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Camping during Coronavirus

Everything you need to know about campervan and camping safety during COVID-19

Latest updates on Travel and Camping during Coronavirus in the UK:

From 17th May - Restrictions are easing across the country.

The rules for entering England change depending on where you have travelled from outside the UK. There will be different rules to follow if you’re entering Scotland , entering Wales or entering Northern Ireland.

Travellers/citizens are strongly discouraged from all unnecessary travel to red or amber list countries or territories, for example for leisure purposes.

Portugal and Iceland are on the GREEN LIST!  (From May 17)

  • On arrival to England, you do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

Here is the full list and guidance for more details.

People who live in England who have had a full vaccine course (2 doses), will be able to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for outbound international travel to countries where this is recognised. Although there are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination. So for the time being most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.

In England
From 17 May, you can socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people or 2 households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside. Pubs, theatres and other venues can open indoors. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can open for people on holiday. Read the guidance on what you can do.

In Scotland
From 17 May, all of Scotland is at Level 2. Under level 2 you can meet socially in groups of up to  6 people indoors/outdoors and can stay overnight. All holiday accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, hostels caravan and camping sites) can open in line with sector guidance for tourism and hospitality.

In Wales
From 3 May, gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open. Children and adults can take part in indoor organised activities. 

In Northern Ireland
From 30 April, non-essential shops, hairdressers and outdoor areas at pubs and restaurants can reopen. You can stay overnight in self-contained accommodation but only with your household or bubble.

26th April - Campsites can reopen in Scotland

From 26 April, Caravan and camping sites can reopen in Scotland as well as hotels, B&Bs - but people can not share self-catering accommodation with another household as there should have one room/entity per household.

The whole of Scotland is adjusted to the Level 3 alert and people can travel to Scotland from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. People can travel around Scotland and stay overnight, as long as people don't stay overnight in another household.

05th April 2021 - Campervan travel and campsites can open in England on April 12th

Downing Street announced today that all the tests easing the current corona lockdown in England have been met, so step two of the roadmap for relaxing restrictions can go ahead on 12 April. This means that campsites can open as long as indoor facilities are not shared with other households. People can travel in with their own family in self-contained accommodation such as campervans.

The lift on covid restriction further includes reopening of non-essential shops, allowing for outdoor serving on pubs and restaurants. International travel is still illegal (the earliest opening could be May 17th), and social distancing rules still apply.

The PM underlined that there currently is nothing to suggest England will have to deviate from its roadmap out of lockdown (see screenshot below).

Infomation of dates for when campervan travel and campsites can open


23rd March - Ban on foreign travel from England

New coronavirus law, due to be introduced on Monday 29th March includes a £5,000 fine for anyone in England trying to travel abroad without a valid reason (Exemptions to the travel ban include: work, study, education, escaping the risk of harm, medical treatment, attending funeral or weddings or close relatives).

The travel ban does not apply to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.

The end date of the travel ban is subject to changes on the road map reopening on 17th May.

On the bright side, domestic travel in England is still set to open on April 12th, in terms of self-contained accommodation (including campervan travel and campsites excluding public areas). From April 12th one household will be allowed to stay overnight somewhere in the UK, but not with another household.

22nd January 2021 - Roadmap planned for when campervan travel and camping can open

Roadmap for opening England

On 22nd January PM Boris Johnson announced a planned roadmap for the reopening of England, the plan consists of 4 stages, the advancement to the next step will depend on the positive evolution of the situation based on a set of data points. The estimated plan of when campervan travel and campsites can open include the following key dates:

Step 1

From March 8th: Spending time outdoor in public spaces with one other person or their household/support bubble will be allowed. However holidays will still not be a permitted reason for travelling, restrictions on international travel will apply.

From March 29th: The current law will expire, meaning people will no longer be legally required to stay at home. However, key restrictions will apply such as working from home when doable and limit travel to the absolute minimum. Meeting of two households in the outdoors will be allowed, the rule of six return in outdoor spaces

Step 2 - Campervan travel and campsites can open

From April 12th at the earliest: Domestic overnight stays and self-contained accommodation such as campervan travel will be allowed, as long as the type of travel permits having a private bathroom, entry/exit, catering/kitchen/food facilities or sleeping facilities. Only members of the same household can travel together by these means. Campsites can open without opening the use of shared facilities.

