A guide to free camping
#Please Respect our Countryside
A common myth states that thanks to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, in Scotland wild camping with your motorhome or campervan / RV is allowed. But actually, this law only applies to “lightweight camping”, which does not include motorised vehicles.
However, all is not lost, there are plenty of sites available in Scotland if you plan in advance and know where look – read on to see the list of websites which provide listings of where to park for the night without breaking the law!
- When in Doubt:
It can often be unclear, particularly in National Parks or forests. When in doubt, simply check! A quick search on Google can reveal the rules regarding a particular area, or lead you to a phone number where you can check.
- Respect the Space:
Pick up all litter, do not damage your surroundings. The old saying goes; leave only footprints, take only photographs! In respecting your litter and pollution, you must also consider your noise pollution. Playing loud music or yelling can aggravate nearby inhabitants or disrupt the wildlife around you, so keep it down, especially after 10pm.
A rule of thumb for most wild motorhome campers is to arrive late, leave early!
There are many resources which make it easy for motorhome enthusiasts to find the perfect place to stay. See the list of the most useful websites below to help you find the perfect motorhome stops across the UK.
For a more tried and tested approach:
Excellent site – wild camping spots across the whole country and an excellent resource for those looking for a more unstructured experience. Includes French style “Aires” sites, where you can empty your toilet cassette and take on fresh water. We’ve received excellent feedback on this site and can personally vouch for its many resources.
Cool Camping initially started as a guide for tent-orientated campers, successfully developing into a website showing all kinds of campsites around the world. By using the filters you will be able to find all campsites for motorhomes across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Visit the Cool Camping website for more information.
This organisation offers landowners the possibility to open their land for campers to spend the night. About 40% of all their campsites also welcome campervans and for an annual fee of £20 you will be granted access to the list of all the “Nearly Wild Camping” campsites. For an overview of all their campsites you can visit the Nearly Wild Camping website.
The Pitch Up website includes a wide range of motorhome stops. From small farms to luxurious campsites. By setting the filters on motorhome or campervan pitch, you will find an overview of motorhome campsites.
If you are looking for a website which only includes stopovers for motorhomes, the “Extensive list of motorhomes stopovers” selected by UK Motorhomes is the place to be. This list includes officially recognised overnight campervan parking spots in the UK and Ireland.
This is a fabulous app to find beautiful motorhome stopovers. Currently they show 1,289 stops in the United Kingdom and 238 stops in Ireland, to have a look at motorhome stopovers for your trip, visit the Camper Contact website.
Last but definitely not least is the website and app of Park4Night – again excellent resources for wild camping spots across the UK, Ireland and Europe which support stopovers for motorhomes enthusiasts.
“Know Before You Go!”
Covid-19: Scotland’s regions are currently divided into different tiers depending on the prevalence of Covid-19.
By law, with limited exceptions, it is forbidden to travel to/from areas where higher numbers of people may be carrying the virus. Please comply with the rules set out by the Scottish Government. To check what tier a region is in and to see the current rules regarding travel in Scotland, please see here.
Opening hours: There are lots of suggestions for places to visit on the following pages and, while we absolutely want you to make the most of your trip, it is important to note that many visitor attractions and places of interest now require you to book in advance, or may have restricted opening hours, or may be closed temporarily due to Covid-19. In addition, many places of interest in Scotland have seasonal opening hours and close in the winter months. Please be sure to follow the links to the places of interest mentioned in the suggested routes to check in advance of your visit and avoid disappointment on the day!