Providing parking and camping advice for motorhome owners in the United Kingdom since 2006.
This web site is privately funded and receives no sponsorship, corporate or otherwise. It is not connected to any other web site of either similar or dissimilar name.
The information provided on this web site is sourced from direct research. Information is not "harvested" from forum postings or other web sites carrying motorhome parking information.
© G. J. Hadfield 2006 - 2019
24 August 2019 - After 13 years this site has run its course and will close down at the end of 2019.
This web site was started when I discovered that finding somewhere to park a motorome when visiting somewhere during the day was difficult - and information about where motorhomes could be parked was sparse, to say the least. To a large extent the need for this web site has actually diminished since it was established in August 2006. Constructive communication with local authorities and other organisations over the years (as opposed to just whinging about lack of parking provision) has resulted in many of them making parking available. Even where they are unable to do that, many others have included notes on their web sites saying why, thus saving drivers the trouble of trying to find parking in particular locations. An exercise undertaken in 2015/6 identified more than 2270 off-street places where it was possible to park motorhomes during the day.
Initially the web site provided detailed information (Click Here or scroll to the foot of the page to see the early history of the web site). Following the 2013 redesign the web site provided direct links to parking pages on the web sites of local authorities and other organisations (National Parks, Water Companies, Tourist Sites, Attractions & Theme Parks, Shopping Centres/Outlets, Private Parking Companies, Motorway Service Areas and Supermarkets &c) but that still required significant resource to keep the links up to date. In November 2017 (it having become increasingly difficult to make the time available to do so) I decided to remove all external links, rather than allowing the links to become completely inaccurate. Some six months later I have redesigned the web site to include links to the home pages of the various authorities/organisations, as opposed to the parking pages, as home page addresses are far less volatile and thus the links require less maintenance.
When the web site was first built, download speeds (especially over mobile phone networks) were far slower so direct links to the exact pages were more important. With the advances over the years it is less critical to have direct links. Motorhome drivers wishing to find out about parking can now go to the appropriate home page and then use that web site's internal navigation to seek out information or, where information is not published, use contact details so that specific enquiries may be made. Links to web sites of local authorities and other organisations can be found by Clicking Here.
It may be that somebody decides that there is still a place for a site constructed in such a manner as this one used to be. There is, of course, nothing to stop anyone creating a new site based on their own research. I wish every success to anyone deciding to do so.
Indeed, in the last couple of years several other resources (e.g. Facebook pages, apps) dedicated to motorhome parking have been created (though it is a pity that some of their owners are still ignorant of, or refuse to acknowledge, the difference between parking and camping in the UK).
The Difference Between Parking and Camping in the UK.
This web site has always dealt with places for parking motorhomes, not places for camping in them. That means parking the vehicle, leaving it empty and returning just to drive it away. In the UK, any habitation of the vehicle is camping, not parking.
The laws (not rules) relating to off site camping are summarised in the article Off Site Camping in the UK. Any owner of land (a pub landlord for instance) must comply with the requirements of the 1960 Act mentioned in that article.
Unfortunately, some landlords (including some who are members of hosting schemes) are happy to break the law (or don't realise they are doing so) by operating caravan sites without a licence and some motorhomers are happy to take advantage of that. One has to wonder what effect that would have on business insurance cover should something go wrong. Equally, some owners of web sites/Facebook groups know very well that they are promoting activity which breaks the law but simply don't care despite the fact that they know that the long term consequences are potentially detrimental to motorhomers as a whole because of the adverse effect on people who have invested (or potentially might invest) their money in creating CLs/CSs or "aires".
UK Motorhomes is a responsibly managed web site which provides a listing of officially sanctioned 'non-campsite' overnight stopovers for campervans and motorhomes in the UK.
An increase in the numbers of basic overnight places (similar to "aires") would be most welcome and it's been pleasing to see that constructive lobbying has brought positive results from some local authorities in recent years. However, unless land owners (councils or private) see an economic benefit in setting them up then they won't do it. It is unlikely that somebody is going to spend money to lay out an area, with adequate spacing, and obtain a licence/exemption unless they see that they can recoup the investment and make a reasonable profit. If people think that, having made the investment, they will be undercut by some pub landlord or farm shop owner who sees a chance to make a quick buck and doesn't care about breaking the law then it is unlikely they will make the investment necessary.