International travels for leisure will not be permitted.

Step 3

From 17 May at the earliest (max five weeks after Step 2): Remaining accommodation services can open, including shared facilities at campsites as well as hotels, hostels and B&Bs.

Indoor hospitality such as restaurants can open, without limit on an accompanied meal with alcoholic beverages, table service will still remain.

Most restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted, maximum of 30 people can meet outdoors. Indoor meet-ups will be opened to a group of 6 or with one other household.

A range of other services will open including remaining outdoor entertainments, indoor entertainment venues, adult indoor sports and exercise classes, event at 50% capacity etc.

Step 4 – from 21 June at the earliest (max five weeks after Step 3)

The government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs, large events, cultural events and weddings with limited restrictions.

Foreign travel to and from England

A separate review will take place alongside the above in relation to international travel, a report on the issue is estimated to be delivered on 12 April including recommendations on how to return to international travel as soon as possible while limiting risk. After that, the Government will decide when international travel can continue, however it has been decided that this will be no earlier than 17 May.

Road map for opening Scotland

The plan for reopening Scotland is still not clearly defined however the First Minister suggest the following dates are estimated for some listings of restrictions:

15 March: four people from two households will be allowed to meet outdoors. Scotland’s primary and secondary schools can reopen, however, not all students will return to classrooms at the same time

26-30th of April: Hope to return to a regional, five-level system from the last week in April if the current trend of virus suppression continues.

Foreign and domestic travel in Scotland

For Scotland, foreign travel restrictions are still expected to stay for "some time", specific information regarding domestic travel is yet to be clearly announced.

5th January 2021

National Lockdown: Stay At Home

Based on the new National lockdown termed as "Stay at home", everyone in the UK is obligated to stay in their homes to reduce the spread of the virus. UK nationals and residents are required to leave their homes if necessary, and are under the restriction to limit contact - everyone must stay at least 2 meters apart if not from the same household or bubble.

Can I go camping in the UK now?

ENGLAND: Camping and overnight stays are currently not allowed in England. You cannot leave your home or the place you are living for holidays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This includes campervan and motorhome stays, camping in a tent and second homes like a caravan, that is not your primary residence. If you are already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon as practical.

SCOTLAND: To minimise the spread of the virus, camping and overnight stays for leisure is not permitted. By law, you can only leave your home (or garden) if you have a reasonable excuse. See  further guidance on travel and transport  and view  maps of local authority area boundaries .

Can I travel in the UK now?

You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.

You can only travel, internationally – or within the UK – if you have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider public health advice in the area you are visiting.

camping during coronavirus - Indie Campers current stay at home encouragement

30th December 2020

Tier 4 measures are extended to more parts of England from midnight, with the Midlands, North East, parts of the North West and South West joining London and the South East in the toughest restrictions.

England

London is now under Tier 4 restriction levels as COVID rates are rising due to a new variant of the virus. Early indications are showing that it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant. 

All non-essential business will remain close. Accommodations like B&Bs and campsites will remain close unless essential for work or where the person cannot return home. 

Travelling within a tier 4 area 

People within Tier 4 need to remain within their locality, If they need to travel they should stay local - meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where they live - and look to reduce the number of journeys made overall. 

Travelling to a tier 4 area from a tier 1, 2 or 3 area

People must not travel into a tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for reasons such as travel to work where it is not possible to work from home, etc.

International travel to or from a tier 4 area

If people are in tier 4, they should not be travelling abroad unless it is permitted and the public health advice in the country being visited needs considering. 

For people who live outside a tier 4 area, they may still transit into or through a tier 4 area to travel abroad if they need to, but they should carefully consider whether they need to do so. In addition, public health advice in the country being visited should be followed. 

Camping in Tier 4 area - Staying away from home overnight

People who live in tier 4 cannot leave home for holidays or stays overnight away from their main home unless permitted by law. This includes staying in a second home or caravan or staying with anyone they do not live with or are in a support bubble with. 

People on holiday in a tier 4 area, you should return to their home as soon as practical. 

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in the law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing.

Are campsites open in Tier 4?

Campsites will be closed unless essential. You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.

Update to Christmas arrangements

Those living in tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their household at Christmas (exceptions apply for support bubbles). 

