Campervan Hire UK

Campervan Hire UK

When it comes to heritage and history, a campervan tour of the UK can’t be beat, packed with sights and attractions in amongst its scenic landscapes and charming countryside. Campervan travel is a great way to experience all the country has to offer, taking you away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and straight into the heart of this green and pleasant land. Here is everything you need to know about travelling the UK by campervan.

Best Campervan Hire UK

spaceships campervan hireBest Campervan Hire UK 2020

The Essentials

The minimum age to hire a campervan in the UK is generally 21, although many companies will only rent vehicles to drivers aged 25 and over. If you are over 21 and have held your licence for at least two years, you will still be able to rent a campervan, though you may have to pay extra for your security deposit (with some priced as high as £1500).

Best Time to Hire a Campervan in the UK

Weather in the UK can be fairly unpredictable, but generally avoids extremes. Rain will be the main problem to contend with, with downpours fairly likely at any time of the year. Naturally, there is a higher chance of good weather over summer with colder temperatures in winter, but given its unpredictable nature it is best to dress in layers and come prepared for any weather.

Whichever season to plan to travel in, check if there will be any public holidays or bank holiday weekends during your visit. Roads and attractions can get incredibly busy at this time, meaning you may spend a good portion of your day stuck on the motorway. 

While there is no bad time to visit, for the best chance of good weather while also avoiding the school summer holidays, May or early June could be ideal.

Where To Park a Campervan Overnight in the UK

The UK doesn’t have quite as many overnight options compared to other European destinations, but you’ll never need to travel too far to find somewhere to stay for the night. Here are your options for parking overnight in the UK.

Campsites

There is a good number of campsites all over the UK so you shouldn’t find yourself short of somewhere to stay. However, it’s worth doing a bit of research before you go, as the cost and standard of facilities can vary dramatically from one site to the next. Though using campsites will increase the costs of your trip considerably, you get the added benefit of facilities like fresh water, waste water disposal facilities and hot showers. If you are travelling in high season you might like to book your spot in advance to avoid disappointment when you arrive.

Pubs

There are many pubs dotted around the country that will be happy to let you park for the night in their car park for free on the proviso that you have your evening meal there or at the very least order a drink. Some may simply charge a fee or require you to book a space so it’s worth checking before you head over. Searchforsites.co.uk is probably the best website for checking out your options in the area. They will have details for each pub (and campsite) along with any rules, costs and reviews from other campers.

You might also like to purchase a copy of Brit Stops, which contains a list of over 1000 places around the UK that will allow you to stay overnight for free. As well as pubs, you’ll also find farm shops, vineyards, breweries and more, ensuring that you’ll always find somewhere a little bit different where you can spend the night. 

Wild Camping

While it is possible to wild camp in your campervan in the UK, it is a lot more restrictive than in other countries. This is because most land in the UK is privately owned, and you need the landowner’s permission to stay there. Wild camping is also prohibited in most national parks and Open Access Land. 

However, you will find that wild camping is tolerated in much of the country, particularly in more rural areas. If you would like to go this route, there are a few simple guidelines you should follow:

  • Take all your rubbish and waste with you, and leave the spot looking the same, if not better, than when you arrived
  • Do not park too close to residential or commercial properties
  • Do not park on beaches or in historical sites
  • Do not park in the same spot for more than one night
  • Do not block access to any fields or block views from anyone’s property
  • Do not set up tables and chairs or cook outside your campervan

Follow these rules and you should be able to wild camp around the UK with no problems. However, always be prepared to move on if you are asked. You’ll find that some areas are less tolerant of wild camping than others.

spaceships campervan hireBest Campervan Hire UK 2020

Best Campervan Hire Destinations in the UK

The UK is full of beautiful landscapes, historical treasures and natural wonders, making choosing just one area to visit easier said than done. Here are a few of the most popular parts of the UK and what you can expect to find there.

Click here to see our guide to campervan hire in Scotland

Devon and Cornwall

Cornwall Campervan Hire UK

Jewels of the English coast, Devon and Cornwall are packed full of beauty spots, with beach-fringed landscapes, wide open countryside and plenty of charming towns and villages along the way. Here are a few things you’ll find in this corner of South West England:

  • The Jurassic Coast, stretching 95 miles through Devon and Dorset, this coastline will truly take you back in time, encompassing over 185 million years of history
  • St. Ives, one of Cornwall’s most well-known destination, this is an artist’s haven with a picture-perfect seaside setting along with iconic surf beaches 
  • Exmoor National Park, an expansive green space with coastline, river, moorland and woodland, providing the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with nature
  • St. Michael’s Mount, a tidal Cornish island with a medieval church and castle, only accessible at low tide
spaceships campervan hireBest Campervan Hire UK 2020

The Lake District

The Lake District by Campervan

Arguably one of the most beautiful corners of the UK, the Lake District is a nature-lovers dream and has served as inspiration for some of the greatest poets in history. Here are just a few of its highlights:

  • Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, offering a huge variety of outdoor activities including boating, biking and hiking
  • Ullswater, a scenic lake that’s the second largest in the district, boasting sensational views and lined with picturesque villages
  • Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain peak and one third of the Three Peaks Challenge
  • Rydal Water, a small lake with a waterside walking trail that includes two of poet William Wordsworth’s former homes
spaceships campervan hireBest Campervan Hire UK 2020

The Cotswolds

The Cotswalds by Campervan Hire K

Packed full of quintessential English villages, the Cotswolds is an extensive area that covers six counties, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Recognised by its villages of thatched cottages and distinctly English charms, here are a few highlights you will find there:

  • Blenheim Palace, an imposing 18th century home and gardens that was the birthplace of Winston Churchill
  • Cirencester, the so-called ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’ and an enchanting market town with a riverside location
  • Broadway Tower, a 65-foot high tower perched dramatically at the top of an ancient beacon site with views of 16 counties from the top
  • The Cotswold Way National Trail, an idyllic hiking trail that winds all the way through the Cotswolds to the Roman city of Bath.
spaceships campervan hireBest Campervan Hire UK 2020

Conclusion

While the UK is far from the cheapest destination for campervan travel, a driving holiday is a great way to experience some of the country’s wonderful sights, attractions and natural landscapes. Though camping options can initially feel restrictive, a bit of research will reveal that there are more than enough places for overnight stops to suit every taste and budget. With a relatively mild climate that’s generally without extremes, England is a fantastic destination to drive your campervan, where a wealth of beauty and heritage await at any time of the year.

About the Author

Karl O'Brien Editor Travel by CamperKarl O’Brien is a writer and adventure traveller from Dublin, Ireland. He has been travelling the world since his late teens. His adventures have taken him to the far reaches of the globe including most of Europe, North & South America, New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. When he is not planning his next adventure Karl can be found building and renovating campervans.

Top Motorhome Rental Destinations