Coronavirus travel advice for campers in the UK and Europe
UPDATED 21 NOVEMBER 2020
IMPORTANT COVID-19 TRAVEL UPDATE
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England. Between 5 November 2020 and 2 December 2020, holidays and overnight stays away from home either in the UK or abroad are not allowed.
The devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own rules relating to travel and holidays.
For more information visit the UK Government website
Camping has never been more popular but with the coronavirus situation changing on a regular basis, you need the most up-to-date information to ensure you and your family stay safe.
This page is updated regularly and includes the most up-to-date information for camping and travel during the pandemic, including:
- Current rules for camping in the UK
- How safe are campsites?
- Advice for travelling to and from Europe
- Quarantine rules for returning to the UK
- Ferry sailings to and from Europe
- Rules for travelling to popular European countries
For the latest detailed government guidance visit the coronavirus page on the UK government website
If you are considering a camping holiday in a tent, motorhome, campervan or caravan it’s vital that you plan properly and are aware of all the rules and regulations both here in the UK and in Europe.
With foreign travel guidance being updated regularly and local lockdowns being introduced to combat spikes in some areas of the UK, it’s important to keep an eye on government advice and only take a trip if it’s safe to do so.
Here you will find everything you need to know about where you can visit with your motorhome, campervan, caravan or tent in the UK and Europe.
If you are travelling abroad you should also check the local restrictions in place in the country you are visiting.
CAN I GO CAMPING IN THE UK?
There are constraints on camping in different parts of the UK.
During the national lockdown that began on 5 November 2020 and was due to be lifted on 2 December, camping – in common with all non-essential overnight stays away from home – is not allowed in England.
If you live in England, you must stay at home and avoid travel in the UK or overseas, unless for work, education or other essential purposes.
New restrictions were introduced in Scotland on 20 November which saw 11 areas, including Glasgow, enter the strictest Level 4 restrictions, for three weeks. Campsites and caravan parks in these areas must close.
In Level 3 area, campsites can remain open but tourists should not travel into, or out off, a Level 3 area for holidays or visits. In Level 1 and 2 areas campsites are allowed to open.
You must not travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas except for essential reasons. are currently open, including the shared facilities, however there are restrictions on unnecessary travel in some areas of the country.
Campsites and caravan parks in Wales are open to Welsh residents again following the end of the “firebreak” lockdown on Monday 9 November.
Shared facilities like toilet blocks and pot wash areas are allowed to open subject to social distancing and cleaning measures.
Under the Welsh Government rules, you will only be able to share holiday accommodation such as tents, caravans and glamping units with people you live with.
Travelling into Wales for a holiday is not permitted during the lockdown and Welsh residents can’t visit other parts of the UK or abroad for a holiday.
In Northern Ireland, campsites and services for touring caravans have been closed as part of the restrictions put in place to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and to help manage the pressures on the health and social care system.
What has been done to make campsites safe?
Campsites across England, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland are currently closed.
When campsites reopened after lockdown there were some changes introduced to ensure the safety of campers and campsite workers. Group bookings have mostly been ruled out for the time being, and social distancing measures are in place, with pitches spaced further apart than usual on many sites and floor markings in public areas like the toilet blocks, shops, receptions and washing-up areas.
Some sites have closed down their shared facilities altogether, but where they remain open additional cleaning regimes and other measures have been put in place. These include frequent deep cleaning, staggered visiting times and restrictions on the number people entering the toilets and showers at a time.
Some campsites will supply hand sanitising liquid at communal points such as water taps and playgrounds (if they are open). If the site doesn’t provide it, take your own and use it every time.
Follow the rules
Of course, camping lends itself to safe holidaying. Motorhomes, caravans and tents are self-contained and being in the open air means that as long as you keep your distance, the risk of infection should be low.
But no matter how many measures are introduced by the campsite owners, it’s down to individual campers to act responsibly and follow all the most up-to-date guidance on mixing with other groups, wearing face masks and hand washing.
TRAVELLING IN EUROPE DURING CORONAVIRUS
Non-essential overseas travel from England and Wales is not allowed and there are restrictions on travel from Scotland. Currently travellers returning to the UK from overseas have to go into quarantine for up to two weeks unless they have visited a country that the government has decided is exempt. These travel corridors – sometimes known as air bridges – remove the need for travellers to self-isolate when they return to the UK from overseas.