In all other tiers, the meeting of three households will be limited to Christmas Day only. 

There will be no relaxation of the rules for New Year’s Eve. 

Camping in Tier 3

Overnight stays are not permitted in the Tier 3 level area, unless necessary for work, education and caring responsibilities. Campsites and holiday rentals will remain closed.

Edinburgh, Scotland 

Scotland will significantly tighten protections against Coronavirus (COVID-19) to prevent the spread of the new, highly contagious strain of the virus.

To keep people safe, the First Minister announced:

  • The planned easing of restrictions around Christmas will be limited to Christmas Day itself, and not the previous 5-day window that was planned
  • Legal household limits will still apply - a maximum of 8 people from 3 households - however advice is to minimise the numbers. Where possible, people should celebrate the festive period at home in their own household and meet with others outdoors
  • Apart from specific exemptions, travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK will not be allowed
  • Travel within Scotland will be allowed on Christmas Day
  • From Boxing Day, all of Scotland will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality.

19th December 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that London, South East and East of England are to go into new Tier 4 restrictions from the following day. The rules are mostly the same as the national restrictions in November, with non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms closing.

27th November 2020: England announces the return of a tier system that will be in effect after Wednesday 2 December. Regions are placed in tier 1-3, from medium to very high alert. The tiers will be reviewed every fortnight, starting from 16 December. Find the full list here .

26th November 2020

England's new tier system is announced, coming into force on 2 December.

10th November 2020

Scotland moves three local authorities from level 2 to level 3: Fife, Perth & Kinross and Angus.

Wales lifts domestic travel restrictions.

05th November 2020

A national lockdown started in England, expected to last until December 2nd.

NB: The information below was last updated on the 27th of November. If you are looking for the latest information about camping during coronavirus, please refer to the updated information above or visit England 's & Scotland 's official website.

Campervan travel during coronavirus

Before going on a campervan trip in the current travel climate, it is essential to make sure you are informed and comply with local restrictions within the region or regions you are visiting. In areas where travel and camping are permitted, campervan travelling could be one of the safest and most sustainable ways of tourism, as it allows for self-sustainability and minimal human contact while you are introduced to new experiences. 

While on the road, a good introductory tip is to prepare to be as self-sufficient as possible, some general tips include:

  • Ensuring you have access to all facilities you need such as a toilet, appropriate levels of clean and wastewater, food and battery levels for the night. 
  • Try to limit human interaction beyond your travel companions to a minimum during this period. 
  • Stay safe by regularly disinfecting frequently touched areas of the van upon every entry and exit such as frequently touched areas like the door handles, the steering wheel and the gear stick

Coronavirus and Travel in the UK

As the progress of the coronavirus pandemic remains quite unpredictable around the world, no travel is entirely risk-free at this point in time. If you are planning to travel abroad in the weeks and months ahead - even if you are returning to a place you have visited before... - make sure to follow the concrete policies that currently apply to the region where you reside, such as restrictions to international travel. In the UK, there are different rules that apply to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Coming from abroad to the UK during this period, you will need to comply with any current measures that have been undertaken in order to manage localised outbreaks, such as border closures, restrictions in movement or quarantine rules. You will also need to complete the passenger locator form to prepare for your entry into the UK, which you can do up to 48 hours before your arrival.

Please note that you may have to quarantine for up to 14 days in the UK after your arrival if you are coming from countries that are not in the travel corridors list . Travel corridors might vary between England’s, Scotland’s, Wales’ and Northern Ireland’s lists.

A girl tying shoelaces in the door of a campervan with a mask during coronavirus

Travel in England during coronavirus

Starting 2 December, England will return to a tier system of covid alerts, consisting of Tier 1 - Medium alert, Tier 2 - High alert and Tier 3 - Very High alert. Most of England will be in Tier 2 and 3 levels of restrictions. The new coronavirus tier limitations will mean 55 million people remain halted from mixing with other households indoors based on the rates at which cases are rising in England. 

For 5 days during Christmas across the UK when the restrictions will be lifted, both our London and Edinburgh depot will be operating fully as people can travel to within their Christmas bubble.

Tier 3: Very High alert

Large parts of the Midlands, North East and North West, including Manchester and Birmingham, as well as Kent, are in tier 3, where the tightest regulations are in place. Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed. Travel is only restricted to essential services and workers.


