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It is possible to get away from the main tourist crowds, staying at smaller campsites and still visit the resorts and towns when you want.

Both the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC - name changed from Caravan Club in 2017), and Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) have excellent full facility sites and lists of small 5 van Certificated Locations (CL) and Certificated Sites (CS and Hideaways in more remote places) mostly at farms, for members only, at low nightly costs typically 8 to 15 a night without electric hookup and 10 to 20 with electricity which is available more often nowadays. The cheapest CL we have stayed at recently (2020) was 5 and the dearest 16. For the most popular sites it is often necessary to book ahead especially at weekends and in high season but as we generally stay only one or two nights at a site we usually phone ahead during the day or the evening before. More sites have email and are listed on websites such as Pitchup, SearchforSites and CampsitesUK. We look for sites with hardstandings although these can vary from rough gravel to concrete surfaces sometimes only accessible across a grass field which isn't ideal.  

Membership of the two main clubs is about 44(CCC) to 54(CMC) per year and we belong to both. There is an additional non-members pitch fee of around 10 a night so it pays to join if you stay on a club site for more than a few nights.

The Camping and Caravanning Club also offer reduced fees if you are 65 and over except in the high season. They also offer half price annual fee if you have been a member for over 25 years. The Caravan and Motorhome Club have a few basic sites without toilet facilities which are 17 a night (in 2017). 

The C&CC also provide a motorhome stopover service for three hours during the day to use the service points and maybe showers and washing machines. This costs about 7.80 in 2017.

We also like to use CCC Temporary Holiday Sites (THS) which are temporary sites often on a rally field at a permanent site. These can vary a lot from a basic camping field to more organised activities and usually run for 2 to 4 weeks. Some are set up in connection with specific events such as air shows or steam rallies.

On Camping & Caravanning Club sites the nightly fees vary according to season and also depending on how many bookings they have and change from night to night. You also have generally to book in advance with a non refundable deposit of 25 and two nights minimum at weekends. We avoid club sites especially in the high season. There is an additional service pitch fee of about 4.50 a night if you want an electric hookup and/or a hardstanding pitch. Sometimes e.g. in wet weather this is not optional as you will not be offered a grass pitch.

There are of course many commercially run campsites in the UK ranging from farm fields at fairly low cost to full amenity sites with bars, restaurants and swimming pools but we rarely stay at those sites although some sites have special offers especially in the low season. We have found in 2020 that there are many smaller commercial sites charging reasonable fees. They have been useful alternatives especially in the low season although sites with lots of tents can be more crowded and noisy in the peak season.

We have occasionally "wild" camped in Scotland in more remote areas, in laybys and picnic spots, and aim to stay on our own rather than with other motorhomes. We haven't had any problems but we find it a bit worrying if a car pulls up nearby in the middle of the night. We try to park so that we can drive off without reversing or using ramps or screen covers so that we can leave quickly if necessary. More and more laybys in Scotland have "No Overnight Camping" signs but these are possibly not legally enforceable, depending on the ownership of the land. If it's a local authority it has to be backed by a local byelaw and the police would probably not ask you to move on unless you are causing an obstruction; they may have local knowledge about the safety of staying in certain places. In fact it has been suggested that the presence of an overnighting motorhome may be beneficial as it may act as a crime deterrent. Unless you have permission from the landowner we would advise to only "park" overnight - no awnings, tables and chairs, BBQ's etc.

Update 2021

There is now a very active organisation CAMpRA on Facebook and a forum who have managed to enlighten many councils and private owners to set up aires similar to those which have been available abroad for years, with overnight parking and sometimes water and waste disposal facilities, mostly for a nightly fee. This is proving to be useful with the large increase in motorhome usage during the Covid pandemic.

They are slowly overcoming the negative attitudes of councils unfortunately due to a few who abuse and misuse the facilities, and emphasising a source of tourist income for the owners.  

 Lists of all the sites we stayed at in the UK each year :
page last updated
16 nov 2021
2000  2002  2003   2004   2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012   2013   2014  2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   2021


Prices quoted are what we paid at the time of our visit and are shown for guidance only. Also some sites may have closed since we stayed on them. We try to update the yearly lists if we are aware of any closures. Please let us know about any changes you may come across.

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