New Tier 2 Rules For London And Beyond: What They Mean For Families

A little girl talks to her family via video call as the new Tier 2 rules in London mean she cannot mix with another household indoors.

On Saturday 17 October (at 00:01), millions more people will find themselves living under ‘Tier 2’ restrictions. This includes the entire population of London. What is ‘Tier 2’, and what does the change mean for your family.

What Are The Rules Of Tier 2?

London and the south-east have up to now been living under Tier 1 rules -- the most permissive of the Government’s three-tier structure. This now changes to Tier 2, bringing in tighter regulations about socialising. 

INDOORS: Your household can no longer mix with any other household indoors (except for those in your support bubble). This applies to any setting. You can’t socialise in a home, inside a pub, in a restaurant, nor anywhere else with a roof. Children’s parties and playdates, already very restricted, are no longer possible indoors.

OUTDOORS: You can still mingle with people from another household, so long as you’re outside (that includes pub gardens and outdoor areas at restaurants). You must still obey the rule-of-six (no more than six people in any outdoor group, if those people are from more than one household).
GARDENS: You can still meet in groups of up to six in private gardens (but not in the house).

SCHOOLS: Schools, nurseries and other educational settings are unaffected by the change. They remain open as normal.
GOING OUT: You can still visit restaurants, pubs, cafes and other venues, but only with members of your household or bubble. 

SHOPPING: Tier two imposes no new rules on going to the shops (other than no mixing with other households while doing it). Existing rules about facemasks and social distancing remain unchanged.
TRANSPORT: Public transport should only be used for necessary travel, including work, volunteering or education. Family days out on the train, or leisure trips into town are to be avoided -- use bikes or walk if you can. 

OTHER VENUES: The rules concerning gyms, exercise classes, religious gatherings and leisure facilities are unchanged (though different households should not mix).

Can I Still Get Childcare?

Yes. Exceptions have been made to allow all existing forms of childcare to continue. You may use breakfast clubs, after school clubs, childminders, childcare bubbles, nannies and other childcare facilities in the same way as before.

What About Half Term Holidays?

If you’ve booked a few days away over half term, then the new rules should not bar you from going. There are some exceptions, however.

  1. You’re advised NOT to travel to an area at the highest alert stage (Tier 3). Nor should you leave if you live in a Tier 3 area.
  2. Wales is considering (though has not yet implemented) a ban on visitors from areas of Tier 2 or 3. So if you’re planning a holiday there, keep a close eye on the situation.
  3. If you’d planned a holiday in which you’d be sharing accommodation with another household, then you can’t do that within a Tier 2 area. Separate hotel rooms in the same hotel would be allowable, but you should avoid mixing indoors.

Wherever you’re planning to go, it would be sensible to check with the hotel or accommodation provider that everything is OK before you set off. The new measures are likely to have repercussions throughout the hospitality industry.

Can I Travel To A Tier 1 Area To Socialise?

No. The rules are clear on this point. You have to adhere to the alert level where you live, even if you leave that area. So if, for example, you live in London (Tier 2) and cross the border into Hertfordshire (currently Tier 1), then you’re still not able to socialise indoors (even though two Hertfordshire households could enjoy this freedom, subject to rule-of-six). 

Which Areas Are In Tier 2

The biggest new addition to the Tier 2 rules is London, including all 32 boroughs and the City of London. In addition, Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock), Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash have also been added to the tier. They join many other areas in the Midlands and North of England.

What counts as ‘London’ can be a grey area for some people. Residents of Bromley often write their address as Kent, for example, while those in Kingston may identify with Surrey. Both are technically part of London and have been since the 1960s. The bottom line is that if you pay your council tax to a London Borough, then you’re in London and the new tier 2 rules apply to you and your household.



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.