The following areas currently fall under tier 3:

North West: Greater Manchester; Lancashire; Blackpool; Blackburn with Darwen. North East: Tees Valley Combined Authority (Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; Stockton-on-Tees; Redcar and Cleveland; Darlington); North East Combined Authority (Sunderland; South Tyneside; Gateshead; Newcastle upon Tyne; North Tyneside; County Durham; Northumberland). Yorkshire and The Humber: The Humber; West Yorkshire; South Yorkshire. East Midlands: Derby and Derbyshire; Nottingham and Nottinghamshire; Leicester and Leicestershire; Lincolnshire. West Midlands: Birmingham and Black Country; Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent; Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull. South West: Bristol; South Gloucestershire; North Somerset. South East: Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert); Kent and Medway

Tier 2: High alert

A majority of places are in the second-highest level - tier 2- including London, Yorkshire, Liverpool city region. Travel is permitted but only to the same alert level or lower, it is advised not to travel to tier 3 areas. One can only meet other households in outdoor public spaces like parks, where the rule of six applies, but can not socialise indoors with other households. Pubs and bars are open if they serve substantial meals, in which alcohol must be accompanied with.

The following areas fall under tier 2:

North West: Liverpool City Region; Cumbria; Warrington and Cheshire. West Midlands:  Herefordshire; Worcestershire; Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. East Midlands: Northamptonshire; Rutland. Yorkshire: York; North Yorkshire. East of England: Hertfordshire; Suffolk; Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough); Norfolk; Essex; Thurrock and Southend on Sea; Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. London: All boroughs plus the City of London. South West: South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor; Bath and North East Somerset; Dorset; Bournemouth; Christchurch; Poole; Gloucestershire; Wiltshire and Swindon; Devon. South East: West Sussex; East Sussex; Brighton and Hove; Surrey; Reading; Wokingham; Bracknell Forest; Windsor and Maidenhead; West Berkshire; Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton; Buckinghamshire; Oxfordshire

Tier 1: Medium alert

This is the areas where life can presume closest to normal as restrictions are more relaxed. The rule of 6 still applies inside and outside and sports can resume at 50% capacity.

The following areas fall under tier 1:

Isle of Wight; Cornwall; Isles of Scilly.

It is advised that travellers within tier 1 and 2 avoid going to tier 3, unless for essential work. These travellers need to also keep in mind that they cannot socialize with anyone outside their household if they do choose to travel to tier 3 areas. You can find out where you are safe and ‘Good to Go’ on this interactive map .

However, there are exemptions for travelling for caring commitments or for work when this can not be done from home. Therefore, under the current legislation, you can rent a campervan to travel for essential work, medical reasons, caring responsibilities or education if staying away from home is essential for your job. Keep in mind, though, that you should not travel if you feel unwell, even if the reason for travel is seen as essential. 

Read the full guidance advised by the government here .

Coronavirus Restrictions in London

London is now under tier two level of the lockdown. This means you cannot socialize with anyone you do not live with and must follow the rule of 6 when socializing with people outdoors. Restaurants and bars will only be accessible with limited availability, and strict closing hours, from 11 pm to 5 am. 

Travel to and overnight stay in tier 3 areas must be limited to essential work, education or youth services, to receive medical treatment. 

Foreign travel to England

Anyone arriving during the England lockdown may be subject to quarantine. It is further likely that travel plans upon arrival might be impacted, as flights and public transport is heavily diminished. Keep up to date with England's travel restrictions before you go.

UK travel corridors are minimal in November, currently including Ireland, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Finland and Norway in Europe (Denmark was recently excluded from the list). Find the full list of updated travel corridors here

Travel in Scotland during coronavirus

The Scottish government has shared strong guidance with the intent of limiting the spread of the virus, thus limiting travelling itself. Wearing face coverings in various settings is included in the law and can be enforced on anyone over the age of 5.

Scotland's coronavirus alert system

A new five-level system of restrictions is now in force across Scotland, with different measures in place for different parts of the country. Each level refers to different stages of governmental restrictions regarding movement and social interaction, in which 0 is almost no restrictions and level 4 is close to a lockdown. 

