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Motorhomes and campervans

Where can I stop in a campervan or motorhome?

New and prospective campervan owners will no doubt have pondered where they can legally stop overnight.

With on-site facilities, campsites are the obvious answer but what if your campervan or motorhome has all the facilities that you need.

Where else can you legally stop overnight? Can campervans park anywhere overnight? Van Life Matters brings you your ultimate guide.

Wild camping

UK wild camping law varies depending on which country you’re stopping in.

Camping without the landowner’s permission is illegal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but in Scotland permission isn’t required.

Wild camping in a campervan, however, is not legal anywhere in the UK.

That’s not to say that it isn’t done though because it is largely tolerated when campervanners apply the ‘Leave No Trace’ mantra.

We’ve got everything you need to know about campervan wild camping here.

Roadside camping

There isn’t currently a specific law which makes it illegal to sleep in a motorhome at the roadside.

That said, local authorities take ownership of our highways and lay-bys so you may be asked by police to move on.

The parking of campervans or motorhomes on roads and laybys is subject to the road traffic legislation and regulations.

The best advice for Van Lifers is to park sensibly, ensuring that you’re not causing an obstruction or disturbing anyone.

Public car parks

Public car parks, operated by a local authority, are usually covered by Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) which prohibit sleeping, camping and cooking.

The TRO may also have a clause that specifies the maximum vehicle weight, classes of vehicle and so on that are permitted to use the car park.

Motorhome owners are advised to read any signage carefully before stopping.

Pub stopovers

Pub stopovers for motorhomes are an excellent option if you’re after somewhere to park for the night and with more landowners now realising the benefits of allowing campervans to stay overnight, you’re never very far away from one.

Each pub will have its own policy but, generally speaking, pubs that welcome campervans usually require you to pay for a meal and drinks and charge a modest fee for use of the facilities – some pubs allow free motorhome overnight stops for customers.

Facilities vary from basic pub parking to a fully-fledged, campsite-type field complete with eclectic hook-up, fresh water and waste facilities.

Aires

The Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA) is encouraging spending in the local economy through the provision of motorhome and campervan aires.

It is campaigning for safe, overnight parking spaces for campervans and motorhomes, which it says will boost localised spending and drive the recovery of the British economy.

Aires are frequently seen across Europe and act as short overnight stops, generally between 24 and 48 hours.

Unlike campsites, aires do not allow visitors to set up awnings, tables and chairs and they are not bookable in advance.

CAMpRA has been involved in the setting up of around 115 aires across the UK in the last year, with a further 50 more expected to be opened in the year ahead.

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