The countries included in the travel corridor list are constantly under review by the UK government and the devolved administrations so your travel plans could be disrupted at short notice.
The European countries where you don't have to quarantine on your return to the UK are:
- Faroe Islands
Before returning to the UK you must fill in a “passenger locator” form and provide contact details and a UK address, regardless of whether you have to self-isolate.
If you are abroad you must follow the advice of local authorities for the safety of you and others. Information from local authorities overseas can be found online, and is often available in English. It is your responsibility to know the most up-to-date rules that apply where you are.
Quarantine rules may differ for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland depending on the decisions of the devolved authorities.
Breaking quarantine rules is a criminal offence and fines can be imposed on anyone who does not self-isolate, provide accurate contact details or fill out a passenger locator form ahead of their return.
How long do I need to quarantine?
The length of time you need to spend in quarantine depends on where you have visited in the last two weeks. If you arrive directly in the UK from a country that’s not on the travel corridor list you must self-isolate for 14 days. However if you have been in a non-exempt country then travel to a country that is exempt and, for example, stay there for four days before entering the UK, you only need to self-isolate for 10 days. Four days is deducted from the length of quarantine.
Is there any way to avoid quarantine if I’m driving back from Europe?
In theory, you don’t need to self-isolate if you drive through a non-exempt area (eg France) without stopping. If you do stop, you don’t need to self-isolate if no new people get into the vehicle and no-one in the vehicle mixes with other people.
However if you then take a ferry from France or the Netherlands to the UK you would need to self-isolate on return to the UK, even if you didn’t stop in a non-exempt country, as you would be mixing with other people on board.
Currently the only way to get back to the UK in a vehicle without having to isolate is if you start your journey in an exempt country (eg Germany) then cross the English Channel via Le Shuttle from Calais without stopping in France or any other non-exempt country.
Do I have to leave a country if the rules change?
Quarantine rules or essential-travel advice might change for a country while you are already there but in those circumstances there is no need to leave immediately.
Are ferries still sailing as normal?
Many ferry services between the UK and Europe are still operating during the pandemic, with additional safety measures in place. If you decide not to travel due to the coronavirus situation, in most cases ferry operators are allowing passengers to switch their ticket to a future sailing date for free. If you decide to cancel your trip completely, standard ferry operator terms and conditions will apply which might mean you have to pay a fee.
CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS BY COUNTRY
Here are the current travel rules for the major European destinations for motorhomers and campers. If you are visiting another country it is important to be aware of the rules that have been put in place by the local authorities. Entry restrictions in some countries may be different depending on the areas you have passed though en route.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Austria. A mass lockdown and curfew has been introduced in the country.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Belgium. A national lockdown has come into effect until mid-December.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Croatia.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting the Czech Republic but there are no entry restrictions. A new national lockdown similar to the one imposed in at the start of the pandemic will last until at least 3 November with non-essential shops and services closing and people being banned from leaving their homes.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Denmark. The UK is considered a ‘banned’ country by the Danish government and you must have a ‘worthy’ purpose to enter if you are from the UK.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting France. New lockdown measures have been introduced which prevent people from leaving their homes except to buy essential goods or exercise.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Germany. A four-week partial lockdown has been introduced from the beginning of November.
It is not necessary to quarantine on your return to the UK after a visit to Greece. Greece has announced a partial lockdown, with restaurants and other leisure activities closed in major Greek cities from Tuesday.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Italy. A national partial lockdown was introduced at the end of October.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Luxembourg but there are no entry restrictions.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting The Netherlands. Travellers from the UK must self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive in the Netherlands.
It is not necessary to quarantine on your return to the UK after a visit to Norway. All travellers from the UK need to quarantine for 10 days on arrival in Norway.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Portugal. New lockdown restrictions have been introduced in October.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Spain, except the Canary Islands. On arrival in Spain, you must provide contact information and undergo a temperature check and visual health assessment. Partial lockdowns are in place in many regions of Spain.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Sweden.
You will need to self-isolate for up to 14 days on your return to the UK after visiting Switzerland.