Motorhome Parking | Where To Park For Free & Other Tips

Learn everything you need to know about motorhome parking in this guide. Including what your rights are, what the law says, and where you can park up for free.

Let’s jump right in:

Parking while living in a motorhome

Section 1

Motorhome parking — What You Need To Know First

Motorhome parking can refer to a lot of things:

This article will deal with all three types. 

But first, we’ll need to address a point of confusion in the motorhome community. 

Sometimes when people talk about ‘parking’ and ‘camping’ they are referring to the same thing. But there is an important difference:

This article will deal with all three types. (Though if you’re wondering about how to go about parking your motorhome up for long-term storage during the off-season, check out our guide about where and how to do it correctly.)

But first, we’ll need to address a point of confusion in the motorhome community. 

Sometimes when people talk about ‘parking’ and ‘camping’ they are referring to the same thing. But there is an important difference:

Section 2

Motorhome and Campervan Parking Laws

A question people often ask when starting out is, “Can you park overnight just anywhere in the UK?” The quick answer is no. You can’t just roll up anywhere and park for the night. 

I hate to break it to you. But a lot of land across the UK and Europe is privately owned. For overnight motorhome parking, to park on private land you will need the permission of the landowner. 

The best way to avoid breaking any laws is to find a campsite or someplace where you know the landowners will give you that permission. 

In most of England and Wales, wild camping in a motorhome is basically illegal. With some notable exceptions in the Lake District, parts of Dartmoor, parts of the Brecon Beacons, and so on.

A sign warning people not to camp or park in their motorhomes overnight

Motorhome Parking in Scotland

Scotland — with its vast tracts of empty wilderness — once had a much more relaxed attitude to wild camping. Especially when you compare it to the authorities in England and Wales. 


The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows for wild camping in most public places. BUT the Act explicitly mentions non-motorised camping. Which seems to suggest that the Scots are still as tough on motorhome ‘wild parking’ as the rest of the UK. 


However you interpret the Act, the actions of irresponsible people — such as dumping rubbish on the roadsides, emptying their toilet waste into hedges and bushes, digging holes at camp sites, and leaving messes behind — has made the Scottish government less generous when it comes to wild camping. 


The result is that they are trying to do anything but encourage motorhome wild camping. Instead, they are directing their efforts at trying to get people to stay at campsites instead. 

The Scots have also experimented with a kind of semi-wild camping/campsite alternative known as stay the night events which are kind of overnight pre-approved car parks. They’re a lot cheaper than campsites and you won’t need to prebook. But you won’t be able to pitch a tent or put up your awning either.

Find out more about Scotland’s Stay the Night scheme here.

Parking a Campervan Across Europe

Wild camping in Europe is easier in the UK. There’s a lot more countryside, fewer people spread over a bigger area, and fewer restrictions. 


But first, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the local rules of any area you visit. As they can be surprisingly different from one locale to the next.

A campervan parked in the French alps

Section 3

Finding The Best Places For Motorhome Parking

It sounds obvious, but the best places to stay — for a few days in the UK at least — are at campsites. Well, campsites and approved overnight parking spaces. 

If you are on the road and want to find somewhere close to you for overnight parking, try the following:

Websites such as and are great resources. Pitch Up also covers Europe and beyond.  

If you’re a member of a motorhome club, you should have access to their app or a book. You might even find a members-only exclusive resting place.

Buy the book — yes, a physical book — called Brit Stops. It’ll give you a code so that you can also use the Brit Stops app. (You cannot use the app without the code from the book.)

Once you’ve bought the book it’s free. It’s a cool idea really. Local producers often give incentives for motorhome enthusiasts to park near them, in the hope that they’ll sell a little of their products in the meantime. Its sister organisation is the France Passion scheme. Unsurprisingly, many French spots are near vineyards.

Check out forums, websites, and social media groups. 

For example, the UK Motorhomes forum has a regularly updated list of stopovers here.

An image of a motorhome parked up in Slovenia

Motorhome Parking in Scotland

On the Continent, such as in France, they have what are called “aires” and they are kind of like approved overnight stopovers for motorhomes and campervans. 

They are a lot like Scotland’s stay the night schemes (see above) because, like in Scotland, there are limitations on what you can do there (no awnings, no pitching tents, no barbeques, etc.). 


But they’re still fun. 


A really useful tip to help you prepare for European travel is to consider an ACSI (Auto Camper Service International) membership or Camping Card


ACSI is a company that inspects thousands of campsites every year for quality — so you can count on them for a decent overnight experience. 


But they also have a guidebook and app with a discount scheme. The discount (60%) only applies in the off-season but it’s still a useful resource. You can use it on an estimated 3,000+ campsites across Europe and the UK.

Keep In Mind!

Many campsites close for the winter and many more will be booked up months in advance. 

Also, at some campsites, you may need to pay extra for hot showers and general electric usage. And even then, in a few places across Europe, the hot water is on a timer. Usually no more than 5 minutes.

Section 4

Off-Grif Motorhome Parking

If you do get permission to ‘wild park’ or camp in an area, then you’re lucky. Now it’s up to you to help rebuild trust with the wider public. Here are some tips for off-grid parking with a motorhome. 

