Confused about motorhome and campervan parking laws in the UK and Europe? Wondering where you can park overnight and if you can park somewhere with a van? Or even if it is valid? Here’s what you need to know …
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UK motorhome and campervan parking laws
Most people buy a motorhome or camperven because they want freedom. They always want to wander, explore, enjoy epic road trips and park overnight in incredible places, not always having to pay for campsites অথবা or depending on where they are.
The problem is- how do you know where you can park? Here are some common questions we ask regularly:
- Can you park somewhere with a campervan or motorhome?
- Is it legal to sleep in a camper van on the street?
- Where can I park the motorhome or campervan overnight?
So, let’s go through these and discuss the Campervan parking law for the UK and Europe.
Can you park somewhere with a motorhome?
One thing that drives me crazy is the idea of some people that you can just walk around with a motorhome or campervan and park anywhere. Any time. And do whatever pleases you.
Especially when camping in Scotland (we’ll get to it soon).
Some of these people are just rude, some don’t care, but many have been misinformed, and misled. If you are, that’s fine. It’s not your fault – there’s a lot of bad information about wild / free motorhome parking.
That is what we are going to clear today.
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Is Campervan Wild Camping Legal in the UK?
Our goal with this post is to help reduce bad information, and let people know so you can act accordingly. We love motorhome wild camping in the UK and Europe. This is one of our favorite ways to explore.
But, I am moving forward on my own. Let’s get started. To explain everything correctly, we made a video. It’s 14 minutes long, but it explains all the important things you know about campervan and motorhome parking laws in the UK.
A special emphasis is placed on Scotland in this video, as it is the main place in the UK where people seem to be confused. For this reason, we have created a completely different post about Motorhome Wild Camp in Scotland.
We hope you find the video useful. If you do, we’ll love it if you follow us on YouTube. New videos are published weekly in the UK and Europe, including tips on motorhoming and camping.
Wild camping, including motorhomes or camp vans, is not legal in any country in the UK. However, it is … tolerant if you are conscientious and use common sense. But it is not a legal right.
Can you park anywhere in the UK with a campervan or motorhome?
In short, no. You can’t park wherever you want with a campervan or motorhome – even if it’s a stealth van. (There’s a reason people work so hard that they’re staying overnight in their campers.)
Scotland is the only country where wild camping is legal …
For most UK motorhome vacations, if you want to do wild camping, you need to stay in more remote areas like the Peak District, Yorkshire and Northburland. However, if you are planning a trip to Wales Road, the Brackon Beacons are great for finding overnight parking spots.
Read more: How to find motorhome parking and free overnight stopovers in the UK
Motorhome and Camperwan Wild Parking Act in Scotland
As I mentioned earlier, we created a post about completely wild camping with a motorhome in Scotland, but here’s a quick summary for you.
There are 3 different Camperwan parking laws in Scotland that we need to pay attention to.
Scottish Outdoor Access Code
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code states that wild camping is a non-motorized recreation and does not extend to activities based on the use of vehicles such as sleeping in cars, campers, vans or caravans. There is no legal right to park on the side of the road overnight but in some cases there may be no objection so extra care is required.
Land Reform Act of 2003
The Land Reform Act of 2003 says where you park your car is important.
You should not do any harm or obstruction by obstructing the entrance of your field or building so that it becomes difficult for anyone else to use the road or track. You must be aware of the safety of others, your edge should not be damaged and you must use a parking lot if there is one nearby.
Road Traffic Act of 1988
The Road Traffic Act of 18 states that it is an offense to drive a motor vehicle without legal authority on lands that are not part of a road, sidewalk or breedway.
Most roads and lands (including beaches) are private property and you do not have the right to park whatever you want without the permission of the land owner. Parking of camper vans or vehicles on roads and levies is subject to road traffic laws and regulations. Road parking of motor vehicles on verge or adjacent land without permission is illegal.
It also says that you can drive a road away from a public road for parking purposes as long as you are within 15 yards of a public road but you still need the landowner’s permission to park.
Is Motorhome Wild Camping Legal in Europe?
Most countries welcome motorhome travel to Europe, and you have the same policy on overnight stays in your motorhome as in the United Kingdom. They prefer you to use campsites or airs (authorized motorhome parking places across Europe), but if you are prudent and avoid major tourist areas (such as the French Riviera or Italian Lake), wild camping is tolerated in most places, so plan your Europeans Travel the road accordingly.
There are some countries, such as Portugal, which were previously very tolerant but have now completely banned wild camping. Others, such as Switzerland and Slovenia, have always been tough, especially in national parks. Read more about campervening in Switzerland.
Motorhome Wild Camping Guide for the UK and Europe
Practical application of the Campervan parking law
None of the above is particularly encouraging to want to be off-grid with their motorhome or campervan. So how do people do it? Let’s break it down into some practical tips.
The fact of the matter is that most of the land in the UK and Europe is owned by someone. This is almost all private land and we do not have the right to drive and park in a motor vehicle only.
In reality, wild camping is usually tolerated as an overnight stop-just as truck drivers are tolerated stopping at Le-Bai so they can get some rest.
It’s intended to be a place to sleep, not somewhere where you camp out for a few days with a load of awnings and chairs এবং and that’s where I think some problems have occurred.
As the number of motorhome and camper van owners has increased, especially people living in vans fulltime, the pressure has increased in places that welcome off-grid parking. At this point that many of them are now extra runs and extra saturated.
There is no infrastructure at the moment to deal with the perfect number of visitors. Sadly, there are some disgusting people who are happy to throw garbage, rubbish and harm their surroundings. I understand why many places have started marking ‘no parking overnight’ and adding height barriers.
Related: 5 things you need for wild camping (and 2 things you don’t have!)
Is it legal to sleep in a camper van on the street?
The answer to this is more complex and seems to have been deliberately laid out in such a way that the authorities could deal with the huge groups of caravan and camper travelers who then parked in inappropriate places and caused problems in the local community.
So, you, in your camper or motorhome, are not the problem and, in most places, my opinion (and this is just my opinion) is that you will be absolutely fine in your campervan overnight on the street.
Here are some tips for you:
- Don’t stay in one place for more than one night, especially near residential or built-up areas
- Try to avoid residential roads – people are worried and more likely to call the police. Try to find more remote places where you stay away from people
- Avoid car parking – you are more likely to attract attention and there are many Campanian parking laws that prohibit nightlife.
- Avoid putting anything outside your car, such as washing, chairs, awnings, etc.
- Never leave waste, damage or water hyacinth
- Do not light a fire if it is not on the ground
- Adhere to any ‘overnight parking’ signs
Of course, if you own a home and have a camper outside of it, there is no reason why your camper should not be on the street overnight.
And while we’re at it, yes – living fulltime in a motorhome or campervan in the UK and Europe is perfectly legal.
Where can I park a motorhome or campervan overnight?
There are two reasons for this question. First, if you have just bought a motorhome and want to know where to put it in the long run, it will depend on what resources you have. The most common solutions for long-term motorhome parking are:
- Your driveway (if it is large enough) – be aware of motorhome safety
- Outside / near your home – you may want to lock the door of an extra motorhome
- Safe motorhome parking area, such as a storage facility
Alternatively, are you asking if you can park the motorhome or campervan overnight while traveling? If so, the answer is:
Want more wild camping tips?
Care to share!