Despite the fact the UK is a comparatively busy little island, there are plenty of places where you can enjoy the peace and quiet in secluded, out-of-the-way spots. And better yet, many of these can be enjoyed for free in your motorhome – if you know where to look!
From the extensive UK coastline to the beautiful parks and woodland dotted throughout the country there are ample opportunities for free overnight stays at a whole range of idyllic locations, so let’s get started.
Remember that before setting off you’ll want insurance for your motorhome from Motorhome Protect in case you break down or have accidents while exploring.
After all, you don’t want your ‘free’ camping to cost more than you bargained for.
What is free camping?
Free camping (sometimes called wild camping) is literally free overnight parking in your motorhome.
That's it. You park up your motorhome and stay for the night without paying for a campsite or a caravan park pitch.
It can range from a supermarket car park on the outskirts of a busy town centre to a secluded beach in the middle of nowhere with no services, electricity or any other mod cons.
Why do it?
There are so many reasons why people choose this option, and it isn’t just down to the money.
You might have been driving for hours and need a break. Or perhaps you’ve found the perfect spot to taste some local ales.
Finding a quiet spot to park overnight is a great way to experience a new area and find something unique.
It means being truly independent, getting out into the world and seeing where life takes you – the epitome of life in a motorhome.
Are there any downsides?
The main downside is that you don’t have access to the facilities that campsites or motorhome parks offer.
For larger vehicles with their own toilets and shower rooms this might not be such a problem. But for smaller vehicles like campervans, this is something worth considering.
Security can also be an issue in some areas so always park sensibly, never leave anything on display and always lock your vehicle.
Motorhome insurance from Motorhome Protect can protect valuables from theft but it’s much better not to give thieves the opportunity in the first place.
Is it legal?
Truly free camping, where you simply park up and stay the night in your motorhome in a remote area is technically illegal in much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, there isn’t usually a problem as long as you ask permission of the landowner first.
Sometimes that might not be possible. But as long as you’re discreet and practise the “leave no trace” principle you should be fine for an overnight stay.
How to find free motorhome parking
Some people will just head off into the great unknown without a plan and pull into a convenient lay-by or car park when they find one.
It might not be the prettiest spot but if you’re travelling on a budget and need a place to sleep, then they are a good option.
However, what about finding the best spots? The kinds of places you’d want to return to again if you’re in the area.
Or one you’d recommend to friends? To find these you’re probably going to need a bit of outside help from one of the sources below. Read our updated guide on where you can park your motorhome in the UK.
This popular membership scheme provides access to a UK-wide network of free motorhome parking at beautiful sites both far and wide.
From country pubs, farms, and vineyards to breweries and craft/antiques centres, these businesses will all let you use their car parks for free overnight parking.
While there is no fee and no obligation to buy something from the business, most people will grab a drink or eat a meal if available or at least enjoy meeting the owners.
While services are usually limited, they’re a great opportunity to have a pleasant stopover somewhere off the road. Offering something that little bit different.
Free to join and use this great motorhome parking app lists places to stop all across the UK and into Europe.
From pubs and farm shops to supermarket car parks, fields and lay-bys there’s a huge range of stops to choose from.
You will also find motorhome services listed. For around £10 a year you can download the database and use it offline, perfect for those faraway places without internet access.
With over 35,000 spots spread over 58 countries, this is another popular motorhome parking app that’s easy to use. With new sites added regularly the app has a whole range of search options and can be used offline.
A useful option is that it lets you use your motorhome’s length and height to narrow down your options. Useful if you have a large motorhome or are pulling a trailer.
The full Pro version costs less than £6 for the year, which is really good value to have such useful information at your fingertips.
A good choice for many UK motorhome owners. This website has a huge database including many varieties of stopover options to search for.
With almost 40,000 sites listed and around 150,000 members across Europe, this really is a must-have resource. If you want to use it offline then you might want to download the app, too.
Motorhome insurance suited to any adventure
Wherever your trip takes you, cover arranged by the dedicated team of insurance specialists at Motorhome Protect can come with a range of benefits including:
- Unlimited cover across the European Union
- Cover of camping personal effects for up to £3,000
- Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Consideration of all claims and convictions
All these features and benefits are subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria.
Get a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.