Free Motorhome Camping in Scotland

May 09, 2019 in Destinations, Tips for Travellers, Scotland & Wild Camping and Overnight Parking

Many of us travel by motorhome for the freedom it provides, being able to go anywhere at anytime. And what demonstrates that kind of freedom better than being able to sleep wherever you want with free camping and parking for campervans! Free overnight motorhome parking in the UK can be tough to find, which is why we’re helping with some of the top places for free campervan parking in the UK, but showing how you can find them too! There are numerous resources for free campervan parking, and it is important to know the pro’s and con’s of it. So let’s start with Scotland, and ensure your motorhome holiday sticks to a budget and you get to experience the ultimate freedom in this gorgeous country!

Goboony Free Camping Scotland H2 VW Campervan Motorhome

How can I camp for free with my motorhome?

There are two ways to camp for free in Scotland and the rest of the UK; overnight parking and wild camping. The main difference between the two is whether you’re in nature- in the ‘wild’ - or in a more urban location. Wild camping involves pitching in the midst of nature, without the confines of a campsite. Whilst overnight parking is stopping somewhere for the night, usually a parking lot. Common locations for these include by supermarkets, casinos and service stops. Whilst neither of these options are technically ‘legal’, they are tolerated. To stay anywhere you need permission from the landowner, so be sure to always ask or check online. And be prepared in case you’re asked to leave, as they have every right to ask this. Free camping in a motorhome may seem difficult, but it can also be so rewarding!

Comparing Free Motorhome Camping and Campsites

 

Free Camping

Campsites

Scenery

I don’t think you can beat the scenery of wild camping, taking camping back to rural roots. But overnight parking is often far less pretty, in a parking lot or simple field.

Depends on the location, campsites near cities are usually quite plain and urbanized. But some campsites in more rural areas can also have great scenery, although you are surrounded by other travellers.

Freedom

The ultimate freedom, coming and going as you please, being a true camper in the wild.

Less freedom, but you could consider being able to fully set up with your awning etc freedom. Or the freedom of having wifi!

Price

FREE camping!

Price can really vary based on location, amenities, season and more. It is unlikely to find somewhere you can pitch your motorhome at for less than £8 per night. In summer you’re looking at about £15 per night minimum.

Privacy

Wild camping can provide a lot of privacy, especially if you find the right secluded spot. But overnight parking provides limited privacy, you may be close to other vehicles or near busy roads.

Depends on the site, some touring sites provide minimal privacy by being packed together. Other sites are more spacious and utilise foliage to give you some privacy.

Legality

One of the biggest disadvantages of free camping. This can usually be solved by simply asking, as many are fine with you staying on their land. But be sure to check! Scotland is also known to be more tolerant than other countries in the UK.

I would hope so! Campsites are very legal, especially if you find them through websites such as PitchUp.

Amenities

Don’t expect many, maybe a toilet if you’re overnight parking.

The most basic sites will have a toilet, others will offer electrical hook up, restaurants, cafes, a reception and more!

Social

More suited for those looking to spend time by themselves or those they are travelling with, you won’t be interrupted by other travellers.

Ideal for those looking to talk to others and get to know fellow vans, conversation is supplemented by the close proximity of pitches. You could get advice from fellow holidaymakers.

Goboony Free Camping Scotland H2 Field Mountain

Tips for Free Camping

Here are some tips for free camping in the UK, or check out more information on free motorhome camping and wild camping.

  1. Pack enough supplies! If you’re going somewhere remote, you’ll need all the food and other resources you could need on hand. Expect the unexpected, prepare for the worst!

  2. Arrive late, leave early. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and take your time, then a campsite is more suitable. Be there as little time as possible, you should just eat and sleep.

  3. Take only photographs and leave only footprints. That means don’t leave litter, don’t leave traces of a campfire, and don’t ruin the foliage.

  4. Always just ask. It can feel weird at first, but most people really don’t mind you staying on their land as long as you’ve checked with them.

  5. Use websites such as CamperContact and Park4Night. These websites/apps will help you find possible places where you’re allowed to park overnight, usually for no cost.

  6. You may be asked to move. So try not to unpack too much and ensure you’re always in a state fit to drive. But if you followed tip 4, then this shouldn’t be an issue!

Goboony Free Camping Scotland H2 Mountain House

The Best Places for Overnight Parking

  1. Parking Stoer Lighthouse (Clashmore) - Climb this lighthouse, take in the view, and then settle down for the night at this great motorhome free parking spot. Limited facilities, but dolphin spotting with breakfast. N 58.23783, W 5.40086

  2. Parking Loch Garten Osprey Center (Boat of Garten) - Be sure to arrive here after sundown to avoid crowds, and park surrounded by foliage and wildlife. Ensures a calm and quiet night. N 57.24454, W 3.69599

  3. Parkview Terrace (Latheronwheel) - Enjoy a seaview at this harbour car park, walking distance of restaurants with fresh seafood. N 58.27045, W 3.38093

  4. Dark Skye Trumpan Car Park (Trumpan) - An idyllic location, with only walking trails and old ruins of a church. You won’t be disturbed, but be sure to pack enough supplies as the nearest restaurant is several kilometres. N 57.55576, W 6.64151

  5. Mull of Galloway Lighthouse (Drumnore) - You’ll wake up to the sea surrounding you, and this is ideal if you were planning to visit this lighthouse. There is a cafe for your morning coffee, and toilets 50m away. N 54.63525, W 4.86014

Goboony Free Camping Scotland H2 Cow Mountain

The Best Places for Wild Camping in Scotland

  1. Bonaly Reservoir, Edinburgh - Perfect for escaping the urban city for some tranquility. Great walking trails in the nearby Pentland Hills, and an endless stretch of foliage - beautiful!

  2. Cairngorms National Park - This stunning national park is a must for your trip to Scotland, it is considered to be the most romantic part of the Scottish Highlands complete with forests, surging waterfalls and dramatic mountainscapes. You could camp well in the Glenfeshie valley or the high altitude plateau of Moine Mhor.

  3. Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park - they have specific wild camping rules, and you’ll find countless areas to wild camp in. There are also plenty of campsites to pitch a night at if you need a break or a good shower!

  4. Vatersay, Outer Hebrides - The perfect spot for those seeking isolation, this southernmost island offers many picturesque beaches to escape to. If you cross the causeway south of Barra and follow the minor road south for about 3 miles you’ll find these dunes, with an informal grassy parking area.

  5. Isle of Skye - almost the entire island is overnight parking friendly, so drive along and choose from the countless gorgeous spots! There are plenty of small roads which will lead you to scenic points.

Goboony Free Camping Scotland H2 VW Campervan Motorhome Field

Free overnight stops for motorhomes can really range in location and type, as you’ve probably realised by now! Even though free camping in the UK with motorhomes can be difficult, it definitely is worth it. Scotland is filled to the brim with dramatic landscapes and stunning coastlines, and the best way to see them is up close. So organise your motorhome hire in Scotland and let the adventure begin!

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