The laws for parking your motorhome and campervan on the street in the UK baffle many vehicle owners. There’s no legal right to do so, but neither is there a law to prohibit it. Discover the rules and how to stay safe when parking with this Motorhome Protect guide.
Local authorities own most roads and highways throughout the UK, so you need to be careful where you park up overnight. Rules relating to public car parks come under Traffic Regulation Orders, but these vary across the UK.
With differing regulations and sometimes the need to stop somewhere overnight, where can you park for free without disobeying the law?
We share everything there is to know about parking your motorhome on the street. Learn if it’s legal to park outside your house, some tips to do so safely, and where to get a quote for the campervan insurance cost to cover yourself on the road.
CAN YOU PARK ANYWHERE IN THE UK WITH A MOTORHOME OR CAMPERVAN?
Unfortunately, you can’t park anywhere you like in a motorhome or campervan, even though it’s a common misconception to think you can. You might have good intentions and park on a piece of land, thinking you’ll leave it as you found it, but you could obstruct the landowner’s access, causing them a lot of hassle.
Even when you park in permitted zones, always check your home on wheels doesn’t block any entrances or exits. If you’re a new motorhome owner or hiring one for a few days, your vehicle is likely much bigger than the car you’re used to.
Ensure you don’t park across two spaces or leave your motorhome sticking out further than it should on a driveway, which could cause an accident. When asking for a quote to check the campervan insurance cost, make sure the policy includes the right cover in case of damage.
HOW LONG CAN YOU PARK ON THE STREET?
So, you’re not planning on travelling for a few weeks. Where can you leave your motorhome or campervan while it’s not in use? If you have a drive, park it there, as long as your vehicle has valid tax and MOT.
If you don’t have a driveway at your property, there’s no law saying you can’t park your vehicle on the street if you’re not sleeping in it, but you need to be mindful of your neighbours. If you block their access or light, they have every right to object to you parking there.
The only time you can’t keep your vehicle on the drive or space outside your home is if the property’s title deeds specifically exclude it. On non-privately owned pieces of land, like council houses and estates, there may also be a clause preventing you from parking there.
Before you buy a vehicle and enquire about the motorhome or campervan insurance cost, check you’re allowed to park it where you live. If you can’t, consider these alternatives:
- In a motorhome storage facility registered with the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA). The organisation originated to help beat motorhome and caravan theft, meaning your home on wheels is safe at one of these locations.
- On a seasonal pitch at a campsite. These spots are usually available for six or seven months a year across the UK to keep your motorhome safe while you’re not on the road.
- Local farmers and landowners. This option is often found via word of mouth and can cost much less than official storage sites. However, with less security comes less peace of mind.
CAN YOU SLEEP IN YOUR MOTORHOME OR CAMPERVAN ON THE STREET IN THE UK?
Despite there being no specific laws that prohibit you sleeping in your home on wheels on a road in the UK, it generally isn’t allowed. Local authorities tend to own roads and highways, and they each have their own set of regulations.
The same goes for public car parks. Although you may be able to pay and park in a space, they tend not to allow camping, sleeping, and cooking. Some car parks even prohibit larger vehicles altogether.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation and really need to stop somewhere just for one evening, try to find a truck stop that allows you to park overnight.
The laws surrounding layby parking overnight vary across the UK. There’s no specific legislation that stops you sleeping in these spots overnight. However, if the local authority forbids it, the police may come and move you on.
Check your campervan insurance cost and details to see whether you’re covered in case of damage in these zones.
MAKE USE OF OVERNIGHT PARKING APPS AND SITES
To avoid any problems when parking your camper, there are some handy apps and websites that can help. These list overnight parking places for your motorhome, which are often in pub and hotel car parks.
Some pubs might charge a small fee to stay and sleep in their car parks for the night, or sometimes they’ll allow it for free if you consume food and drink there.
CAN YOU PARK YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME AT A MOTORWAY SERVICE STATION OVERNIGHT?
