Everything You Need to Know About Wild Camping in the UK
Wild camping has become increasingly popular in the UK, with more people searching for hidden spots to pitch up. However, many adventurers are still uncertain about the rules and whether wild camping is banned in the UK or not.
This guide outlines the laws on wild camping and the areas in the UK where it is permitted. We’ve also pulled together some of the top locations with campsites that offer the wild camping experience.
It’s also worth remembering that, regardless of where you set up camp, you must respect the environment. Be sure to leave no trace with our lightweight, environmentally friendly range of washing, personal hygiene and waste disposal products.
Is wild camping banned in the UK?
There’s often a lot of confusion around whether wild camping is legal in the UK and the answer depends on your location. There is no blanket law across the UK but the specific rules differ between countries.
Where is it legal to wild camp in the UK?
In general, it is illegal to wild camp in England, Wales and Northern Ireland without the landowners permission. This means that if you are found to be setting up a campsite, even for one night, you will be asked to leave and could potentially face legal consequences.
The rules are different in Scotland however – you can technically set up a campsite anywhere.
The rule goes hand-in-hand with Scotlands ‘right to roam’ laws which give people much more freedom to explore the country’s national parks and mountain ranges.
The Scottish government has laid out a set of wild camping guidelines that campers should follow to protect the local environment.
What happens if you get caught wild camping?
If you’re found to be wild camping in England, Wales or Northern Ireland without the landowner’s permission, you could be charged with trespassing. In many cases, you may just be asked to move along, but you could be reported and fined if any damage has been caused to the land from littering or campfires.
How to go (almost) wild camping in the UK
Although wild camping is illegal in most areas outside of Scotland, there are a lot of incredible spots around the UK with campsites that offer an authentic wild camping experience.
There’s no better feeling than getting back to nature and for those who want to experience the freedom of wild camping without the risk of breaking the law, here are some of our favourite locations:
The New Forest
The iconic New Forest National Park in southern England has become a must-see location for campers and outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its idyllic scenery and local wildlife.
Despite it being a popular destination, there are still plenty of hidden spots and quiet campsites where you can escape the noise and feel like you’re truly lost as you wander the wilds of The New Forest.
If you’re looking for breathtaking views and long walks that will take you off the beaten path, the Lake District has plenty to offer. There are numerous campsites dotted throughout the area, offering secluded getaways where you can explore the natural landmarks and iconic peaks such as Scafell Pike.
Home to the largest mountain peak in Wales, Snowdonia has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK. The rolling hills, untouched lakes and rough, rocky terrain will make you feel as though you’re exploring undiscovered lands. With a selection of secluded campsites to choose from, it’s a perfect place to search for adventure.
The Peak District is spread across four different counties and is one of the UK’s most popular national parks. A favourite amongst climbers and hikers, the area is home to iconic landmarks such as Kinder Scout and Ladybower Reservoir. If you’re looking for a place to experience the adventure of wild camping and wander the UK’s great outdoors, it doesn’t get much better.
Situated on the south-west coast of Wales, Pembrokeshire has plenty of natural beauty to offer adventurers. Explore the National Park and discover its open landscapes and stunning panoramic seascape views. This is one of the few places where you can experience seclusion and adventure so close to towns and villages.
Preparing for your wild camping experience…
Whether you’re exploring the peaks of Snowdonia or searching for local wildlife in the New Forest, it’s important to have the right gear for your (almost) wild camping adventure. If you’re planning a trip, read our Camping Essentials Checklist to make sure you have everything you’ll need.
Don’t forget to tag #seatosummituk in your social media posts when you’re out exploring so we can share your experience and see how your camping trip went.