry seems possible as 25% of
employees in british hospitality industry are EU27-nationals, 75% of
wait staff. And if the four freedoms seizes to apply to the UK, many
will probably choose to move elsewhere.

According to a British government website, citizens of EU nations have the right to stay in the UK and work until June 30, 2021. They can apply to the "EU Settlement Scheme" starting on March 30, 2019 which is immediately after the UK leaves the EU to remain after June 30, 2021.

"If you’re an EU citizen, you and your family will be able to apply to
the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June
2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.

You may be able to stay in the UK without applying - for example, if
you’re an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain (ILR)...."

When you can apply

The EU Settlement Scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019. The
deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

The following British government webpage states who needs to apply to stay after June 30, 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/eligibility

Posted by
2143 posts

@JC I read somewhere that 25% of meat consumed in Britain is imported from EU27. Not sure about cheese, but the first ten months of 2018, UK imported 78,000 t of cheese. Most of it from Ireland, France and Germany. In the same time, UK imported 47,959 t of butter, of which 99.8 came from EU27.

@Continental Yes, they can apply. But how many will do it (and pay £65)? And will they be eligible? Your guess is a good as mine.

Posted by
3173 posts

The eligibility was stated on the website -- those who are citizens of an EU country. Who will pay? The £65 application fee is likely to be much cheaper than moving costs and the costs (both financial and stressful) of finding new employment. People have over 2 years to decide and apply. Perhaps employers might offer to pay. Time will tell.

Jackie arriving in April will not find her hotel abandoned, restaurants closed, and stores shut down due to employees catapulted from the UK on March 30. I'll be arriving in London mid March and am curious to learn what be happening as the Brexit date arrives.

Posted by
89 posts

am curious to learn what be happening as the Brexit date arrives.

Aren’t we all!!!

Posted by
3173 posts

From the RS Europe link Nick provided:

Soon, with every episode, listeners will hear: “Travel with Rick
Steves is made possible in part by the European Union Delegation to
the USA. The European Union received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for
promoting peace, human rights and democracy. Information available at
EUintheUS.org”

…and…

“Travel with Rick Steves is made possible in part by the European
Union Delegation to the USA. Tips about traveling in Europe and
information about the EU is available at EUintheUS.org”

I've never heard the words above nor I have I heard the EU announced as a Travel with Rick Steves TV sponsor. That was news to me.

RS has spoken about his strong dislike about the vote for Brexit in his blog. I thought Rick's POV was his own independent belief. That the EU has been a financial supporter of RS's public TV programming eliminates that independence.

Also in that blog is his view that American travelers (or all foreign travelers) will not only be fine but will witness a Europe that has gotten "more interesting". So keep on traveling!! We are.

Posted by
31289 posts

I believe there will be vote in Parliament sometime in January, so perhaps the picture will clarify somewhat after that? David Miliband was interviewed on CNN this morning and I think he's wondering about the outcome too.

Posted by
7465 posts

Many interesting comments here.

While there are certainly serious issues to resolve, I think it should be remembered that UK and the EU countries managed to carry on with trade and travel before the existence of the EU. Its not like there will be an instantaneous cutoff of all interaction.

The inerconnectedness of UK and EU is like an avalanche in motion. It will not suddenly stop mid slope

Posted by
2143 posts

@Continental: Staff turnover in the service industry is very high, many are probably already planning on moving. Many EU-citizens in the industry are young people working for a year or two, as a way to get some language practice.

@Ken: Parliament will vote on the proposed withdrawal agreement next week. If they approve it, everything will be a lot clearer and there should not be anything to worry about. But it seems that the deal will not be approved, which would leave the government with three days to come back with something else. And at the moment, I'd guess only Theresa May and Larry knows what that might be.

Posted by
89 posts

And at the moment, I'd guess only Theresa May and Larry knows what that might be.

I like your optimism Badger!! I get the impression that no one knows what plan B is other than crashing out without a deal, which “experts” tell us is something to avoid at all cost! Next week MAY make things a bit clearer, but that’s if the vote goes ahead.......

Posted by
31289 posts

Badger,

I wonder if Inspector Frost would call this situation a right cock-up?