If you’ve ever driven your vehicle in France, you may have seen the service stations across the country that allow tents and campervans to stay for little to no cost overnight. These often include water, an electric hook-up, waste disposal, and are even rather scenic. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the same in the UK.
Many motorway services do allow you to spend the night but for a fee of around £10-20. If you need to stop over somewhere on your way to your destination, ask at the information desk at the services. You may even get some breakfast vouchers for one of the on-site cafés included!
Don’t be surprised if they send you to a dedicated zone that you share with long-distance lorry drivers. When you’re planning a long trip across the country, check for services along the route to see whether they allow overnight stops to break up your journey.
Despite these locations not being idyllic or particularly nice to spend the night, there are a few advantages to pulling into one for some shuteye:
- The main reason for sleeping at the services is convenience. If you only need to stop to sleep in the middle of a long journey, it’s much easier to pull in and get some rest than search for a B&B way off your planned route or park illegally on the roadside.
- You have easy access to toilets, shops, and restaurants, and some are open all night.
- You’ll be sleeping in your own comfy bed and have all your possessions to hand.
- If your trip is spontaneous or last-minute and you have nothing booked, spending a night in the services is a handy choice to have.
WHAT ARE THE RULES ABOUT WILD CAMPING IN A MOTORHOME OR CAMPERVAN?
Wild camping refers to pitching or parking in a remote zone for free with no facilities, instead of at a regular campsite.
It might seem feasible to find a field and set up home for the night, but this is rarely legal. You’ll likely be trespassing on private property and could cause a lot of inconvenience to the owner if they need to access where you’re staying.
Some National Parks permit wild camping in certain spots, like the Lake District and Dartmoor, but these are rare. Before you decide to head out into the wilderness and park up, check the areas where it’s allowed to avoid causing yourself or anyone else problems.
Alternatively, get explicit permission from the landowner to park on their property, or you’ll be breaking the law.
Follow basic wild camping etiquette if you’re going to do it, and make sure you:
- Leave little to no traces of your presence
- Take nothing from the land
- Stay away from road verges and paths
- Are aware of other people in the area
- Prepare to move along quickly if asked
- Arrive late and leave early
When asking about campervan insurance cost to find a policy for your vehicle, check the details of what’s covered. We can also offer
HOW DO WILD CAMPING RULES DIFFER IN SCOTLAND, WALES, AND NORTHERN IRELAND?
Wherever you plan to hit the road in your motorhome across the UK, read up on local rules about wild camping. Each region has its own set of regulations, and below we share a brief description of each.
- Scotland has a vast range of legislations that allow wild camping on most pieces of open land, including the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. However, the act states in Chapter 2 that conduct excluded from the access rights includes “being on or crossing land in or with a motorised vehicle or vessel.” This means the permission is for non-motorised activity only.
So, where does it leave you if you own a motorhome or campervan? As long as you get the landowners’ permission, you can stay on their property. Avoid blocking their access points and causing damage during your stay.
- Wales is similar to England in that National Parks are the best option for wild camping. Snowdonia is the most open for holidaymakers in the country, but you can go further afield if you get permission from landowners, stick to quiet spots, and are considerate.
- Northern Ireland is like England and Wales, and you must get the landowner’s permission before setting up camp anywhere. As a form of respect, most campers in this region arrive later in the day and leave early the next morning to avoid disrupting others.
CAN YOU GO WILD CAMPING IN EUROPE IN A CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME?
If you plan to take your motorhome overseas around Europe, you’ll discover most countries have rules similar to the UK, but they each differ slightly.
While setting up camp at approved motorhome parking spots across Europe (Aires) is generally encouraged, many national parks allow you to stay overnight. You can also get permission from landowners to camp if you’re respectful of their property.
Do your research thoroughly on the countries you plan to visit before leaving home to avoid breaking the law in Europe.
SHOULD I SORN MY MOTORHOME OR CAMPERVAN WHEN NOT IN USE?
