Camping in UK: what you need to know

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tent in countryside near a lake

Camping in the UK is a rite of passage. With so many picturesque sites across all four countries, you won’t need to hop on a plane to get good views.

However, you need to know how to camp safely. Here, we discuss all the camping essentials from glamping and camper vans to insurance and the law.

Where can I camp in the UK?

Before booking a site, think about what you want from your camping adventure.

Many larger sites have swimming pools and clubhouses, which can be excellent for entertaining the family, but they can also be noisy and far from an idyllic rural retreat.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has an excellent network of ‘Club’ sites, owned and managed by the organisation, as well as ‘certificated’ sites, which are smaller and privately-owned.

Club sites have immaculate toilet and shower blocks and, often, washing up and laundry facilities. They’re family-friendly and many have a small playground, but the emphasis is on peace and open space and you’ll be hard pressed to find an on-site bar.

An eco campsite – such as those registered with The Greener Camping Club – is a niche site offering a compromise between a fully-serviced pitch and wild camping. Often in secluded spots, woodland or forestry, they have very basic facilities. Hope for a tap and a compost loo, and you won’t be disappointed!

Is wild camping legal in the UK?

If you want to forgo traditional camping grounds altogether and embrace ‘wild camping’, you’ll have to head to Scotland as it isn’t legal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland without landowner’s permission.

Barbecues and fires are unacceptable, even if raised, and you should never go to the toilet within 100m of water. Human and dog waste should be buried or bagged and taken home and, if a landowner asks you to move on, do so.

What insurance do I need for camping?

Tents and glamping

When camping in a tent, yurt, or similar, UK travel insurance covers you if you cancel or cut your trip short because of something like illness, a bereavement or accidental injury.

We’ll pay a delay benefit if you travel on pre-booked public transport and it’s cancelled, too.

Travel insurance also covers you for loss, theft or accidental damage of your luggage and possessions, known as personal belongings. This is up to a specific amount, so make sure you choose the right level of cover for your valuable items like a digital camera or mobile phone.

However, travel insurance doesn’t cover items you leave unattended or in a tent. Your home or contents insurance may cover some of your things if you have personal possessions cover, but unattended items probably won’t be covered.

For full details, check your policy book.


Your car insurance probably covers your attached caravan as standard, but only for damage caused by your caravan (known as third party only), rather than damage to your caravan.

If you want more cover, we recommend using a comparison site to find specialist caravan insurance quotes for touring and static caravans.

Again, travel insurance will cover you for any pre-booked campsite costs if you need to cancel your camping trip.

Learn more about insuring your caravan.

Motorhomes and campervans

Before setting off, you’ll need motorhome insurance or campervan insurance to legally drive your home on wheels. This’ll offer modest cover for stolen personal belongings (around £500) which is essential as travel insurance rarely covers valuables left in a motor vehicle.

You can increase your cover limits up to £6,000 with our van contents insurance which also covers leisure items like bicycles and surfboards that are securely fixed to mountings. This is perfect for adventure trips with the family.

It’s still useful to have travel insurance in case your trip is unexpectedly cancelled or cut short. We’d also recommend having breakdown cover in place to cover you in case of emergency.

Learn more about insuring your motorhome or campervan.

What do I need for camping in the UK?

Now you know where to camp and what insurance you need, here are a few camping essentials:

  • a waterproof tent
  • sleeping bag
  • warm clothes (even in July!)
  • folding chairs and a table
  • a gas stove (always remember to change a gas canister outside the tent)
  • pans and utensils
  • torch
  • reusable water canister

Home comforts

You don’t need to travel to have a fun camping experience; your home could act as an ideal campsite.

Pitching in your garden or even making a living room den from chairs and blankets can be just as thrilling for small children (and big kids!) as travelling to a campsite. You’re guaranteed not to forget anything – and you won’t have to queue for a shower in the morning!

Wherever you’re taking your UK staycation, make sure your valuables are covered with our gadget travel insurance.

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