Posted by
2143 posts

@Amanda: The more I read about Brexit, the less optimistic I feel. Theresa May has been pretty clear that the options are the proposed deal, no deal or remain. Will she stick to that? If parliament is given a choice between no deal or remain I guess the debates will be interesting. No deal would be really bad for the UK, and there are hopefully not many wishing for that. But then again, it seems like the country has had enough of experts telling them how things are?

@Ken: I've heard worse words being used to describe the situation.

Posted by
31289 posts

Badger,

It seems rather odd that three people who were at one time very active in the Brexit situation, now seem to be nowhere to be found - Cameron, Johnson and Farage. Very odd indeed.

Posted by
389 posts

To get slightly back on track and less political....... I imagine there's a fair chance that there will be noisy (but unlikely unruly) protests taking place around the Westminster area but this has been going on for a few months to be fair. Thankfully in terms of the infrastructure and working of the country there are no organisations/trade unions strongly aligned with Leave or Remain so I don't think there will be associated strikes etc which is what would be most likely to inconvenience the average tourist.

As a general piece of advice I would personally advise against engaging any locals in Brexit talk! It's sadly very devisive, even amongst friends and family.

Posted by
9780 posts

All this reminds me of what went on regarding the clocks changing from 1999 to 2000. Lots of speculation of doom and gloom but in reality was a non event.

Europeans already living in the UK can stay if they want. I have a feeling it will eventually be like the arrangement Norway has with the EU regarding workers.

Posted by
2623 posts

"It seems rather odd that three people who were at one time very active in the Brexit situation, now seem to be nowhere to be found - Cameron, Johnson and Farage. Very odd indeed."

A keen observation, Ken. Very interesting.

Posted by
4364 posts

All this reminds me of what went on regarding the clocks changing from 1999 to 2000. Lots of speculation of doom and gloom but in reality was a non event.

It was a non event where I worked because my colleagues and I spent several frantic months putting patches on computer equipment to ensure that there wasn't a problem when the time came. It was a problem that had a solution and that solution was widely applied and as such its success was marked by the absence of widespread problems. All I can say is that due to the hard work and dedication of those working to address the problem a huge, catastrophic event was averted, unfortunately the general populace doesn't appear to acknowledge this.

Posted by
31289 posts

I'll be thinking of all our U.K. members tomorrow as the vote takes place. According to the BBC if the May deal is rejected, you may be facing either a general election or perhaps another referendum.

I hope the result is whatever you were hoping for.

Posted by
3386 posts

Well, i’m Flying into London March 30th no matter what. I’m not going to waste precious travel anticipation time worrying about this issue.

Posted by
7465 posts

there is no one to vote for, they are all as bad as each other.

Sure would be nice to have a "None of the Above" choice on a ballot.

Posted by
9780 posts

Discussed it with friends at the weeked, all political persuasions, and we all said we probably wouldn't vote because there is no one to vote for, they are all as bad as each other. Not a great state of affairs!

That's exactly how I felt in November of 2016.

Posted by
2143 posts

The only thing more unpopular than the result of the vote would be if
they called a general election. That can only be a disaster. Discussed
it with friends at the weeked, all political persuasions, and we all
said we probably wouldn't vote because there is no one to vote for,
they are all as bad as each other. Not a great state of affairs!

If the country had voted yes in the 2011 referendum it might had been easier. But I understand your problem, it seems hard when the two major parties both seem to lack a plan, and you have a voting systems that makes voting third party more or less pointless for most people. I really hope the UK can get out of this mess soon.

Posted by
3173 posts

Well, i’m Flying into London March 30th no matter what. I’m not going
to waste precious travel anticipation time worrying about this issue.

Applause all around! I like your attitude & spirit.

While more than 2 months before your trip, British Parliament's defeat of the Brexit deal could strengthen the $ even more before your visit.

Posted by
25727 posts

and after tonight - still no further ahead and nobody knows

Posted by
31289 posts

Hopefully there will be some further news after Mrs. May visits Brussels this week. Judging by the protest groups that were in front of the Parliament Buildings today, the country is still bitterly divided on the issue.

I wish you all the best of luck in sorting this out.