Can I go camping in the UK during lockdown? The latest advice on when campsites will reopen

Camping near Buttermere, Lake District
Camping is currently prohibited, but restrictions could be lifted in early July Credit: istock
As lockdown restrictions ease, many are anticipating an escape to the great outdoors to clear the cobwebs. Here, we outline the latest rules and guidelines on camping holidays this summer.

Can I go camping now?

In a word, no. While hopes are high among UK campsites hope for summer boom一本道理不卡一二三区 and the Government’s relaxation of lockdown rules is providing people with the scope to move around the country with greater freedom, all campsites and caravan parks are to remain closed in accordance with health protection regulations.

A tweet from Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddlestone, sets it out in no uncertain terms: “You and your household can head outdoors for your physical and mental wellbeing in England. But be respectful to local people and communities. You must adopt social distancing at all times. Then return to your primary home – no overnight stays, including second homes and holiday homes.”

Naturally this extends to free camping – the practice of pitching your tent on any bit of public land that suits. Under normal circumstances this is only legal on Dartmoor in England and across most areas of Scotland, but under current restrictions it is strictly prohibited in both countries, and anyone caught will incur a large fine.

When will campsites reopen?

一本道理不卡一二三区While there’s been no special mention of camping in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, it’s safe to assume that, along with the rest of the hospitality industry, campsites in England fall into step three of the plan.

This means that it is likely that campsites and caravan parks will reopen on July 4, although this is subject to change. A second wave of coronavirus infections would certainly see any reopening dates pushed back indefinitely.

For now, camping is confined to the garden

一本道理不卡一二三区The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to adjust the plan set out by the Prime Minister on Sunday evening, so reopening dates may vary from one another. Different regions in England may also see restrictions lifted at different times, depending on the localised level of risk posed by Covid-19.

一本道理不卡一二三区Dan Yates, Managing Director of , said: “In short, with a date of 'no earlier' than July 4, time will be tight to capitalise on this summer. Typically, the peak begins in the third week of July with the start of the school holidays, and ends at August Bank Holiday. That said, we live in hope of an Indian summer.”

Will it be safe?

Most campsites are already well set up for social distancing, with acres of space in which people can pitch their tents and move around without coming too close to their fellow campers. Some issues do need ironing out: for instance, what is the best way to tackle shared facilities such as kitchens, showers and lavatories?

一本道理不卡一二三区The situation is a little easier for caravan and motorhome owners. By and large these are already equipped for a self-contained lifestyle – and pitches are already more than two metres apart for fire safety reasons – so there will be little to no need to come into contact with others.

Campsite owners face a challenge in ensuring shared facilities meet new safety standards Credit: getty

What new safety measures are there?

一本道理不卡一二三区Campsite operators have already started experimenting with ways to improve safety. The Government did issue some guidance for UK businesses on Monday, but there are still questions surrounding the lengths and means to which campsite owners will have to go when adjusting their business models. Hygiene protocols will certainly be overhauled, with cleaning regimes set to become more rigorous and more regular. Marked queues for toilets also seem likely, and we could even see some sites introduce timeslots or ticketing systems for kitchens and shower blocks.

Visit Britain is now working with the UK Government to create an industry-wide quality mark一本道理不卡一二三区 that tourism businesses will be able to use to demonstrate their approved safety standards. The organisation hope this will “provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism businesses, attractions and destinations, as well as reassurance to visitors that businesses have clear processes in place as restrictions are lifted.”

Can I book now?

Yes, and plenty of people are doing just that. Online campsite guide and reservations site, , reported an instant increase in bookings for July, August and September following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday.

一本道理不卡一二三区“There does seem to be some pent-up demand for camping with consumers having waited for guidance that lockdown measures might be eased before booking,” said Cool Camping’s founder, Jonathan Knight.

Of course, consumers should be wary of any changes to the Government’s lockdown plan that could see reopening dates pushed further back. But a number of campsites, holiday parks and other hospitality businesses have now introduced coronavirus guarantees, generally allowing free transfer or cancellation of booking dates if restrictions are extended or reimposed. Be sure to check before booking.    

Where do you hope to go camping when restrictions are lifted? Tell us in the comments section below.