Unfortunately, despite all the advice published on web sites like this one and on forums, some people never learn (or think the rules don't apply to them).
Given the actions of such people, it's no wonder motorhome owners have difficulty persuading councils that we park responsibly.
This Article from 2011 details problems caused by illegal camping in the Scarborough area (see below also).
This Story was published in May 2017 and was presented on a forum as being about a supposed unfair ban by a council on motorhomes in Chudleigh, Devon. Enquiry of the council revealed the facts - some motorhome owners were using the car park as a storage place and staying longer than the 48 hours allowed (parked for weeks/months at a time and not moving). It is that practice that was acted against, not residents and visitors using the car park properly.
|The photo to the right shows an example of the selfish inconsideration of some motorhome
owners which we witnessed at Folkestone Harbour on 1st August 2017.
The motorhome was in a restricted bay with a generator out and fastened to it.
It is to be hoped that the driver enjoyed the ticket he received.
Even where (normally on-street) there are no restrictions on off site camping, the actions of some motorhome owners continue to cause problems. The reactions of local councils in the areas affected vary, as the following external articles show. In most cases the reaction is simply to bring in more restrictions. All the more reason for responsible motorhome owners to boycott unlicensed sites, refrain from ignoring restrictions, and campaign constructively for the provision of "aires" by providing real evidence of benefits to be obtained (not just unsubstantiated claims).
October 2017; Does motorhome parking need to be addressed?
December 2017; Overnight campervan parking ban made permanent.
February 2018; Town council upholds overnight car parking ban.
March 2018; Council considers action to halt overnight sleeping in Whitby car parks.
April 2018; It's official: Camper vans have been BANNED from parts of Exmouth seafront.
April 2018; Ban for motorhomes in Newcastle car parks.
June 2018; Motorhome toilets 'emptied on Morfa Bychan beach'.
How not to park and Some other points to bear in mind.
In any car park, check any signs to ensure that your vehicle is allowed to park there. In particular, do not use coach bays unless specifically told you can.
Where overnight parking is allowed in car parks there may still be a ban on sleeping/camping in the vehicle so check first.
If your motorhome overhangs into a second space (or more), check (before parking) whether overhanging the confines of a marked bay might result in a penalty charge. It stands to reason that if a motorhome is taking up two parking spaces (or more) then it necessarily exceeds the confines of a marked bay and trying to argue against a charge for doing so would be both foolish and futile.
In Pay & Display car parks it is always worth checking whether you need to buy more than one ticket if your MH overhangs into a second space (or more).
On 4th November 2015 the Supreme Court found in favour of Parking Eye in its action against Barry Beavis in regard to the legality of charges for overstaying in private car parks. Despite what some web sites may still claim, therefore, such charges are legally enforceable.
Employees of local authorities and other organisations sometimes have high workloads and/or may not have been fully trained in the application of parking rules. Almost without fail, the final decision on whether a fine/charge will be enforced will not be that of the employee "on the ground". In any dispute remain calm, make notes of events and take up the dispute with managers in a civilised manner at a later date.
Before attempting to enter any car park, especially in a larger motorhome, check that there is room to manoeuvre your vehicle safely and without danger to anyone.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that some rural car parks suffer from anti-social use, fly-tipping and vandalism and that, as a result, they are locked overnight. If you think this might apply to a car park you are intending to use it is worth contacting the owner to check in advance.
A Brief Summary of Motorhome Restrictions in Scarborough Borough.
Many myths have been published about the treatment of motorhome owners by Scarborough Borough and North Yorkshire County councils. These are the facts.
In the Scarborough Borough Council area (which includes Whitby, Filey & Sandsend) on street parking is controlled by North Yorkshire County Council and off street parking is controlled by the Borough Council,
Going back some years it was possible to camp overnight at SBC car parks because either there were no orders controlling it or orders were not enforced. Then some people started abusing that fact, even to the extent of holding rallies in car parks in Whitby. SBC responded originally by trying to promote a scheme whereby overnight camping would be allowed in some of their car parks (see This Article). That, though, required extra planning consent because, in legal terms, it would turn the car parks into caravan sites. When the matter was examined it was discovered that it would breach a long standing planning policy that prevented the creation of caravan sites within the areas of SBC where the car parks are located. That policy had been used over the years to turn down applications from several private companies/individuals. If SBC had given itself planning consent despite that then it would have been faced with legal action from unsuccessful applicants for not being even handed. That is why the ban on overnight camping in SBC car parks was introduced. The history can be found on the SBC web site at This Page (and linked pages). The resulting legislation is in The Borough Of Scarborough Off Street Parking Places Order 2012.
