COVID testing returning to UK

Hi all. We’re finally booked to visit our holiday home in Provence at the beginning of August - the first time in 12 months! We’re both vacinated (both doses) and our children don’t require the vaccine.

We have to provide a negative test result at Calais within 3 days of our return date (Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing before you travel to England - GOV.UK) and I’d like to know of peoples’ experiences / recommendations choosing either to have the test done in a local Pharmacie or a postal service. My wife’s preference is to take the test at the house via a postal provider, but I’m not entirely trusting of La Poste postal system.

Your recommendations / experiences / advice please!



I went to FR to UK recently and got tested in a pharmacie, nothing could have been simpler, no appointment, quick treatment, result almost immediately and on my way. And free with carte vitale, but you are presumably not FR residents so you’d better check.

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I believe it is no longer free, but not too expensive.

Paul, one of our posters found this useful site for finding test centres.
You dont need the more expensive PCR test you can also use the lower cost antigen test.

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Hi Stuart, we are in a very similar situation to you, we’ve booked to travel at the end of August, we’re both double vaccinated, our two dogs will be ready with umpteen pages of the necessary paperwork. The plan was to use a local pharmacy for our return trip.

Out bound - Travellers who are fully vaccinated do not need an essential reason to travel to France and do not need to self-isolate on arrival. From 18 July, fully vaccinated adults no longer need to present evidence of a negative test result before travel.

But the return to UK goals posts moved, France remains on the amber list for entering England, however from 19 July anyone arriving from France (including those transiting through France) to England must continue to quarantine for 10 days at home or in other accommodation, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This can be shortened by taking PCR tests but still it’s a pain in the arse.

This has made us reconsider our trip.

Hi PBS. as much as I’d like to be, we’re not (yet) FR residents!

Hi John. Yes I found that page yesterday. Amazingly (which I can’t quite believe) nowhere in our nearest town, Aups, offers the PCR test to members of the public! Our nearest test centre is Barjols, 30 mins away.

Hi OldMan. Yep, that’s the same summary I’ve come to info-wise. We’re going for 3 weeks at the beginning of August and our biggest fear is, whilst there, the UK puts France on the Red List and we won’t be able to rush up country before any set deadline to beat the 10 day hotel quarantine (like last year!) - and I ain’t staying in a hotel with the family for 10 days - no matter how much I love 'em (and the cost, too!!). Like you, we’re seriously reconsidering the trip - and it’ll be the first time we’ve not visited in any year in 16 years! Can’t believe we made it over last summer no problems… There’s nothing left to rent in the UK either (apart from a castle in Scotland for £15k a week!!!)

Your post got me thinking, rather naively we hadn’t even considered the possibility of France moving to Red, with this in mind it’s ever more likely we’ll postpone, but we’ll wait to the last minute. before deciding.
Frustrating, disappointing but it is what it is, having attended the British Grand Prix last week, thousands of people, no face muzzles, getting on with their lives, I find it hard to swallow that a trip to rural France can’t be made without complications or uncertainty when returning to the UK.
Your trip (date wise) is much closer, when is D-Day for your decision?

Lot-et-Garonne has just turned amber. Do not assume that everything will be fine in rural France

Forgive me, but quite frankly, I’d rather you didn’t come!


Calm down SuePJ, blimey, rather you didn’t come, give me strength, we can’t lock ourselves away for ever.
Anyway, your safe, we probably won’t be coming and hopefully you won’t be considering a UK trip either :grin:

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Same around us but the default is PCR, you habe to select antigen and in my case that opened up a lot more places locally

Hi Stalwart, looks like you’re coming to my area. I got my antigen test done at the pharmacie in Riez, very easy as I said.
Yes, it’s very hard to understand why people can do almost whatever they want within their own country of residence, but to change countries it is so strict. Coming back to France was however way easier last week than my arrival in the UK three weeks earlier. It just seemed so ridiculous that British people were all out and about, free to watch the football in pubs or whatever and me arriving from France (that had incredibly low covid levels at the time) was being treated as dangerous person.

Hi PBS. Ah, so the Antigen test is acceptable to UK Govt? I thought it was only the PCR test. That certainly does open it up a bit more… Stu

Unless they changed the rules within the past 7 days an antigen test within three days of travel is acceptable (negative, obvs)

No, but if cases continue to rise as they have been doing, chances are that the rest of the world will lock us out whether we like it or not.

If those travelling have certs showing 2 jabs, and a recent covid test, how much risk does that pose?


When I went to the UK a month ago the antigen test before leaving France was enough to get on the flight. Go to Riez. Where do you stay, which commune? But then you have to do PCR tests when you arrive in the UK, the first one within 2 days of arriving. I did postal testing with a company called Randox.
Of course that could have changed by now and could change later on.
Yes, you will need to be prepared to return early if the UK decides to put France on the red list. That would create chaos for people like you, I imagine there are thousands.

@stalwart have you now decided on whether it’s worth making the trip?

It might be a good idea to write to your MP or start a petition or something to make sure the UK government doesn’t put France on the red list without ample warning, because if they do it with little warning, thousands of people like you will be trying to get back to the UK urgently.

We won’t have the option of returning early if France go on the Red List. We’re at the bottom of Provence but also, with a dog in tow, we have to have her certified by a vet and tick prevention medicine for travel to UK. As with last summer when the UK govt. introduced quarantining for returning, Eurotunnel told people not to travel back to Calais unless you had a confirmed booking - so we stayed in Provence. If France go on the Red List I don’t think we’d have the option of returning in time so would have to quarantine in a hotel at considerable cost (3 adults + 2 kids) as well as having someone collect our dog and bring her home to a kennels.