Image explaining the different scottish covid alerts in relation to camping

As to where you can travel, the government is currently advising people not to travel in or out of council areas under level 3 - which includes Edinburgh -, unless essential. This can include work, education, outdoor exercise, healthcare or caring responsibilities, and essential shopping. You can find the tier for each of the other localities on the Scottish government website .

Residents in areas under level 0, 1 or 2 are being told not to travel into a level 3 area, except for essential purposes. People are also asked not to travel between Scotland and England unless their journey is deemed essential.

Foreign travel to Scotland 

The Scottish government advises against non-essential foreign travel, and people arriving from certain countries must spend two weeks in quarantine post-arrival. If you are a foreigner looking to travel to Scotland, you must be aware that every person arriving into Scotland (other than a small number of exempt categories ) must complete the passenger locator form and must provide evidence of having done so upon arrival, if requested by a Scottish Border Force official.

If you do not complete the form nor present it upon arrival, you may be fined £60. You should avoid visiting multiple hospitality premises on the same day. In particular, do not visit more than one pub or bar on the same day, as this increases the risk of transmission.

Overnight stays and Camping during coronavirus

Under the current travel and movement restrictions, camping and overnight stays are restricted in most parts of the UK. In some areas of Scotland, camping is allowed according to each region's alert level. Camping and overnight stays have recently opened in Wales exclusively for domestic travellers. In England, some campsites are expected to open in tier 2 areas after December 2nd.

Are campsites open right now?

Some all-year-open campsites are open after December 2nd in Scotland, Wales and England in accordance with the alert level and seasonality.

Regardless of the opening of a campsite, campervan self-sufficiency is the safest way to go in the current travel and camping climate. It might be a good idea to plan ahead to ensure you can limit social interaction and social distance, even while staying on a campsite. 

A good way to reduce the need for external premises is to book a campervan that has a toilet and shower, together with stocking up on food so that you are able to make all your meals in the van.

Camping during Coronavirus - Overnight Stays

As a general rule keep the following in mind:

  • Don't drive into nature;
  • Practice discretion (don’t put up a camp but rather stay in your vehicle);
  • Do not park on the road or near houses;
  • Comply with local road signage. 

In the current climate, it's more important than ever to avoid crowds with fellow motorhome travellers. Campervan travellers are encouraged to ensure they stay within the boundaries of the current governmental travel advice and to therefore limit human interaction and be self-sufficient. 

As many campsites are closed, it is more fundamental than ever before to ensure nature is left in a better condition than when you found it, as well as to stay away from other campers.

Campsites in Wales

From November 9th, campsites will be able to open in Wales but to Welsh residents only.  Domestic travel within Wales will be possible, including for tourism. However, campsites will still not allow access by travellers from England due to the current travel restrictions.

When will camping be allowed?

In England, camping is forecasted to be allowed again in the beginning of December. At that point, localised restrictions might apply within a local tiered system.

Most campsite associations operate under these premises as well. As an example, the Camping and Caravan Club have reported that their full-season campsites will open as soon as national and local restrictions ease.

Can I go camping during quarantine?

If you have to go into quarantine or self-isolate, you should stay on your own in a closed space, meaning you cannot stay at a campsite where you share common areas, facilities or where you could eventually get close to other campers. 

If you have a special need to self-isolate away from home or family for special reasons, staying in a campervan parked away in a secluded spot could be a good option. If this is something you would consider, please contact local authorities to see if this is legal in your community. If you are looking for personal isolation pods, a good option might be to book a long term hire subscription , starting from £700 a month in the UK.

Travelling abroad

Right now it is not advised to travel abroad for leisure, and travellers returning from a trip abroad must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival (with some exceptions). If you are considering travelling abroad, make sure you inform yourself about the governmental travel advice for your destination . Specific rules apply for the Common Travel Area (CTA) between England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Indie Campers’ Coronavirus measures

At Indie Campers, we have undertaken extra measures to ensure each traveller stays safe when travelling with one of our campervans or motorhomes. In order to reduce human contact during the entire booking and pick-up process, we have developed an online check-in service, complemented with online van tutorials, that allow you to minimise physical contact and service time at our local warehouse when starting your trip. 

Additionally, we have developed new safety and cleaning measures across all of our European locations, that make up our 2020 Deep Cleaning procedure. You can find more information about Indie Campers’ coronavirus special measures on our  Clean&Safe page  and on the video below:

Indie Campers
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