That means following these rules:

If you are in a super-remote area with absolutely nobody about for miles, use your common sense. You can probably put a few chairs out, and cook some barbeque food, so long as you don’t damage the environment or leave a mess. 

Oh and also, remember to lock the windows and doors at night. You never know who could be knocking about.


Irresponsible people have severely limited the motorhome community’s ability to wild camp or ‘wild park’ by rubbishing the areas they’ve visited. 

If you do find a wild camping spot, take special care not to leave behind any destructive signs that you were there. That means, especially, no littering or scorched-earth from fires.

While we’re on the subject, you might be interested in our article on how to live off-grid in a motorhome here. 

Section 5

Motorhome Parking in Residential Areas

So, where can you park a motorhome or campervan overnight in the UK?

In the UK, it’s legal to park your motorhome up on a residential street, but you might be breaking the law if you SLEEP in it overnight. 

This practice is known as ‘stealth camping’. Sleeping and cooking — even cleaning — are all frowned upon, if they aren’t illegal. 

It’s best to check to see what the local council’s rules are. 

If you are careful and park in an obscure place (i.e. not blocking a driveway, or a window, or directly in front of someone’s house), you might get away with it for one night. 

But don’t overstay your welcome. 

Also, if you’re parking in a carpark, check if you need to buy two tickets or not. If you’re vehicle overhangs onto another bay, you might have to.

A large motorhome parked on a residential street

Overnight motorhome parking in a supermarket or car park

This is a bit of a grey area and the subject of much debate in the motorhome community. 

The chances are, whatever car park you find — one owned by a supermarket or privately owned, or owned by the local council — the chances are there will be a sign-up that prohibits sleeping, cooking, and camping for specific classes of vehicle. 

There might even be a height barrier restricting you access from ever getting into the car park in the first place. 

Some people argue that the signs cannot always be enforced. Especially if they aren’t in the car park itself. 

It’s up to you whether you want to take the chance or not.

Section 6

Useful Apps and Resources for Motorhome Parking

If you’re thinking: ‘How can I find discounted or free overnight motorhome parking in the UK or another country in europe?’ or ‘Are there social media accounts helping to find a free motorhome car park?’ then read on. 

Here are some apps, websites and further resources to help you find free overnight stops for motorhomes.


One of the most popular websites and apps used for motorhome enthusiasts across Europe. Park4Night is free to use and download, and probably has the biggest database of campsites to access in both the UK and Europe. It’s great for figuring out how to find motorhome parking near you. 

The only downside is that a growing number of campsites — though visible on the app — are starting to put their more intricate details behind a paywall. But it’s still very good.

Whenever you’re in an area and looking for rest, put your location into the app and it’ll bring you the closest results and you can sort them by reviews.


This nifty Camperstop app and website is great for finding overnight parking spots. Similar in size and capability to other applications, however you must first pay €26.50 for the hard copy guide before you can pay €5.49 for an annual membership. 


Additionally, datasets for your sat nav can be downloaded for a small fee. If you want to plan ahead the website offers a free informative travel planner that will show you destinations along the way.


Searchforsites is a website and app that has a humongous database of free overnight stops for motorhomes and well over 100,000 members giving regular, daily advice. The website is free, and you can transfer the data over from it to your sat nav (though you will need to pay for that luxury). 


This site relies on information from its visitors. If you do find out of date information, please update it yourself to help others.


A wealth of over 38,000 parking spots across the UK and Europe, with new ones added all the time. For £5.99 you can get all the ad free, offline and premium Campercontact benefits for a year. 

If you’ve got a very large motorhome, or if you’re towing a trailer, you can filter out available spaces so that it only shows the ones your vehicle can fit in. Such a handy feature.

Brit Stops

I’ve already mentioned Brit Stops, but it is worth mentioning again. Essentially, you have to buy their book for £28 but you get access to lots of free parking locations across the UK. You get access to the app too, but only via a reference code printed inside of the book.

The best thing about Brit Stops is that it reveals lots of pub car parks that are free to park in. The reason being? The pubs want you around because they suspect you’ll be hungry and thirsty from time to time.

Campervan Overnight Parking

The VanLife app only shows free camping spots in beautiful nature spots. It also provides lots of great pictures of each of the campsites on its database, so you can get a good idea of what to expect. 

Motorhome Sleepyspots

A modest Facebook group with tens of thousands of members, Motorhome Sleepyspots is a great little community for hearing real-time news from passionate like minded people.


The VanLife app only shows free camping spots in beautiful nature spots. It also provides lots of great pictures of each of the campsites on its database, so you can get a good idea of what to expect. 


The Campy website and app are free and have over 30,000 campsites for you to look at. It’ll show you photographs and give you an idea of how much space is at each site. 

A premium version is available for offline mode, and satellite maps, amongst other things.

Section 8

Frequently Asked Questions

No. In most cases (but not all), you won’t find any facilities at the free camping spots. That is usually why they’re free!

Yes. People refer to it by lots of different names. Some call it motorhome wild camping. Or ‘free camping’ or ‘free parking’.

In the UK, it’s legal to park your motorhome up on a residential street, but you might be breaking the law if you SLEEP in it overnight.   This practice is known as ‘stealth camping’. Sleeping and cooking — even cleaning — are all frowned upon, if they aren’t illegal

error: Content is protected !!