If you keep your vehicle parked for months on end during the winter, it might be worth applying for a Statutory Off-Road Notification. This is usually a cost-effective option for seasonal travellers.
To apply for SORN, vehicle owners need to contact the DVLA. Your motorhome must be parked in a garage or on a private drive to legally apply, and if successful, you get a refund for any months of remaining tax you haven’t used.
According to the DVLA site you can’t use the vehicle on the road until you tax it again. You also aren’t legally required to keep your motorhome or campervan insured, but this means it won’t be protected against possible damage during this period.
As soon as you arrange to renew the tax on your home on wheels, the SORN gets cancelled automatically and you can set out on the road again when you’ve got the right campervan insurance cover in place.
TIPS FOR PARKING YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME SAFELY OVERNIGHT
There’s no doubt your motorhome is a significant investment, so protecting it should be a top priority. Finding the right campervan insurance cost for your budget and getting a policy for your vehicle is essential to cover it in case of damage or theft.
As the experts at the Camping and Caravanning Club remind us: “Unfortunately motorhomes are popular targets for thieves, as not only are they valuable in their own right, but they are often filled with expensive contents.”
What else can you do to ensure your home on wheels stays safe while parked on the road or outside your home? We share some expert tips to avoid anything happening to your motorhome or campervan.
SECURE YOUR CAMPERVAN OR MOTORHOME
Whether you plan on leaving your vehicle for the evening while you head into town or keep it parked outside your home, you must secure all entrances. To stop thieves from getting in and avoid attracting them in the first place, check the following before you leave:
- Lock all doors and use a padlock or double lock if possible
- Close the windows and roof hatches
- Don’t leave valuables on display inside your camper
You should also try not to leave your campervan unattended for long periods if possible.
INVEST IN EXTRA SECURITY MEASURES
In addition to keeping your motorhome securely locked, there are devices you can fit or that may come included when you buy your campervan to deter thieves or inform you if anything happens:
- Wheel clamps: Wrap these around your tyres and bolt them in place to reduce the risk of thieves driving your vehicle away. Buy products with a Sold Secure Gold rating or higher for extra security.
- Steering wheel locks: This is another excellent visual deterrent and can be a circular lock, a bar-lock, or even any chain and padlock you have.
- An alarm: Most vehicles come with an alarm in their base, or you can get one fitted. You usually get a sticker with the alarm to put in your window to let potential thieves know there’s one in place and encourage them to go elsewhere.
- An immobiliser: These devices are also placed at the base of a motorhome or campervan and spring into action if a thief enters your vehicle. When you switch off your engine, the immobiliser activates and prevents anyone from driving away if they break in.
- A tracking device: If you invest in this gadget, you must register it with a control centre. Then, in the unfortunate event that someone does steal your vehicle, the control centre receives a signal and can find your motorhome.
PARK IN A SECURE LOCATION
Keeping your vehicle off the road on your drive, or even better locked away in a garage or storage facility, means potential thieves have an extra barrier of security to overcome. When you park your vehicle in these spots, it’s much less likely that something will happen to it.
You may also be able to save on your insurance policy this way. When you check the campervan insurance cost with Motorhome Protect, ask if garage parking could reduce how much you pay for cover.
DON’T FORGET THE INSURANCE
Make sure your motorhome has the right type of insurance policy to cover it in case the worst happens whether you park on the street, on your drive, or go wild camping.
When searching for the ideal campervan insurance cost, remember that cheapest isn’t always best. Talk to the experts at Motorhome Protect so you know you have the right level of cover for your particular circumstances.
Benefits of insuring your home on wheels through us could* include:
- Coverage of personal effects of up to £3,500
- Special offers if you’re part of a motorhome or campervan club
- Unlimited cover across Europe
- Cover of vehicle value up to £120,000
- Policies for 365 days a year, including foreign travel
- Cover to complete a self-build or conversion of up to 6 months
- Limitless mileage
*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply
To discover the campervan insurance cost for your vehicle, get in touch with Motorhome Protect today for a quick quote. It might be less than you think!