Can I wild camp or do I have to stay in campsites?

Modified on Mon, 27 Feb 2023 at 12:13 PM

Spaceships recommend staying in campgrounds of the Caravan and Motorhome Club. We recommend staying in campsites every night, planning ahead and booking these in advance to ensure availability.

There is a vast array of campsites with stunning locations across the UK and Ireland. We encourage all guests to hire responsibly by using these first.

Campsites are tailored for campervans and motorhomes. You will be able to book a plot with mains hook up in order to power up your vehicle and charge the leisure battery. They will also have very useful facilities such as showers, toilets, waste emptying stations for the grey water and toilet cassette as well as fresh water fill up points.

In staying at campsites, you will meet fellow travellers and locals who can provide great advice and tips for the area and sights to see. As an added bonus, if you stay on a campsite you’re contributing much-needed income to the local economy and ensuring these facilities and communities can continue to flourish in the future! 

As a Spaceships customer you have access to free temporary membership to the Caravan & Motorhome Club for the duration of your Spaceships hire. To access this, you need to request the membership using the link which will be on your Booking Confirmation email. This can take about 3 days to come through so we recommend requesting well in advance. Their website can be accessed using

Spaceships Rentals and the Caravan and Motorhome Club have joined forces to provide you with the ultimate experience in the great outdoors; giving you access to the Caravan and Motorhome Club's network of over 2,700 UK and European campsites along with exclusive offers on ferry crossings.


Wild camping involves setting up camp outside of a campsite or caravan park and sleeping in your tent in the wilderness. It is specific to camping in a tent and not a motorised vehicle.

Therefore, Wild Camping is not permitted across the UK & Ireland for campervans and motorhomes. 

If you have not booked a campsite in advance and are unable to find a campsite with availability, vehicles may use a designated formal lay-by or car parks to rest, including overnight in a motorhome as long as the activity is contained within the vehicle. You must do so in line with the Road Traffic Act 1998. If parking in laybys or car parks you must also comply with any parking conditions displayed including payment of any charges and must be prepared to move your vehicle if necessary. If a layby is already in use, please do not use it. 

Despite this, there will always be a risk of you being asked moved on – especially if it is considered that you are causing an obstruction. You should be accepting of this and move on respectfully. In some areas, it can be tolerated provided you are respectful, a common sense approach is taken and leave no trace principles are followed. 


There is often a misconception on wild camping in Scotland, particularly due to the long tradition of freedom to roam formalised in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003. The Land Reform Act permits wild camping on most enclosed land (provided you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code/Leave no trace policy) – but it excludes motorised vehicles and therefore does not apply to campervans or motorhomes. 

Wild camping in motorhomes/campervans has often been tolerated in some remoter parts of Scotland but unfortunately, the significant growth in popularity of motorhome holidays – especially on the Isle Of Skye and NC500 – has created issues in particular tourist hotspots due to the negative effect on the environment and overall infrastructure. If public or private land owners restrict or regulate parking on their land, you must comply with this.

Spaceships recommend making use of the picturesque campsites located throughout Scotland at all times. We also recommend following the guidance in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, including the specific advice on car parking and adhering to their 3 key principles which are: Respect the interests of others; Care for the environment; Take responsibility for your own actions.

There is also a very handy and informative PDF from the Scottish Highland Council which provides valuable information for enjoying the Highlands in a motorhome or campervan. This can be downloaded here:

England & Wales

Wild camping is only legal in England and Wales if you have been granted permission by the landowner and every bit of land is owned by a private individual.

The National Parks Authority forbid wild camping within any National Parks of England and Wales.

Northern Ireland

Wild camping is only legal in Northern Ireland if you have been granted permission by the landowner and every bit of land is owned by a private individual.

Northern Ireland Forestry Service issues camping permits at some of its sites.


Wild camping in Ireland is not permitted. The rule of thumb is to move on if asked to and follow the Leave No Trace guidelines similar to Scotland.

Leave No Trace:

The 7 principles of Leave No Trace provide an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. The 7 principles are:

1. Plan Ahead & Prepare.

2. Be Considerate of Others.

3. Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife.

4. Travel and Camp on Durable Ground.

5. Leave What You Find.

6. Dispose of Waste Properly.

7. Minimise the Effects of Fire.

For more information on these principles, please see:

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