8 Tips for Travelling the UK in a Campervan
The UK is a nation of caravan lovers. On our small island, we have an estimated 600,000 campervans trundling along our roads. With good infrastructure, amazing nature spots, and a small area to cover, travelling the UK in a campervan is the ideal way to experience the country.
As with all forms of travel, there are many choices to be made. Do you stick to the coast, or do you head inland? Where do you camp at night and what do you do when you’re bored? Is it safe? What happens when your van breaks down? To answer these questions, here are some top tips for travelling the UK in a campervan.
1 . Plan Your Camp Spots
Every country has a different attitude to van camping. In North America, you can park pretty much anywhere for the night, and no one will bother you. In certain European cities, you may need to stay in campsites for security reasons. Fortunately, travelling the UK in a campervan is very safe but you still need to make some considerations when choosing a camp spot.
Start looking for your camping location a couple of hours before sunset as it’s more difficult to search in the dark. If you want to stay in a campsite, simply search on Google for a few areas near your desired location. If you want to boondock (park in the wild) you can use an app like iOverlander to find great camping locations.
2 . Fill up on Fuel
You won’t get far travelling the UK in a campervan without any fuel in the tank! Fortunately, the UK is relatively small (94,058 mi², equivalent to the US state of Wyoming) which means you will never have to drive far to find a petrol station. However, it’s a good idea to fill up in bigger towns where the prices are often lower. If you have a full tank before heading into a remote nature spot, it’s simply one less thing to worry about.
3 . Enjoy Your Hobbies
When you start travelling the UK in a campervan, you will likely find yourself with a lot more time on your hands. In the evenings, you might not be as distracted by social media or television which could give you time to focus on old passions or new hobbies. You can read, draw, write, paint, sew, or play board games instead of being stuck on your phone. You can practise photography, filmmaking, or wildlife watching. Whatever hobby you’ve been putting off, now is the time to make it a priority.
4 . Carry a Repair Kit
Breakdowns happen. No one wants them to but it’s an inevitable part of travelling the UK in a campervan. With your vehicle getting a service and MOT annually, this shouldn’t happen too often but it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you have a spare tyre, jack, and lug wrench to change your wheel if you get a flat. Check your fluids regularly and carry spare engine oil and coolant. A basic tool kit allows you to handle any simple repair jobs. As a last resort, purchase breakdown coverage (see RAC or AA) to get professional assistance if you’re really in a bind.
5 . Get Lost in Nature
One of the best things about travelling the UK in a campervan is the feeling of absolute freedom. With your hands behind the wheel, you can follow the road wherever you want to go. Getting lost in nature is a truly liberating experience for overlanders. Drive along empty coastal roads and search for remote beaches. Head down rutted country tracks to discover a woodland oasis. Let your trip guide you and don’t be afraid of going adrift.
6 . Utilise Free Facilities
Van lifers are thrifty and know how to get the best deals. It sort of comes with the territory of being a traveller, always on the lookout for bargains. Using free facilities is a great way to stretch your budget when travelling the UK in a campervan.
For example, if you’re stopping off at a McDonalds for a coffee, why not make use of the toilets, spend a bit of time on the WIFI, and stash away a few extra milk and sugars? If you visit a campsite, use all the facilities by showering, washing clothes, cleaning dishes, and getting the most out of your money!
7 . Focus on Key Places
Before you start your trip, identify a few key places you want to visit. There’s nothing wrong with taking your travels day by day, but you are in danger of missing out on experiences. Come up with some unmissable adventures and use them as anchor points for your trip. Whether they be cities, National Parks, historical sites, or outdoor activities, make a note of them to create a loose framework of your time travelling the UK in a campervan.
8 . Stay Secure
Security is a big worry for many first-time van campers. A vehicle seems much less secure than a building, especially when you are inside, and it is filled with valuables. There are modifications you can add to your van to make it more secure along with habits that will keep you out of trouble.
Before travelling the UK in a campervan, make sure you have a good set of locks. You may need to get deadbolts installed for extra security. An alarm system is another great investment to deter anyone from breaking in. Never put valuables on display when you are not in the van. Many overlanders also use curtains or sun visors to cover up their van when they are away.
Travelling the UK in a campervan is a wonderful way to see the country. Whether you’re opting for a luxury post-retirement trip, a monthly holiday, or a budget road trip, there are many ways to enjoy the network of 247,800 miles of roads that link together this amazing island. By using these tips, you can now begin travelling the UK in a campervan – all you need to do is hit the road and get driving!