In regard to on street parking, some years ago signs had been erected by NYCC banning overnight camping. That was in response to motorhome owners not just staying overnight but staying for longer periods. Local residents found it objectionable because of the visual impact and visitors found that they increasingly had difficulty parking in some areas. To save money the signs were not backed by a legal order so could not be enforced. When that was highlighted NYCC brought in a temporary legal order covering several roads and the matter went out to public consultation. The result was that the permanent order was made which covers the ten roads listed on the NYCC web site.
A Brief Summary of Motorhome Restrictions in Highland Region.
As with Scarborough, there are many myths regarding restrictions in Highland Region. The facts are as follows.
In the early 1990s (so it is believed) both Transport Scotland (for trunk roads) and the Highland Council erected “No Overnight Parking” signs in laybys to discourage off site camping. They were never legally enforcable and no efforts were made to enforce them. Following a legal challenge both Transport Scotland and the Highland Council decided to remove the signs though some, apparently, still remain. An explanation is given in a PDF file Here.
As far as off-street parking is concerned, Highland Council made an order in 1996 to cover all of the car parks that existed at that time (see list in a PDF file Here). The order bans parking of any vehicle adapted for sleeping (apart from licensed large goods vehicles) between the hours of 8pm and 8am and requires that vehicles be parked wholly within bay markings where they exist. In general, other off-street car parks are under no such restrictions though “No Overnight Parking” signs are in place in some of them. The exception is at Dornoch Beach where an order has been promoted as explained in a PDF file on the council's web site Here.
Motorhome Parking at Supermarkets, Motorhome Parking at Motorway Service Areas, Parking/Overnight Camping at the Roadside and/or in a Lay-by, Off Site Camping in the UK,
Making The Case for Aires in the UK, Nightstop letter example/template, The Futility of Aires Petitions.
Motorhome Notes (includes extra information on Motorhome Parking in the UK).
Any comments can be sent to graham at gjh.me.uk (replace " at " with "@") but it is not intended that information supplied by site users will be included as it used to be.
|Web Site History
This project started out when, just after purchasing our motorhome in June 2006, we came across the impossibility of parking in some towns or areas of them. The initial intention was to document both friendly and unfriendly places we came across or which we found out about from others. Prior to going on holiday in August 2006 I obtained information from Herefordshire, Powys and Worcestershire councils (all of which were very helpful) and that gave the site a start.
Subsequent conversations with people we met on our travels revealed the fact that some local authorities were unco-operative when asked about parking for motorhomes, some even ignoring requests for information. I used to work as a Freedom of Information officer for a local authority so I knew that such responses were unacceptable.
I also realised (through research into other projects aimed at fighting height barriers) that simply waiting for others to make contributions was rather unproductive. So, it became obvious that pro-active contact with local authorities would be more practical and I decided, therefore, to contact all UK local authorities for information.
Several approaches/information requests were made to the 400+ local authorities (and other organisations) in the UK between 2006 and 2009 and the site content was based on their official responses.
Contributions from site users, when received, were added. Approximately 475 users of this web site sent in contributions between 2006 (when it was first created) and 2012. They deserve the thanks of everyone using the site (over 170,000 hits in 2012 alone).
Unfortunately, scheduling of regular updates was disrupted by family bereavement. Subsequently, the incidence of ongoing plagiarism (people copying data from the web site and selling it on a commercial basis in flagrant breach of copyright conditions) resulted in the decision not to continue putting in the effort just to be ripped off. As a result I had intended closing the site but was persuaded not to.
Instead, the site has been redesigned to contain links to parking pages on local authority web sites. In 2006, only a handful of local authorities published motorhome parking information. By July 2013, when the site redesign started, about 90 did so. A one-off exercise to encourage more such publication was started in August 2013 and, as a result, many more agreed to do so. As at 23 December 2013, some 172 LAs publish motorhome parking information with 64 others having expressed an intention to do so in future (many within a few months).
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© G. J. Hadfield 2006 - 2018
Last updated: 24 August 2019