Coronavirus travel advice for campers in the UK and Europe
LATEST: From 19 July, people who have been fully vaccinated and children under 18 will no longer have to quarantine when they return to England from countries on the amber list, excluding France. Read more here
The coronavirus situation is changing on a regular basis. Here is the most up-to-date information about the rules for campers in the UK today.
- Introduction to Covid rules
- Current rules for camping in the UK
- How safe are campsites?
- Advice for travelling to and from Europe
- Rules for travelling to popular European countries
- Countries on the green and amber lists for travel
Introduction to Covid rules
This page is updated regularly and includes the most up-to-date information for camping and travel in the UK and Europe during the pandemic.
For the latest detailed government guidance visit the coronavirus page on the UK government website and the websites for the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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 potentially local restrictions 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 planning to travel abroad you should also check the local restrictions in place in the country you intend to visit.
Can I go camping in the UK?
Yes! Camping is currently allowed in all parts of the UK as lockdown restrictions are eased.
From 17 May 2021, as part of step 3 of the Government's roadmap out of the national lockdown in England, campsites are allowed to open and people will be able to take camping holidays. Shared facilities onsite, like shower and toilet blocks, shops and food and drink outlets, can open. These should be cleaned regularly and be well ventiliated and campers are being urged to keep contact with other households to a minimum.
Before you book any campsite, check in advance with individual sites to find out what facilities they will have open and make sure they are allowing tents to pitch. If sites decide to open without shared facilities then you may be allowed to bring your own toilet and shower facilities, but again, check what the site will allow.
Campsites in Scotland were given the go-ahead to reopen after lockdown on 26 April, when overnight stays in tourist accommodation were permitted. Toilets, showers and shared washing and cleaning facilities are all allowed to open
Unrestricted travel within Scotland and between Scotland and England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is also allowed, but local restrictions may be in place in some areas.
Anyone planning to travel to a Scottish island is encouraged to take a Covid to test before they set off to reduce the risk of coronavirus being brought into island communities.
Travel restrictions remain in place for travel between Scotland and the rest of the world so overseas holidays are not yet allowed.
Campsites in Wales are now open, with toilets, showers and other indoor shared facilities.
Travel restrictions between Wales and the rest of the UK were lifted on 12 April at which point campers from other parts of the UK were able to book sites in Wales – depending on the travel restrictions in place where they live.
• Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, campsites and services for touring caravans, including shared facilities, were allowed to fully reopen from 24 May. Up to six people from two households can stay together overnight (children aged12 or under are not counted)
What has been done to make campsites safe?
Where they are allowed to open, strict rules designed to stop the spread of Covid-19 are in place at campsites.
When campsites reopened after lockdown in summer 2020 there were some changes introduced to ensure the safety of campers and campsite workers. Group bookings were mostly ruled out for the time being, and social distancing measures were put 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 closed down their shared facilities altogether, but where they remained open additional cleaning regimes and other measures were put in place. These included frequent deep cleaning, staggered visiting times and restrictions on the number people entering the toilets and showers at a time.
Some campsites 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.
Visitors to campsites in England and Wales will have to complete Track and Trace information.
• 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.
Read more here about staying safe and healthy while you're camping
Travelling in Europe during coronavirus
A 'traffic light' system for overseas travel came into force in England on 17 May 2021 and similar rules are in place in the other parts of the UK. Foreign holidays are permitted to countries on the green list but you must check and follow the rules in the country you plan to visit.
From Monday 19 July 2021, the government will stop recommending against travel from England to amber list countries and if you have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus you will no longer need to quarantine when you get back to England. Anyone arriving from France to England must continue to quarantine for 10 days at home or in other accommodation, even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
You will still need to have a test before you travel back to this country and you need to book and pay for a Covid travel test on or before the second day of your return. But you no longer need to undergo a second test on day eight.
Children under 18 no longer need to quarantine when they get back to England and under fours don't have to be tested when they return.
You should not travel to countries on the red list. Currently travellers returning to the UK from countries on the red list have to go into quarantine for up to 10 days and take two Covid tests.
Before returning to the UK you must fill in a “passenger locator” form and provide contact details and a UK address. If you are travelling in a private vehicle, eg a car or motorhome, the rules of the countries and territories you drive through apply. For example, if you drive through an amber list country like France, then you must follow the amber list rules when you arrive in England.
This applies whether you stop in the country or not. You need to record the countries and territories you drive through on your passenger locator” form.
The countries on each list will be reviewed every three weeks by the UK government and the devolved administrations so your travel plans could be disrupted at short notice.
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.
You do not need to take a Covid test or quarantine on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days.
Travel 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.
Travel restrictions by country
Vist the Foreign Office website to find out the current travel rules for the major European destinations for motorhomers and campers. Many countries have imposed bans on people travelling from the UK.
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 there.
Some countries in the EU have introduced the requirement for UK travellers to self-isolate for up to 14 days on arrival unless they can provide proof that they've been fully vaccinated or have had a negative PCR test.
Entry restrictions in some countries may be different depending on the areas you have passed though en route.
Countries on the green and amber lists for travel
This is the list of main countries on the green list which you can travel to from the UK and do not require to self-isolate on your return. This list is reviewed every three weeks and countries could be added or removed depending on the Covid situation:
- Faroe Islands
- Croatia (Green watchlist)
- Madeira in Portugal
- New Zealand
To see all the countries on the green list, visit the UK government website
The amber list includes most countries in Europe, including France, Spain (including the Balearic islands), Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The only European country currently on the red list is Turkey.
Before you book or set off, it is important to know what the current entry requirements are for each of these countries for travellers coming from the UK – just because restrictions have been lifted by the UK government it doesn't automatically follow that the local authorities will allow unrestricted movement from England or other parts of the UK.
The Foreign And Commonwealth Office website details the most up-to-date entry rules for individual countries.
Click here for more information about self-contained camping post lockdown